By mid July kingfish are usually just a memory from the spring. For a month we have targeted kingfish regularly along the shipping channel starting at markers 7 and 8 and westward to the Whistler. Some have been caught on hardware with spoons and large plugs behind No. 2 and 3 planers, but the best and most consistent action has been on live bait caught with a sabiki near the markers. Not every set of markers harbor them daily, but when an angler finds them action from kingfish, bonita and sharks often happens. Spinner sharks with jumps as high as 10 feet will provide memories of a lifetime, as will a bull shark's attack on a bonita. Bottom fishing for red and gag grouper, white grunts, and all sorts of snapper has been consistent in 70- to 90-foot depths. Gags are still scarce. Target all snapper in these depths using a 2/0 2 hook snapper rig with the sinker on the bottom or a large sabiki rig cut in half to make a 2 or 3 hook rig. Strips of squid on each hook will result in multiple hookups. Stinger rigs with a live sardine or hardtail should be on every bottom stop for a welcome bonus. We recently have caught kingfish, mahi-mahi, bonita, Spanish mackerel and barracuda on the bottom.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.