What's hot: The past few days have been a perfect example of what fall fishing can be like in our near-shore waters. The kingfish bite was incredible at times. Fishing the near-shore mitigation reefs in 12 to 15 feet were good for a few bites from big fish first thing in the morning. As the day progressed, moving farther offshore to hard bottoms in 25 feet provided all the action we could handle from kings in the 10- to 20-pound range. All our fishing was done with whitebait, a.k.a. scaled sardines, which could be found in droves along the sandbar on the outside of the swash channel up and down the beaches.
What else is biting? Plenty of flounder can be pulled off the bottom at the mitigation reefs. Drag the outside edges of the structure with whitebait hooked on a knocker rig with a quarter-ounce egg sinker or a jig head. Also, keep an eye on crab-trap floats when moving from spot to spot; just enough tripletail have been around to keep it interesting.
What's in store? It appears the winds should lighten up and switch back to coming out of the east by Sunday. As long as the bait sticks around and the water isn't too dirty, we might get another crack at the kingfish before the next front comes through around the start of next week.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.