What's hot: Recent high winds have made consistent fishing a challenge. Lighter breezes forecast for this week combined with water temperatures in the perfect range should bring spring favorites back to the beaches and nearshore waters of the gulf. Spanish mackerel and king mackerel will follow bait schools into the clearing water and feed ferociously. Look for them to settle into areas of natural hard bottom with limestone outcroppings and to hang around man-made artificial reefs.
Techniques: Trolling is a productive method for covering a lot of territory to find fish. Stagger lures at different depths throughout the water column and select spoons or plugs that match the size of baitfish in the area. After finding the mackerel, anchor and chum while fishing live baits; this can outproduce all other methods. This also lets anglers use lighter tackle, increasing the fun factor of these fast-running fish.
Bonus species: The chum slick drifting out with the currents while at anchor will also attract a variety of alternate species. Cobia can show up unexpectedly at any time. Be prepared with a rod rigged and ready; that often is a game-changer. Bonito, barracuda, bluefish, sharks and more will also keep things interesting.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at email@example.com and (727)510-1009.