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Captain's corner

By JAY MASTRY

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


Although our fall run of kingfish hasn't fully kicked in, it's off to a pretty good start. Thursday, we ran down a 30-pounder, had another tip the scales at 29 pounds and caught a couple smaller ones. Spanish mackerel up to 51/2 pounds kept the reels screaming when the kings weren't, and we were never more than a 11/2 miles offshore.

Recent light winds have allowed near-shore water to clear and have drawn large schools of bait toward the beach. Much of what you'll see is too small to be used as kingfish bait, but it has lured massive schools of Spanish mackerel and a few kings.

It was no surprise that our biggest fish chewed our biggest baits. Our blue runners, ladyfish and shad drew attention, though all of the mackerel we caught preferred whitebait.

Although we used primarily 20-pound line and stinger rigs, we saw others nearby catch smokers on 12-pound spinning tackle with single hooks and small baits. We concentrated our efforts in 20 feet of water north of Redington, but others south of us worked schools of bait and did well. Be aware that kingfish tournaments begin this weekend, and there are tournaments pretty much each weekend through November. Give way to those hooked up, and remember, a little consideration goes a long way, especially if you need a helping hand in return.

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

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