Monday, April 30, 2007

Sebastian Inlet Has Good Variety

I spoke with Whitey's Bait & Tackle near Sebastian Inlet this afternoon. They tell me that there customers are catching a nice variety of fish both inshore and offshore. Inshore the redfish are biting well at night. Live shrimp works well for reds. Whiting and pompano are on the beach. Sand flees, live shrimp, and pompano jigs are the best baits. Snook fishing has been a little slow but will pick up with the full moon on. Wind cheaters and buck tails work great for snook in the inlet. Spanish mackerel are thick on the beach and around the jetty's. Clark spoons or spoon squid in the 0 or 00 size work great for spanish mackerel. Got-Cha plugs also work well. Offshore, dolphin are biting well. Look for floating debris or weed lines to locate dolphin. Sailfish are close to shore. Trolling ballyhoo will catch sailfish. Kingfish to 30lb's are thick offshore. Use a sabiki rig to catch what ever live bait is swimming in the area you will be fishing and troll at least one bait on the surface, one on a downrigger or planer, and your biggest bait in the prop wash. For more information contact;
Whitey's Bait & Tackle
9030 S Highway A1a
Melbourn Beach, FL 32951

Key Largo

I spoke with Ron at Yellow Bait House on Key Largo this afternoon. He was telling me that the skies are clear, the seas are calm and the fish are biting. Amberjack are all over right now. They like to stay near structure so look for them around the many ship wrecks around the Upper Keys. Use a sabiki rig to catch what ever bait is swimming in the area. Ballyhoo or chunk mackerel also work well on amberjacks. Grouper are also biting well. Reefs, wrecks. and drop offs will hold lots of grouper. A lively bait fished near the bottom will catch grouper. Look for yellow tail snapper in the same areas you find the AJ's and grouper. Cut bait on lighter tackle works well on yellow tails. For more information contact;
Yellow Bait House
101741 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo, FL 33037

Friday, April 27, 2007

Crystal River Has Great Fishing!

I spoke with Suzie at Twin Rivers Marina in Crystal River today. She tells me that the fishing is great both inshore and offshore. Offshore fishermen are trolling up some nice grouper. Use a down rigger or planer to pull live bait just off of the bottom. A large diving plug will also catch grouper. A few kingfish and lots of spanish mackerel are also being caught offshore. Slow troll live bait for the kingfish, small Spoon Squid of Got-Cha plugs for spanish mackerel. A few cobia are also being caught offshore. Suzie tells me that when the water warms a few more degrees, the cobia will show up in larger numbers. Inshore, local fishermen are tearing up the speckled trout. Live shrimp on the grass flats works best for trout. Lots of spanish mackerel are also being caught inshore. Fishing around schools of bait with a Clark Spoon or live bait fish will catch spanish mackerel inshore. Use a few inches of light wire leader to prevent cut offs. A fast retrieve of the Clark Spoon will entice the most strikes. Huge schools of over sized redfish are invading the Crystal River area. Live shrimp fished on the bottom or a Berkley Gulp Shrimp fished under a float will produce lots of strikes. Two of the best baits for these big reds is MirrOlure's new 17MR MirrOdine, and 19MR MirrOminnow. Suzie was telling me that these two baits are producing most of the largest fish. For more information contact;
Twin Rivers Marina
2880 N Seabreeze Pt
Crystal River, FL 34429

Sunshine Skyway Pier is Great for Grouper

I just got off of the phone with the North Skyway Fishing Pier in St. Petersburg. Fishermen there are catching some kingfish, lots of spanish mackerel, and a bunch of keeper grouper. Pier fishermen landed 13 keeper grouper after 4pm yesterday. This was all on a slow incoming tide that only rose about 8" and started with low tide at 3:44pm and ending with high tide at 9:20pm. If you go, use a sabiki rig to catch what ever bait fish is in the area. Then fish it on the bottom using just enough weight to hold it there. For more information contact;
North Skyway Fishing Pier
10501 Sunshine Skyway Bridge
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I spoke with Annamae Lahay at Corkey's Live Bait & Tackle in Bradenton today. She tells me that the fishing is really good with a large variety of fish being caught. Offshore the king mackerel run is still going strong. The biggest concentrations of king mackerel are 3 miles to 7 miles out and in the shipping channel. Troll what ever bait fish you find in the area you are working and put at least one on a planer or down rigger, one on the surface, and your largest bait in the prop wash. Spanish mackerel are in the same areas as the kings and around local area fishing piers. Trolling or casting a small Spoon Squid, Got-Cha plug, or live bait fish will produce lots of spanish mackerel action. A short piece of light wire will prevent most cut offs. Grouper fishing is also very good right now. Start looking for grouper on reefs, wrecks, and drop offs in about 60 feet of water and work your way out until you find keeper fish. Inside lower Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Palma Sola Bay, Annamae's customers are catching snook, redfish, speckled trout, and sheepshead. Black Salty baits, and jumbo shrimp are working best for the snook. Long Boat Key and canals around Palma Sola Bay are producing the most snook. Redfish and trout can be found on grass flats and around oyster bars in all of the bays. Live shrimp, greenbacks, and white bait are the best baits. Pompano and whiting are on the beach and in the bays. Pompano jigs, sand flees, and shrimp are the best baits. For more information contact;
Corkey's Live Bait & Tackle
10103 Cortez Rd W
Bradenton, FL 34210

Fort Pierce

I spoke with Evan at Evans Bait & Tackle in Fort Pierce this afternoon. He tells me that high winds have kept most anglers from going offshore. On the few occasions when the wind slowed enough for boats to get out of the inlet, they have found large numbers of mangrove snapper in just 30ft - 40ft of water. Inside the inlet the fishing is excellent. Evans customers are catching lots of snook on live bait. Live jumbo shrimp, finger mullet, pinfish, or greenbacks fished around structure at night usually works best for snook. Fishing for speckled trout and black drum on local grass flats is also excellent. The trout will hit jigs, shrimp, mullet and greenbacks. The black drum like pieces of crab and clams. For more information contact;
Evans Bait & Tackle
1915 N Old Dixie Hwy
Fort Pierce, FL 34946

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Big Pine Key

I was talking with John at Jigs Bait & Tackle on Big Pine Key this evening. He tells me it is still windy but the fishing is good. There are lots of tarpon around. Local guides are jumping 20 fish a day in Hobin Chanel and other tarpon hot spots. The only problem with tarpon fishing is the many bull sharks and hammerhead sharks eating the fish when they are brought to the boat or upon release. Reef fishing is very good when you can get out. Anglers are catching lots of pompano and snapper on the reef. Farther offshore some very large dolphin are being caught. One of Johns customers landed a 59", 55lb bull dolphin last week. For more information contact;
Jigs Bait & Tackle
30321 Overseas Hwy
Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Jupiter Inlet

I spoke with Roger at Jupiter Bait & Tackle in Jupiter this afternoon. He tells me the wind finally layed down this afternoon after blowing hard most of the week. Fishing is good though with some nice redfish and black drum being caught inside the inlet. Try live shrimp, cut crab, and clams for the redfish and black drum. There are also a few snook being caught on live bait including the Black Salty. It has been hard to get offshore, but when they can anglers are hooking up with dolphin and wahoo. For more information contact;
Jupiter Bait & Tackle
141 Center St #1
Jupiter, FL 33458

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

St. Augustine Fishing Improving

I spoke with Dave at Oldest City Bait & Tackle in St. Augustine today. He was telling me that in spite of the windy conditions lately, the fishing is very good. Speckled trout fishing is starting to slow but is still excellent. Live shrimp works great for trout. Flounder fishing turned on last week. Live shrimp or small bait fish bounced through sandy areas will produce lots of flounder. Black drum fishing is also excellent. Anglers at the pier are hooking up with many 3lb-4lb drum using shrimp, pieces of crab, or clams. Dave tells me that fishermen are lining up at the jetties to catch over sized redfish. These reds are well over the slot size so they are to big to keep, but they are a lot of fun to catch! They will eat almost any bait you throw to them including shrimp, live mullet, cut mullet, or mud minnows. Bring your heavy tackle! For more information contact;
Oldest City Bait & Tackle
1915 State Rd, 312
St Augustine, FL 32080

Gulf Breeze, Lots of Cobia

I spoke with Greer at Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle in Gulf Breeze this afternoon. He tells me that his customers are catching lots of cobia. Eels, pin fish and cobia jigs are taking most of the cobia. On the beach pompano are every where. Shrimp, sand flees and pompano jigs are the best baits. Spanish mackerel are also starting to show up in greater numbers. Got-Cha lures and straw rigs work best for spanish mackerel. In the bay, speckled trout, redfish, and flounder are all biting well. Live shrimp work best for trout, reds, and flounder. For more information contact;
Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle
825 Gulf Breeze Pkwy
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

Monday, April 23, 2007

Panama City Has Great Fishing

I spoke with Natalie at Half Hitch Tackle in Panama City today. She tells me that the water is beautiful and the fishing is great! Her customers are catching cobia, spanish mackerel, pompano, and sheepshead. Eels are the best bait for cobia, the pompano are being caught on sand flees, and the sheepshead will hit live shrimp. The spanish mackerel are taking live bait fish on double rigs or tree mackerel rigs. For more information contact;
Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fort Lauderdale

I spoke with John at Kingsbury & Sons Tackle in Ft. Lauderdale this morning. He was telling me that it is still breezy, but the water is clearing and the fishing is good. Dolphin, king mackerel, sailfish, and wahoo are all being caught in 600' to 800' of water. John says that ballyhoo works well, but the fish will hit just about any type of artificial lure you troll behind the boat. For more information contact;
Kingsbury & Sons Tackle
1801 S Federal Hwy
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Twitch Baits From MirrOlure

L&S Bait Co. of Largo, FL, the manufacturer of MirrOlure baits, has introduced two new suspending twitch baits for 2007 that I think will be must have lures for any one who enjoys throwing artificial's to Florida's inshore game fish.
The 17MR MirrOdine is a suspending twitch bait designed to be fished from 0"- 24". At 2 3/4" and 3/8 oz, it's wide body profile comes in 11 colors. The luminescent insert and realistic bait fish pattern makes the MirrOdine a dead ringer for a scaled sardine or shad. Add natural 3-D eyes and rattles, and you have a lure that is irresistible to snook, seatrout, redfish, tarpon and stripers.
The 19MR MirrOminnow is a suspending twitch bait designed to be fished from 0"- 18". At 3 1/4" and 3/8 oz, the slender body profile and transparent luminescence insert make this bait strongly resemble a glass minnow. It comes in 11 colors and is recommended for snook, seatrout, redfish, tarpon, and stripers.
Look for these great new baits at your favorite tackle dealer, or go to the L&S Bait Co. web site at

Friday, April 20, 2007


I spoke with Pat at Dunedin Fishing Center in Dunedin this afternoon. He told me that fishing is slow due to dirty water, but the water is starting to clear and he expects good fishing this weekend. He managed to catch a dozen slot size redfish on Tuesday, and I caught a small snook while fishing upper Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, so there are fish biting. Look for water that is clearer then the surrounding waters. Areas around passes and other fast moving water is usually a good place to look. Baits that give off a cent, (live shrimp with the end of the tail pinched off, fiddler crabs, sand flees, jigs tipped with pieces of shrimp, or Gulp Baits), will improve your hook up rates when fishing dirty water. Also, slow your presentation down so the fish have time to sniff out your bait. For more information contact;
Dunedin Fishing Center
243 Bayshore Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698

Dirty Water is Clearing

It is hard to come by any kind of a fishing report lately. The extremely high winds of last weekend have waters stirred up and dirty all over the state. The good news is that the winds have calmed down for the last few days around most of the state, allowing the water to start to clear. A small craft advisory is in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Jupiter Inlet north past the Georgia boarder. Conditions will not improve before Monday from Cocoa Beach north, when seas will finally drop to below 6', and Tuesday for waters between Cocoa Beach and Jupiter Inlet. From Jupiter Inlet south through the Keys and all along the Gulf Coast the weekend looks much improved with seas at 4' or less through early next week. Click on WEATHER in the side bar of this page to go to the National Weather Service's Florida Marine Weather page, and click on the box for the waters in your area to get your up to date local weather forecast. Then while you are at it click on TIDES, then your closest reporting station, then the waters you plan to fish, to get your local tide forecast. Then GET OUT AND FISH!!! Stop by your favorite Bait and Tackle shop and spend a few bucks. These guys and gals are all hurting after two straight weekends of horrible weather and no customers. They need your support and we all need to go fishing. The weather is nice, the water is clearing, and the fish will be hungry.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ormond Beach

I was just talking with Granada Pier Bait & Tackle in Ormond Beach. They tell me that redfish and black drum are biting pretty well but that is about all. Live shrimp is the best bait. For more information contact;
Granada Pier Bait & Tackle
1 S Beach St
Ormond Beach, FL 32174

Charlotte Harbor Clearing

I spoke with Robert at Fishn' Frank's Bait & Tackle in Port Charlotte this morning. He tells me that the high winds of last weekend and early this week has the water churned up pretty badly. He spoke with a local captain just before I called though, who told him that the east side of the bay has improved to about 6' of visibility already. Even with the dirty water the snook fishing is phenomenal at night! Hot spots for snook are the El Jobean Bridge in the upper bay and the Placida Trestle North of Boca Grand Pass. Live shrimp, pinfish, and greenbacks are the best baits for snook. Inside of the bay, a good number of very small bluefish are being taken along with a surprisingly large number of big spanish mackerel, up to 5lb's. Few redfish are being reported with the dirty water, but large numbers of migrating tarpon are in the bay. Robert tells me that he has seen a school of at least 500 fish. They have not moved into Boca Grand Pass yet, but Robert expects this to happen in about seven days. Offshore there are still some kingfish around. The water temperature has dropped 5 degrees since last Friday so this should extend the kingfish season. For more information contact;
Fishin' Frank's Bait & Tackle
941- 625-3888
4425 Tamiami Trail #D
Port Charlotte, FL 33980

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

St. Lucie Inlet Recovering

I spoke with Mitchell's Bait & Tackle Shop in Stuart this afternoon. They tell me the winds finally layed down for them this morning and a few boats made it out to sea. Those who did get out have found lots of dolphin. Most are small but there are a few larger fish being caught. On the inside of the inlet, quite a few snook are being taken. Look for fishing to improve with better weather. For more information contact;
Mitchell's Bait & Tackle Shop
4480 SE Saint Lucie Blvd
Stuart, FL 34997

Pier Fishing is Slow

I spoke with fishing piers in boath the Panhandle and Fort Ladurdale areas today. At the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier in Gulf Breeze, an angler hooked a nice cobia this morning but lost it while trying to land it. Other anglers are catching spanish mackerel on Got-Cha Plugs in the morning. At th Okaloosa Island Pier on Fort Walton Beach, things are a little slow but there customers are catching spanish mackerel on Got-Cha Plugs and double rigs, and pompano on pompano jigs. Along the South East Coast, pier fishing is very slow. Anglin's Fishing Pier in Lauderdale by the Sea, tells me that there customers are catching a few bluefish and some snapper. For more information contact;
Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier
41 Fort Pickens Rd.
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

Okaloosa Island Pier
1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Anglins Fishing Pier
2 Comercial Blvd
Lauderdale by the Sea, FL 33308

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Falcon Weighted Jerk Bait Hooks

When I spoke to Tom at Doc's Bait & Tackle in Titusville on Friday , he was telling me about a jerk bait hook that he had tried for the first time this last week while fishing with a friend from Mission Fishn' Tacke in Titusville. He told me how there is a 1/32oz weight built rite onto the shaft of the hook. " It doesn't sound like it would do much, " he told me, " but it really improves casting! ". He didn't know the name of the manufacturer, so I did a web search today and this is what I found. Falcon Lures of Lafayette, LA received a patent for there Bait Jerker Hooks in May, 2006. These hooks are made with either Mustad or Gamakatsu hooks, and come in various sizes from 2/0 - 5/0. They have weights of 1/32oz, 1/16oz, 3/32oz, or 1/4oz on some of the largest hooks. They can be used with any type of soft plastic lure like slug baits, tube baits or worms and are designed to allow the lure to fall nose first to imitate an injured bait. Most fishermen I know have traditionally used a bullet weight or a small split shot weight clipped to the line to give there bait this effect. Both of those tactics work well but the extra hardware can gather vegetation, hang up, or spook fish. This hook can eliminate all of those problems and improve your casting by concentrating the weight on your lure instead of farther up the line. If you would like more details about the Falcon Bait Jerker Hooks go to and click on Weighted Hooks.

Friday, April 13, 2007

St. Petersburg Fishing is Back To Normal

I spoke with Larry at Mastry's Bait & Tackle in St. Petersburg this morning. He tells me that the fishing is back to normal after the winds and rain of this last week. King mackerel fishing is very good around the local artificial reefs in 40ft of water and in the shipping channels in the mouth of Tampa Bay. Most of the kings are 12lb - 15lb's with some over 30lb. Spanish mackerel are thick in the same areas as the kings and all along the beaches. There are large schools of bait fish in local waters right now. Cast net or use a sabiki rig to catch what ever live bait is in the area you are fishing. Tarpon have moved into the area. Look for them inside Tampa Bay and around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Pass crabs, live bait fish, and fresh dead bait fish soaked on the bottom all work well for tarpon. Redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, and snook are all very active. Look for them on grass flats, cuts and swash chanels around Pinellas Point and Fort DeSoto Park. Live shrimp, white bait, greenbacks, and pinfish are the best baits. For more information contact;
Mastry's Bait & Tackle Inc.
1700 4th St S
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Prime Time For Trout in Titusville

I was speaking with Tom at Doc's Bait & Tackle in Titusville this morning. He tells me that this is prime time for speckled trout. Lots of big trout are on the grass flats. A local guide reported to Tom that he had landed 4 speckled trout over 5lb in one trip on Wednesday and had lost one that was at least 11lb. Live shrimp or Gulp Shrimp will produce these extra large trout. Redfish, "the big ones", are starting to move into a more consistent summer time pattern in the Indian Lagoon. Live shrimp and Gulp Shrimp also work well on the big reds. On the beach, bulefish, pompano and whiting are all biting well. Live shrimp and pompano jigs work well for the whiting and pompano, Spoon Squid or Got-Cha Jigs will catch the blues. Tom tells me that he has been fishing Salt Lake and Buck Lake, two local fresh water lakes, in the evening and catching good numbers of largemouth bass using the Zoom `Horney Toad` bait and a new weighted jerk bait hooks he got from his friends at Mission Fishin' ( He says that the 1/32oz weight added to the hook does not sound like a lot, but makes a huge difference when casting. For more information contact;
Doc's Bait & Tackle
20 N Washington Av
Titusville, FL 32796

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flounder at Flagler

I was talking with Chuck at Roy's Bait House on Flagler Beach this afternoon. He tells me that the fishing is reel good from the pier, the river, and area lakes. Flounder fishing is hot at the pier with reports of anglers taking up to 12 nice sized flounder in a day. Live shrimp or smaller mullet work best for flounder. Chuck tells me to start with mullet, and if the bite slows down, switch to shrimp. Pompano are also biting very well at the pier. Pomp jigs, sand flees, or shrimp are the best baits. Anglers at the pier are also catching quite a few speckled trout and sheepshead on shrimp. In the river and area canals, snook fishing is very good at night. Chucks father has gone snook fishing several times in the last week and has caught at least one snook a night. He landed nine snook a few nights ago. Offshore, king mackerel to 24lb's are being taken 45 miles out. In area fresh water lakes, Chucks customers are catching big largemouth bass and specks. Large live shiners work well for the bass. For more information contact;
Roy's Bait House
105 N 2nd Street
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pinellas Piers Recovering Nicely

I spoke with the North Skyway Fishing Pier in St. Petersburg and Big Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach this afternoon. The fishing is recovering nicely in both places. The Skyway Pier says the fishing is starting to get reel good with fishermen catching undersized grouper and lots of spanish mackerel. Live shrimp or whatever bait fish you can cast net or sabiki up in the area will work best. There are also reports of reels being "blown up", by what are almost certainly large kingfish. At Big Pier 60, spanish mackerel and silver trout are keeping fishermen busy. Live shrimp work best for the silver trout, Clarkspoons or Got-Cha Jigs will get the spanish mackerel. For more information contact;
North Skyway Fishing Pier
10501 Sunshine Skyway Bridge
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Big Pier 60
Clearwater Beach, FL

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Clarkspoon / Spoon Squid

One of the most reliable lures in any type of fishing is the spoon. The wobble and spinning action they create strongly resembles a fleeing bait fish and provokes game fish into striking. Two of the most proven spoons for predatory game fish in Floridas coastal waters are the Clarkspoon and the Spoon Squid sold through Sea Striker of Morehead City, N.C. ( The Clarkspoon has a tight wobble and spin that resembles a healthy bait trying to flee. It comes in chrome-plated and 24K gold-plated in the #00, #0, and #1 sizes and chrome only in the larger sizes. The Spoon Squid has a loose wobble and spin which resembles an injured bait fish and is available in chrome only. Both work well for bluefish and spanish mackerel in the #00, #0, and #1 sizes and for small kingfish, larger bluefish, and stripers in the #2, #3, #4, and #5 sizes. The smaller sizes are perfect for casting to bluefish and spanish mackerel from piers and bridges. Use 20lb - 40lb mono leader, fluorocarbon in clear water, to connect the spoon to a 1/2oz to 1 1/2oz trolling weight. Use a #2 or #3 ball-bearing swivel between the weight and leader to prevent line twist and connect them using an improved clinch knot. All sizes work well when trolled. Use a trolling weight, planer, or downrigger to get the spoon to the depth the bait fish are swimming. You can also troll one on the surface. In either case use a ball-bearing swivel between the leader and main line to prevent line twist. Which ever you choose, the Clarkspoon or the Spoon Squid, these are two must have lures for every saltwater fisherman's tackle box.

Got-Cha Jigs

Spanish mackerel and bluefish have been very active in most of Florida waters for about a month now. Every time I ask what they are hitting I get the same answer, Got-Cha lures. This morning I went to the Sea Striker web site,( to check out the Got-Cha Jig line of lures. Got-Cha Jigs come in a huge combination of colors and features. These include plastic bodies in numerous color combinations, some with Mylar flash, and some with chrome plastic, metal bodies in chrome and gold, and mini bodies. The features include bucktails with single tail hooks, rattlers, 4x strong hooks, and Daiichi Bleeding Bait Hooks. These versatile baits can be fished from piers, bridges or boats. Reel them in using short, sharp jerks of the rod tip to produce a swimming action that is irresistible to spanish mackerel and bluefish, jig them for trout, bluefish, and stripers, or troll them. Any way that you use a Got-Cha Jig, it is a great bait that will catch many types of game fish.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I spoke with Mac Rae's Bait House in Homosassa this morning. They tell me that few people are fishing since the front blew through on Friday. Before that the fishing was pretty good with lots of speckled trout, redfish, and spanish mackerel being caught inshore and some nice grouper coming from offshore. This is similar to the information I was receiving last Friday. That day I called at least ten different bait shops, from every corner of the state and got the same report. NO ONE IS FISHING IN THIS WIND! All we can do right now is make sure all our gear is ready to go because when the weather clears, the fishing will be outstanding.
Mac Rae's Bait House
5290 S Cherokee Way
Homosassa, FL 34448

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pros Guide To Kingfish Tackle

With the kingfish run now stretching the entire gulf coast and half way up the Atlantic coast, I thought this would be a good time to share some information on the tackle and techniques that are needed to catch these razor toothed speedsters. Kingfish have lots of very sharp teeth and are one of the fastest, strongest fish that swim in the ocean. They can chew through heavy mono leader in the blink of an eye or peel off hundreds of yards of line in mere seconds. When that trophy size fish hits, things happen in a hurry and all of your gear had better be in top shape. My good friend Captain Rich Hartman has fished the local kingfish tournaments and guides his clients to great kingfish action on board his boat the Fish'n Mish'n out of Seminol. I asked him to share with us what he uses to consistently land those big smokers.
  • Hooks- #4, 4x treble
  • Wire- At least 24" of #3 wire between the first hook and the swivel. Cut the wire for the stinger so that the second hook is about even with the tail of your bait.
  • Swivel- #10 ball bearing swivel.
  • Leader- 10' of 30lb mono. Switch to fluorocarbon if the water is clear.
  • Line- 20lb mono.
  • Reel- Shimano Speed Master.
  • Rod- 7' Ugly Stick.


Rich will " Match the Hatch " when deciding what bait to use. What ever is swimming in the area is what will attract the kings. When fishing near the beach, ladyfish or mullet are usually best. Offshore, blue runners or hard tails work well because they live longer. Scaled sardines and spanish mackerel also work well. Again, use what is swimming in the area you are fishing.


Trolling works best when targeting kingfish. Troll only as fast as your bait can swim naturally to prevent it from drowning. Spread your baits out behind your boat as much as is practical. Place at least one bait on the surface behind the boat, one on a down rigger, and put your biggest bait in the prop wash. The biggest kings will usually hit this bait. Check your fish finder to see how deep the schools of bait fish are swimming. Set your down rigger so that your bait will swim at that depth. Following these guidelines will help you increase your hookups and the number of fish you land so that you to can catch kingfish like a pro.

Thanks go out to Captain Rich Hartman for the great information. He is available to guide you to great fishing action offshore of St. Petersburg / Clearwater, and can be reached at;

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sebastian Inlet

I spoke with Steve at Inlet Bait & Tackle just north of Sebastian Inlet this morning. He tells me that the fishing is good now that the strong winds of the last month have calmed down. Anglers on the jetty's are catching bluefish and spanish mackerel. A fast moving silver spoon fished a few feet below the surface, or a gotcha plug will catch bluefish and spanish mackerel. Pompano, sheepshead and whiting are being caught from the beach just south of the inlet. Sand flees and clams are the best baits. The snook bite is good in the morning. Catch your own live bait fish, use bucktail jigs or large plugs for snook. For more information contact;
Inlet Bait & Tackle
9722 S Highway A1a
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Bradenton Fishing is Fantastic!

I was speaking with Annamae Lahay at Corkey's Live Bait & Tackle in Bradenton this morning. Annamae is the new owner of Corkey's and has expanded and improved it to meet all of your fishing needs. She tells me that the fishing is fantastic around Bradenton. A few cobia are being taken at the South Skyway Pier on jumbo shrimp. Redfish, pompano, speckled trout, and whiting are being taken in good numbers from the grass flats in Sarasota Bay. Live shrimp, pinfish, and pompano jigs are the best baits. Lots of 27" - 34" snook are being caught at night using the Black Salty bait fish that only Corkey's carries. This is a new live bait being imported from Arkansas. Check out there web site at A few tarpon and permit are being caught on the beach and in the mouth of the bay. Live pass crabs are the best bait and can also be purchased at Corkey's. Offshore, there are a lot of spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and large grouper being taken. The spanish mackerel and king mackerel will be any where from on the beach to 10+ miles out. Grouper are biting from 3 - 30 miles offshore. For more information contact;
Corkey's Live Bait & Tackle
10103 Cortez Rd. W
Bradenton, FL 34210

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mackerel and Cobia are in Pensicola

I spoke with Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle and Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier this afternoon to see see how the fishing is around Pensacola. Inshore, the fishing is very good with lots of redfish and speckled trout being caught. Live shrimp is the best bait for reds and trout. At the pier and in the gulf, cobia are a more consistent catch now, spanish mackerel and king mackerel have moved into the area, and pompano are biting well. Three cobia were taken at the pier all ready today using cobia jigs. Live mullet and cigar minnows are the baits of choice for spanish mackerel and king mackerel. Medium sized tackle, a 6ft - 7ft rod and a reel loaded with 200yds of 8lb - 12lb test line, will work fine for spanish mackerel and pompano, but if you are after king mackerel or cobia plan on using much heavier gear. For more information contact;
Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle
825 Gulf Breeze Pkwy
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561
Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier
41 Fort Pickens Rd
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Key Largo Fishing is Picking Up

I was talking with Ron at Yellow Bait House on Key Largo today. He was telling me that the strong winds of March are finally starting to calm down and the fishing is picking up. Some boats made it out of port yesterday and reported catching some nice dolphin in 200ft of water. No sailfish were reported and they may have moved out of the area. Other fish being taken include swordfish, grouper, mutton snapper, and yellowtail snapper. The best baits include ballyhoo, googleye, spedos, and silversides for the snapper. On the bay side of the keys, bonefish are starting to show better on shallow sand flats. Fly fishing is the preferred way to catch bonefish but a live shrimp will also work. Redfish, blackdrum, snook and speckled trout are all being caught in good numbers. Live shrimp and finger mullet are the best baits. Forecasters predict the winds to calm even more as the week progresses. This will produce outstanding fishing for all of the Florida Keys and South Florida. For more information contact;
Yellow Bait House
101741 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo, FL 33037

Kingfish Going Crazy in Nokomis

I just got off of the phone with Stacy at Big Bite Tackle Outfitters in Nokomis. She says that the kingfish are going crazy offshore! Look for the largest concentration of fish around 7 miles out. Large spoons attached to a planer or down rigger will catch kingfish. A large live bait with a stinger rigg will catch lots of king fish. There are also large concentrations of spanish mackerel offshore and on the beach. Inshore, redfish, snook, speckled trout and lots of large pompano are
biting very well. Live shrimp and white pompano jigs are taking the most fish. For more information contact;
Big Bite Tackle Outfitters
900 Tamiami Trail S
Nokomis, FL 34275

Monday, April 02, 2007

Stuart has Great Offshore Fishing

I spoke with Robbie at Sailfish Bait & Tackle in Stuart today. Dolphin is the word of the day! His customers are catching large numbers of dolphin fishing in 100ft to 150ft of water. Casting live greenies to weed lines or other floating cover will produce many hookups. There are also a lot of sailfish in the same areas. Troll ballyhoo for sailfish. In the Indian River, speckled trout fishing is off and on. Live shrimp works best for trout. For more information contact;
Sailfish Bait & Tackle
3565 Saint Lucie Blvd

Stuart, FL 34997

St. Augustine Fishing is Real Good

I spoke with Dave at Oldest City Bait & Tackle in St. Augustine this morning. He tells me that the fishing is real good right now with great catches of just about everything being reported. In the Intercoastal and back bays, lots of redfish are being caught around oyster bars and mangrove shoreline using live shrimp. Week fish are being taken in large numbers from deep holes on the grass flats and back bays using live mullet. Speckled trout are plentiful on the grass flats. Live shrimp or mullet are the best baits. From the beach, some good sized whiting, pompano, bluefish, spanish mackerel, red drum and black drum can all be caught in good numbers. Live shrimp or sand flees work well for the whiting, pompano, black drum and redfish. Gotcha plugs work well on the bluefish and spanish mackerel. Dave tells me that the only thing that is slow right now is flounder. The few flounder he has seen are small. Offshore, Dave's customers are having great days fishing for wahoo and dolphin. Troll ballyhoo or use live bait 50 miles offshore. For more information contact;
Oldest City Bait & Tackle
1915 State Rd, 312
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Florida Fishing Tournaments

Along with great weather, April brings great fishing and lots of fishing tournaments to Florida. If I missed your tournament, please e-mail me and let me know.

Finals, Punta Gorda

Boynton Beach Firefighter Benevolent Association
FISH ON! Memorial Fishn' & Firehouse Chili Grand Slam
contact: 561-436-2285

The Rotary Club of Clearwater 15th Annual Kingfish Tournament
Clearwater contact: Keith Meyer or Don Tinny 727-446-8600

Boaters World Tournament of Champions
Treasure Island contact: SKA 904-819-0360

DIV 11
13th Annual Contender Yamaha Loadmaster Suncoast Kingfish Tournament
Sarasota Cay Club, Sarasota contact: Sandy Blowers 941-232-3474


FLW Kingfish Series
Sarasota contact:941-955-9488
FLW Kingfish Tour

FLW Redfish Series
Englewood contact: 941-473-1018

IFA Redfish Tour
Sarasota contact: 941-388-4441


Ocean Reef BTU Backbone Classic
Key Largo contact: 305-367-2727

World Sailfish Championship
Key West contact: 305-395-3474 or 866-482-7529

Tarponian Tournament
Marathon contact: 215-542-1492

Charlotte Harbor Challenge Tournament
Charlotte Harbor

CCBA Fishing Tournament
Crystal River contact: 352-746-9028

28th Annual West Palm Beach Kiwanis Offshore Challenge
Palm Beach Shores