Last weekend's little cold snap is likely just what we needed to pull down the next wave of kingfish to our area. They prefer water temperature in the mid to lower 70s. A quick return to the normal pattern of easterly winds spared the near shore gulf waters from additional pounding and won't take long to cleanse. Just before the blow we were catching a handful of kingfish on each trip. They're mixed in with the exceptional number of mackerel that have invaded our coastline. Many we had caught along the 20-foot depths between Blinds Pass and Pass-a-Grille. Others, a bit further out over hard bottom in 30 feet. With a lot of the macks in the 3- to 5-pound range, full-blown greenbacks has been our choice for bait. Smaller baits had been ganged up in the swash along much of our gulf beaches. There has been assorted size baits at the tripod outside Pass-a-Grille pass, but big ones have been hit or miss. Much of the bigger baits we've gathered has been jiggled on gold hook rigs or cast netted wherever we find them on our recorder off the beaches. On days with good tidal flow and abundant bait, I anchor and chum. On days of lesser tide or if we don't get enough bait to chum freely, we'll slow troll. Each way can be equally productive as long as you're in a "fishy" area.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.