The Tampa Bay Times

The weekend’s weather caused a bit of a challenge for kingfishing.  High winds, torrential rain and small craft advisories on Saturday led the Old Salts to mercifully reschedule the “King of the Beach” tournament until the following day.  The dropping water temperature however may be just what we’ve needed to kick start our fall run.  We’ve traditionally done best when the water temps have been in that 70-75 degree range.  Gathering bait is going to be another issue.  Strong westerly winds have the near shore water in the gulf looking like a mud bath.  What bait had settled in close to the beach has scattered and will likely need a few days to regroup.  Catching bait on the ‘inside’ before you get to the gulf can often at least get you started.  Cast netting on the light line of our area bridges can often produce a variety of baits.  Bait will often tend to gang up on the high profile structure on our many offshore wrecks and reefs before anywhere else following days of inclement weather.  Another personal favorite “go to” area is the many mile stretch of the Ships Channel.  From the Whistler buoy on the far end all the way back to the Skyway Bridge and beyond, the “Ditch” is lined with the buoys that mark it.  Bait will gather on these cans and the cable that holds them in place.  Jiggling with gold hook rigs can get you whitebait, greenbacks, cigar minnows, Spanish sardines and blue runners – all kingfish candy.

Captain Jay Mastry