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Here come the kings; tuna, too

By LARRY HOFFMAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 29, 2002

Kingfish arrived in force this week and aggressively were feeding just before the little cold front that moved through our area.

We fished morning and afternoon on Wednesday and found huge bait schools of Spanish sardines and threadfins from 4 miles out of John's Pass to 18 miles offshore.

"Live-baiting" Spanish sardines on the Betty Rose and Egmont Channel markers 3 and 4 produced a limit of kingfish in the morning. We also landed a couple of blackfin tuna on 15-pound kingfish tackle near bait pods in 65 feet of water southwest of the Egmont Channel Whistler.

Kingfish are in the beginning of their spring migration and should be found off our coast through the middle of May.

Blackfin tuna fishing is picking up. We have been able to catch a few tuna off the transom of anchored shrimp boats. Tuna and kingfish gravitate to shrimp boats because of the huge chum slick created while culling the catch.

Grouper fishing has been slow to downright miserable. Our best success has been when we run out to 140-foot depths about 50 miles offshore.

-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.

Fishing

(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)

FISHING REGULATIONS: Crawfish (Spiny Lobster) closes April 1.

SATURDAY: Easter Kingfish Classic, Billy's Stonecrab, Tierra Verde, (727) 542-3900.

MONDAY: West Coast Fly Fishing Club monthly meeting, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, New Port Richey, 856-8116.

MONDAY: Brandon Bass Bandits monthly meeting, Oakfield Lanes, Brandon, (813) 741-1378.

TUESDAY: Port Hudson Fishing Club monthly meeting, Port Hudson Marina, 869-8190.

Seminars

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.

TUESDAY: Beach Tarpon Fishing with Jack Hartman, Boater's World, De Soto Mall, Bradenton, (941) 747-8339.

WEDNESDAY: Fly-casting, women only, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.

WEDNESDAY: Springtime Kingfishing with Larry Blue, Minnows and Monsters Tackle, Tampa, (813) 835-1512.

Boating

SATURDAY: Safe Boating program, Clearwater, 462-6368

SATURDAY: Paddle from Crystal Beach to Caladesi Island, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: USF Windship/#12 1400 race, St. Petersburg Sailing Association, 546-9500.

TUESDAY: Safe-boating program, St. Petersburg, 898-8774 or 823-3753.

TUESDAY: Hudson Beach Yacht Club monthly meeting, Hudson Senior Center, Hudson, 868-7037 or 372-7103.

WEDNESDAY: Boating skills and seamanship program, Tampa, (813) 835-4118.

THURSDAY: Safe-boating program, Madeira Beach, 587-7873.

THURSDAY: Safe-boating program, St. Pete Beach, 867-3088.

Etc.

DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour, 893-7326.

TODAY: Clearwater Beach Skate, from Clearwater Causeway to north of Clearwater Beach, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.

SATURDAY: Weedon Island Preserve Guided Walk, 3 miles, reservations required, 217-7208.

SATURDAY: Withlacoochie River Park 5/10K Walks, Suncoast Sandpipers Volkssport Club, Dade City, 595-2173 or (352) 523-1485.

SATURDAY: Birding 101, Moccasin Lake Nature Park, Clearwater, Clearwater Audubon Society, 789-4603 or 538-8688.

SATURDAY: Tampa Bay Region Field Trip, Crystal River Buffer Preserve, Clearwater Audubon Society, 441-1609.

SUNDAY: Exercise Walk, Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida Trail Association, (813) 899-0666 or (813) 920-0702.

SUNDAY: Community Service Project, Colony Watch at Three Rooker Island, Honeymoon Island State Park, Clearwater Audubon Society, 772-7584.

TUESDAY: Speaker's Night, American Oystercatchers with Nancy Douglass, Chinsegut Nature Center, Brooksville, (352) 754-6722.

WEDNESDAY: Withlacoochie River/Lake Rousseau Lazy River Pontoon Boat Cruise, Hernando Audubon Society, paid reservations required, (352) 597-8896.

* * *

-- Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.

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