Kingfish season is winding down, with most of the smaller kings finding their way to the northern gulf. There are always some "smoker" kingfish, from 20 to 40 pounds, that linger after the smaller fish have left. Anglers should try large live baits, either slow-trolled or deployed from anchored boats while chumming, to target that trophy fish. Southwest Pass, Egmont Channel, Blind Pass and the Clearwater hard bottom will be devoid of tournament anglers who are now seeking other species. Large blue runners, mackerel, ladyfish and mullet are the baits of choice. Multiple hook stinger rigs are necessary because of the size of the baits.
What's hot: Barracuda have taken up their usual summertime residences on the artificial reefs, wrecks and large ledges. They can be caught by using the same baits employed for the smoker kingfish or trolling spoons, plugs or tube lures. Each barracuda exhibits different behavior when hooked. They may jump like a billfish or slug it out with you like an amberjack. Catch, photo and release so another angler may enjoy the same thrill.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at Luckytoo2@aol.com or (727) 397-8815.