Late afternoons are beautiful this time of year. Tampa Bay waters warm into the lower 70′s creating ideal conditions to get on the Mack attack! There back yep Mackerel are here and the numbers are growing rapidly. Mackerel to 26″ are gorging on glass minnows and inhaling most any shiny fast moving lures.
The bulk of the action has been around the Skyway Bridges. You can troll or cast into areas of bait both tactics work. I keep the rigging simple with 3 to 4′ of 30-40 pound leader material finished with a silver Clark spoon. I use the baitfish as my guide for what size spoon to use. Bigger isn’t always better. Match the bait for better results. When using live bait I prefer long shank hooks to reduce cutoffs. Spanish Mackerel mature quickly typically in one year or at 14″. Males grow to 19″ over years while females live much longer to 11 years and grow into the upper 20″ range.
The deeper flats are starting to heat up with mackerel action also. Get on the right flat and you can get into a number of species. Look for schools to increase and move throughout the Tampa Bay region. Mixed in with the Mackerel are trout, ladyfish and Bonnet Head sharks. One of the usual targets is jacks and I have not seen any period. I suspect the deep freeze sent them south or deep into the Gulf.
I don’t have any updates on Snook but looks for things to break lose any moment as the water rapidly raises and bait pours in.
In most cases getting up early for Mackerel is not needed this time of year. Mid afternoon works great until it’s really starts to heat up.
Captain Steven Markovich