The Tampa Bay Times
Capt. Brent Gaskill
Mother Nature has teased us with pleasantly cooler mornings recently. Don’t expect it to last however, as this is West Central Florida and the heat typically bears down on us until the end of October. One of my favorite target species this time of year is Spanish mackerel. The abundance of baitfish drawn closer to the beach by easterly winds will begin to lure the migratory species into our area. Locating feeding seabirds is a tried and true method for finding feeding mackerel but I tend to return to specific spots over natural hard bottom or long forgotten man-made reefs. Anchoring while deploying a frozen chum block is generally all that’s needed to bring the fish right to the boat. An occasional handful of live bait tossed into the mix will spark their competitive instincts and increase our bites. Nose hooked scaled sardines or threadfin herring are our primary baits but we also catch them on artificial lures including jigs, spoons, top water plugs, and flies.