tampabay.com

Captain's Corner

By DAVE MISTRETTA, Times Correspondent
Published February 19, 2008


Springtime action: A couple of days ago, we had unusual action for this time of year. We were about 25 miles from shore when a giant school of barracudas swam past. Normally, winter is long gone before they migrate to us. The end of March, with warmer water, is when we usually see their biggest pushes.

Hooked up: We had one of the barracudas' favorite baits in the live wells. Large Spanish sardines, slow trolled behind the boat, gave us instant action. A 4-foot barracuda inhaled the second bait and leaped from the water immediately. We caught three fish this week, with the biggest a 5-footer.

Other early arrivals: Another species appeared this week. Captains had scattered reports of kingfish taking baits at 40-foot depths - not a lot but just enough to let you know their spring migration was about to begin. Schools of cobia have joined in. They normally show up when the water is 70 degrees. We have caught our fair share the past two weeks while fishing for amberjacks.