The Tampa Bay Times

This is the time of year that when bottom fishing in the 90 foot plus depths for red and soon to be open on June 1 gag grouper, Lane snapper, which seem to be increasing in both size and numbers. vermillion snapper and scattered yellowtail snapper one must be prepared for a number of species that may show up such as sharks, kingfish, barracuda, cobia, and the most welcome of all dolphin(mahi-mahi). Last week a school of about 15 showed up and caught us completely unprepared. It was chaos, as we were able to see the fish milling around the boat and devouring every scrap of bait that was present. One of us started chumming with scissor cut slivers of sardine, while the other cut sabikis loose from 2 rods and replaced them with 1/0 circle hooks. Non stop action occurred once we were properly rigged. The dolphin have small stomachs and will fill up quickly if more than slivers of sardine are used for chum to keep them near, The use of a 1/0 small hook is mandated because of their small mouths and the fact that the circle hook is self setting. You can be sure that from now on until fall there will be 2 small spinning outfits rigged and ready for the next time they show up.
Kingfish are still around, although in smaller numbers. Deploying 2 stinger rigged flat lines while bottom fishing, one with a live sardine or hardtail sabikied on site and one with a frozen Spanish will allow coverage of most of the water column behind the boat and may result is a strike from almost any pelagic species

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