With calm seas and water temperature just the way they like it, kingfish will dominate much of the nearshore and offshore activity. Light wind and strong tides from the weekend’s full moon have allowed nearshore waters to cleanse, so baits are being drawn back to the beach. From Sand Key in Clearwater to Longboat Key in Sarasota, kingfish will gang up on bait pods that have settled on the hard-bottom areas — many within a couple of miles from shore. Along with the artificial reefs and wrecks in our area, the Egmont Ships Channel has long been a tried and true kingfish destination. The buoys lining the miles-long channel attract bait schools, and the sequentially numbered markers are navigational aids, providing constant reference points when establishing your trolling pattern. I’ll often cut into the channel around Nos. 5 and 6 markers and, depending on conditions, head either in or out. Though it can change overnight, the largest bunches of bait lately have gathered along the outer markers, specifically Nos. 1 and 2.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.