Mackerel mania has continued, and from all indications it appears to be getting even better.
We caught plenty of Spanish mackerel on a trip to Southwest Pass, an area of fast tides between the southern end of Egmont Key and the northern point of Anna Maria. Catching three and four at a time, averaging more than 3 pounds, was common during an incoming tide.
After loading the livewell with whitebait Thursday, we enjoyed pretty much the same results anchored over hard bottom in 20 feet off St. Pete Beach. They weren't as large, but live chumming created a frenzy. Boiling and crashing behind the boat, mackerel were coming out of the water to grab bait before the birds could.
Boats aren't a necessity for mackerel. Anglers on the piers at Fort DeSoto, both ends of the Skyway, Pier 60 and Redington Long Pier have caught fish.
On calm days when water is clear, I use monofilament leaders and a long-shank, lightweight No.1 hook. On overcast or choppy days when the water is murky, try a short length of No.1 wire, which allows baits to swim freely and prevents cutoffs.
- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.