Turning winds: Strong west winds have kept most offshore anglers off the water for the past week. Fortunately, the wind is changing direction, and wind blowing from the east should mean calmer conditions close to shore. A settling wind means we might have a chance to fish for early season king mackerel in a few days, if not this weekend. There are baitfish here, and the water temperature is close to being right. The cold front that moved through earlier this week might put a small delay in the temperature rise. There is no guarantee that king and Spanish mackerel will be where you expect them. Just before the front hit, we caught 30 Spanish mackerel off one of the reefs. However, the next day we struck out on the mackerel and had to fish for grunts to fill the cooler.
Tips: If you are targeting kings, trolling might be the best bet since you can cover a lot of water. The kings won't be schooled up like they will be later this spring. If you want to drag live bait, skip from bait pile to bait pile and drop over a frisky bait until you find an obliging king mackerel.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlue.com.