© St. Petersburg Times, published March 16, 2003
Spring fever has hit anglers hard this year. But the long, cold, windy winter is behind us, and outdoor enthusiasts ache to do their favorite thing.
For many the favorite thing is fishing.
Spanish mackerel continue to bend rods around the Sunshine Skyway. They are especially thick this season.
This is a great opportunity for family outings, because parents and children can appreciate mackerel. They pull hard and are fairly easy to catch. Silver spoons or live bait should catch enough to make everyone happy.
Greenbacks are starting to move onto the flats in the southern portion of Tampa Bay. Chumming is extremely helpful this time of year, as it helps sort the threadfins from the scaled sardines, which are more desired as bait.
Chum recipes vary. Menhaden oil can make the difference in a chum mix, but the smell can be overpowering first thing in the morning.
Jack mackerel and old bread or cornmeal is a good base for chum. Dispense the chum in small quantities in the same area to concentrate bait fish.
A good throw with a cast net is imperative, and a cast that doesn't open the net all the way can be extremely frustrating. There are many ways to throw a net. Find one that works for you and practice, and you can have great bait on your next trip.
-- Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 831-0355.