It's still too soon to assess Hurricane Matthew's impact on local fishing. It was not severe enough to disrupt offshore fishing for weeks. The immediate effects, however, have been substantial. Bait schools that had jammed swash channels along gulf beaches have scattered. Pounding seas have dispersed bait from grass flats. It will take several days of better weather for the bait to stack back up around the gulf pier at Fort De Soto. Mackerel and kingfish that had been working toward the beach headed back offshore. Gulf waters tend to heal quickly and strong tides this coming week will help. There's plenty to do while waiting on better weather. I'll ready my boat for the upcoming kingfish season, and today a gang of us will go to the Florida Sportsman Expo at the State Fairgrounds.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.