The big news this week was mackerel, king and Spanish. It is rare that either species is caught here in any quantity in December, but lately things have been different.
Kings: In deep water, 20-plus offshore, kingfish from 8 to 15 pounds have been remarkably thick in areas of hard bottom. Schools of baitfish have been visible on the depth recorder and kings been there with them. To catch the kingfish we have been putting out a standard West Florida trolling spread, a No. 4 planer and No. 3 planer each rigged with 25 feet of mono to a King Spoon. Last week we pulled this combination and over the course of each trip caught our limit of kings.
Spanish mackerel: On the flats there has been an amazing run of Spanish mackerel near Tarpon Springs. The water has been only 62 degrees, normally considered too cold for mackerel, yet swarms from 1 to 4 pounds have been tearing up the tackle of trout fishermen. Schools have been so thick that bite-offs are common. As one fish is being fought, others nip at the knots and swivels moving through the water and cut the line.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.