What's hot: Kingfish have been caught off Redington Long Pier. We caught an 18-pounder among our by-catch while bottom fishing in 45 feet near the Egmont shipping channel. Results from the Marco Island kingfish tournament this weekend should indicate how the kings' migration from the Florida Keys is progressing.
In the meantime: Grouper continue to feed aggressively below 45 feet and beyond, but you have to let them go. Recreational grouper fishing is closed in state and federal waters. Mackerel are screaming drags at all area piers, and action in the gulf is picking up. The rocky edges of the shipping channel inside the Sunshine Skyway bridge hold a variety of species. Grouper, grunts, sheepshead and larger-than-average mangrove snapper have been chewing shrimp.
Bait: Much of the bait we've caught on recent trips has been large and would be ideal for kingfish. Taking time to gather 3-inch whitebait will be well spent and more productive when mackerel fishing.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142.