What's hot: King and Spanish mackerel are at their peak along the coast from Hudson to Sarasota. But within a few weeks, their migration will slow. And by mid December, they will be mostly gone.
Tips: The best bite remains early in the day. Both mackerels are feeding heavily at daybreak and will feed aggressively until midday. By noon, the action slows and you are better off targeting something else until early evening. Many kingfish pros will resupply their baitwells during the afternoon lull and be back in position a little after 3.
Tactics: Scaled sardines and threadfins are good for kings. But bigger baits such as bluerunners, ladyfish and bluefish will weed out smaller fish and help target true smokers. The bigger the bait, the more stinger hooks you need. You want your last treble hook to be just above the tail of the baitfish. Space the stinger hooks about 5 inches apart, and keep adding them until the last is in the right place. Most fishermen use 40-pound test straight wire. It's light enough to draw a lot of strikes but heavy enough to hold in the toothy maw of a big king. Use tiny swivels at the top of the leader to make the rig inconspicuous.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.