Amelia Island Plantation
For mackerel fishing at its finest, head to Amelia Island Plantation on the Atlantic Coast just east of Jacksonville. If relaxing and reeling is your style, Amelia Island offers lots of charter-boat services.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are a few tips: Slow-troll along the beaches, using 15- to 20-pound line rigged with live bait such as menhaden, cigar minnows, mullet or blue runners. The fish are most active from early morning to midday in clear water with temperatures of 76 to 78 degrees. Before the full moon during a high tide is the prime time to fish. King macks prefer areas with a hard bottom and plenty of other sea life. Key on areas with a significant depth fluctuation. A good catch makes for some great grilling — the average king weighs 30 to 40 pounds and 50-pounders are possible, which means big, thick fillets.
Contact: Amelia Island Charter Boat Association (904-261-2870).