What's hot: Seldom do we target kingfish in late December. This year has been an exception. Whether it has to do with the mullet run or the unseasonably warm weather, kings have lingered longer than usual. On a trip last week we caught nine kings, all more than 20 pounds, with a few more than 25 and a couple exceeding 30.
Tips: We have focused our attention in 18-22 feet off the beach near Clearwater Pass. Other anglers have reported skyrocketing kings in the massive mullet schools that have left the bays, rivers, bayous and backwaters and pushed into the gulf to spawn. Kingfish do not care for sustained water temperatures in the low 60s, but until it gets there, there may be some after-Christmas action to be had.
What's ahead: Another fairly uncommon occurrence is the number of grouper that have come to the top, crashed the surface and inhaled the shad we had been slow trolling for kings. You won't catch many of them with 20-pound kingfish tackle and a loose drag, but with the recreational closure on gags, you've got to let them go anyway.
With the prospects for 2014 already looking awfully fishy, from our boat to yours, happy holidays.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.