tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By STEVE PAPEN
Published November 1, 2006


What's hot: November means the fall migration of king mackerel is in full swing. These fish will go to temperate waters to our south for winter. Look for smaller kings, commonly called "snakes," to roam near-shore wrecks and reefs inside 60 feet of water. The larger fish will be on the beach or even inside Tampa Bay.

Tactics: Targeting king mackerel can be confusing, as there are many ways to catch the speedsters. First, there is the old standby: trolling spoons and planers. Use the speed of the boat (usually 5-7 knots) to present the bait. The planer will get the lure to your desired depth. Or slow-troll live bait, which usually gets larger fish. Rigs consist of a length of wire, a 2/0-4/0 nose hook and a small treble hook in tow. This stinger rig is a must for these fish, because of the speed and vicious nature of their feeding habits. They have been known to eat baits at as much as 40 mph, and this behavior sometimes hurls them as much as 10-15 feet out of the water when pursuing prey.

Gear: The use of a high-speed reel is required, as kings are known for major direction changes at high speed, even straight back at the boat. If there is slack in the line the hooks could easily fall out. Since kings hit at high speeds, accuracy is sometimes sacrificed and they sometimes get hooked in places other than their mouths. These reels should hold a minimum of 300 yards of 20-pound line, as larger kingfish have been known to run 200-300 yards in seconds. Rods should be at least 8 feet and have a limber tip to let live baits look as natural as possible in tow.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.