Before the north wind started blowing, we had a long stretch of days with an offshore breeze, making for excellent conditions for near-shore fishing. Spanish mackerel, kingfish and big sharks have been plentiful within a mile from shore. White bait, aka pilchards, have been plentiful all along the swash channel on the beach. Loading your live well full of 2- to 3-inch pilchards is the easiest way to ensure constant action on the near-shore hard-bottom areas. Also, keeping out a fresh, tournament-grade chum block will help draw in fish from a greater distance than your live chummers. Anchoring and chumming can be one of the most exciting ways to fish for these speedy fish, and using light rods spooled completely with 15-pound braid will give you ample line to land most kingfish hooked on small baits. Bring plenty of bait so you can chum aggressively. A 2/0 long shank hook and a 12-inch piece of light wire connected to a few feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon tied directly to the braid make up the terminal end of things. Big black tip and spinner sharks are following the mackerel. Chances are you will encounter them while fishing.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.