Daily fishing report Tampa

Daily fishing report
By DAVE WALKER, Times Correspondent
Published May 16, 2005

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Spanish mackerel have invaded Tampa Bay. The annual migration of these fast fish is in full swing and they can be easily caught.

Range markers, bridges and shipping channels are good places to look for action. They are schooling fish and travel in large groups. They can be attracted by using a chum block, a smelly concoction of ground bycatch that is usually frozen into a solid chunk. Hanging one of these over the side of the boat is almost always a surefire way to attract fish.

The incoming tide is the best time to fish for mackerel. There are several important things to remember about these fish: mackerel have very sharp teeth and they are often hooked in the skin instead of the mouth. Fishing with a loose drag is imperative because their skin tears easily.

It is helpful to use a hook with a long shank to prevent biteoffs. Thirty-pound test-leader material is somewhat forgiving if they hit the bait above the hook. Some anglers use single strand wire. It is effective but difficult and time consuming to work with, especially when rerigging.

Many people say mackerel tastes oily or fishy. I think that they are delicious. The secret is to ice fish thoroughly and eat them fresh. They lose some of the desirable texture when frozen.

–Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call 813 310-6531 , e-mail dwalker12@tampabay.rr.com or visit www.snookfish.com

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