© St. Petersburg Times, published June 9, 2002
Fishing 45 miles offshore Tuesday produced our first blue water "West Coast Quinella" of the summer. Dr. Larry Jeisey and his sons, Rich and Kurt, wanted to catch tuna, so we ran offshore to 150 feet and started a chum slick by chunking Spanish sardines.
After 10 minutes, blackfin tuna arrived and the fight was on. We boated a few, one close to 32 pounds, and were surprised as a 50-pound sailfish took a slow-trolled live cigar minnow. After 30 minutes we released it.
Changing tactics, we moved into 130 feet over a spring and caught a dozen amberjacks with live blue runners and large pinfish. The AJs weighed in the mid 20s to low 30s.
Slow-trolling live bait away from the spring we found a few bait pods. We dropped anchor and bottom-fished a few locations, catching 15 mangroves and four red grouper that weighed 15-20 pounds. The mangroves hit best on live Spanish sardines, and the grouper ate anything. Bottom fishing for the mangroves required 30-pound tackle to get bites.
Tuna, sailfish, amberjack, mangrove snapper and grouper: A "West Coast Quinella" can be caught in a single day of fishing. The key is live bait. Take the time to catch Spanish sardines, blue runners and pinfish. The ships in the fairway anchorage near Egmont Channel normally harbor bait.
-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.