Finally, kingfish are showing up in numbers we're used to seeing during our spring run. While many have ganged up on offshore wrecks, reefs and ledges, no area has been more productive than the many miles that make up the Egmont Channel. The "Whistler Buoy" marks the start of the "ditch" on the far west end. From there the channel is lined by sets of buoys approximately a mile and a half apart all the way back through the Skyway bridge and beyond. The first set inside the Whistler is 1 and 2. Trolling is made easy by referencing your bites to the cans, and navigating is simplified by the sequentially numbered buoys. Conditions change at these sets of buoys sometimes daily. I'll typically cut into the channel at Markers 9 and 10. If clarity is good, I'll check the markers for bait. If there's no reason for kingfish to be there, I won't be either. Some of our most productive trips lately have been working the bait schools at 3 and 4. A couple of our bigger fish have come from 7 and 8. I always like to bring some bait to get started just in case. There's no substitute, however, for feeding them what they're there for.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.