Captain Travis Yaeckel – Instinct Fishing Co
December fishing can be fantastic, if you target the right species. Tampa Bay is an amazing estuary that plays an important role in the life cycle of West Coast Florida’s premier inshore and nearshore game fish. From the gulf beaches to the intricate river systems, we live in a special place that serves the marine sea life year-round. Without a doubt, Spring and Fall are the most popular times for most anglers to get on the water. However, fishing can still be great in the cooler months. In a recent article published, I wrote about the inshore species we target. Switching gears, let’s talk about something a little different: Trolling.
This is the time of year when Kingfishing on the beaches and nearshore reefs is incredible. There are several public numbers (GPS Coordinates) within 7 miles that are extremely productive for Kingfish. One of the more popular methods is drifting or trolling live baits. Pilchards, Threadfin Herring, Menhaden, Blue Runners, or even Spanish Mackerel are commonly used baits that can be caught in our area. Kingfish are a member of the Pelagic family and unlike most of our inshore species, they are constantly moving. They are attracted to structure and are a sure bet to be around the scene of any feeding frenzy, particularly large bait schools. A good sign for locating Kingfish is finding their cousin, Spanish Mackerel. This holds true especially inside the bay. Once you have located an area to target, set out a few rigs and begin to work the area. As mentioned above, live baits are normally the bait of choice, but large spoons, feathers, skirts, and even lipped plugs will get the job done. Depending on the conditions and bait, I will troll at a speed anywhere from 1 to 3 knots. I like to start outside the target area or structure and work the area in a “zig-zag” pattern until we find the bite. Always keep an eye out for activity on the surface. Whether it be birds or fish, sometimes that is the difference maker. If you are not getting strikes, adjust your troll speeds until you find
the sweet spot and always keep your baits fresh. If you are not fishing structure (i.e. wreck, reef, etc.) focus on contour lines. With today’s technology and mapping most boats are equipped with an accurate GPS and bottom machine. This equipment alone will hold its weight in gold, especially when trolling. You will have the ability to monitor speed, track your troll paths, mark way points when you get bites, and follow the contour lines in real time for open water fishing.
SUZUKI TECH TIP
SUZUKI TROLL MODE SYSTEM
As a compliment to advancements in marine technology, the Suzuki troll mode system is easy to use and comes complete with a specific tachometer and independent control switch. The system can be used with Suzuki’s SMIS digital gauges or with new ‘dual scale’ analogue gauges. Also, the control switch for Suzuki’s troll mode system can be installed anywhere on the console to suit the helmsman’s preference.
The actual trolling control setting is programmed into the engine’s ECU and once the engine is in gear, the helmsman simply needs to push the “Troll Mode” switch to engage it. Once it has been activated, the engine’s speed can be adjusted in 50rpm intervals simply by pressing the Troll Mode control switch from idle up to 1200rpm. If the helmsman needs to increase the speed above this, on the throttle, then the system will stay activated up to 3000rpm. If 3000rpm are not reached and the throttle is closed the system will revert back to the last setting.
The troll mode system works with all Suzuki analogue or digital motors 40HP and larger. Remember the engine must be at operating temp. before the system will activate, hold the “up” side of the switch until you hear a tone, system is active, up or down switch will change RPM by 50.
Capt. Travis Yaeckel
Instinct Fishing Co.
Stay dialed-in to what’s biting in Tampa Bay! Capt. Travis Yaeckel, Capt. Jason Prieto, Capt. Ric Liles, & Danny Guarino bring you the full report each week. Listen every Sunday Morning 8-9am on 1040AM ESPN Sports Talk Radio. Watch LIVE on Facebook and YouTube every Wednesday 6-7pm. Or download the podomatic app on your phone or tablet and listen anytime. Search “ Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show “ to follow us and find current and past shows.