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Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017
Go Fishing

Kingfish are here, just a little bit late

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant.

Kings are probably the big news this week, with the major migration moving into the Bay area almost a full month late. Captain Ed Walker got a fish weighing more than 50 pounds in a tournament last weekend, and captain Justin Moore’s anglers landed one in the mid 30s along with many smaller fish; www.moorefishing.com. The biggest bite has been several miles beyond the Egmont Channel whistler buoy around wrecks and reefs, as well as wherever the big bait schools slow down for a day or two. Trolling with big spoons or diving plugs connects with school-size kingfish, while slow-trolled live baits, including blue runners, do the job on larger kings.

Tarpon are starting to appear around the Sunshine Skyway, as well as at Boca Grande. Prime action typically gets under way around the first of May along the beaches and continues to the full moon in July, when many of the silver kings head offshore to spawn. Large live threadfins or pass crabs are the top baits, but tarpon are also caught on an assortment of artificial lures and big fly rod streamers.

Captain Mike Shellen reports from Okeechobee that bass fishing is excellent, particularly on wild shiners fished on the outside grass edges for post-spawn fish. He also said spinnerbaits and swimbaits have turned up some large fish in the past week, to 11 pounds, also on the outside edges. Bluegills and shellcrackers are biting in the canals and the lower Kissimmee River on crickets, worms and grass shrimp; www.okeechobeebassfishing.com.

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at franksargeant@charter.net