By BRENT GASKILL
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 4, 2001
Kingfish in July in this area come as a big surprise. Monday we landed a 16-pounder on a near-shore wreck in just more than 40 feet of water.
A few reports of kings in 80 feet typically trickle in this time of year, but getting one in close is rare.
The hook-up happened while prospecting for barracuda by slow trolling live baits over the wreck. This technique is generally a kingfish substitute during summer when 'cudas rule and kings are long gone.
The secret was being the first boat to the popular site and having live bait. An early start, coupled with a quick stop to throw the cast net, made our day.
Once our prize kingfish was thoroughly iced in the cooler, we anchored just off the edge of the wreck to do some chumming. This led to an assortment of hard-pulling, drag-whizzing action. Spanish mackerel, sharks, barracuda and bonita kept our rods bent the rest of the morning. Other kings hit, but cutoffs or pulled hooks kept them from being landed. Double hook-ups were common, and long fights became expected.
Our success was confirmed when other boats trolling hardware and planners showed up later and made multiple passes through our chum slick and around the wreck without a strike. Eventually, they anchored and tried live bait.
-- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.