Captain's Corner

What's hot: The anticipated spring kingfish run has begun.

Published March 25, 2007

What's hot: The anticipated spring kingfish run has begun. And for the next several weeks, as the water temperature inches into the 70s, it's going to get better. A dozen schoolie-sized kings were caught Thursday while slow-trolling greenbacks, Spanish sardines and whitebait near the Indian Shores artificial reef. A limit of kings was achieved a bit north of there, and good catches have been reported at the other mid depth artificial reefs in and around 40 feet. Early season traditional hot spots include the parking lot off Blind Pass, the Betty Rose wreck and nearby south county artificial reef. In the Egmont ships channel, start at Markers 5 and 6 then work in or out depending on clarity and location of the largest accumulations of bait.

Techniques: I've used gold, silver, red, bronze and black treble hooks on my stinger rigs and caught fish with all of them. While I once used an offset regular shank hook, I now use a straight short shank, live bait hook, and productivity has improved. Experiment with line color or try adding a length of fluorocarbon before your wire leader. Add a skirt to at least one bait and maybe a type of trolling weight to another.

Tackle: My typical tournament tackle consists of 20-pound test line and No. 3 or 4 wire leader with 4X treble hooks and reels with 400-yard line capacity. On nontournament trips, I like to lighten up. Catching a 30- or 40-pound kingfish is a thrill. Catching one on 12-pound test and an outfit no bigger than a bass rod is special.