With water temperatures nearly perfect, kingfish and mackerel will remain among the best bets. Sustained winds, at times gusting to 20 mph, have hampered the offshore crowd's ability to venture to their favorite ledges, wrecks and reefs. Nearshore gulf waters have remained fishable. Easterly winds have prevailed, allowing water along the beaches to remain relatively clear. East winds tend to pull schools of bait right up to the swim buoys. We have consistently caught kings and full-grown mackerel between Pass-a-Grille and John's Pass. Others have reported good catches off Mandalay and Sand Key in Clearwater and the beaches along Anna Maria. Target the bait schools. With many so dense, they have been easily cast-netted. No net? No problem. Baits jiggled on gold hook rigs are often less stressed and tend not to lose their protective scales.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.