Large Spanish mackerel have settled into nearshore waters taking up residence on most hard-bottom locations and artificial reefs. Trolling can be effective in locating productive areas, but anchoring and fishing with lighter tackle will take the big ones. A few visual clues are helpful in finding fish. Concentrations of birds diving to the surface are a definite indicator of feeding fish. Clusters of stone crab traps also will mark many hard-bottom areas. When deciding where to anchor, use your bottom sonar to see where concentrations of bait are holding and anchor nearby using tide and wind to your advantage. Chumming with a combination of a frozen block and occasional handfuls of live bait tossed into the slick will bring the fish to the boat and instigate a competitive frenzy. Light spinning tackle in the 10-pound test range is all that's needed to handle these speedy drag-burners while also standing up to the occasional kingfish that might join the action. If something large on the end of the line is also part of the agenda, set out a fresh piece of cut bait on a larger conventional outfit for some catch-and-release shark fun.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.