What's hot: Although gag grouper have been the big news for North Suncoast near-shore anglers lately, another species has arrived in force to spice things up over the shallow grouper rocks — jumbo Spanish mackerel. The big macks have given anglers a good reason to keep a flat line or freelining rig ready. Some of the biggest specimens in the world are found off North Pinellas and Pasco County each year during fall. Lately, mackerel have been running over 5 pounds, with some much larger.
Tips: When the big macks move in over the grouper grounds we modify our program. Alongside chopped chum that brings the gags close, a block of ground chum maintains a scent trail. Pods of mackerel follow this scent to the back of the boat, where wounded scaled sardines will ignite a feeding frenzy.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at lighttacklecharters.com or at (727) 944-3474.