© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2001
Kings make their mark
The kingfish run is hanging north of Clearwater. Last weekend, big kings were on the hard bottom off Sand Key. If the water temperature in that area stays at 72, look for the bite to stay put. When the wind blows out of the east, start on the Clearwater hard bottom before moving to the Rube Allen reef.
Sunup on the hard bottom can produce some of the biggest kings on the west coast. Large baits such as ladyfish, shad and mullet are preferred when fishing for kings close to shore. Slow-troll the baits while dragging a block of frozen chum. If you or the other boats fail to hook a king, the school may have moved out to the Rube Allen or the Blackthorn.
Inshore action in lower Tampa Bay has been hit and miss. Strong winds have made it difficult to move around. Most of the action is in the upper bay. Look for snook north of the Pier. Weedon Island can be red hot in November. White bait or shrimp fished around the oyster bars during the last of the incoming tide and the start of the outgoing tide should produce snook, trout or reds. Try using cut shrimp free-lined so the bait stays out of the snags.
-- Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.