Right when I thought we were well into spring, we got hit with back-to-back cold fronts. Just before the most recent cold front the water temperature southwest of John's Pass hit the magic 68 degrees, meaning the spring kingfish run is just around the corner.
We have had excellent success with blackfin tuna off the transoms of shrimpers. We like to free-line live Spanish sardines using 4/0 hooks tied directly to 40-pound line. We have jigged up live Spanish sardines off the anchored ships in the fairway anchorage near Egmont Channel.
Smooth drags are a must to fight and tire out the tunas. When we approach a shrimp boat we are quiet and make as little commotion as possible. We cut up half a dozen sardines into 1-inch pieces and throw them off the transom of the shrimper. This chunking attracts the blackfins to the chum and keeps the tuna in the area.
When the tuna get started you can catch as many as you want. I recommend you keep two per person and make sure you have plenty of ice. Submerge the tuna in the ice immediately. If you like sushi, try bleeding the fish by cutting off their tails. Show some courtesy to the shrimpers and keep the noise down, as they are normally sleeping during the day.
- Larry "Huffy" Hoffman charters out of John's Pass, Treasure Island. Call 727 709-9396 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org