Each spring, kingfish anglers can't wait for the water to warm to the magic 72 degrees, close to the temperature at Egmont Key. Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cobia and barracuda are among the migratory species in our waters now.
Each day, anglers must decide where to seek the pelagics. It should be as simple as heading south until one finds fish, because the migration is coming from that direction. But there are many variables: bait location, wind direction and the fact that the schools are moving not just from south to north but east to west.
Baitfish seek structure not only for protection but because of the upwelling of food caused by the current hitting the structure. The shipping channel with its variety of structure is one of the best spots to target this time of year. Each buoy with its chain and anchor is a potential hot spot. The edges of the channel that have been dredged to provide clearance produce fish. These edges can be found from markers 5 and 6 eastward. The channel markers do not indicate the exact edge of the deeper water; the ledges are outside the markers. Few fish are caught in the middle of the channel. Most are caught by those who target not only the buoys but these edges. The ships in the anchorage area also are important structure and tend to hold bait and fish, especially if they have been anchored for at least a day.
_ Capt. Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Maderia Beach and can be reached at (727) 397-8815 or by e-mail at luckytwo2aol.com.