What's hot: Spanish mackerel fishing should improve in September. Migrating baitfish will bring the mackerel down our coastline and into the bay. There is always a resident population of fish in the bay during the summer. But the migrating fish will boost their numbers and kick the action into high gear.
Technique: Troll artificial lures to locate then keep track of Spanish mackerel as they move between bait schools. Watch for crashing strikes on the surface below dipping birds. Troll around the edges of this activity so bait and fish are not split. Common lures include small silver or gold spoons, lipped diving plugs and small buck tail jigs.
Tips: Using live bait on light tackle is my favorite method for connecting with Spanish mackerel. Focus on submerged structures that hold bait: natural hard bottoms, artificial reefs and deep grass beds. Anchor and set out a chum slick to bring the fish to the boat. Rig with a heavy monoleader and long-shank hook or a short trace of wire to prevent cut-offs from sharp teeth. Top baits include scaled sardines, threadfin herring and Spanish sardines.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.