What Is The Best Bait For Mackerel Fishing?

Capt. Jim’s top six Spanish mackerel fishing lures are listed in this article. Capt Jim has been running Sarasota fishing charters since 1991. He thinks Spanish mackerel are an underappreciated game fish and enjoys pursuing them. They are attractive, fierce fighters who attack lures and flies with reckless abandon, and when freshly prepared, they make excellent table fare. The Atlantic and Gulf coasts are covered in Spanish mackerel.

By clicking the title link, anglers can pay $5 to purchase Capt. Jim’s e-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing.” It has 23,000 words and discusses species, tackle, and tactics.

The secret to catching more when feathering

1. Get hold of a set of feathers with a range of hook sizes so you always have some smaller hooked Sabiki’s with you. The smaller sharper hooks will result in more hook ups. Most experienced anglers do not use standard size 1/0 mackerel feathers.

2. Whatever feathers you choose, tie them to a decent mainline with a strong knot, such as the blood knot.

3. Tie a torpedo bomb weight to the end of the feather rig for the best casting distance. Ensure the weight is within the weight range your rod can cast effectively.

4. Between April and October, drop this rig into deep water around high tide.

What Is The Best Bait For Mackerel Fishing?

The key really is location and timing for mackerel fishing. However, if you can cast farther, you’ll have a significant advantage because sometimes fish will be feeding 20 meters offshore, and if you can only cast 25 meters, you’ll only be fishing in that area for the first few turns of your reel handle. You can cast farther by using a longer rod, lighter line, and braid. You can adjust your retrieval speed to gauge the depth at which your feathers are submerged, allowing you to determine where in the water column fish are feeding. Two common errors made by anglers are fishing at only one depth (usually too shallow because they are retrieving too quickly) and using too thick of a line, which prevents them from casting far enough.

Using ordinary mackerel feathers from tackle stores when fish are more hesitant when Sabiki’s would give you an advantage is another error. Since most mackerel feathers have size 1/0 hooks, I advise Sabiki’s because this will prevent a lot of missed bites. If you’ve ever noticed mackerel biting but not hooking, this might be the cause.

1. The most fun way to fish for mackerel is with a good light spinning set up and a single lure or spinner.

2. Simply tie on your favourite lure or spinner, cast out and retrieve at various depths. Simple casting jigs or small dexter wedges are my favourite. Choose a lure with a weight that’s appropriate for your rod.

3. Use as little line as you can, and have a friend pull the lure to test the strength of your line and determine whether your reel’s drag is set properly.

4. Opt. Fish with decent braid and a lighter fluorocarbon leader for extra casting distance and sensitivity.

On the mackerels back are vivid black and blue stripes. It’s a clever pattern created by time and the demise of numerous beautifully patterned mackerel. It enables the fish to mimic the movement of light on the water’s surface when seen from above, while appearing as the sky when seen from below.

It’s critical to retrieve the lure while spinning. Your lure’s swimming depth and direction through the water will be determined by retrieval speed. Personally, I’ve discovered that the most successful retrieve is one that is steady with perhaps the occasional twitch.

The most important thing when retrieving is to visualize where your lure is in the water. It’s a good idea to cast out on your first cast, let your lure sink, maintain a tight line, and time how long it takes for the line to go slack. With practice, you develop an intuitive sense of how long it will take your lure to sink to the seafloor, and you can adjust the depth at which you fish in response to this awareness.

Additionally, drop your lure into the water in front of you, watch it fall, and then twitch it to see what happens. Additionally, it gives you more control over how you present your lure.

When retrieving, try to maintain a tight line to prevent poor line lay and tangles. It is acceptable to let your line slack as your lure sinks because this enables a more natural presentation. Your lure falls straight down when your line is lax as opposed to arcing around the pivot of your rod when it is taut. With mackerel, bass, or pollack, you won’t miss any fish with a slack line, so don’t be concerned.

Depending on where the food is, mackerel will hunt anywhere along the water column. The middle of the water column is a good place to start looking for them with your bait or lures. You might notice that they are feeding near the surface, or that during the winter, when there are fewer bait fish available, they are frequently closer to the bottom. If I see others catching mackerel at a fishing spot, my first question is, “How deep are you fishing?” When mackerel are feeding in larger shoals, this knowledge is much less important because they become more reckless and will occasionally strike your lure as soon as it splashes in the water.

By far, the most productive way to catch mackerel is from a boat because you can cover more ground and aren’t constrained to one spot. When you fish for mackerel from a boat, it’s a completely different experience and you need much heavier lead weights if you’re trolling or fishing in deep water. Smaller lead weights under 4 oz won’t sink quickly enough to maintain a low profile in the water while being pulled by a boat. Feathers are best for maximising catches. If you only use one lure, use a jig because they are made to sink quickly.

1. Float fishing for mackerel is the most relaxing way to fish, so grab a a good light spinning set up float rig and attach it to your mainline.

2. Oily baits spread a slick that fish can see and smell, making them the worst bait for catching mackerel. Rag, lug, squid or sandeel also work.

3. Use a strong, razor sharp hook size 2-3 for optimal hook ups. 1/0 is too large. Size 1 is fine. If you’d like to catch garfish too, just think how small and hard those beaky mouths are.

4. Use braid if possible, as it floats on the surface which will give you much more direct contact with your float.

What Is The Best Bait For Mackerel Fishing?

What Is The Best Bait For Mackerel Fishing?

The allure of float fishing for mackerel is that you can observe the float’s enticing dipping and bobbling as a fish takes the bait before watching the float disappear beneath the water. Sometimes you start daydreaming while fishing because it is such a relaxing activity, and when you wake up your float is gone and it is now 6 meters under the water being pulled by a monster mackerel or garfish.

Additionally, float fishing gives you the opportunity to catch a wider variety of species than you would with feathers or hard metal lures. Fishing at various depths is one of the most crucial things to try because if the fish are all feeding lower in the water and you’re only 4 meters under the surface, you might not catch anything. Nearer the surface you will catch garfish and mackerel. You’ll also catch more wrasse and pollack as you move deeper toward the bottom.

What is the best month to catch mackerel?

The best time to catch mackerel is from May to June, though they are also frequently caught throughout the summer and occasionally even in the winter.

Where do you find mackerel?

Being a pelagic species, mackerel perpetually rove the open seas. They can be caught in boats both offshore and from the shore at a variety of depths.

Are mackerel in yet?

Mackerel are typically available starting in late April, but this depends on the year and the region.

Do mackerel die after being handled?

Yes, a study has shown that after being handled, mackerel die from skin burning caused by human hands’ natural oils. Wetting your hands does not help.

What is the best time to catch mackerel?

At high tide and at dusk or dawn, mackerel fishing is at its best. The best tides are frequently in the spring because they drive mackerel and baitfish closer to shore. Mackerel can be caught anytime, however.

What tide is best for mackerel fishing?

A high tide in the spring is the best tide for catching mackerel. These tides occur when there is the greatest difference between high and low water and the strongest water flow. Mackerel follow the bait fish into the shore when there are strong tides.

What’s the best mackerel fishing gear?

The best equipment for fishing for mackerel is a straightforward spinning setup with an 8–9-foot rod, 16–lb monofilament line, and mackerel feathers like these sabiki feathers from Japan. But with a light game setup, catching mackerel is the most enjoyable method.

Mackerel fishing off the beach?

There are beaches where you can catch mackerel, but these tend to be the ones where the water gets deep quickly or when you know a lot of bait fish are being pushed close to shore.

What distinguishes a mackerel from a scad or a horse mackerel?

Scad don’t look much like mackerel at all. They have large eyes, bony scales, sharp spines, and a silvery color. You won’t confuse the two, except in name. The idea that eating scad is difficult is untrue; all you need to know is how to fillet and debone fish.

Horse mackerel is also referred to as scad, jack mackerel, or “Agi” in Japan. I bring up Japan because they developed a highly sophisticated lure fishing technique specifically for catching these fish, which is now known as LRF (‘Light Rock Fishing’) in the UK, unlike the UK where scad are typically regarded as a bony bicatch.

Scad (or a species that is closely related to the Scad) is a delicacy that is consumed raw as sashimi in Japan. Even a whole day, known as Aji Himono Day, is set aside to honor the Scad. Scad are a delicious seafood option, but you must remove the bones before cooking them.

In the warmer months, scad are common and frequently show up in shoals with mackerel. They are caught in much greater numbers at night, when silhouettes of shoals moving slowly can be seen in the water. They don’t actually look or act like mackerel, even though they hang out together and are therefore associated with mackerel. The scad has enormous, excellent eyes that can see in the dark. They probably feed in much deeper water than mackerel, though I’m not sure.

Without a doubt, Sabiki feathers, which are light regular mackerel feathers with smaller hooks, are the best method for catching scad. The best sabiki feathers for fishing at night would be glow-in-the-dark ones, but outside of Japan, very few people actively pursue scad. Casting jigs work best with LRF equipment; in fact, many of our premium casting jigs in the UK are imported Japanese products made for catching scad.

Mackerel start to dive into the ocean’s depths in November, and scientists think they will remain there for a while, congregating in large shoals near the continental shelf. They wait until February when they return to the shallows and split off into somewhat smaller shoals once more. They swim as if half awake in offshore pits, feeding near the bottom. Then the feeding frenzy starts all over again as they consume plankton, krill, and any lure you throw their way. The fish are large enough to eat after one year.

How to catch mackerel: The best seasons and times for mackerel fishing

Mackerel are plentiful along many coastlines if you go during the summer’s prime mackerel fishing times, when water temperatures are at their highest and there is an abundance of food that mackerel eat.

Unless you have access to a boat or kayak, in which case they’re accessible for the majority of the year, they lurk too far away for even the longest casters for part of the year, which can make learning how to catch mackerel challenging.

Peak summer, autumn, and any time the water temperature is at its warmest are the best times to catch a lot of mackerel because they can be found in enormous shoals in the warmer months, pursuing bait fish like sandeels close to shore.

Like many species, mackerel feed best at dawn or dusk in terms of the time of day. Around these times, their prey, including small fish, sandeels, lance, shrimp, and squid, is also most active. You’ll most likely have a busy session if you can fish when the light changes around dawn or dusk, with a tidal change just before or after this time so the water is moving in or out somewhat.

Use a light stick or glow stick on the line to entice mackerel to the rig if you want to try night fishing. This can work a treat off a pier or jetty. Use a size 8 to 1 hook and a few feet of fresh mackerel belly with the white flesh on the glowstick to fish near pier lights or other areas where baitfish congregate. You can also use a baited sabiki rig.

Spanish mackerel fishing inshore

Additionally, Spanish mackerel will enter Florida’s inshore waters. Inlets, passes, and flats produce a lot a fish. In comparison to the open waters of the Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, these inshore waters are where mackerel are least frequently observed feeding on the surface.

The best way for anglers to find schools of Spanish mackerel in inshore waters is by drifting. This is carried out on the flats as well as in the passes and inlets. The best grass flats for finding Spanish mackerel are frequently those that are deeper, in 6 to 10 feet of water, and closer to inlets and passes. Many fish will be found in inlets and passes, especially when there is bait available.

Anglers can use both live and artificial baits when drifting for Spanish mackerel. It works well to free line live shrimp or bait fish behind the boat. If necessary, a split shot or two can be added to lower the bait in the water column. A long shank hook will help reduce cutoffs. 1/0 is a good all-around size.

When drifting the grass flats, artificial lures can definitely be used as well. When jigs, spoons, and plugs are fan cast out in front of a drifting boat, they all catch fish. Spanish mackerel are attracted to fast-moving flashy lures. Therefore, and aggressive, erratic retrieve often works best. The most successful lures frequently operate a few feet below the surface because Spanish mackerel are frequently found in the upper part of the water column.


What is good bait for mackerel?

With a quick retrieve, lures that resemble glass minnows, sardines, plichards, and other bait can easily fool Spanish mackerel, which enjoy a variety of small prey.

What is the best month to catch mackerel?

The best time to catch mackerel is from May to June, though they are also frequently caught throughout the summer and occasionally even in the winter.

What time of day is best for mackerel fishing?

The Best Times To Catch Mackerel Mackerel fishing is best done at dusk or dawn when the tide is at its highest. This will give you the highest chance of catching them. Since mackerel will follow bait fish into the shore during spring high tides, we advise targeting these smaller fish.

What’s the best way to fish for mackerel?

Use a string of Sabiki Bait Lures with a pear-shaped lead weight attached at the lower end of the string while the boat is drifting with the motor off (otherwise, it might spook the mackerel). Jig it up and down while slowly lowering this until you feel a fish strike.

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