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Captain's corner

By DAVE MISTRETTA

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2001


February will bring a small migration of tripletail to our area. Named after the large fins positioned toward its tail, these gamefish are scattered throughout the southeastern United States.

The Florida Panhandle seems to hold the best numbers all year, but a few venture south and settle along our Gulf Coast in winter. The average weight is about 4-6 pounds, but I've landed a couple of 15-pounders. Except for the dark brown and gold across the back, the features of a tripletail resemble those of an oversized freshwater crappie.

Tripletail are curious and loiter near structure and debris. This time of year, thousands of crab buoys dot our coastline, producing the perfect haven. Once a tripletail has been spotted, toss out a free-lined shrimp, and it's sure to be gobbled.

Pound for pound these feisty gamefish fight like no other. Expect numerous jumps and erratic runs. A 10-pound outfit combined with 30-pound monofilament leader works well. Along with the fight, the table fare also is quite good.

- Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail sales@jawstoo.com.

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