Print URL: https://www.tampabay.com/sports/outdoors/Captain-s-Corner-Gulf-water-temperatures-right-for-kingfish_164003704

Captain’s Corner: Gulf water temperatures right for kingfish

By Dave Zalewski, Times Correspondent
Published: December 28, 2017 Updated: December 28, 2017 at 05:50 PM

The water temperature was 69.2 Tuesday as we left Johnís Pass. Because of that, we had to see if Santa had left anything special as he crossed the gulf. We were running to the hard-bottom area north of markers 1 and 2 in the shipping channel and deploying spoons behind Nos. 1 and 2 planers when we saw a few birds working and a spike of bait hovering over a small ledge. That quickly produced a kingfish in the 10-12 pound range. Several more kings (some less than 24 inches, which had to be released) along with bonita were caught. Trolling west no more than a mile revealed another huge bait pile on the fish finder. It wasnít long before several doubleheader hookups occurred. Not only did kings strike the spoons, they also hit frozen sardines skipped on the surface with a stinger rig. Hopefully these fish remain as long as water temperatures stay in the high 60s. Bottom fishermen should continue to put out a flatline with either a frozen or live bait. Gag grouper season closes Jan. 1. Gray triggerfish opens Jan. 1 and closes Jan. 16. Amberjack opens in federal waters Jan. 1 but closes as soon as final rules are formulated and reopens later in the year. Red snapper is closed until June 1. More details can be found at gulfcouncil.org and fwc.com.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.