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Captain's Corner

What's hot: Conditions are prime for the most popular kingfish event of the year.

By JAY MASTRY
Published May 3, 2007


What's hot: Conditions are prime for the most popular kingfish event of the year. The Old Salt King of the Beach tournament on Saturday likely will draw nearly 300 boats, and if history repeats itself, it's going to take a "smoker" of more than 40 pounds to win it. Kingfish have been caught this week from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge all the way out of the Egmont ships channel to the Whistler Buoy. Water temperature in the low to mid 70s is kingfish-friendly, and light winds have allowed the nearshore waters to clear. Bait schools have been drawn to the beach, and the mackerel have followed them.

Technique: Gathering quality bait is essential. Blue runners have bunched up around each buoy lining the Egmont channel from Marker 5 and 6 on out. A variety of baits have settled near the Skyway Bridge. Bluefish, greenbacks, whitebait and mid-sized runners can be jiggled up on gold hook rigs.

Strategy: I'm betting the hot bite will be in an area holding the most bait. If undecided where to start, go to where you've caught big fish before. Kingfish are creatures of habit and where the "hawgs" have been in the past is likely where you'll find them again.