What's hot: The spring migration of king mackerel is getting close. The leaders of the pack have arrived. Look a bit deeper than usual for these fish due to the cooler water temperatures near the coast. Live baits such as cigar minnows and Spanish sardines are not thick, but if you bounce from wreck to wreck you will find them. As usual, steel leaders are a must when targeting these toothy fish. Try a 31-pound wire coupled to a 2/0-3/0 tow hook and a size 4-6 treble hook set about 4 inches behind.
Tips: The first bait in the spread should be the smallest and farthest back. Typically we use Spanish sardines. The next couple of baits usually will be cigar minnows staggered 40-60 feet on either side of the spread. The next bait out will be a bit larger, such as a blue runner, which will be deployed on a downrigger at about half of your depth. The last bait should be the largest, a big runner or mullet. Set this bait in the prop wash, about 15-20 feet behind the boat. Slow-troll at 1-2 knots to get the best results and make the baits look as natural as possible.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.