What's hot: Spring fishing season is here. Late season cold fronts held water temperatures, and migrating fish, back for a while. But we have turned a corner. Just off the coast, massive schools of baitfish have appeared, moving slowly north. Behind them are a migratory and seasonally active species. In 50 feet this week we found vast schools of Spanish sardines, a species that has not been seen much in the past few years. Nearby were threadfin herring, cigar minnows and blue runners. Close to the bottom are dense pods of scaled sardines.
Tips: There are so many kingfish around that after a few hours, anglers get bored with them. To keep it lively we anchor near a tall ledge and deploy a chum block. Next we chop threadfins and sprinkle a few wounded livebaits into the current. This not only gets the kingfish fired up, it also draws cobia, bonito, mackerel and sharks. Lower in the water column amberjack, gag and red grouper move in. Cast freelined live sardines into the frenzy; you never know what you are going to catch. Catch-and-release gag grouper up to 18 pounds have been common in between kingfish to up to 30 pounds.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.