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Captain's corner

By JAY MASTRY

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 6, 2001


High wind and rough seas have saved a bunch of king mackerel from being caught since the weekend.

Early arrivals had begun to take advantage of bait schools that had settled in our area. Though they will return to where we left them, it will take a few days. Muddy water caused by pounding seas will need to clear, and bait schools will need time to regroup.

When conditions improve, start at markers 5 and 6 in the Egmont Ships Channel and work out until you find them. Kingfish are attracted to the buoys by cigar minnows, blue runners and any other bait schools that hang around them.

Kings were caught and will be again at the Betty Rose. A sunken barge in 45 feet, the Betty Rose consistently holds bait and is one of the shallower offshore wrecks.

Hug the beach when the wind comes around out of the east and near shore gulf water clears. Anglers on Redington Long Pier have hauled smokers larger than 30 pounds over the rails.

Once the bait settles inshore, we can fish the hard bottom areas between Pass-a-Grille and Clearwater, and often will not have to troll outside the sea buoys that mark our passes.

- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

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