Though there have been a few nice kingfish caught offshore, nearshore beach mackerel fishing has been slow to nonexistent. A few spotty catches were reported a couple of weeks ago but that quickly tapered off. The cooler west wind might have pushed the mackerel back into deeper water and into Tampa Bay near the Sunshine Skyway. With warmer conditions they could be back along the beach soon. The magic number is around 72-74 degrees. Spanish mackerel seem to tolerate slightly cooler temperatures better. Spanish mackerel are first to arrive followed close by their cousin, king mackerel. Clean water is essential as neither mackerel type likes to swim in the mud. Watch for bait schools that may have the activity of Arctic terns harassing them from above. The splash from the birds diving for bait may attract mackerel to the area. Sound can travel through water as well as it does through the air. Fishing for mackerel with live bait generally produces larger fish. However, when mackerel are scattered as they are in the spring, trolling might be more productive. Mackerel fishing will improve in the coming weeks; king mackerel will peak in early May and Spanish mackerel will be here throughout summer.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.