Offshore: Two of the largest kingfish tournaments of the fall take place this weekend and next, and the results are likely to be impressive.
This weekend it's the Southern Kingfish Association-sanctioned Suncoast Kingfish Classic out of Gators Cafe and Saloon on Treasure Island.
Nov. 8 is the Old Salt Fishing Club's fall King of the Beach tournament.
Both events boast a $10,000 overall first prize and could increase depending on the amount of entries.
Each tournament encourages family participation by offering prizes for ladies and junior divisions.
One event has a category for boats with a single engine. The other offers prizes for boats 23 feet and under.
Big kingfish that had been drawn within a couple of miles of the beaches from Clearwater to Longboat Key have likely temporarily relocated.
Strong, northerly winds this week muddied the nearshore gulf waters and scattered much of the bait the kings were preying on.
Kingfish by nature won't tolerate filtering dirty water through their gills for long.
Our nearshore waters can recover quickly, however, and easterly wind is the best cure. It allows the seas to calm and the sediment to settle. The strong tides of this week's new moon phase will also help flush the muddy water.
There is no doubt there will be some big kings caught this weekend by those able to get offshore and fish the deep water less affected by inclement weather.
Many kingfish tournaments in this area have been won by anglers within 1 or 2 miles of shore. So if conditions allow, look for the playing field to even out a bit.
Inshore: Tarpon can still be seen rolling in the bait schools near the gulf fishing pier on Fort De Soto, and we observed some crashing the surface near the north end of Egmont Key.
Trolling the edges of the ships channel inside the Skyway Bridge for grouper has been productive.
Those anchored on the edges and near the structures protecting the main span of the Skyway have had better-than-average mangrove snapper catches.
Redfishing has remained strong around Mullet Key and Fort De Soto, and sheepshead have begun showing up around structure including the Pier in downtown St. Petersburg.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.