Summer fishing in Pensacola is here. Time for the garbage can slams – King and Spanish mackerel, Sharks, Tinny Tuna (bonitos), Lady Fish, Blue Fish and the list goes on.
I think you get the picture … lots of fun fishing but the table fare drops down a notch from the Red Snapper. By the way, I had a banner Red Snapper season. Lots of fish over 15 pounds came in the boat with several over 20 pounds.
Spanish mackerel are very good table fare when eaten the day you catch them. These fish don’t keep very well. When frozen then thawed out the flesh gets very mushy. They are big now so just keep a few 5 pounders for supper and let the rest go.
The King Mackerel bite is as good as it gets right now. The fish are close in and are fairly easy to find. Find the bait and you’re on the fish. Most of the close in fishing is around the sea buoys as you work out the passes. There are a lot of buoys so don’t get discouraged if you don’t hook up on the first couple just keep working your way out until you start getting knock downs and then you’re on the right spot. The near shore reefs are another good place to find big numbers of King Mackerel.
My technique is old school but it works and it will also catch big fish. To start with don’t over tackle!!! I use 30 pound test braid on 4500 size reels. Most will hold 300 yards of line – it’s more than enough. There’s not many fish out there that can spool off 300 yards of line. Next – to the wire leader this is the most important part – I start out with the smallest swivel’s that are available. SPRO Power Swivel size #8, they are tiny & tough!! Then I use no more than 18 inches of main wire in the 27-pound size. To the nose hook I use Gamakatsu #4 extra sharp round bend treble hooks, then I jump up to 40-pound test wire to the stinger hook. This is the catching hook and that wire is a very important part because this wire is in the toothy critter’s mouth most of the time. Add a good lively Cigar Minnow and you’re on your way to catching big King Mackerel. Just remember that King Mackerel have very large eyes and can see very well. God made them that way to give them an edge so downsize your tackle and I will guarantee your catching ratio will improve.
For my Fly fishermen, let’s go Bo-Bo! There’s nothing better than a five pound Bonito on an 8 weight. Tie on a gummy minnow and strip it as fast as you can, then get your knuckles away from the reel knob. I can tell ya from experience it hurts when it’s spinning 20 mile per hours backwards and you stick your hand in!
Red Fish are another good table fare fish. Slot Reds can be found in and around the flats between Destin and Pensacola. They’re called slot Red Fish because they’re resident fish that haven’t reached the 30 inch range yet. Once they come of size, they become what we refer to as the Bull Red fish (not legal to keep). The fish are good around the normal area’s now such as the docks and the grass and sand flats.
Thanks for reading my fishing forecast