Captain's Corner

By Dave Zalewski, Times Correspondent
Published February 23, 2008

What's hot: Reports indicate we may have an early start to fishing for the migratory Spanish mackerel, kingfish and cobia. The Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier reported that for three straight days a large school of Spanish mackerel and an occasional bonita kept anglers busy. Several boats out of Sarasota caught kingfish on a regular basis. With the water temperature at 65 degrees at Redington Long Pier, it won't be long before our waters will be teeming with baitfish and their attendant predators. Offshore in 60 feet of water, we experienced a banner trip with Bill and Jim Kinder and their wives, Betty and Marilyn, winter residents from Illinois. White grunts, triggerfish and sea bass provided great table fare; gag and red grouper provided catch, photo and release action because of the grouper closure in federal waters.

Tip from the pros: Now is the time to prepare for trolling season. Rod guides should be examined for burrs and cracks by pulling a piece of nylon stocking through them. Any imperfection will snag on the nylon. Drags, which hopefully have been backed off for storage, should be checked for smoothness and if sticking or jerking is observed, the reel should be taken to a local shop for servicing. Now is also a good time to check flare kits for expiration dates, lures for hook condition and trolling reels to see if they need respooling.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or 727 397-8815.