Our spring mackerel migration is beginning; try these tips to catch more fish.
Easter is just around the corner and our semi-annual Mack Attack is snowballing. This snowballing school of fish is something snowy we like down here in Southwest Florida! Water temps are approaching the magic seventy degree mark and some Spanish have already blessed us and our tables. We should have mackerel in the Boca Grande, Englewood, Venice areas for about two months. They come in from the south following huge baitfish schools. Both Spanish and king mackerel, along with sharks, cobia, and so much more are following their preferred water temps and FOOD! This can be a fisherman’s dream if you have the tools plus a box of tricks to locate and catch fish. It is so much more fun for all when you also learn to be considerate of each other!
First consider if you will be bound to shore and piers or have a boat to fish from. A friend’s boat is even better, at least a lot less work. Offer to help with the clean up; it will get you another invitation most of the time. If you are casting to fish, from either beach or boat, you’ll want to select spinning gear. It’s much easier to cast. Trolling is better suited to tougher conventional rigs; and your right, a boat helps here too. Any time you can persuade an expert to be of assistance, be sure you listen. A guide that will teach you is most efficient investment, if you can swing it. Please be sure you explain that your education is more important than how many fish you catch! Choose a captain that communicates his experience well and you are comfortable with.
Next lets consider our rigs and lures selection. Again you are right, minnows are great; if you can capture and keep em! So we spend more time fishing with what we call “hardware”, spoons, jig, and lures. You local tackle shop is your best bet here. Introduce your self and establish and friendship. Your investment here will pay huge dividends for the life of this friendship. These experts are up on all the latest lures and hot tips. They talk with fishermen all day long, and most into the night. Let them help you choose the correct gear for the style of catching you two select. Remember that spoons, lures, and jigs all require special speeds to retrieve or troll. Be sure you get extras because mackerel have very sharp teeth! Purchase a good pair on long pliers and dehooker to protect your fingers. I use fluorocarbon leader material because it is almost invisible in water. But it is expensive and you will have cut off bites! I do use light coffee colored wire for kings. Try both and see what’s best for your needs.
Where to fish. I fish out of Stump Pass Marina and usually cruise north off of Englewood Beach and up towards the Venice Pier. The nearby Gulf waters both south and north all have migrating fish now. I look for bird activity, baitfish schools, and striking fish. Work around the activity not thru the middle scaring “your” fish. We all notice any other boats, especially which have bent poles. Just remember how you approach and whether you maintain a comfortable distance will set the tone of this encounter. It may be your new friend or enemy. Honey is not as bitter as vinegar! Be considerate and we all catch more fish. If you don’t step on our toes most of us are glad to assist you if you let us know you want our help. We have plenty of fish; way more than enough to share, so lets all have fun. This is the opportunity of a life time for new boat skippers. You can follow these directions and in no time you will be ready to share this new expertise with friends and family. Dad’s there is no better way to start the kids out fishing and boating.
If you want to eat fresh fish carry plenty of ice to preserve your catch. Always put any fish for food on ice and keep them very cold for the best taste. I like to filet macks and small kings then towel dry the meat before I season it. My favorite spices are Old Bay and Everglades seasonings. Add liberally to taste. Then place em under a red hot broiler on aluminum foil for a few minutes until they are about half done. Remove and baste liberally with good mayo, Dukes is my favorite. Place back under the broiler and DO NOT LEAVE. Observe close until the mayo starts to boil and brown. Shut off heat and allow to flavors to marry a few minutes while you pour you dinner drinks. Serve hot and enjoy. I don’t eat the skin, just throw away the foil and you are done. One more note, macks have a small row of pin bones above the ribs you want to remove.
This is fun and usually fast paced macks are speed demons and bunch up to keep you busy. Catch all you want then go explore. Please feel free to e-mail questions or tips because I like to learn also. Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Like Captain Wilson always said “if your to busy to go fishing your just too busy!”