Offshore gulf fishing has pretty much returned to normal after Hurricane Irma. Waters were silty for awhile, but north and east winds cleared most of the water column, which allowed us to target pelagic (trolling) fish such as Spanish mackerel, barracuda and bonita with a few kingfish as a bonus. The larger Spanish mackerel have been concentrated on hard-bottom areas 1-3 miles offshore. It hasn’t been necessary to seek feeding birds to find mackerel. Deploying lines as soon as hard bottom with a few bait stacks are seen on the bottom machine have resulted in great action. The mackerel have been smaller on nearshore and midwater reefs along with bonita and blue runners. Using freshly caught nose-hooked blue runners on a stinger rig sized to the bait presented will result in action from barracuda, which are feeding heavily in anticipation of migrating from the area once the water drops to 72 degrees. Bottom fishing has begun to recover for those having patience and using squid and sardines as their primary bait along with heavy chumming with small slivers of cut bait.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.