What's hot: The spring run of kingfish has begun and as water temperature inches toward the preferred zone and clarity continues to improve, they'll soon be at all the traditional hot spots, many within a mile or two of the beach. There have been several offshore reports from Clearwater to Manatee County, but kingfish have been caught at Redington Long Pier too. Early-season kings will often gang up around the markers lining the Egmont Shipping Channel. Water clarity and bait that bunches on the cans often dictate which are the most productive to fish. Reports of scattered activity have trickled in from Markers 9 and 10 all the way out. We've caught some near 5 and 6.
Tips: Since last week's full moon, mangrove snapper have been chewing in 45-50 feet southwest of Pass-a-Grille. We've caught over three dozen on each of our last several trips. Some we've raised to the surface and tricked into eating chunks of bait fly-lined naturally along the particles of our chum line. Most we've yanked from the bottom on 20-pound tackle, 2-ounce egg sinker and a 1/0 hook. A length of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader works well. Until now the preferred 3-inch whitebait had been hard to come by. Live shrimp have been worthy alternatives.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.