It's beginning to look a lot like … we might be kingfishing for Christmas. It doesn't always happen but during mild winters you can disregard the calendar. Traditionally this would be considered late in the season, but with bait still bunched and water temps hovering around 70, widespread kingfish catches continue to be reported. In spite of recent howling winds to 20 mph and gusts even higher, there has been enough easterly direction to spare the nearshore gulf waters from turning to mud. Catches of kings have been reported from Manatee County to Clearwater, many within a couple miles of shore. On calm days the mid markers in the Egmont Ships Channel have produced. Seldom do we have kingfish tournaments in December but it took a 41-pounder to win last weekend's event and there were others caught between Egmont Key to well inside the Skyway Bridge. How long this late-season bite stays productive will be dictated by the weather and bait supply. A log insert from a couple of years ago simply stated: "Clearwater hard bottom went off 12/10-12/14." I remember it was some of the best kingfish trips we had that fall run. There were quite a few of them, many quite large.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.