The Tampa Bay Times

Dave Zalewski

Phone: 460-9893

The constant west winds have caused us to alter the game plan when heading offshore. The water near shore and in the passes has silted up and will remain that way until we get an easterly wind for a few days. We no longer have been deploying trolling tackle upon entering the no wake zone before entering the gulf and now are running to either St Petersburg Beach, Treasure Island or Madeira Beach artificial before beginning to troll,
Baitfish do not like the silty water and constant pounding they receive when besieged by westerly winds and move offshore to clean water and shelter. All of these near shore reefs are holding large quantities of bait and their attendant predators, Spanish mackerel, barracuda blue runners and small jack crevalle.
These above mentioned reefs all have unique features and are no secret because their locations can easily obtained. The key to fishing them is be aware that the area that was permitted originally was about 2000 feet long running north and south and about 300 feet wide. The published GPS number is for the center of this rectangle. Both low and high profile structure will be found by paying attention to the sonar and hitting the Mark/MOB button when a piece of structure shows up on the right of the screen. Many times fish will take up residence on only one large high profile structure on a reef for some reason and if that occurs and you have mapped out the reef it is easy to return to that spot and present your lures directly over it.