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East Bay Fishing Report: mackerel

What's hot. Mackerel fishing is as good as it gets. Some days are upward of 40 before the bite dies off. If rod-bending action is what you are after, it does not get any better!

The gear. A 7-foot, 6-inch rod or an 8-foot rod with a soft tip allows for long casts and easy hook sets. A stout rod will loose fish, the medium action with a soft tip will absorb the shock of the vicious strike of the Spanish mackerel. A 30- or 40-series reel spooled with 12- to 15-pound braid will get the job done. A loose drag setting is a must, as the swift predators hit and run hard. I run a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 long shank silver hook. Any wire will only shut off the bite.

What to look for: Birds, specifically, pelicans diving on bait schools in open water, is a dead giveaway the macks could be there. If the school of bait is on the edge of a shipping channel or a hump in the bay, it should be game on.

Other stuff: Look for redfish and snook to feed the last hour of the incoming tide this weekend and the first hour or so of the outgoing tide. Fishing the East Bay area recently, I chased mackerel and trout for the morning bite and reds and snook for the tide change mentioned above. I can't make any guarantees, but it's what I've witnessed in my little part of Tampa Bay.

Capt. Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 774-0889 or

East Bay Fishing Report: mackerel 05/10/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:30am]
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