Plenty of kingfish remain to be caught, and if east winds prevail, we wonít have far to go to get them. On the northern end, stacks of bait have settled in the 20-foot depths off Mandalay and the Clearwater hard bottom. Kings and mackerel have come ashore for easy pickings. The Redington hard bottom has also been productive in the same depth. Bait has been so thick 1Ĺ miles or so off the beach in Treasure Island that it has created "muds" and kings can be caught trolling the edges. Now is about when shallow-water grouper digging peaks. Big, hefty gags roam the rocky edges of the ships channel inside Tampa Bay. Now, too, is when gags will come off the bottom and whack slow-trolled baits intended for kingfish. As water temperatures drop, swarms of silver trout will settle in just off the beaches along Treasure Island, Madeira and Redington. You can have a blast catching two at a time on tandem-rigged jigs and light spinning gear. On an east wind, start at the swim buoys and drift out until you find them. Diving birds often will give away their whereabouts.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.