What's hot: The fall kingfish run has started close to shore. Good numbers will be caught from the Clearwater hard bottom to St. Pete Beach. The best action is near the schools of mackerel crashing the surface. Use blue runners, small jacks and Spanish mackerel to entice the larger fish. The kings will stay close to the beach as long as the winds blow out of the east. Winds out of the west will move the schools farther offshore. The water temperature from 72 to 78.6 degrees will be the spots that hold kingfish.
Tactics: Look for birds flocking over the surface. Then see if mackerel are under the birds striking baits. Drift through the area using small spoons or large multi-hook bait catching rigs to catch baits. The blue runners and small jacks can be put in the livewell, but mackerel must be rigged quickly and placed back in the water. Slow troll outside the surface action to keep from busting up the bait schools the mackerel are feeding on. Single stinger rigs work on the blues and jacks, but use a double stinger on the mackerel.
Tackle: I like large spinning reels or small conventional rigged with 15- to 20-pound mono line. These reels should hold 300 yards of line. Rods 7 to 8 feet with a soft tip give you the edge when maneuvering the kings around the boat.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.