What's hot: Inclement weather forced the postponement of last weekend's kingfish tournament, so now there are big-money tournaments scheduled over three consecutive weekends. First is the Suncoast Kingfish Classic out of Gators on the Pass, Treasure Island. Next weekend is the Monster Kingfish Tournament hosted by the Hut on John's Pass. Then it's the King of the Beach event presented by the Old Salts Fishing Club. And while each pays thousands in cash and prizes, they also benefit worthy charities.
Equal opportunities: In favorable weather, those with big boats and lots of motors can get offshore and fish the wrecks, reefs and springs that have held big kings for weeks. It can work the other way, too. For those who may not have the means or range to safely get offshore or those who elect not to, many tournaments have been won within 3 miles of the beach. Schools of Spanish mackerel have settled into areas along our gulf beaches. Monster kingfish love to prey on mackerel, and where you find them, odds are a smoker will be being among them.
Hot spots: The Clearwater, Redington and Blind Pass hard bottoms have been tried and true for years, especially when bait schools or mackerel bunches settle in 16 to 22 feet. The many mile stretch of the Egmont Shipping Channel probably has produced more kingfish tournament-leaderboard spots than any other. Though it's a vast area, working portions of it holding the most bait will enhance your chances.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142