Well anglers, weíve seen changes in the fishing over the last week. Blue fish are hitting all of a sudden and some are quite large fish. Most of the anglers say they have been catching them on live shrimp in channels heading out to the Gulf. The Spanish mackerel are everywhere including running in large schools through the Intracoastal waterway. Live and artificial baits are working on these great fighters. If youíre a sea bass fan, try fishing the small bays and inlets on the causeways. While we have not seen large bass yet, they canít be far behind these smaller ones. Our local charter boats are seeing a lot of large gray snappers being caught. Anglers coming off these boats have some very big stringers of them. Also, many captains report hitting groupers (mostly gags and blacks) just 8 to 11 miles out using live pin fish and finger mullets.
CRAB SEASON STARTS! If youíve been anywhere near the water lately, you canít miss the number of boats heading out loaded down with crab traps. Iíve been told that some of the big boys set 5000 traps. Boaters need to pay close attention to the marker floats that have shown up everywhere. Itís like a mine field out there. I have one trap. One is easy to take care of. I leave it tied to the dock making it easy to check. The one thing that is not easy is finding a bait that actually last longer than one day and attracts the stone crabs. So far I can only tell you what has not worked for me. Cheap cat food with slits cut in the can does not work. Canned tuna prepared the same way does not work although the trigger fish love it. Pigís feet work for some but not me. Dead fish (I used a lady fish) seemed to disappear with no results. Also, on sale chicken thighs fell off of the bone and floated away. Iíve found that many on the Internet claimed that chicken necks seem to work the best because the many bones in the neck hold the meat together. But where the heck do you find chicken necks? Iíve been to countless grocery stores and they tell me they do not carry them. Figures! It must be a plot to keep me from my bounty of stone crab legs. Although with only one trap, itís not much of a bounty. Sure, I can head to Frenchyís stone crab festival, but I just want a few I can claim that I caught. Maybe take a picture holding one or two and mail it to my brother in Minnesota just to show him that Iím a successful crabber down here in Florida! Maybe I should start a campaign claiming unfair grocery practices for them not selling chicken necks or I just may call my Congressman. Anyways, when crabbing this season, be respectful of otherís traps. A lot of locals have been crabbing this area for generations. Check your traps regularly so we donít stress the caught crabs and know how to remove the crabís leg so we donít kill our next seasonís catch.
The Bait House is constantly changing to meet our anglerís needs. We will soon be adding a ship to shore radio so you can check on availability of bait or just ask us when and where the fish are biting right from your boat. Big Al and Bill are always on top of the information you need. Donít forget we have a dock access for your boat. If we donít stock your favorite lure or bait, let us know. Weíll get it for you. Thanks to those that email me at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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