Offshore fishing for kingfish remains outstanding. Blackfin tuna action has been steady, and even a few sailfish have been landed by fishermen slow-trolling live baits for kingfish. Spanish mackerel action has been hot at local piers and in and around Blind's Pass.
Bait schools of blue runners are close to the beach. Sardines and threadfins have been easy to find over just about any structure along our coast.
The water temperature offshore at 50 feet is 72 degrees: just perfect for migrating species. A few cobia are hanging around the local nearshore reefs. If you are the first boat at the markers, you will have a good opportunity to land a cobia.
The large schools of kingfish have set up residence near Egmont Channel markers, the South County Reef, the Skyway Bridge and the Madeira Beach Reef.
We have produced our limit of kings every day this week. A few fish have been in the mid 30s, but most of the kings are schoolies, around 8 to 12 pounds. The kingfish have been feeding aggressively for about two to three hours.
Live bait has been producing great action for the fishermen taking the time to fill their bait wells with Spanish sardines. Light tackle, 15- to 20-pound class line, with high-speed retrieval reels work best. Wire leaders with stinger rigs will out-catch any other type of tackle. Half the fish we caught have only been hooked by the trailing treble hook.
We prefer flexible rods and light drags when fishing for kings. Numerous kingfish have skyrocketed up to 10 feet in the air with bait in their mouths. Multiple hookups are the norm. You should leave your other baits in the water to increase hookups.
Spanish sardines are the preferred bait on our coast. Gold hook rigs have been effective in catching all the Spanish sardines we need. Bigger baits will generate bigger catches, but Spanish sardines will outfish any other live bait.
Larry "Huffy'' Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyl