Kingfish and Spanish mackerel have arrived off our coastline in good numbers but have remained scattered in smaller schools at all traditional spots. They can be found along the edges of the shipping channel leading to Tampa, especially near buoys that harbor baitfish. Artificial reefs — whether they are nearshore such as St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach and Dunedin or mid-water like South County, Indian Shores, Rube Allyn and Veterans — are great places to try.
Tactics: Because the fish seem to be in smaller schools, we have used different types of "hardware" as opposed to slow trolling live bait. Trolling two planers ranging in size from No. 1 to No. 3, followed by spoons or plugs at 6 knots along with a surface line that will have a small lipped plug, trolling lead and spoon, or a ballyhoo will allow us to cover more territory. Hitting the man overboard button on the GPS as soon as a strike occurs will let you return to where the fish are located.
Tip: Keep an eye out for cobia whenever trolling near any marker. If they are spotted and do not strike hardware, return to the marker prepared to pitch a live or frozen sardine.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or (727) 397-8815.