By JAY MASTRY, Times Correspondent
Published December 5, 2005
Trolling is in full swing along the ships channel in Tampa Bay. Preparation is relatively easy: No. 3 planers are ideal for the 40-foot depth that makes up much of the channel from the Sunshine Skyway bridge to well inside the bay. A stout 65/16- to 8-foot rod works well with reels of 50-pound test. A 30-foot length of 50- to 60-pound mono from the planer rounds out the tackle.
Short-lipped, hard-bodied plugs work well. A variety of soft plastic tails hides the hook, none better than with a squid-shaped head and curly tail. Pearl and glow, chartreuse or pink all work well.
When determining the depth to run your planer, let out until you bump bottom then take in a couple of turns on your reel. When fish hit, slow but don't stop. The 30-foot length of line, to be hand-lined, needs to be clear of running engines. If live bait is your preference, we were able to jiggle up all sizes of whitebait on gold hook rigs a short distance south of the main span at the Skyway on Saturday morning.
--Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.