There are kingfish to be caught, but it'll require some work. We located a school of hungry fish due west of Clearwater after hours of searching. In 65 feet of water, 10- to 12-pounders were attacking schools of juvenile whitebaits. A few bonito were mixed in. Closer to shore the bigger kings have been scattered. One more push of cold air should usher larger numbers.
Spinner sharks averaging about 80 pounds have stolen the show offshore. This species has great strength and speed, making it one of the best fighting sharks. They have been attacking bonito and kingfish while being reeled in. We threw the remaining chunks of fish back into the water with heavy wire rigs, and the fight was on.
There is no shortage of jumbo There is no shortage of jumbo Spanish mackerel closer to shore. These smaller cousins to kings were found ravaging schools of threadfin herring about 3 miles west of the pass. Some of the macks averaged 5 pounds plus, inhaling large slow-trolled baits intended for kings.
Strong winds have muddied the water, allowing us to use heavier tackle for grouper. This time of year brings hefty fish into shallower depths. Line that's too light allows the big grouper to swim back to their rocky homes. Soon after, they'll start making a loud, barking sound that will shut the bite down. If you're daring, 50-pound line is pushing it; 80-pound is even better.
_ Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail salesjawstoo.com.