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Captain's Corner

Spanish mackerel have infiltrated Tampa Bay. The annual treats with stiletto teeth are blasting anything in sight.

By DAVE WALKER
Published May 31, 2007


Spanish mackerel have infiltrated Tampa Bay. The annual treats with stiletto teeth are blasting anything in sight.

What's hot: Mackerel are congregating in large schools from the Skyway to the Gandy. Abundant "macks" make for exciting fishing. A few tricks make catching these fish fun and relatively easy.

Tip from the pros: Using a chum block will draw fish into your area from afar. Yes, these cubes of ground fish have a smell only a fish could love, but they work quite well. Just take it out of the bag and tie it off to a cleat. They can also be used for bridge anglers. The stinky stuff can really make the difference between catching just a few fish or absolutely wearing them out.

Tackle: Light spinning tackle is perfect for these torpedoes. Large mackerel on light gear equates to a really fun battle. With some of our recent fish weighing in at more than 6 pounds, they will literally make drags smoke. Lighter gear is much more fun to catch with and is also just plain easier to use. A good, smooth and well-cared-for drag system is extremely helpful for getting the big ones to the boat.

Mackerel have thin skin that often is what actually grabs the hook. A tight drag setting will cause the skin to tear and the delicious seasonal visitors to escape.