Honing the TB fishery

*Sorry about the title... brain fart halfway. Was suppose to be "Honing the TB fishery"

I've got about a dozen trips under my belt since early July. It's been my first season fishing TB on the regular and I'm still learning... a lot. I do have some questions though. Kinda random

First off... Does anyone troll for Kings in the summer? I enjoy trolling as much as I do bottom fishing but after spending approximately 20hrs on the troll in waters from inside the Egmont shipping channel to 20 miles offshore, I only picked up a large Spanish Mac, not even Bonita are hitting my trolling spread. I have been trolling a mix of skirted Cigar minnows on top & with planers, large clarkspoons with planers or large trolling weights, and even bought a Yozuri Bonita in blue and purple to mix up the lineup. Trolling for Kings out of Cape Canaveral was always pretty easy with at least a knock down or two on every trip even when not in the right area just cruising. On the West Coast I seem to strike out trolling. Is the water just too warm right now? I trolled "Kingfish Alley" and the Pinellas reef yesterday for about 3hrs without a bite. I haven't found bait pods offshore like I would see on the east coast.

Second... is the grass flowing in the bay year round? I hear a lot about trolling for grouper when the water cools down in the shipping channel but with the grass all around it would appear to be a very busy task. I like to check baits every 20-30 minutes or so.. not every 2-3 minutes lol

Third... can you ID the species by looking at the sonar? I know it might sound funny but I'm just trying to ID the fish so I can learn from my experience. I used advice I received from aquaholik to get the mangrove bite consistent when fishing against structure (skyway and other bridges) but it was time to try something new. I wanted to now "raise" up the snapper to the boat with chumming in the shipping channels. First attempt a couple weeks ago in about 40' of water was fruitless. I used videos posted by the guys that make the Roundabout to guide me. I waited for slack tide but I think I wasn't in a good spot as fry white bait (2-3") being chummed didn't do much even after going through a 1/2 bucket and I didn't catch a thing. My 2nd attempt was unique... we went to cruise and watch the sunset. Bait swarmed my boat while we were anchored and family was swimming so I grabbed the net and got about 300 2-4" pilchards. It wasn't a fishing day but how can I not fish when bait is literally walking up to me. I had some newly read posts in mind from SouthshoreSlayer when looking for shipping channel spots. Thank you for your time helping others good sir!

So we stopped at a new spot randomly chosen in the shipping channel where I was sure I was over rocks (double bounce on sonar) and there was a fish here and there. After 1-2 minutes of chumming 3-4 baits every 10 seconds I was lit up like you see below. The tide was flowing too hard I know, but I didn't plan tides and waiting for near slack tide was not on the books. It was about 2hrs before low tide... 2oz would be just enough keep me down moved easily if I let line out. I tried for over an hour without a noticeable bite. I was pulling up live bait with no bite marks or a clean hook each time. I tried dead bait that I was chummin... couldn't get a bite either. Methods were bare 1/0 circle hook tied direct to 20lb flouro top shot going out with chum, 2oz knocker rig with same hook and flouro, 1/4oz jighead direct to flouro, fish finder rig with 3' 20lb flouro and 2oz..... nada zip zilch zero. I got there around 8 and fished until 9:30pm. Moonrise wasn't until after I left so maybe it was too dark? Next time I'm going to head back to that spot on a slack tide and see what happens.

Big thanks to aquaholik, SouthshoreSlayer, and anyone else helping share your passion with others.

P.S. Time on Sonar is an hour behind. So it was 9:14pm when I took the picture in frustration lol
The Fleet
1989 Chris Craft Seahawk 215
2004 250HP Yamaha HPDI

2000 Polar 1886 Saltwater Skiff
2000 90HP Yamaha 2S

Replies

  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 9,229 Admiral
    Did you move out there? I thought you fished Cocoa more than the west coast.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • wojtek9321wojtek9321 Posts: 74 Deckhand
    Hey Soda Popinski, I ended up dry docking the boat in St. Pete instead of the East Coast. Besides the 2hr drive it's been a great experience. The seas on the west coast are definitely easier on my body and the variety of things to do can't be matched out of Port Canaveral. Sandbars to hang around, huge variety of fishing, variety of scenery from natural mangroves to millionaire homes to cruise by, smoother seas, and having overnights in the bay (when it cools down... the first overnight in July was brutal lol) were part of the decision.
    The Fleet
    1989 Chris Craft Seahawk 215
    2004 250HP Yamaha HPDI

    2000 Polar 1886 Saltwater Skiff
    2000 90HP Yamaha 2S
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 9,229 Admiral
    Yea, we were going to the ML for almost a year before we tried Tampa Bay. It's just more fun to go knowing you can target so many different species and we always catch fish. It was not hard to develop a taste for Spanish Macks. We put in at Cockroach Bay and run over to the bridge. Seems to work very well for us.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • aquaholikaquaholik Posts: 330 Deckhand
    Wait till you run in to some inshore Pompanos and Permits. The speed of a Spanish Mackerel, the strength and stamina of a Jack, and the ability to change direction faster than a woman changes her mind.

    20160822_140959_zpss7g5k00c.jpg

    Keep, at it. Forget about trolling until it's a little cooler. Way too much grass right now.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 9,229 Admiral
    You forgot the taste of deliciousness Aqua ;)
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 893 Officer
    As for the kingfish, yes, it is too hot. Wait until October when the bait starts to migrate back down south. To answer another question, you can (in general) identify the species you see on your radar. I can tell the difference between a tarpon and a mackerel. But, can you tell the difference between a sheepshead and a snapper? I am not sure.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,978 Moderator
    Title fixed.
  • wojtek9321wojtek9321 Posts: 74 Deckhand
    Thank you all for the responses and for fixing the title Reel-Lucky. My next trip out I'll be slapping on a new prop and finishing installation of some trim tabs so I'll be at the marina alone. Can't travel to the marina and not go fishing though. I was going to go back to the same spot and make sure I get there when the tide isn't flowing so hard.
    The Fleet
    1989 Chris Craft Seahawk 215
    2004 250HP Yamaha HPDI

    2000 Polar 1886 Saltwater Skiff
    2000 90HP Yamaha 2S
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