The Tampa Bay Times

Dave Zalewski 460-9893

Time flies when you are having fun is an old saying. I must be having too much fun because it is hard to believe that the start of kingfish season (Columbus Day,October 10) is almost here. Each spring and fall we spend some time preparing for the season. Reels are respooled to their capacity in anticipation of that first long run of a smoker king. Drags which should have been backed off are checked by tying the kine to a stationary object and walking away to check for smoothness. If a sticking, jerky drag is found now is the time to have that reel serviced, not when tackle stores are overwhelmed by fisherman who waited until the last minute. Guides can be checked by running a piece of nylon stocking thru each guide. If the nylon hangs up that is a sure sine that there is a crack or burr in the guide that will wear on the line and quickly weaken it. Bilge and bait well pumps should be checked for operation and each wire connection should be carefully looked at for signs of corrosion, usually indicated by some greenish material. It only takes a short time to replace a butt connector with a shrink fit new one, Flare kits are dated and should be looked at to see if they are current. EPIRBS are also dated and should be checked for expiration dates. Charter and commercial boats are required to have a Type I life jacket for each person onboard, while recreational boats are only required to have a Type II. A Type I has much more flotation material and is designed to keep an unconscious person’s head out of the water.
The east winds have cleared the water up near shore and for those who do not wish to brave the higher seas offshore the best target is Spanish mackerel which can be found in good numbers within a few miles from shore. The mitigation reefs which stretch from the Seabird Sanctuary north to Sand Key and are located within a couple of hundred yards offshore have been producing on a regular basis.