Fall is just around the corner and as expected certain things are beginning to fall into place. Redfish are starting to show up in numbers and school on the flats. Snook are moving away from the beach and into the backcountry.
However, when inshore fishing is slow due to weak tides, congested areas, fishing pressure etc., there are spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, mangrove snapper and a few other species beginning to move closer to the beaches.
On a recent trip, we were able to locate a school of mackerel about one mile west of Clearwater Beach. We had been nearshore reef fishing for mangrove snapper and on the way back in witnessed baits being busted on the surface by a school of spanish mackerel. We anchored nearby and after a few minutes chummed them right to the boat and caught plenty.
There have also been several reports of small mackerel being caught right in the middle of all of the passes from Clearwater to the north. This is especially encouraging since the previous two years have had major outbreaks of red tide, greatly affecting the migration of mackerel to our area.
Although some people enjoy them as table fare, especially smoking them for fish spreads, they also offer terrific rod bending action when the inshore fishing is slow. And typically, right behind the migration of mackerel are the kingfish. Another explosive, drag-screaming fish to target through the fall months.