It’s a bad time to be a kingfish


Kingfish all over our area got a bit of a reprieve in the past week. Strong winds and at times severe weather made for lousy offshore boating conditions. With better weather in the forecast, water temperatures just right and the most popular big-money tournaments in upcoming weekends, it’s a bad time to be a kingfish. You can bet a bunch will be caught, and the action promises to be widespread. Before this last blow, kings were in the Times Square area and scattered around the Anchorage. A batch was a few miles north and west of the Whistler Buoy. On some days, schoolie-size kings were on the Betty Rose wreck and the nearby South County Reef. When the water was clean and bait had moved in, a few were caught on the “Drop” in 20 feet off Blinds Pass. A few others were caught 5 miles outside of that in the “Parking Lot.” Last weekend we left them chewing while anchored and chumming heavily halfway out in the ship channel. Suspending full-grown Spanish sardines under balloons enticed the bite. A chum bag with tournament-quality blocks coupled with constant cut slivers of bait in our chum line kept them going. Last week’s heavy blow will likely reshuffle the deck a bit. Near-shore waters have gotten dirty, but strong tides from the full-moon phase will help the cleansing process.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.