With record highs, coastal anglers are getting a bit of a reprieve. Migratory species such as kingfish, mackerel and cobia are usually gone until spring, but that is not the case this year. With water temperatures lingering in the upper 60s, most of the migrators have stalled in their southerly exodus. Over the past week, we have had a rare December kingfish rally off Tarpon Springs. At just about every stop, there have been several kings hanging around the boat. Similar reports have come from as far north as Crystal River and south to Sanibel Island. Most of the fish have been on the small side, about 10 pounds. Having a spinning rod rigged with a wire leader on standby is a good idea when heading offshore. Even the blue runners and threadfin herring, which are also gone in December, are still around. We have been stopping by artificial reefs in 20 feet of water and jigging sabiki rigs to secure kingfish baits. Light spinning gear is really all you need. Our setup is a 15-pound test spinning rod rigged with 25 feet of monofilament top shot and medium braid for the mainline. Two effective approaches are slow trolling or anchoring and chumming. Since the fish are scattered, chumming has worked best for us.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected]