Weather has put a halt to offshore trips this week. Just before Hurricane Jeanne, we were producing some nice catches of grouper in 65 feet. It will take a few more days of good weather to clear the water and congregate bait schools in time for the fall fishing season.
The first kingfish of the season have shown up, according to reports from the Redington Long Pier. They have had numerous kingfish hookups, especially with live ladyfish. Pier fishermen are also catching snook, redfish and flounder.
The North Skyway Pier has been producing nice catches of mackerel, cobia and mangrove snapper. Start your fishing on big ledges and shipwrecks and work your way offshore. Use dead bait and chum blocks to attract the fish in dirty water. With the water cooling after our back-to-back storms, we can anticipate the kingfish will show up early.
Kingfish will be in 68- to 78-degree water, so put out a flat line while bottom fishing and maybe you will get an early season kingfish or cobia showing up in your chum slick.
Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396 or e-mail him at huffyltampabay.rr.com.