By JAY MASTRY
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 17, 2001
Before Tropical Storm Gabrielle blew through we left the mackerel and mangos biting. Decreasing wind and four-tide days will accelerate cleansing. Though it likely will take a few days, runoff will be flushed from the bay and gulf waters will clear. Easterly wind will draw huge schools of bait back to the beaches and mackerel will return to artificial reefs and hard-bottom areas in 30 feet.
For those looking for a good investment, purchase a one-quarter-inch mesh cast net. It'll pay big dividends. With much of the available bait being juvenile sardines, greenbacks and whitebait, many will tend to get tangled, or gilled, even in mesh as fine as three-eighths inch. You're likely to gather even glass minnows as by-catch in the tiny mesh. With kingfish due in a month, they freeze well and make great chum blocks.
Rainfall and high winds should break up the algae bloom that suffocated fish mostly south of here. And while the flats get beaten up and bait pods disperse each time a hurricane or tropical storm passes through, they too will recover.
- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.