What's hot: King mackerel are always the hot topic of conversation this time of year. Some believe that during the spring, massive schools migrate from their fall haunts in South Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (30 pounds and up) leading the way. Others believe many schools are in the gulf, and some migrate west to east this time of year and end up in the bait-rich shallows near the coast.
Keys to success: Some factors must be consistent for kings to be here. One is water temperature. Kings usually start showing themselves during the spring when the water temperature reaches 68 to 70 degrees. They will be here in big numbers when the temperature reaches the mid 70s. Another factor is bait. If bait is scarce, chances are the kings will be, too. On the beach, look for large schools of threadfin herring on the surface or schools of Spanish mackerel feeding on smaller-fry baits. Offshore, schools of sardines and cigar minnows will, in most cases, have a few kings looking for an easy meal.
Tournament fishing: Lighter wire and smaller tackle will sometimes help trick the older, wiser 30- to 40-pound kings into eating.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at fintasticinc.com or (727) 642-3411.