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By ED WALKER, Times Correspondent
Published November 17, 2007
Kingfish action remains a highlight of the Nature Coast's offshore scene. The Spanish mackerel have been thick, but with kings running as heavy as 40 pounds, the smaller mackerel have taken second billing.
Chum and they'll come
While slow trolling has produced some notable kingfish, anchoring the boat and then chumming has been the most productive technique. This method works well when combined with a grouper fishing stop. A couple of chum bags and a sprinkling of fresh cut fish will help draw both species closer the boat. We usually hang one chum bag off the transom and set the other on the bottom in a weighted wire-mesh cage. Small fish such as grunts and blue runners will show up and help attract the gamefish.
Another exciting adversary that has been prowling has been the black-tip shark. These toothy critters in the 40- to 100-pound class put up a great battle even on heavy tackle. Seeing a 5-footer leap high out of the water behind the boat is a thrill that never gets old. Floating a big live bait such as a blue runner or ladyfish will give you a good shot at a big king or a feisty shark. When properly cared for, the black-tip sharks make fine table fare as well. The entrails must be removed quickly, and the sharks should be iced and kept very cold.