It’s heating up here on the Nature Coast and now is the time to dust off your heavier tackle. May brings some of the larger species our area has to offer. Tarpon, cobia and kingfish have arrived and these big three will give you a fight you will not soon forget.
For the inshore and offshore anglers, it’s tough to beat a cobia for a great tug of war. Channel markers, wrecks, artificial reefs and your high profile grouper structures are ideal locations to target cobia. Inshore channel markers are always worth a look and many times cobia can be seen just below the surface circling the structure. With the absence of fishing pressure on the offshore locations; due to the recent grouper regulations, there should be plenty of hefty cobia for those willing to make a run. Chumming brings them right to the boat, and a live pinfish on a bottom rig and one up top, will have the water column covered.
The kingfish will be in good numbers as well in the 30ft to 60ft range. Light drags, wire leader and plenty of line capacity is necessary to tackle a smoker king. Trolling a variety of plugs or spoons works well for those wanting use artificials. Anchoring up over live bottom and using an assortment of live and dead baits such as threadfin herring, cigar minnows or a frisky live blue runner is kingfish candy. Keep an eye on the horizon for the skying fish blasting through baitfish schools to help you locate schooling fish.
On the inshore scene, the trout and redfish will be a good bet as well. The trout will start becoming less structure orientated and spread out over spotty bottom. The spotty bottom of the sand and grass mix ranging from 5ft to 10ft will be the productive area. 1/8oz DOA cal shad tail jigs in the glow color is hard to beat and I prefer the chartreuse color jig head to be a great combination. On days when there’s little breeze, try a jig and cork rig combination.
As always, feel free to contact me with any other questions about the area. Good Fishing!