Captain's Corner

Published November 13, 2007

What's hot: Mackerel fishing along the gulf beaches has been about as good as it gets. From Clearwater to Sarasota and within 2 miles of shore, numbers of full-grown mackerel have settled into the hard-bottom areas inside 20 feet.

Tactics: Anchoring and chumming with live baits has been most effective. The use of chum blocks can be instrumental to keep the bite going. Nothing will get them started faster than a handful or two of crippled live baits dancing on the surface.

Tackle: Light spin tackle with 10- to 12-pound leader provides the best action. Be sure to have spools loaded with line. Each trip, we've had kingfish and sharks that can easily peel off a couple of hundred yards in a blink. We'll use stinger rigs on our big baits, but single-hook rigs with 3-inch whitebait are key. We'll use 1-foot leader of light, single-strand wire leader when we can get away with it. If the fish get leader shy, 30-pound monofilament leader and a long shank hook might be more effective.