The Tampa Bay Times

It’s late September and we really should be ….gearing up for kingfish.  Anytime now we’ll be getting reports of stragglers being caught off our gulf beaches.  Traditionally, the masses often begin showing up in October and they sometimes stay with us until Christmas if the weather cooperates.  Kingfish are water temperature conscious.  I’ve always liked the 70-76 degree range.  There are other determining factors that dictate when they come and when they go.  An abundance of bait or lack of it is a huge key.  If the monster schools of bait begin showing up early, kingfish likely will too.  If the bait supply stays, kings will tend to linger longer even if the water temp dips a little chillier than they prefer.  In the meantime there are a variety of options.  There are widespread reports of tarpon all along our gulf beaches.  From Longboat Key and Anna Maria to Fort Desoto and St. Pete Beach silverkings are being seen rolling on the surface and in some cases crashing schools of glass minnows and fry baits.  Mangrove snapper fishing has stayed red hot and there are no signs of it slowing down.  While we’ve focused mostly well inside Tampa Bay our last trip in the mouth of the bay was equally productive.  Mackerel are seemingly showing up everywhere in increasing numbers.  We’re catching more each trip on baits intended for mangos.  Perfect size whitebait for mackerel and mangos has been on nearly every flat we’ve thrown on.  Favorable tides from this current new moon phase we’re on, is likely going to spark a bite on any option you choose.

Captain Jay Mastry 

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