While the big push of kingfish is hopefully yet to come, we've been catching quite a few small to medium-sized kings mixed with an abundance of nice-sized Spanish mackerel schooling up a mile or two offshore. Hard-bottom areas in 15-20 feet are holding big schools of threadfin herring at times and, in turn, attracting mackerel and kingfish. Anchoring and chumming is one of the most exciting ways to fish for these speedsters. Using light rods spooled completely with 15-pound braid gives you ample line to land most kingfish hooked on small baits. Bring plenty of bait to chum aggressively. Pilchards have been plentiful all along the swash channel on the beach. Loading your live well full of 2- to 3-inch pilchards is the easiest way to ensure constant action on the nearshore hard-bottom areas. Also keeping out a fresh tournament-grade chum block helps draw fish in from a greater distance than live chummers. Black tip sharks are following mackerel. Sending out the shark-bitten remains of a Spanish mackerel on a heavy rod rigged with a wire leader and a big circle hook will bring extra excitement to your day.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.