What's hot: Expectations are high for Saturday's popular Old Salt King of the Beach kingfish tournament. There are divisions for ladies, juniors and those with a single engine. It will likely take a 40-plus-pounder to capture the $10,000 grand prize, but a 25-place leaderboard allows more to win cash and prizes.
Best of the rest: Water temperatures are in the 80s, and that means it's time for tarpon. Last week's full moon kick-started the action. Dozens of silver kings were jumped at the Skyway Bridge. Some were enticed by greenbacks fly-lined or suspended beneath corks, even more opted for pass crabs or small blue crabs drifted through the bridge pilings. The new and full moon phases in May promise to be even more productive.
Offshore: Permit have shown up on some area wrecks and reefs in 40 to 60 feet of water. A properly presented live shrimp or small crab works best. We raised mangrove snapper to the surface on a recent trip in 45 feet southwest of Pass-a-Grille. A chum bag and slivers of fresh-cut greenbacks kept them in our chum slick. Small chunks of bait drifted in the slick on No. 1 hooks and 10- and 12-pound spinning tackle was most effective in clear water.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142