By BRENT GASKIL
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 18, 2001
The water at the mouth of Tampa Bay has been churning like a Jacuzzi. Spanish mackerel have been crashing through schools of tiny hatchling baits, working themselves into a frenzy. The action has been easy to spot from a distance as birds gather at the site of feeding fish to take advantage of the easy pickings.
Light spinning tackle and a handful of artificial lures are all that are needed. Top producers have been white nylon jigs, small silver spoons and chrome pencil-shaped plugs. Cranking these lures quickly has resulted in the most strikes. A short 6-inch trace of No. 2 wire has helped prevent cutoffs.
Position the boat on the outskirts and cast into the frenzy. Allow the lure to sink below the surface and make a fast retrieve. If you see mackerel following your offering and not striking then it's moving too slowly, speed it up. Something trying to get away turns these fish on; it seems impossible to move a lure too fast.
Drifting along with the tightly balled bait and the congregation of birds has been the most effective way of scoring. The mackerel will go deep for a while, then surface all at once. Being there with a lure ready to cast is a guaranteed hookup.
- Capt. Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 343-1765 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.