Water temperatures have dropped to the magical 74-76 degrees caused by shorter days and cold fronts coming through, so kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cobia and shark fishing are now as good as it gets. Strong easterly winds prevent us from targeting favorite areas such as the shipping channel, especially from Markers 5 and 6 westward, the 10 Fathom wreck, South County artificial reef and the natural gas pipeline in the 70-foot range, all places holding large numbers of fish. All is not lost when the wind blows because this causes the baitfish that predators seek to move close to shore seeking protection from buffeting seas. Some of the best Spanish mackerel and king fishing is within a mile of shore, often within 100 yards of shore near any of the entrances to the gulf. Trolling small spoons behind a No. 1 planer or a 4- to 6-ounce trolling sinker might produce nonstop action. Deploying a large gold spoon or plug and having some patience usually results in a strike from a king. Troll two or three rods with a mixture of baits to target both species. Anchoring, putting out a chum bag and chumming with either live baits or small slivers of frozen sardines or baits caught with a sabiki will draw hordes of mackerel to the boat.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.