What's hot: The water has reached the magical 72 degrees, the point at which baitfish and their predators are comfortable. Schools of Spanish sardines have arrived. But because of the nearshore dirty water caused by the recent cold front, they have stayed offshore in 30-60 feet, where kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonita are crashing them. The water has cleared at the western end of the shipping channel and mid water artificial reefs such as South County, Indian Shores and Veterans. The Rube Allyn reef has produced for the past two weeks for those trolling live baits and hardware. Large spoons, lipped plugs of all sizes and a ballyhoo/skirt combination trolled at 6 knots are effective for kingfish. Smaller 00 to No. 1 spoons and smaller plugs are necessary if Spanish mackerel are targeted at the same speed.
Tips: Once the bait is located, use a Sabiki rig. Troll as slow as you can.
Rules: Kingfish must have a 24-inch fork length with a two-per-person bag limit. Spanish mackerel must have a 12-inch fork length with a 15-per-person bag limit. As with any species, "limit your catch, don't catch your limit," and there will be fish for the future.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.