© St. Petersburg Times, published October 12, 2001
Earlier this week, howling east winds thwarted attempts by those seeking to greet the first wave of kingfish, which is expected in our area any day.
Pioneers looking to get a jump-start on the fall run were forced to hug the beach because of heavy seas. Rest assured, however, there will be some drag-screaming, rod-folding action coming soon.
When conditions do improve, check the Egmont shipping channel and the artificial reefs along our coast. They will draw congregations of bait first, and the ravenous kings will be right behind. Determining the depths that these schools are migrating in will be our priority.
For a while, you should keep an eye on your live well. Some have been disappointed to find bait belly up on the bottom. Patches of Red Tide were blamed. Though you likely will travel through areas of decaying fish, not all areas are affected by the algae bloom.
Mackerel have continued to blaze a trail for their more ferocious cousins. Capt. Carlos Lima aboard the charter boat Strega used light tackle to trick a couple dozen into attacking the whitebait he offered. Anchored in 20 feet over a rock patch off Clearwater, he had them crashing in his chum line, and most were in the 3- to 4-pound range.
We shared the same luck in the southern end of the county last weekend. We caught 32 mackerel while anchored and chumming in 30 feet south of the shipping channel.
Pompano had shown up in better-than-average numbers before it blew too hard to get back to them. They will return to Gandy and several of our bridges heading to the gulf when seas calm.
Land-based anglers were less affected by breezy conditions. Those fishing gulf piers were protected by east wind. A visit to the gulf pier at Fort De Soto found anglers catching macks on silver spoons and live bait.
Mackerel are being hauled over the rails at Redington Long Pier. Good catches of flounder have been a bonus for those hugging the bottom.
-- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.
(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)
SATURDAY: Big Mack Attack, Spanish Mackerel Tournament, Billy's Stonecrab, Tierra Verde, 542-3900. SATURDAY: Red Fish Tour, Lure Division, Holiday Inn Marina, Sarasota, (941) 355-2781.
UPCOMING: Fall Kingfish Classic, Oct. 28, Billy's Stonecrab, Tierra Verde, 542-3900.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.
TODAY-SATURDAY: St. Pete to Naples Offshore Race, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 822-3837. TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840. SATURDAY: Safe-boating course, Clearwater, 462-6368.
SATURDAY: Fall regatta, Tampa Sailing Squadron, (813) 645-8377.
SATURDAY: Discover sailing. Session consists of four Saturdays, Clearwater Community Center, Clearwater, 462-6368.
SATURDAY: Free kayak demo, Sweetwaters Kayaks, Tierra Verde, 906-0708.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Match races, Davis Island Yacht Club, (813) 251-1158.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Windjammers Octoberfest Bay Races, Windjammers of Clearwater, 593-1231.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: The Florida Sportsman Fishing Show, Florida State Fairgrounds, Expo Hall, Tampa, (813) 839-7696.
HUNTING REGULATIONS: Archery season opens Saturday in the NW Zone.; muzzleloading gun opens Saturday in the South Zone.. SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003. SATURDAY: Weedon Island Preserve Guided Walk, 3 miles, reservations required, 217-7208.
SATURDAY: Reptile/Amphibian Expo Day, Hernando Audubon Society, Chinsegut Nature Center, Brooksville, (352) 754-6722.
SATURDAY: Clearwater Audubon Society Field Trip, John Chesnut Park, Lake Tarpon, 786-2764.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Overnight canoe trip, Little Manatee River, rentals available, Suncoast Sierra Club, 726-8375.
-- See Sunday's Outdoors for a list of next week's events. Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.