Captain's Corner

Kingfish and Bonita are plentiful in Tampa Bay.

Published February 1, 2007

What's hot: Kingfish and bonita still can be successfully targeted and caught almost daily. The midwater artificial reefs such as the South County and Indian Shores are holding large concentrations of baitfish. Glass minnows, threadfins, blue runners and hardtails are swarming at these sites and can easily be caught using Sabiki rigs. Kingfish and bait are staying deep, necessitating trolling at 30- to 45-foot depths with Nos. 2 and 3 planers. Slow trolling live baits on the surface has produced limited results, and if live bait stinger rig fishing is preferred, it is best to anchor over a piece of structure and chum heavily with small pieces of cut sardine.

Tactics: All the midwater reef sites were selected because of their proximity to live limestone bottom, which harbors grouper, snapper, white grunts and triggerfish. Some great bottom fishing can be experienced within 4 miles of these reefs. Combination trips for bottom fishing and trolling should be considered. If trolling is slow, bait and tackle for bottom fishing should be aboard and vice versa.

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.