November is a special month for anglers along the Treasure Coast bringing several changes in our area. The water temps slowly begin to drop into the mid 70's. Also the mullet run which began in September comes to an end. This time of year we begin to see an increase in our winter and spring species of spanish mackerel, pompano and bluefish.

Spanish Mackerel are always a blast on light tackle. Last season, we had severel mackerel trips resulting in over 100 fish caught.I fish 10 lb test but you can go as light as 2lb.Normally I use a 30 lb mono leader starting about 3 feet in length. After each fish, check your leader as mackerel will fray them. Cut off an inch or two and retie. This long leader will allow you to hook more fish before replacing it. When the macs are really thick, I will switch over to about 8" # 3 wire. There are several areas inshore that seem to hold more fish, but without a doubt the main concentration will be found outside along the beaches out to about 30 feet of water. Normally the motherload will be found around Peck's Lake which is located about 2 miles south of the St. Lucie Inlet. Some days this area will hold fish as close as 10 feet from shore. There is a shallow reef that runs north to south about 200 yards out from the beach in about 6-8 feet of water. Be aware of this area. Even on calm days this reef can create swells that are capable of flipping boats over. Seems every year a few boats will fall victim. If you are fishing on or just inside (west) of the reef, avoid sitting sideways (north-south). I normally will stay away either fishing outside (east) of the reef in 18 to 25 feet or close to shore. Mackerel will hit a variety of baits. Anything shinny will work. Silver spoons, flashy minnow jigs, Capt. Joe's Jigging Spoons along with tube lures and shrimp tipped jigs. If you decide to anchor up, bring along a box of silver sides or glass minnow chum. Toss small amounts every couple of minutes to get their attention and cast and retrive through the area. When trolling, I suggest staying outside the reef in 20 - 30 feet where there is less boat traffic. Spanish Mackerel regulations are 15 per person with a 12 inch min.They normally run between 1 to 3lbs but some can go as heavy as 5 to 7 lbs. Mackerel are great fresh or smoked. If you decide to smoke them, simply fillet and leave the skin on. They are a soft fish and the skin holds the fillets intact while smoking. We have a local smokehouse in Rio who does a great job if you decide to have your catch smoked. Try Mrs. Peters Smokehouse at (772) 334-2184. For fresh mackerel, I like to skin them and cut the bloodlines out. Mackerel do not freeze very well so I suggest clean what you will eat in a day or two and smoke the rest.

Pompano and bluefish can be found both along the surf and inside the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers. My next report will cover these species in depth.

Capt. Bob Bushholz
(772) 530-1496