Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spanish Macks Make Return To Sun Coast

Spring is in the air along the Sun Coast. Spanish Mackerel made their great return this week near Tampa Bay in conjunction with huge schools of Glass Minnows. Anglers aboard the Ms. Guided were treated to the sight of birds diving, Spanish Mackerel striking, and drags screaming. These fish were feeding furiously on anything shiny and moving fast through the water column. Hands down, the most productive bait used for targeting Spanish Mackerel this week was the Rapala X-Rap, in the Glass Ghost Color. Another key factor was speed - ensure you vary your throttle setting when trolling or rate of return when casting until you find the sweet spot, and always check your leader after each strike or caught fish. Spanish Mackerel have a serious set of teeth!

spanish mackerelThe Nearshore action was fast, but only a precursor as to what is coming next. If weather conditions continue to improve, we will soon be welcoming the smoking King Mackerel, the mighty rolling Tarpon, and the BIG Sharks that they bring with. Rising temperatures also signal our Snook to move out of backwaters and begin their migration to the beaches. We have been successful at targeting keeper Snook near the mouths of the rivers and the adjacent flats on recent warmer afternoons. Finding live bait is definitely worth the time.

spanish mackerel on Rapala X-RapAnd as for the Offshore bite, action is still consistent, with keeper Mangrove Snapper being caught in 30 to 60 feet of water on the public numbers and Amber Jack on the deeper wrecks and springs starting at 80 feet. All of us look forward to 1 April and the reopening of Grouper season. Recent dive trips for Hogfish have been heartbreaking as the big Grouper have seemed to relax during the last few weeks of reduced pressure. Regardless of your offshore plans, please just be mindful of the weather as conditions can change very rapidly this year.

For more information or to book your next saltwater adventure in the Tampa area, contact Capt Jay at 1-877-463-4520 or email

Capt Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters

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