Spanish mackerel mania ensues

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

If there is one thing that comes to life in the month of August, it is the Spanish mackerel fishing. You can travel to almost any reef or live bottom in the 45- to 60-foot depth range and catch lots of large Spanish mackerel from 2-4 pounds or more. Spanish are one of the best eating fish in the sea, and when they are schooling, they don’t mind biting a hook.

When fishing the Spanish mackerel during August in the deeper 45-foot depths, you want to focus on using No. 1 size planers and especially No. 2 size planers. The No. 2 planers will get deeper and typically yield the best results.

From the planer, you run 20 to 30 feet of 30-pound monofilament and tie onto a No. 1 or No. 2 silver Clark spoon. Set two of the No. 1 planers approximately 75-100 feet back and two of the No. 2 planers at 25-50 feet back and troll them at 5-6 mph and you have become a Spanish mackerel catching machine.

The one thing you’ll want to look out for are the large barracuda and king mackerel that love to grab a helpless, hooked Spanish from your line. You’ll be winding in a nice Spanish when an explosion and eruption of white water and finally a limp line with either no Spanish and likely no hook or only the head of a Spanish will result.

The other fishing that is flourishing now is the bottom fishing. In particular, the vermillion snapper are chewing it up in the 80- to 100-foot depth range. These colorful and awesome eating fish are fun to catch and more fun to eat.

Keep in mind snapper typically suspend 10-20 feet off the bottom and do not feed right on the bottom like sea bass and grouper. To focus on vermillion, you should use small 1/0 hooks with postage-stamp size pieces of squid on a 30- to 50-pound outfit. Drop your bait down and while doing so, count at a constant pace. Stop the descent at a 15 count and wait 30 seconds. If there are no bites, drop the bait another five count and wait again. Continue doing this until you find the snapper.

The key is to not drop the bait to the bottom and wind into the snapper, as the other “trash” bottom fish will mix into the snapper and make it harder to focus on them.

This past week there have been a lot of pogies on the beach and the water has really gotten clear with all the stable weather. My feeling is there are likely some larger kings holding around the inlet mouths in close proximity to their favorite food supply.

We also caught a few Mahi-mahi this past week but did not see any cobia or sailfish.

That’s pretty much the scoop on the fishing scene. August is not the most exciting month to fish around here, but you can certainly bend a rod, and the very best part is October is getting closer.

BRANT McMULLAN is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at captbrant@oifishingcenter.com.