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Tips for Macks.

one fish two fishone fish two fish MemberPosts: 81 Deckhand
I've fished South Florida my whole life but never really targeted Spanish Macks. I'll be in Plantation Key this weekend. Would any of you share some tips on going after some Macks? Thank you. 


  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Senior Member Posts: 673 Officer
    Generally you can just go Yellowtail fishing on the reef (chum and drift baits back).  When you start getting cutoffs or when the Ballyhoo show up and you start seeing them getting chased, then you are good to go.  Just throw on a couple inches of wire.  Otherwise, troll around the reef (right on top) using flashy lures like spoons.  Backcountry is about the same as the Yellowtailing but target Mangroves or Lane Snapper.  If the Ballyhoo show up, the Macks will soon follow.  If you see birds working on the reef, it will generally be schools of Jacks or Macks.  Chase them down and troll in front of the birds.
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  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Senior Member S. FlaPosts: 1,718 Captain
    edited November 2022 #3
    To target Spanish Mackerel in Fla Bay you would need to either trailer your boat or run west from Plantation key to areas west of Sprigger Bank. Go out at least ten miles or more out into the bay and chum. If they don't show up in 30 minutes move a couple of miles and try again. When you move troll a  #2 or #3 Clark Spoon with a ball bearing swivel. Sometimes the macks will shy away from wire so keep the wire very light and if you know how to tie 20 lb mono to wire without a swivel that will also help. I often just use a long shank hook for macks on 20 lb flouro without any swivel.
  • tonyg279tonyg279 MiamiPosts: 24 Deckhand
    People are getting some of them, but in my opinion the water needs to cool down more, right now its close to 80 degrees, too hot for them. Best place to get them is in the gulf side of Marathon, go west for 10-15 miles out, you should be at no more than 12 to 13 feet of water. Chum in the water and a spoon with a trebble hook. This is my favorite way to target them, in my opinion it outfish sardines and shrimp. I use johnsonsprite 1/4 oz silver spoon, cast, let it sink a a few seconds and retrieve. Its rare i dont come back with my limit every time i go. Also if you can have some sardines cut in little chunks so you can throw it behind the boat and keep them eating, in that area you need to be careful with the lobster traps ( i think thats what they are ) there a lot of them in certain parts when traveling to that fishing area. I would rather riks being cut than to use wire, when they are in a frenzy they will hit anything in the water, but in some other situations they get picky when using wire, i use like a 70 lbs monofilament (kastking) which to my surprise is not very thick for a 70 lbs line, it goes straight to the spoon, no swivel and the monofilament straight to the braid line. I am not saying this is the best way, but this is what i use and do and have been very successful with spanish Mac.
  • kci-miakci-mia Senior Member South end of MiamiPosts: 273 Deckhand
    I grew up catching mackeral and bluefish fish in Biscayne Bay in the fall and winter with my dad.  Our season began when World Series games ended.  We'd anchor in 6-8 feet of water and put out chum.  Best bait were live pilchard or shrimp which we'd hook on to a 1/0 long shank hook which was tied directly to 8 or 10 lb. mono line.   We would free-line them out with the current or tide. We didn't use any wire or leader as it would produce fewer hits.  We would also cast 3/8 oz sidewinder jigs and/or 1/2 oz Crocodile spoons while waiting for the chum to attract them in.  Back then it was common for 2 of us to  catch 40+ fish in 3 hours.      
  • one fish two fishone fish two fish Member Posts: 81 Deckhand
    Really appreciate the tips. To target on the reef, how deep should I be? i typically target tails in 80 feet or so. Thanks again. Going to give it a shot this weekend out of Plantation Key.  I'll post results next week. 
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Senior Member up a creek without a paddle tampaPosts: 13,428 AG
    Look for the birds feeding.
  • CaptJCaptJ Senior Member Key Largo (Mostly)/Miami(As little as possible)Posts: 1,901 Captain
    Cero in the Atlantic and Spanish in Fl Bay
  • one fish two fishone fish two fish Member Posts: 81 Deckhand
    Well, that's just what we caught. A Cero in the Atlantic. Beautiful weather. Fished the reef Saturday with one Cero and one Tail to speak of. Prevented from fishing Sunday by Tequila Saturday night. Beautiful weather. 
  • CaptJCaptJ Senior Member Key Largo (Mostly)/Miami(As little as possible)Posts: 1,901 Captain
    Observed quite a few Cero's in out chum slick yesterday. They were very "lazy" and didn't have one cutoff while Yellowtailing. Full report and pics later.
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