It's never too soon to get ready. We're just a cold front or two and a matter of time from the beginning of our fall run of kingfishing. Though still a ways from the water temperature in the preferred 70s, it'll not be long. Now is the time to get your engine serviced, change out bait well pumps, re-spool reels and patch cast nets. I've got 30 stinger rigs left over from the spring and I'll twist at least that many more to stay ahead of the game. I'm already stockpiling gold hook rigs. Getting a 10-pack or two each time I go to the tackle shop seems less painful on the pocket than all at once. Meanwhile, biding our time and waiting on gulf waters to cleanse, bottom fishing inside Tampa Bay has at times been exceptional. Although nothing good will have ever come out of the recent Red Tide outbreak, it did force us to discover some spots we've not bottom fished before. Rocky bottom spots we've tarpon fished for years have produced excellent mangrove snapper fishing for the last three weeks. Grouper have also bunched up on some of these spots and can be wrestled out with heavier tackle. Bait as usual has been the key to the most successful trips. Anchoring and patiently chumming the deeper edges of the grass flats has produced the better sized whitebait.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.