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Mackerel starting to show near beaches

Posted Feb 11, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Feb 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM


Spanish mackerel have arrived along our beaches. This appears to be the early scouts, with the major migration not far behind.

Captain Billy Miller and I both limited out our parties with Spanish fishing just off Blind Pass on the early morning outgoing tide. Although I haven’t heard any reports, my guess is the same thing is probably happening in front of other local passes like John’s Pass, Hurricane Pass and Clearwater Pass.

These early arriving mackerel can be here today and somewhere else tomorrow. There was a lot of bait in the Gulf, and the diving birds helped us locate the schools of hungry macks.

Early in the week, I went down to Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound with Eric Bachnik to film the first episode of my new TV and Internet show, “Fishing with Bill Miller.” Captain John Ochs guided us, and we caught 30 trout and two redfish on topwater lures.

I was using a She Dog that has a high-pitched rattle, and Eric and John were using a MirrOmullet XL that is a little smaller and has a lower-pitched sound to it. After falling behind my partners 10 fish to none, I switched to their lure and started catching fish.

On this particular day, sound and shape seemed to matter; some days it does not. Many of us have favorite lures we always start with, but if the fish are not keying in on it, don’t be afraid to try another one.

Jonathan Grantham and his father Jim went out with me this week, and we had a mixed bag of action. We started the day catching mackerel in the Gulf and then moved inside and had a nice day on the flats catching speckled trout, silver trout, bluefish and assorted other flats fish using DOA Deadly Combinations and Lil Johns.

Captain Bill Miller hosts “Hooked on Fishing” on Bright House Sports Network, Channel 47. To book a charter with captain Bill or his son captain Billy, call (813) 363-9927.

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