Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spanish mackerel invade the passes

What's hot: Spanish mackerel are increasing daily both in numbers and size. They are being caught near any pass entrance to the gulf in sizes ranging from shorter than legal (12 inches fork length) to more than 24 inches. Try trolling hardware (spoons and plugs) or slow-trolling nose-hooked whitebaits. Another option is to anchor and chum with slivers of sardines and a chum bag until the fish become visible in the slick. Then use live baits or cast small spoons or plugs. Larger mackerel have invaded the artificial reefs 5 to 7 miles offshore along with scattered kingfish. South County, Indian Shores, and the Rube Allyn reefs, along with the markers at the west end of the Egmont channel, are beginning to hold large quantities of bait along with Spanish mackerel, kingfish and bonita. All of these areas are considered "one-stop spots" because baits can be caught on Sabiki rigs and deployed instantly.

What's next: The recreational gag grouper season opens in the gulf Wednesday, and it will not be necessary to venture deeper than 60-foot depths to produce keepers (22 inches overall length). During the two-month closure we caught, photographed and released numerous fish in the traditional winter grouper areas.

Tip: Beginning Wednesday, target both gag grouper and kingfish in the same areas. Both fish will be found over the same the hard rocky bottom.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

Spanish mackerel invade the passes 03/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 9:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants


    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  2. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium


    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  4. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist


    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

    Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.
  5. Oleg Sosunov brings intrigue to Lightning exhibition opener


    When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling of Amalie Arena.

    Oleg Sosunov's ability to skate for his size, his reach, and his style have drawn comparisons to Zdeno Chara.