The Big Macks are back! Our day started at low tide on a grass flat targeting spotted sea trout. The red hot bite the last few weeks was sluggish this morning. Tossing live shrimp under a popping cork and DOA CAL jerk baits took trout to 15”. After a dozen or so small fish we moved shallower looking for larger trout but struck out.
With the tide rising we headed west to my redfish area. On our first stop it didn’t take long to put the first 17” redfish into the boat. Over the next 30 minutes we took 6 reds all on shrimp bounced on the bottom. We also took several flounder and sheepshead.
After lunch we made a short run to an area I target Mackerel. Its early but I decided to give it a shot. It did not take long before the drags started to scream with the sound of speeding Mackerel. Mackerel could be seen slashing our shrimp on the surface! I never think of shrimp as a great mackerel bait but it worked great. Several f our mackerel spit up
nice size whitebaits so hopefully the bait have started to arrive.
The mackerel were good size 23-25”. We had several cutoffs even with long shank hooks! As my 3 anglers said today the strike was awesome if you weren’t paying attention the mackerel could pull the rod out of your hands. Today’s group were very fun and very funny the day flew by.
Long shank 1/0 hooks on 40 pound leader is Captain Steven’s favorite live bait rig for mackerel. Silver Clark spoons retrieved very fast are another great way to target mackerel. As the bait and mackerel continue to invade Tampa Bay I will also deploy a chum bag to keep these speedsters close to the boat.
Captain Steven Markovich
I DON'T RECOGNIZE THE WORD WHITEBAIT.....I USED TO FISH OUT OF DAULPHIN ISLAND , ALA 40 YRS AGO BUT NEVER HEARD THAT WORD TIL YOUR REPORT.... I'M CLUELESS....CAN YOU DESCRIBE OR ELABORATE
Sure white baits are scaled sardines. It is our number one bait on Tampa Bay and can be caught with a cast net. This year we had a cold winter and the white bait left so we have been using shrimp until the bait returns.
Hope this helps.