The Tampa Bay Times

 Dave Zalewski 460-9893Normally at this time of year we will offer trips that include trolling for Spanish mackerel, bonita, barracuda and kingfish along with bottom fishing for grouper and the many variety of snappers that are present after trolling is done. There are many places to troll on the way offshore. The best being the near shore artificial reefs such as St Petersburg Beach and Madeira Beach along with the midwater artificials like South County and Indian Shores, the locations can be found by searching Pinellas County artificial reefs on the internet. Along with the locations, there is information as to what has been placed on them. King fishing has been disappointing this spring for us this year, with scattered catches on most days whether slow trolling live bait or spoons and plugs. Spanish mackerel have more than made up the lack of kingfish with fish being found at the mouths of the passes and on all of the artificial reefs. There is an intermittent band of hard bottom about 3 miles offshore that has also been producing well for both live baiters and those trolling small spoons behind # 1 planers.
Offshore in the 80 to 90 foot depths catches of Lane and vermillion snapper have been excellent. The key to catching these species along with white grunts and mangrove snapper is to downsize tackle. All of the snapper s have small mouths and the use of spinning tackle and 2/0 or a 3/0 strong hook along with shrimp or squid strips will produce great catches on the Swiss-cheese hard bottom 

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