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Cedar key 10/9 (mackerel everywhere)

NobelNobel ALTAMONTE SPRINGSPosts: 82 Deckhand
Ran out to sea horse reef first thing and the Spanish were everywhere.  Kept a few, released a bunch.   Lady fish were pretty thick to.   There were so many mackerel, I didn't bother trying for trout out there.  Figured I'd just lose a bunch of jig heads.   Went out to some rock piles after playing with the Spanish.  Trolled up two small keeper grouper on DTs.   Then sent a live blue runner out and caught a nice size king.   After that did some experimenting looking for new rock areas without any success.  Ended the day back at sea horse to take advantage of the abundance of mackerel.   Fun catching them suckers if light trout rods.  


  • jadman69jadman69 Posts: 200 Deckhand
    Good job.  Nice to catch them gags closer to shore these days.
  • DonSchwartzDonSchwartz Cedar KeyPosts: 1 Greenhorn
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,770 Moderator
    Cool. Mac's are fun on topwater when thick.  Nice looking kingfish. Thanks for the report.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,967 Captain
    Good trip!
  • nicknick Crystal RiverPosts: 5,050 Admiral
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer


    Hope to get out there Friday before the wind starts howling.

  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,406 AG
    Great trip!   I have heard smaller macs are great king bait but have never tried it myself.
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer
    Great trip!   I have heard smaller macs are great king bait but have never tried it myself.

    Why would you go down on the edibility scale like that?

    Spanish > Kings. By far.

  • Proline2357Proline2357 Posts: 64 Deckhand
    So a Cedar Key offshore slam?
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,406 AG
    tankered said:
    Great trip!   I have heard smaller macs are great king bait but have never tried it myself.

    Why would you go down on the edibility scale like that?

    Spanish > Kings. By far.

    Haven't tried it, but i would think a borderline mac would be killer bait for a smoker king.   And i know people like macs, and I do too, but I love kingfish.   The way i've made it, blackened kingfish tacos was as good or better than any mac I've had. 
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer

    To each their own, and yea, I guess it's worth sacrificing a little mack for the screaming drag of a king.

    As long as you already have some Spanish on ice ;)

  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,365 Officer

    A Spanish doesn't have to be small for a King to hit it.


    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • NobelNobel ALTAMONTE SPRINGSPosts: 82 Deckhand
    So a Cedar Key offshore slam?
    I'd say the ck offshore slam would be king, grouper, and cobia.   I was one short.  
  • MichimanMichiman Posts: 79 Deckhand
    I was 12 - 15 miles out of Crystal River today and saw several Sp. Mack's jumping out of the water with huge King Mackerel right on their tails. The Kingfish came 5' out of the water. I couldn't get a bite on silver spoons either cast or trolled. I guess I'll have to find a 20" long spoon!
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer

    Oddly I've never had much success trolling in the CR area myself, even at the exact same time they're hitting everything dragged in front of their face at Seahorse reef.

    However, I've absolutely killed them a bit offshore of the barge canal area anchoring and flatlining sardines, mullet, etc.

    Not sure what the difference is but I've definitely noticed it. Depth maybe? Bait schools?

  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 11,972 AG
    Nice I love eating fresh Spanish mackerel personally. Kingfish too.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • MichimanMichiman Posts: 79 Deckhand
    I did notice there was a lot of bait out there. Maybe too much?
  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 203 Deckhand
    edited October 2020 #20
    We fished Seahorse Reef 10/14...we fished the top of the incoming tide and we were there about three hours.
    Bait was readily available in large schools.
    large Spanish were too abundant as they kept taking our live threadfins intended as kingfish bait.
    We ended up boating four nice Kings however. Loads of fun...
  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 203 Deckhand
    edited October 2020 #21
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer
    Michiman said:
    I did notice there was a lot of bait out there. Maybe too much?

    I don' think there's ever too much bait. At Seahorse you generally get bit trolling right through the bait schools.

    I think it's more a function of depth. The area you speak of is significantly deeper than the reef. Just a theory.

    Fingers crossed for tomorrow all signs point to much fun! Just hope the weather holds off, looking like it will...

  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 203 Deckhand
    I have never trolled for kings, so I cant offer any insight.. we netted some big threadfins, and free lined them about 5' under a cork.
  • MichimanMichiman Posts: 79 Deckhand
    Maybe I was trolling too high. Next trip I'll add weight or a planer ahead of the spoon. 
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer

    Well we got out there, too early I guess, tide was very low when we launched and it was a bit breezy. Floating grass everywhere made it difficult too.

    Trolled fruitlessly for a while, nothing but ladyfish and blue runners to show for our efforts, then around noon the wind died down, tide came in enough to clear the weeds out, bait schools moved in and with them came the mackerel.

    Continued trolling jigs and spoons until high tide around 2:30 and headed in with about a dozen very thick macks, including a friend's personal best 27" fork and very fat, had to be 5 or 6 lbs at least.

    Patience paid off. Who knows how long they'll stick around, water temp was still fairly warm at 78.

  • smhsmh Posts: 333 Deckhand
    edited October 2020 #26
    I don't normally make piggyback threads, but since this seems to be the Spanish thread, I'll add my $0.02.  I fished Seahorse Reef last Wednesday (10/14).  I have to pick my days carefully because I have a small boat and wind/waves suck.  I got out to the reef as the tide was rising, and noticed a very distinct seam/rip out near the western edge.  One side of the rip had a bunch of stained and dirty water (and a ton of jellyfish).  There was a bunch of foam, floating grass, and debris forming a clear line of delineation, and the other side of the rip had clearer water.  The bait was getting busted in the clear water, right on the edge of the seam.  I trolled and casted homemade krystal flash jigs and caught a bunch in short order.  I even lost some that I couldn't do much with (on med/heavy casting tackle).  About every fish I brought to the boat had multiple companions chasing behind it.  I also saw a king or two slashing under my boat (way too big to be a Spanish).  One time I snagged a big threadfin on a retrieve, and as I was ripping it back to the boat, a Spanish grabbed it.  As slack high tide approached, things slowed down.  I ended up keeping a limit of solid fish.  I didn't catch a single ladyfish or blue runner, etc.  After that, I ran out to the tower to check things out.  There were a handful of short cookie-cutter cobia (28-30 inches), and I caught one pitching a plastic jig.  I tried trout fishing at the reef on the way back in from the tower, but after several successive cutoffs, I decided it was pointless.  I hit a couple spots on the way back in for reds and no luck with cut bait and artificials.  Sorry for no pics.  My wife and I had fresh fish tacos and ceviche this weekend, and I also smoked a bunch for dip later on.  An old friend of mine that used to love mackerel fishing said that they seemed to stick around out at the reef until temps dipped below 68 degrees.
  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 203 Deckhand
    Thanks for the post SMH. I posted earlier in this thread as to the reef on 10/14..I fished it again yesterday for two hours just after noon on the incoming tide. Water temp on my machine was 77. Kings were numerous as were large Spanish. We fished freelined threadfins for bait. Stopped on the way in for redfish for dinner ( as I do not keep Kings or Spanish) and was surprised with a nice slot snook.
    Got to love Fall.
  • smhsmh Posts: 333 Deckhand
    Sounds good, bullbay! Feels good to find a slot snook.  Next time I'm out at the reef, I might try to fish some live baits and see if I can maybe dredge up a king.  I've pretty much always used artificials out there, but when there are so many fish and so much bait, I might as well slow down and try new things.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer

    Back in June I pulled a 35" snook off the seahorse tower. Oversize and out of season, but it was my first one ever.

    Took some quick anchor pulling and boat maneuvering teamwork to land that sucker...

  • bullbaybullbay Posts: 203 Deckhand
    Tankered - nice work! There are a ton of snook around CK this year.. we gave been catching  them fairly steady the past five years or so; but nothing like this year..  We probably have caught six or seven dozen snook this summer and they are around the island as well as on nearshore structure.
    Hope we have a mild winter so we ca enjoy them going forward.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,393 Officer

    Yea but I would have preferred a slot fish in season! At least it swam off strong to make more. 

     They've been steadily trekking northward, besides myself I know 2 other people who have been surprised by their first snook in this area recently, theirs were while redfishing, mine was while we were casting at cobia with lockjaw, I thought I finally got one to bite because it didn't surface or thrash or do the typical snook things, just barreled straight for the tower. Like I said it really took a team effort to get it to the boat for a photo. I have them on my phone but am inept at this posting pics thing.

    Fingers crossed for more mild winters!!

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