You just knew once we had a few consecutive days of warm sunny weather something good was going to bust loose. Well it happened this week as Spanish mackerel invaded Charlotte Harbor in a big way. We’ve been catching macks for a couple weeks, but things got pretty crazy out there over the past week. Once the water cleared up from the strong wind early in the week schools of fish up to five pounds took over the Harbor and gave us fast non-stop action for as long as you wanted to tug on them.
Double, triple and even four anglers hooked up at once with drags screaming made for some exciting fishing. I often forget how much fun macks are until we get into the schools of the larger fish, they can sure strip some line in a hurry. The schools were all over the southern half of the Harbor over bottom with a grass and sand mix in about six to nine feet of water. Plenty of other boats were fishing the schools, it actually kind of resembled boats fishing tarpon pods inside Boca Grande Pass with groups of up to a dozen or so boats working schools over several areas.
Although we had a well full of shiners to chum with we really never needed to, the mack bite seldom slowed plus the birds have been a real pain when chumming lately. To prevent cut offs from the super sharp teeth I switch to an extra long shank hook when fishing the macks, it reduces the break offs a ton but you still get cut off every so often.
We also caught large trout again this week; most were caught on oyster bars and in potholes where we snook fish in the spring. It sure seems strange not pulling any snook from these spots. With live shiners for bait we took trout up to twenty-three inches with all caught from these areas going over twenty inches. We did catch slot-size trout over grass flats in the northern Sound in three to five feet of water but not the numbers you would expect.
This coming week I expect fishing as a whole to finally be back on track. We have a long stretch of warm weather and the water temps should finally stabilize above seventy degrees. If the mackerel fishing is any indication, then I would expect fishing for snook and redfish to take off any day now plus tarpon to start making a little noise.
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“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell