Layna Costis, 5, of Seminole and her dad Sean display Layna’s first fish, a catfish. Layna caught the fish June 20 using squid while fishing off the dock at Imperial Point. Layna is a student at Pinellas Primary Academy and previously attended Country Day Montessori School.
Gathering enough bait for the day is key, as most anglers know. However, finding enough pilchards to make a difference has been a real challenge lately. Fortunately for us, it appears we now may be on the verge of a major change.
Masses of juvenile pilchards have flooded our bays and beaches. These tiny baits will grow quickly and soon they’ll be big enough to tempt most any game fish.
These smaller baits can be used in a couple of situations. Mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish numbers have increased with the arrival of the fry bait and can often be seen busting through the pods of bait. Using a quarter inch mesh cast net will allow you to net the baits without getting a bunch hung up in the net. Anchor up in the area that the bait is the thickest and toss out handfuls of freebees. This should bring the fish right behind the boat.
Gag grouper opened this week and given the long closure fishing for them should be excellent for a while. Target ledges and artificial reefs for best action. Ledges as shallow as 20 foot are holding keeper gags as we’ve found out on recent mangrove snapper trips.
Use live pinfish or grass grunts and be ready to turn the fish away from the structure. These shallower spots demand your full attention.
Blacktip sharks are thick in certain areas through out the Intracoastal Waterway. Deeper cuts and channels are prime holding spots for these 3- to 5-foot sharks.
Using a chum block and frisky pinfish, we’ve been able to find non-stop action on these hard fighters as long as the tide is moving. Using monofilament leaders and a large circle hook has made a big difference in the amount of bites versus using a steel leader.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to email@example.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.