Bonita action on Tampa Bay is red hot! The ship channel between Egmont Key and the Skyway Bridge is alive with numerous schools of these amazing speedsters. On calm days these Bonita are easy to spot just looking for the boiling water and diving birds. The schools disappear as quickly as they appear into the deep waters. Just sit tight they will come back up.
Up in my T Tower I have a huge advantage spotting the schools. Once located I put my anglers up current / up wind allowing anglers to stealthy move in on the school. The best rig is simple 3’ of 25 pound fluorocarbon leader with fishing with a Silver Clark spoon. Cast into the boiling frenzy count to 3 then reel as fast as you can! If you think you are retrieving to fast reel faster.
Within minutes it was multiple hook ups on 10-12 pound footballs screaming drag. Typical Bonita takes 5minutes to land on light tackle. Saturday was the mirror image of the last week with bait easy to gather on local bridges.
Anchored in 20’ on hard pan bottom off St Petersburg beach its took only moments before we had reels screaming. Before I had even put out a chum back all 3 anglers had their rods bent. The Mackerel this season are big really big with 5-6pounders common. I was running non stop between de hooking mackerel and small kingfish 8-10 pounds, baiting and re rigging after 5-6’ spinner sharks cut of my anglers.
Two hours later it was time for a break and look for Bonita. Like our first stop double and triple headers were common.Capt. Steven Markovich
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