St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Outdoors

Rock piles provide the action

We experienced outstanding tuna fishing at depths of 110 feet and more. The commercial shrimp boats have not been abundant, so our normal method of fishing behind the boats needed to be adjusted.

By DAVE MISTRETTA
Published May 25, 2007


ADVERTISEMENT

We experienced outstanding tuna fishing at depths of 110 feet and more. The commercial shrimp boats have not been abundant, so our normal method of fishing behind the boats needed to be adjusted.

Anchoring over the rock piles in this 110-foot depth produced not only blackfin tuna, but other fish, too. Kingfish, dolpin, bonito and an occasional wahoo have joined in on the surface action. Free-lining live Spanish sardines has brought great success. Sometimes it takes a while for the pelagic fish to find you, but some short sessions of chumming will attract them more quickly. Bottom fish holding close to rocks keeps us busy while waiting.

We have been locating the sardines in 40 to 60 feet of water. They have been staying close to edges of the hard bottom that meets the sand dunes. Drifting with gold hook rigs along the bottom has been producing large numbers of these great baits.

Mangrove snapper fishing has picked up in the past few weeks at these same depths. Some of the snapper we've caught recently have weighed more than 7 pounds and more than 25 inches in length. As the tide slows down, many of the bigger fish came to the surface to eat our chopped pilchard chum. We had to free-line chunks of the baitfish with the chum, in order to get the big snapper to bite. Light tackle works best with these eye-keen fish, plus the bait drifts with the chunks of chum more naturally. Live pilchards have worked best.

Our best luck with catching the pilchards has been in the depths of 30 feet. A cast net with a lengthy rope allows you to get the net down to where the bait is. You do have to use caution when casting a net at these depths, since the whitebaits (pilchards) like to hover over rocky structure. Locating these massive schools of bait requires a constant look at the sonar machine. They will ball up by the millions this time of year as they prepare for their annual spawn. Once located, lock the coordinates into your GPS, since they seldom travel far from that spot. This will allow you catch hundreds of baits with ease on a daily basis.

Grouper fishing still requires a bit of work. Some red grouper have started to move onto many of the limestone pot holes in depths of 120 feet and closer. Overall, the grouper fishing is not up to par compared to other years. Many blame the effects of Red Tide from the past two years.

[Last modified May 24, 2007, 23:11:59]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT