Fishing forecasts for Homosassa, Crystal River, Yankeetown, Waccasassa Bay, Cedar Key, Suwannee, Horseshoe Beach, Steinhatchee, and Keaton Beach.
In the fall along the Big Bend, we find a few pelagic fish passing through the area. Cobia, mackerel, and pompano are the most common, but the ones I don’t see around the dock cleaning tables are king. I know they’re out there because I’ve caught them offshore a few times and even had a “smoker” pass my mate spot in 10 feet of water while targeting Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerel is right now.
Have you ever been fishing for trout and got a quick strike with your beginners fishing rod just to reel in a cult leader? Yes, that was a mackerel. They have sharp teeth like scissors. One way to avoid the cut when targeting Spanish mackerel is to use a long shank 1/0 Eagle Claw hook. The long shank hook will act as the leader. Increasing your leader size can help or even using a steel leader, but the bite rate will drop because mackerel have good eyes and sometimes shy away from heavy lines.
Some good areas to target them are around the Spoil Banks, west of Marker 2 in Homosassa, near a pile of rocks. Mackerel respond well to chum and can get them to concentrate around the boat. Use the long rod hook with a free liner that will make a live shrimp in the chum spot to get the bite. As for eating Spanish mackerel, they are good as long as you prepare them fresh.
For frying, I like to fillet them, peel them, and cut them into strips without the bloodline. Another popular way is to butterfly the fillet, leave the skin and smoke them to make a fish bath or simply enjoy a good smoked fish. The high entry time will be in the morning this weekend.