Birds can help you locate Spanish mackerel or bluefish
Think twice about using expensive artificial lures for Spanish mackerel or blues as you’re bound to lose a few
There was a time when Spanish mackerel could only be counted on to be around in the spring and fall hereabouts. By the Fourth of July, the bulk of the spring migration would be far to our north. The same would be true of king mackerel, but as with many other gulf migratory species, both can be encountered all summer to some extent these days.
This is particularly true of the Spanish variety where good numbers have been around off our beaches and in the bays in a big way. There was a period of time when there was a dearth of Spanish macks along our coast as well.
During that time, I recall a big surge of bluefish in our estuaries. Being a similar schooling predator, they seemed to be filling a void left by the mackerel.
Red-hot fishing:Fishing continues to be red hot; here’s where they are biting
Off the hook:Right now, fishing (and catching fish) is ‘off the hook’
Shore-bound options:Some fishing options for the shore-bound angler
Now that the Spanish have come back so well, the bluefish have diminished but still remain in fair numbers. Both species are sporty, aggressive and equipped with some wicked sharp dentures.
When targeting either species in summer, look for dense schools of small white bait on the flats, in the passes and along the beaches. When these surface predators are shredding the bait schools, birds will zero in on the action and so should you.
Do yourself a favor and opt for either extra long shank hooks when live baiting or a short length of single strand wire to help prevent cut-offs. Think twice about using expensive artificial lures for macks or blues as you’re bound to lose a few.
When keeping mackerel or bluefish for dinner, they do not freeze well and should be eaten impeccably fresh for top quality. Keep only what you can eat for a single meal within a day of being caught.