Captain’s Corner: Kingfish hitting baits both near and far from shore

Published April 8 2018
Updated April 8 2018

Kingfish continue to be high on the list of best bets offshore or near. Saturday morning, in spite of rough seas and a howling southwest wind, we caught kings off Treasure Island, several in only 18 feet. Kingfish arenít fond of filtering muddy water through their gills and will move from an area that dirties up. They will, however, linger in a location as long as the bait does. As we return to a normal pattern of easterly winds, look for nearshore waters to cleanse and draw the kings and mackerel back into 20-foot depths. This past week we caught kings on shad, mackerel, blue runners, whitebait and greenbacks. Almost always, we are able to supplement our bait supply by jiggling bait on gold hook rigs. Itís always a good idea to gather enough bait to at least get started. Cast netting along the light line at bridges, dock lights or any other familiar bait hole can pay big dividends before getting in the gulf. Anchoring over a favorite ledge can be rewarded by grouper, snapper, sheepshead and hogfish. Flatlines offered out the back will likely get whacked by kings drawn to your chum line. On days of lesser tide movement, suspending baits under balloons will keep them up off the bottom and in the strike zone.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.