Shorter daylight hours and cooler water have generated the first wave of migratory fish to our area. The mid water and near shore artificial reefs are covered with larger cigar minnows, Spanish sardines and threadfins than a week ago. Bonita, Spanish mackerel, cobia and the occasional kingfish are gorging themselves on this abundant supply in anticipation of winter. Barracuda are more abundant and larger as they also have begun migrating south.
Barracuda can be caught by trolling spoons, large plugs or surgical tube lures. They often will cut mackerel, bonita, blue runners and even kingfish in half as they are being reeled in. There is no better bait than what they are feeding on. Large bait necessitates stinger rigs sized to the bait. Blue runners and small mackerel require a nose hook in the 1/0 to 2/0 size with one or two No. 6 stinger treble hooks depending on the length of the bait. A bonita or kingfish requires a nose hook in the 4/0 to 5/0 size with two or three No. 4 stinger treble hooks.
Christine, Christopher, Cody and Paula Stevenson of Arcadia experienced arm-tiring, drag-pulling action while light-tackle fishing for mackerel, bonita and barracuda Saturday at several artificial reefs. The day was topped by a 19-pound kingfish that hit the last blue runner put out.
- Capt. Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at 727 397-8815 or by e-mail at Luckytoo2@aol.com