Cap­tain’s Cor­ner

Tampa Bay Times - - Nfl -

Usu­ally by the end of Septem­ber, schools of Span­ish mack­erel form off the beach ahead of the fall mi­gra­tion. They gather to feed on the bait­fish that are flushed out of area passes. John’s Pass, Clear­wa­ter Pass, Blind Pass and the pass at Pass-a-Grille are good places to be­gin your search. Typ­i­cally, seabirds dive on the bait schools and give away their lo­ca­tion. Freshly caught Span­ish mack­erel are not bad on the smoker or grill as long as they are iced as soon as they are caught. An­other rea­son for catch­ing mack­erel is as bait. Sharks and bar­racuda love them. There are mas­sive num­bers of bar­racuda await­ing the run of mack­erel. They usu­ally hunt in groups of five or six, but a bar­racuda school might num­ber in the hun­dreds. Lo­cate one of the pub­lished, man-made county reefs. Bar­racuda no­to­ri­ously pa­trol the struc­ture like wolves. The strike on a trolled, rigged mack­erel is ex­plo­sive and some­times ap­pears ma­li­cious. It’s al­most like they know when your mack­erel isn’t rigged and will take their share of your prized catch. Reel­ing in a mack­erel head is ev­i­dence of their pre­cise skill. The proof is when you find a sur­gi­cal bite only a frac­tion of an inch be­hind the hook.

Larry Blue

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