What's hot: With water temperatures in the 80s and the bulk of kingfish seeking more tolerable conditions, mackerel have picked up the slack. We caught some Saturday while slow trolling greenbacks and whitebait in 30 feet off St. Pete Beach, and caught more anchored and chumming over a patch of hard bottom in 40 feet near the Egmont Ships Channel. Many of these Spanish mackerel settling into our area are full grown. Some we caught on shad, baits that were intended for kingfish.
Tactics: I like to plan trips around solunar periods whenever possible. Influenced by the moon and tides, these are hours when fish and game are subject to become more active. Though some may be skeptical, over the years they've made a believer of me. On my most recent trip it was more than coincidence that our mackerel activity picked up, we finally got kingfish bites, the grouper bite turned on and mangrove snapper rose to the surface in our chum line during the beginning of the major solunar period.
Tip: An old fishing buddy once told me "the only sure thing about fishing is that nothing is for sure." But the solunar table is another tool to dialing in the most productive hours to fish.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.