By DAVE MISTRETTA
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 14, 2001
Kingfish action remains strong offshore in at least 40 feet of water. My routine each morning begins with jigging up threadfin herring that are huddled close to local passes. Once the live wells are stuffed, coordinates of the many wrecks along the coastline become my destination. The fish have been at a different location each day, which requires a short session of slow-trolling at each spot. One day they'll be at the Betty Rose, the next at the Ten Fathom, then the Blackthorne and so on. This "hopscotch method" of trolling might seem like a lot of work, but once the fish have been located, limits can be met easily. The run has been going on since the beginning of July. Numbers were severely lacking during the spring. Better late than never!
Several smokers have tipped the scales at 20-30 pounds with other species mixed in. Expect to find Spanish mackerel, barracuda and offshore spinner sharks close by.
Another method for producing kings is to search for giant schools of bonita ravaging juvenile baitfish 15 miles from shore. This activity can be spotted easily from a distance. Between the hundreds of bonita jumping, white water going everywhere and frantic terns joining in on the feeding, it's hard to miss. Impressive numbers have been caught along the outskirts of the commotion. The fish are running deep, so use downriggers for best results.
- Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.