Offshore with Capt. Tom

by Capt. Tom Bailas

By far is one of the the best months of the year to fish offshore. Pelagics are moving through in mass numbers and bottom fishing is second to none. The bait fish are plentiful and to ensure a successful day offshore, we like to head out with at least 60 frisky cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, blue runners and pinfish. Don’t forget to stop at the tackle shop on your way and pick up some jumbo hand-picked shrimp.

Kingfish are one of the target species on my list. Kingfish are plentiful and I love hearing them make long screaming runs. The average fish will weigh from 12-15lbs with some smokers mixed in. Make sure you use wire rigs as kingfish have very sharp teeth and 20-30lb tackle is the norm. The target areas for kingfish are as follows; structures, wrecks, live hard bottom and ledges. You can either anchor up and fish free-lining live baits as you bottom fish, or the most effective way is to slow troll live baits at an average speed of 1.5 -2 miles per hour. You can also use a downrigger while you troll as well. There are no fences out there, so you never know what might bite your lines. Do not be surprised to catch maybe a blackfin tuna, cobia, shark, amberjack, or an occasional sailfish.

Cobia is my second choice to target. They can be found around structure or wrecks. I find that most of the time they will surprise you by either following up a snapper that you are reeling in or a few will show up behind the boat in your chum slick. Cobia will readily eat a live pinfish, cigar minnow, small grunt or a hand-picked shrimp. You will need to have a rod ready, so when they do show up you can pitch them a bait quickly.

Remember to always follow the state and federal regulations as they change frequently when quotas are met. You should only take only what need to ensure the fishing for future generations to come.

Happy fishing! Captain Tom Bailas

Charter fishing from Venice, FL is home to some of the best fishing anywhere! You can reach Capt. Tom at 941-587-2028 or at or follow on FB @ tntchartersvenice – specializing in Family Friendly Fishing Adventures.