What's hot: Extra large Spanish mackerel can be found at the mouth of the bay. Anchor and set up a chum slick to lure these fish in from a distance and put them in a feeding mood. Begin with a frozen chum block hung from the stern and supplement the slick with a continual flow of small chunks of fresh or frozen bait. Add an occasional handful of live baits to keep the mackerel interested.
Tips: Smaller baits have worked best. Scaled sardines are preferred but not mandatory, as fish will also readily take threadfin herring. Bait size has been more important than bait type. Larger baits will get slashed or cut in half while the smaller offerings will have a much higher hookup ratio. Nose-hook baits to allow them to swim freely in the current.
For the kids: Spanish mackerel make an excellent target when fishing with the family. They are aggressive feeders and live chum makes them very competitive, providing fast action. Baited rods can be left in the rod holders, letting the fish set the hook themselves on the strike. When the rod doubles over, simply pick it up and fight the fish. Spanish mackerel are great in tacos, a bonus for the kids.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727)510-1009.