Over the next few weeks, a VHF radio will sound like play-by-play from a baseball game with the chatter of doubles and triples. The difference is it will be from the annual run of king and Spanish mackerel.
The normal hot spots for mackerel, such as the ship channel and popular wrecks, will be jammed with boats trying their luck, so an early morning start is a good idea. If fishing with half the boats in the state is not your idea of fun, try the hard bottom on which you normally would look for grouper. Often these places go overlooked and are packed with hungry fish instead of boats. Another nice thing about these areas is the chance to catch both species.
Also this time of year, the blackfin tuna will come as close as 40 feet to feed with the kings. These men in black suits can be caught on live bait or by trolling with plugs or spoons; some of the best action will come from a rigged ballyhoo trolled on top. Look for them at the dump 4 miles southwest of the whistle buoy, west of the 10- fathom wreck and west of the south blow up.
_ Joe Genovese captains the Sea Cap III out of Maximo Marina. Call (813) 343-5931.