What will be hot: The weekend forecast wasn't the best for offshore anglers, and brisk winds might keep us close to shore today. Midweek conditions will improve, and warm temperatures should draw the king mackerel toward the beach.
What was hot: Prior to the front, several kings were caught along the ships channel and on some nearshore reefs. Bait has been the biggest concern. Many of the normal kingfish areas seem to be nearly void of baitfish.
Bait: Live bait such as sardines, cigar minnows and threadfin herring are normal fare for king mackerel. But a pinfish is a reasonable substitute. Another alternative is a frozen sardine slow-trolled like a live bait. When a hungry belly needs feeding, you don't always get a choice, but you get just as full. Early season kingfish are just as likely to hit a trolled spoon. Trolling works well when the kingfish are scattered, especially when baitfish are scarce.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.