Spanish mackerel fishing has kept the rods bent and drags singing. Combine that with light duty bottom fishing, and there has been enough action to keep the entire family busy. Anchoring over natural hard bottom or artificial structures and chumming will get the party started. Nose-hooked free-lined baits will attract mackerel. A short trace of light wire ahead of the hook will prevent cutoffs and often outperform the long shank hook with heavy mono combo. The secret is to have all of your wire rigs pre-tied and not twist them together on the boat. Belly-hooked baits dropped to the bottom on knocker-rigs will attract mangrove snapper, black sea bass, white grunts, flounder, and scores of undersize grouper that need to be carefully released. Most species are honing in on the smaller summer hatch of baitfish, requiring the use of quarter-inch mesh cast nets to gather them. Downsizing hooks to match the size of the baitfish is often necessary. Keeping only what can be eaten fresh; releasing the rest will give you a reason to keep coming back instead of filling a freezer.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727) 510-1009.