What's hot: Kingfish are among the best bets but it'll likely be a day or two before they are drawn back to the beach. Run-off from the rain and sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph out of the west will muddy the near-shore waters. After a normal easterly wind returns, it usually takes a couple of days to clear up. Ahead of this latest weather system, kingfish had been pushed within a mile or two of the beach, or closer. Anglers from some of our Gulf-front fishing piers have gotten in on the action. Kings have been caught in 20 feet off the Clearwater and Redington hard-bottom areas. Saturday we caught 10 kings off St. Pete Beach within a mile and a half of shore.
Techniques: We caught kings slow-trolling a variety of live baits — large greenbacks and white bait, ladyfish, trout, shad and blue runners. Our greenies produced best. We saw others catching kings while anchored and chumming. Especially when using big baits while anchored, we'll suspend our offerings under balloons to keep them off the bottom. When using multiple rods, balloons can help track your baits and help avoid some tangles. In a strong tide or when using smaller baits, fly-lining can be effective. The current will keep baits off the bottom and in your chum line.