What's hot: Before the north wind started blowing, we had a long stretch with an offshore breeze, which created excellent conditions for nearshore fishing. Spanish mackerel, kingfish and big sharks have been plentiful within a mile from shore.
Baiting up: Pilchards have been plentiful along the swash channel on the beach. Loading your livewell with 2- to- 3-inchers ensures constant action nearshore and on hard bottoms. A fresh, tournament-grade chum block will help to draw in fish from greater distances.
Tactics: Using light rods spooled with 15-pound braid will give you ample line to land most kingfish. Bring plenty of bait so you can chum aggressively. A 2/0 long shank hook and a 12-inch piece of light wire connected to a few feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon tied to the braid makes up the terminal end of things.
What else: Blacktip and spinner sharks are following the mackerel. Tired of getting beaten by them, we changed to heavy wire and big circle hooks. Sending the remains of a mackerel or bonita on a heavier, conventional rod after the fish has been ravaged by a shark allowed us to bring some sharks boatside.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email [email protected]