By LARRY HOFFMAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 8, 2002
Kingfish and blackfin tuna season is in full swing. We fished five days last week and caught kingfish on every trip offshore. Our most effective live bait was a Spanish sardine slow-trolled over shipwrecks, at the Egmont Channel and the Rube Allen. Most were schoolies 8-12 pounds; a few pushed 35 pounds. A good way to catch kingfish is by trolling kingfish lures behind Nos. 2 and 3 planers. Your trolling speed can vary; however, you should troll at least 5 knots. Once you locate kingfish work the area for at least half an hour. You can expect good kingfishing for the next month.
Blackfin tuna also has been hot this past week. We are catching blackfins up to 30 pounds on live bait while kingfishing. Fishing the Tramp Steamer, a local wreck in 60 feet, early last week we found large schools of baitfish over the wreck. There were also kings and tuna. Kingfish and tuna at the same time made for hot action. Huge live bait schools are the key to finding kings and tuna at the same location.
Amberjack fishing has been excellent. Most near-shore wrecks and springs hold good numbers. Blue runners have been the bait of choice. The jacks have been line-shy because of exceptionally clear water. Downsizing tackle has been key to our success.
-- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call (727) 709-9396.