Sunny Fishing Charters

CERO MACKEREL FISHING

Peak Season: October-December
Best Charter: 3/4 Day Offshore
Best Technique: Live Chumming the Patch Reefs
Best Bait: 3” Pilchards
Table Fare: Excellent

CERO MACKEREL FISHING IN MIAMI

Cero mackerel are a familiar sight around the inshore patch reefs, where they eagerly pursue schools of ballyhoo. The frenzied activity of these baitfish indicates the presence of these aggressive game fish. Chumming up schools of ballyhoo is a common tactic to attract cero mackerel. Once the baitfish are netted, the excitement begins. Fishing for mackerel in Miami can be exhilarating, especially when you get them biting. Drifting back a live ballyhoo on light tackle often incites a feeding frenzy among the 5-10lb cero mackerel, as they leap out of the water in pursuit of the frantic baitfish. Similarly, a live well stocked with small pilchards can elicit a similar response. Storm Chug Bugs, Clark and Drone spoons, and Rapala X-Raps are effective lures when the mackerel are in a feeding frenzy. Using topwater lures adds an extra thrill, as you witness multiple fish leaping out of the water in pursuit of your lure before one finally takes the bait.

For this type of fishing, 8-12lb spinning tackle is commonly used, providing both the necessary strength and excitement. Cero mackerel resemble miniature versions of their larger relatives, the kingfish, and require wire leaders to prevent them from cutting the line. We typically use 6-10″ traces of #3 wire with small treble hooks for live baiting, and similar setups for artificial lures. Although bites may be less frequent with wire leaders, they ensure that the fish cannot sever the line when hooked.

While bottom fishing charters in Miami and the Keys primarily target snapper and grouper, cero mackerel are often encountered as by-catch. With their delicious white meat, cero mackerel are not only thrilling to catch but also make for a delightful meal at the end of the day.

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