What's hot: Mackerel have begun showing up, especially in Tampa Bay's warmer waters. We've caught them by throwing artificials near the Gandy Bridge. A variety of jigs, Tsunami and Got-Cha plugs have produced. Land-based anglers are in on the action, too. On Saturday, we observed lots of mackerel hauled over the rails at the Bay pier on Fort De Soto and both Skyway piers.
Heating up: In spite of chilly water temperatures, increasing reports of kingfish are circulating. When temperatures reach the magical 70-degree zone, look for kings at their traditional hot spots such as the Clearwater hard bottom off Sand Key, Blind Pass drop-off at St. Pete Beach and the mid markers of the Egmont Ships Channel.
State of bait: Because we were spared a lengthy cold spell, bait has remained available along the light lines of area bridges before daylight. In spite of new construction, Structure C Bridge (Bayway) has regularly produced. I've seen lots of large greenbacks flashing on the uptide side of the north Skyway pier and anglers jiggling medium-sized whitebait at the south pier on gold hook rigs.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.