Spanish Mackerel Fishing Florida's Big Bend - Captain William Toney
In the Fall along Florida's West Coast and especially the Big Bend region, we get a few pelagic fish that pass through the area. Cobia, spanish mackerel and pompano are the most common, but one that I don't see around the cleaning tables at the dock are king mackerel aka kingfish. I know there out there because I have caught them offshore a few times and even had a "smoker" come through my chum slick in 10 feet of water while targeting spanish mackerel.
Spanish mackerel are out there right now. Have you ever been trout fishing and get a quick strike only to reel in a cut leader? Yep that was a mackerel, they have some sharp scissor like teeth. One way to prevent cutoff when targeting spanish mackerel is to use a 1/0 Eagle Claw long shank hook. The long shank hook will act as your leader. Up sizing your leader can help or even using a steel leader but the bite ratio will go down because mackerels do have good eyes and sometime will shy away from heavy lines.
Mackerel respond well to chum and it can get them concentrated around the vessel. Use the long shank hook, free line a live shrimp in the chum slick to get the bite. As far as eating spanish mackerel they are good as long as you prepare them fresh. For frying I like to fillet, skin them and cut them into strips without the blood line. Another popular way is to butter fly the fillet "skin on" and smoke them to make fish dip or just enjoy a good smoked fish.
To learn more about Spanish mackerel fishing on Florida's West coast, check out my video Fishing Shallow Water Reefs
Captain William Toney
In The Spread, instructor