What's hot: Though it likely will take another front or two to push big numbers of kingfish our way, some have settled in the Tampa Bay area. We caught a few in 20 feet north of Redington Beach, including a couple of 25-pounders. On a previous trip, we got a couple near markers 5 and 6 in the Egmont ships channel. Having a variety of baits was instrumental. We caught a couple on ladyfish, on shad and on full-grown whitebait, all slow-trolled over natural hard bottom.
Tackle: I mix mine up depending on my baits. My standard rig is single-strand, coffee-colored No. 3 wire, a 2/0 laser sharp lead hook and a 4X strong No. 4 or 6 treble for my stinger. When using "monster" baits such asladyfish, mullet or mackerel, I like a double-stinger rig. Kingfish are notorious for short-striking large baits. The double stinger's extra length can increase hookup odds.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.