Spanish mackerel are making a strong showing around Tampa Bay.
Inside Tampa Bay big Spanish have taken up residence around the high range markers and artificial reefs. I like to anchor up tide of the structures and put over a frozen chum block. If anybody is home, a white bait and shrimp free lined in the chum line will usually draw a strike. Use a light wire leader or a long shank hook to prevent cut offs from mackerel. Match your hook to the bait size.
When fishing reefs or structure always drop a line to the bottom. Use just enough weight to get to the bottom. Lots of mangrove snapper are around and will readily eat shrimp or white bait. A light mono leader will work fishing the bottom.
Brad Whery reports charter boat “Jawbreaker” caught lots of good Spanish mackerel trolling spoons just west of the Passa Grille sea buoy. After limiting on Spanish they moved off shore and caught lots of grouper, mangrove snapper and grunts. On the way home in 60 feet of water they spotted a whale shark sunning on the surface.
Colin Peterson, son of radio TV personality J. P. Peterson, fishing with Capt. Billy Miller, caught his first tarpon in Tampa Bay using a big greenback for bait.
Lots of permit have been spotted at the Betty Rose, St. Pete Beach Reef and the South County Reef.