Kingfish arrived in full force last week even with traces of Red Tide haunting the Suncoast. The key to success is to fish as far from the tainted water as possible. Redington Beach seems to have the worst of the algae bloom. Certain areas about 10 miles west of John's Pass and Indian Rocks also were affected. Reports have been coming in from all depths, and as usual the live bait-light tackle technique works best. Last week I targeted 40 feet of water west of Clearwater. Massive schools of threadfin herring provided easy access to bait while kingfishing. Fish ranged from 10 to 40 pounds. All it took for nonstop action was to drift the threadfins behind the boat near the bait schools.
A few hundred yards from the beach, some larger fish have been landed. Schools of small mackerel have lured the smokers. This great action should remain until water temperatures drop into the mid 60s.
Grouper action remains strong in shallow water. Best results came in 35 feet of water last week. Some fish weighed 15 pounds. Live pinfish was the bait of choice, combined with regular short sessions of chumming. The more shallow depths allow chunks of chum to descend to the bottom, enticing appetites.
_ Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail salesjawstoo.com.