If you want good multi-species action this week point your boat toward the Sanibel Causeway and look for the acres of bait on top, and the birds and fish feasting on them.
Wednesday we caught snook, mackerel, redfish, trout, jacks, and even large mangrove snapper all within the bridge system or close by.
While fishing we watched two big king mackerel, each over four feet long, skyrocket through the bait, but se weren't lucky enough to hook one of these beautiful ultra-fast eating machines. A serious king hunter or anyone with the proper gear might want to put in some time this week and drag some live baits around these bait schools.
Capt. George Tunison
For those who have never fished kings, add a stinger hook (usually a treble hook tied to the front hook) to the rear portion of your live bait as often a big kingfish will bite a large baitfish in half missing the front hook completely and ruining your chances at a hook up. Most well equipped tackle stores sell pre-rigged kingfish setups to tie to your line.
If you hook up remember to not screw down the drag as the fish will run a great distance at blinding speed. A tight drag guarantees a pulled hook and a lost opportunity. The kings I witnessed Wednesday would empty a typical snook sized reel in six seconds leaving you standing there in empty spooled disbelief.
White Z- MAN grubs on 3/8-oz. jigheads casted in the bait schools and allowed to sink caught mackerel after mackerel as the jigs fluttered toward the bottom. Jigs worked quickly through the school and near the surface got little attention. As soon as we let them fall toward the bottom they were quickly picked off.
Using 30-pound fluorocarbon leaders we lost some fish due to bite offs, but not bad enough to start using wire leaders. If bite-offs become a problem add a short piece of light wire to your line using an Albright Knot then attach your lure to the wire using a simple Haywire Twist (NetKnots.com)
Any plastic grub would have caught fish, but unless it's a Z-MAN be prepared to bring many packs as these toothy speedsters will bite off tails and bodies faster than you can say "Spanish mac attack." The Z-MAN made from ElaZtech material is quite amazing and will withstand quite a few fish before you need to put on a new one.
Not a caster? Then try the shrimp or plastic grub under a float for great results.
This is a great way for the tarpon angler to collect baits for bottom fishing as silver kings enjoy a tasty dead mac on the bottom.
New to Spanish mac fishing? First rule is leave your heavy gear and enjoy these speedsters on ultra-lite tackle. Most fish run from one to three pounds. Heavy gear kills the fight.
Another idea is to bring that jumbo setup and after catching a bunch on ultra-lites save some and move over to the bridge and drop down a whole one next to a piling and hold on as a resident 500-pound Goliath grouper inhales the freebie and proceeds to pull you out of your boat. Not a place for light tackle of any sort, think 200-300-pound test, a jumbo rod and reel, a strong back and determination.
As with any grouper the fight is won by getting the fish away from bottom structure immediately. Give these guys a break and don't harass them without jumbo tackle otherwise it's just swallowed hooks and possible death of these outsized predators.
Why is it that every time smart anglers are staying back from a bait school catching fish by casting into it, here comes a knucklehead that spots the boats and bent rods and decides to get his by driving right through the boats and over the fish ruining the action for everyone? Stay back! Observe. Learn!