The Tampa Bay Times

Most of my life I’ve dreamt of having a month off of work.  I now understand the meaning of “be careful what you ask for”.  With no income and no place to safely go I’m anxiously waiting for the opportunity to get back at it.  Having more time on my hands than I care to, I’ve already twisted about 3 years worth of kingfish rigs and crimped more tarpon rigs than I’ll likely use in my lifetime.  Thank God for fishin’.  Time spent on the water has been a comforting stress relief from this mess we’re going through.  Distancing ourselves from the crowds, we fished inside Tampa Bay over the weekend.  Fishing the edge of the Ships Channel on Saturday we caught mackerel, sheepshead, Key West grunts, grouper and mostly mangrove snapper on shrimp, octopus and frozen sardines.  Sunday we fished a rock patch near Port Tampa and caught more mangos on the last of the outgoing tide.  We also observed a few tarpon rolling on the surface, further proof that early arrivals are here and have been for awhile.  Bigger numbers will be here in May, June, July and August.  Kingfish have been among the headliners in the Gulf and hopefully will be through May.  We caught a handful of kings and some large mackerel at markers 9 and 10 while slow trolling large greenbacks and whitebait in the Ships Channel on our last kingfish trip.  We caught another handful while anchored between 5 and 6 and 7 and 8, some on baits suspended beneath balloons and others on fly-lined baits swimming freely in our chum line.

Captain Jay Mastry