Pro tip: The most important thing to watch the next month is the weather. East winds will push bait schools closer to the beach. Most of the mackerel and kingfish will follow. As long as the east winds continue, look for the nearshore action to be hot. When the wind changes direction, look for the schools to move into the wind. If we have west winds, the schools will move to the next areas of hard bottom. These areas include the 30-foot dropoff of St. Pete Beach, the TI reef, the Madeira Beach reef and the 30-foot areas of hard bottom to the north. When the west winds are strong for more than a few days, look for the schools to move out to the reefs in 40 feet. When the wind blows out of the north or south, most of the schools will move into the wind.
I get my best information from fishing reports. When I read of kings being caught in the shipping channel, I'll watch the weather to see the direction of the wind. If the reports say they're catching kings near the end of the channel, I'll know the water is 40 feet deep and I'll look north of that area if the wind is out of the north. If the wind is out of the south, we'll head south. If the winds turn out of the east, we'll work the markers closer to shore. The trick to following the kingfish run is to keep your eye on the wind direction. Read the fishing reports to give you a good chance at finding these ever-moving schools.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.