King Mackerel’s Fight, Tenacity Legendary
By Capt. Joe Palermo // December 13, 2014
Banner Year for Blackfin Tuna
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – As winter rapidly approaches and cold fronts start pushing south, offshore anglers can look forward to excellent rod-bending action for several different types of species throughout the Florida Atlantic Coast.
Dolphin, Amberjack, Blackfin Tuna, Grouper, Cobia, Sailfish and several other species will all satisfy our offshore hunger.
However, the most targeted and productive species will most likely be the King Mackerel.
There are very few fish along the East Coast of Florida that can match the fight and tenacity of the King Mackerel. Perhaps this is the reason Kings top the list when it comes to big-money tournaments throughout the South.
Their size, strength, speed, and acrobatics when “skyrocketing” bait makes Kings one of the most sought-after species for both charters and self sustained anglers.
However, we should also expect to see good numbers of other types of species that are very desirable to anglers.
BANNER YEAR FOR BLACKFIN TUNA
October and November proved to be banner for Blackfin Tuna and should continue that trend throughout December and January.
Throughout the 80s and 90s the Blackfin fishery was prolific in Florida’s Atlantic waters due to the shrimping industry boom.
The thousands of shrimp boats acted as giant chum machines, creating an easy target to locate and capture large amounts of these tasty creatures.
Throughout the years, government regulations and other costly factors have diminished the shrimping fleet to a small handful and the fishery rapidly dwindled with them, so these fish are a welcome change when we start seeing good numbers on the reefs.
Today the most productive technique for these fish is live bait trolling on the surface or with downriggers. Typically, we use pogies, commonly known as menhaden, but live sardines, cigar minnows, blue runners, or tinker mackerel work great as well.
The key is to troll the baits fast enough to cover ground, but slow enough to swim naturally with the boat. This technique is deadly and will often trigger multiple hookups at the same time.
King Mackerel and Blackfin are normally found around bottom structure, ledges, wrecks, and any hard bottom that holds bait in 65 – 150 feet of water.
During the winter and spring months, Pelican Flats and 8A Reef should produce good numbers of Kings and a handful of Blackfin.
As a charter captain, these two species put a lot of smiles on my customer’s faces this time of year.
There is nothing more satisfying than presenting a bait on the surface, watching these fish ambush it, and scream 100 yards off of the reel in just seconds.