Nine-year-old Jonathan Shipley of North Redington Beach displays a nice-sized mackerel he reeled in Sept. 30 while trolling off the Redingtons with his grandparents, Jim and Marie Shipley.
Conditions are approaching ideal for some fantastic fall king fishing.
Near perfect weather conditions over the last several days has the bait firmly settled into our area. With the water temperature just over 80 degrees we’re not quite where we need to be to have the fishing just explode, but it’s only a matter of a few days.
Areas of bait, birds and hard-bottom are what you want to look for when scouting for kingfish. Traditional top-spots would be the many artificial reefs that lie anywhere from 3 to 12 miles offshore, the channel markers along the shipping channel just west of Egmont Key, and all along the beach if Spanish mackerel can be seen working schools of bait close to shore.
Rig your live baits on stinger rigs, place them out behind the boat and troll at a very slow speed, often bumping the engines in and out of gear to keep those baits looking natural behind the boat. Best live baits for trolling include; blue runners, threadfin herring, and cigar minnows.
When the tide is running real good anchoring and chumming can bring the fish right to you. Rig your baits on those same stinger rigs and attach a small balloon 8 to 10 feet above your bait. This helps you monitor were your baits are at and allows you to fish multiple baits. Next and most importantly is to constantly chum. Cut small pieces of threadfins off the side of the boat, meanwhile always have a fresh chum block out.
Land based anglers can get into the action too. The Redington Long Pier and the Skyway piers attract plenty of kings each fall. Watch and observe how pier veterans fish for the kings and ask local tackle shops for any information that will help you better target this great gamefish.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at email@example.com. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.