The spring run of kingfish is in full swing. From the gulf's Middle Grounds to upper Tampa Bay, the fish are abundant. There are many ways to target them. An uncommon but exciting way is spearfishing. Though kingfish can swim at remarkable speeds, they spend most of their time swimming at a causal pace. While free-dive underwater hunting, we deploy a "flasher" to draw them into range. A flasher is a shiny object of some sort that is thrown up current and allowed to slowly flutter toward the bottom and in the direction of the diver. The diver watches it from nearby and waits for a fish to move in to investigate. Once the flasher gets too deep or to the bottom, the diver drops down and retrieves it, then repeats the process. Typically a king will rush up to the shiny object, look at it for a moment or two, then move off. This is when the hunter has his opportunity. One of the best artificial flashers is half a compact disc. It is very shiny and has a perfect erratic sink rate. Even Spanish mackerel, grouper and snapper will rise to investigate it. My favorite flasher is a dead threadfin herring. It provides perfect wobbling action with the bonus of natural scent.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.