What's hot: At last, water temperatures are primed for kingfish and other migratory species. Nearshore artificial reefs 3-10 miles offshore and hard-bottom areas within a mile or so of the beach are key targets.
Tips: Bring plenty of bait. Those willing to sacrifice some sleep for predawn cast netting will likely experience some of the most fantastic fishing of the year. Bait has been scarce along the beaches, so throw the cast net along bridge shadow lines. Threadfin herring, scaled sardines and shad can be netted on the same cast. Take all the small- to medium-sized threadfins out of the well and place them on ice. They die quickly, and their scales floating around the live well put other baits at risk.
Technique: Keeping a fresh chum block out while anchored will help attract fish. But what really does the trick is cutting the fresh threadfins into small pieces right off the transom of the boat. The combination of oil and the glittery flash of the pieces drifting away from the boat will drive the kingfish crazy.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at [email protected]