What's hot: Mackerel and kingfish are starting to show up. Mackerel are hanging over the hard bottom just off the beach. Reports of large kingfish are coming from as far south as Boca Grande. The large kings lead the pack during the migration from the north. The first strong cold front will drop the water temperature and push larger schools of mackerel and kings into our area. Other fish, including cobia and sharks, will be mixed in the migration. When the wind is out of the east, target areas closer to the beach. A westerly wind will push the schools farther offshore.
Tackle: The best way to get in on the action is to mackerel fish. Set up over areas of hard bottom with a chum block and a well full of whitebait. Deploy the block and start chumming with live whitebait. When you start catching mackerel, save a few to use as bait. For sharks, rig a large chunk of mackerel on 50-pound test with a steel leader. Let the chunk free-line behind the boat. Cobia will also feed on the shark rig. Use a live mackerel under a float to get a shot at a large kingfish. It's best to have a float on the anchor line so you can throw the anchor line and chase down the kingfish.
Pro tip: Target areas that have birds working the area. They will be feeding on scraps left on the surface during a mackerel feed.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.