Talk about extremes. A week ago, water was so muddy we couldn't see the prop on our outboard. Over the weekend, you could make out if a quarter on the bottom of 30 feet was heads or tails.
While kingfishing in the low light of the early morning, you might get away with 20-pound test and stinger rigs. Once the sun rises, you might need to change tactics.
Fluorocarbon and 12- to 16-pound test can help. Thinner wire, a No. 2 or 3, is less visible to fish, and a single hook rig sometimes will outperform the stinger. Just as bait tends to gather on wrecks and reefs after bad weather, so too will the opportunistic kingfish.
Saturday, we caught kings at an artificial reef in 23 feet off Anna Maria. Better reports came from the 10 Fathom Wreck and Betty Rose. Scot Sadorf and son Nolan caught a dozen at the South County reef. The largest, a 26-pounder, was with 10-pound test.
If going to an artificial reef, bring live shrimp or small crabs. Saturday, we observed a huge school of permit roaming the reef. Sometimes, small jigs will work on the often picky eaters. Shrimps work but often are devoured by mackerel before the permit find them. Consequently, small crabs work best.
- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.