When Do Mackerel Run In Maine?

In the Gulf of Maine they can be caught from late spring through fall, although mackerel fishing is best in early June after spawning or during the fall when they are fattened following a summer of feeding.

I had spent my entire life fishing for a variety of fish. I experimented with almost all available lures and fishing methods. When I was 32 years old, the only saltwater fishing memory I had was from when I was a very young child and puttered through the ocean somewhere in Maine off the coast of Pine Point, filling coolers with mackerel that had been reeled in and plucked off of trees using six hooks. Around each hook was a different color of plastic. I recall the air’s smell and the peculiar brown fiberglass boat my father owned in the 1970s more so than the actual location or event. The following memory was of visiting Florida when I was 12 or 13. My mother bought a half-pint of frozen shrimp and rented a pole for me. I dangled my line off the pier and caught nothing. I do, however, distinctly recall one of the fishermen reeling in a large stingray and watching in awe as a pelican repeatedly attempted to swallow the odd-looking fish, which was easily as large as he was. He would hook the device up and try again just as it appeared he would succeed in choking to death.

I had recently experimented with light tackle surf casting for stripers. It didn’t end well. I got into trouble with the guys I was fishing with and had no idea how everything worked. The following day, I bought myself a frozen mackerel, and after 45 minutes of solo fishing in a cove off the rocks, I was hauling home a 26-inch fish that nearly snapped my pole in half. I was hooked on fishing the ocean!.

In my earlier years, I spent a significant amount of time in Portland, Maine. After much struggle and adventure, I eventually returned to my home state, where I belonged. Every day I would enter the Pearl Street office building. It was a few blocks away from a ferry terminal and overlooked the bay. I was aware that many people were fishing off the pier down there. I was unsure of what they were looking for and was afraid to inquire. I was shy and slightly concerned that asking the person “Whatcha’ fishin’ for?” would make me appear foolish.

Naturally, I would have to act less intelligent and inquire as to what they were using as bait and how they fished. I had a thousand questions but was afraid to ask. I really didn’t want to bother the fishermen with my presence. As one of those individuals, I now take pleasure in chatting with other people and tourists about fishing, how it’s done, what we’re using, and how to prepare the catch.

I worked with a man who required assistance to continue working and fit in with the community. He enjoyed walking and fishing. The bus driver wouldn’t let him board the vehicle with a fishing pole, but one day he made the suggestion that we go outside and observe people fishing while we were having lunch. John, who was in his 70s, was considerably older than I was. He was thin, short but absolutely full of life. I still don’t understand how he could have a mental disability, even though it was diagnosed. I would only diagnose him with lack of formal education. I have known many people working in many different jobs. I have come across people who have far less intelligence running for office and covering their heads in white sheets of hatred. John was old enough and intelligent enough to live this long, be healthy, happy, and have a good network of friends.

We sat down and observed the people fishing on their pier for two to three hours. I didn’t hesitate to inquire about my new friend’s activities. He knew Mackerel. He said they were fishing for mackerel, and occasionally I saw them being brought up on the pier one at a time. He explained to me how to fish for them and what other mackerel they were using as bait. To this day he still has techniques that elude me. He sat patiently for 30 minutes closer to shore to reel in a fish that was between 17 and 18 inches long after leaving the area where the tinkers were running heavily.

Since that first day, I’ve experimented with a variety of techniques and discovered new thrills when striper and mackerel fishing from the shore. I’ve learned to observe other people who are fishing and closely observe them behind their backs to see what equipment and techniques they are using. I have discovered friendship among shore fishermen (and women), who are happy to discuss fishing. Separating fact from the fish story requires some skill. Usually the tackle and technique are pretty accurate. A fish’s bite pattern, degree of resistance, and size are all subject to vote.

It’s true that mackerel make good bait for a variety of other game fish. When trolling behind a boat through dense schools of mackerel, fish can also be caught on trees by the dozen. Mackerel are often ignored for their value as sport fish. They put up a good fight, can occasionally be picky biters, and frequently go on powerful runs. Mackerel produce some dark meat and have a strong fish flavor. This attribute makes them perfect candidates for thick stews. Winter comfort comes from a milk broth stew with potatoes, oregano, and mackerel.

They are also a lot of fun to catch when caught one at a time on light gear. This is particularly true for novice anglers who lack patience. Young fishermen and women can witness a lot of excitement when mackerel are schooling densely.

So I began fishing for Mackerel off the pier. I firmly believed I understood how everything operated. One day, after spending nearly three hours sitting on the pier, I had nothing to show for it. A young woman arrived at the pier, threw something substantial out, and upon her return had two fish on two hooks. Standard red streamers that were weighted and retrieved were preferred by the Mackerel over a typical diamond jig. My creation of the Mackerel Smackerels was the result of some investigation and research. I’ll discuss some of the additional information I’ve discovered about these lovely green fish.

When schooled up and hungry they are aggressive feeders. To prevent the other fish from stealing it, mackerel will charge, grab, and then flee with almost anything. When you drop a strip of fish or smackerel on a #1 or #2 hook and two or three fish come up, one of them grabs the bait and is chased away by the school… You’re about to catch a bunch of fish.

The bigger fish aren’t always in the action. The larger mackerel don’t always waste their energy chasing the smaller ones around to engage in combat for a small scrap of food. Mackerel tend to school up according to size. This also equates to their cruising speed. The bigger Mackerel occasionally seem to un-school on occasion. They appear to typically hang far out or near the edges of the smaller fish schools. I haven’t figured out why. Maybe once in the bay, the bigger guys won’t feel as compelled to attend school for their own safety.

Whatever the reason, John and I have found that the best place to go on the pier to get some action is where they are biting and running. It often pays to drop your line close to where it appears they aren’t biting if you’re not in such a rush and want to land the larger fish. Make yourself comfortable and use a sizeable portion of whatever they seem to prefer to eat.

Getting the big Mackerel to bite: A big Mackerel is any fish that is larger than 15 inches. Scientists say they can get over 7. 5 lbs and live up to 20 years. We fish mostly for Tinkers here in Maine. But don’t be fooled by their appearance; some of them fight like largemouth bass.

Tuna relatives, Mackerel swim like tiny green devils. The typical fish caught off the Portland pier is probably between 10 and 14 inches long. In order to catch a bigger fish on the pier (or jetty), you settle in after leaving the main action behind. Mackerel seem to school at varying depths.

For whatever reason, the larger mackerel appear to be more consistent. It appears that a depth of 8 to 10 feet is about right. If the sun is very bright and the water is warm, you might have better luck about 4 feet above the bottom. It usually appears to be barely visible in the water.

Tie a knot in your line at the reel (open faced reel) once you’ve determined the appropriate depth. Reel up and cast way out as far as possible. Use your judgment to ease your line in at the designated depth until you reach the reel’s knot. Get comfortable and jig your line roughly every 30 seconds. The big cousin of the little tinkers there will probably be reeling there, so look there.

Even if you have separated yourself from a school of mackerel when it approaches a pier or jetty, you may still be able to catch fish in the center of the school. Who is pulling fish into the school reveals a lot about how it is operating. Even if you can’t see the fish, you can still see the school swimming down the length of the pier as you watch the poles begin to bend in succession. Try to estimate how far the lines are from the rocks or pier when hit if you notice poles bending closer. Depending on your objectives, you may want to match or miss-match the lines.

Yes, there are slow days for mackerel. Although the article above may not have given that impression, it does happen. When the tide is in its peaks and valleys, mackerel typically aren’t as interested in feeding at piers. Moreover, they will significantly slow down later in the running season, from late summer to fall. In order to help entice bites during these times, the old timers in Maine used to advise tying a piece of red flannel on your hook. Due to this old advice and my experience using the aforementioned streamers, I have experimented quite a bit.

I’ve taken my entire case of lures, both freshwater and saltwater, and sat down on the pier to try them all. This tackle box resembles a suitcase more than it does a tackle box. On a slow day, I will throw anything into the water to see what happens. I have nothing to lose if nothings biting.

The things that most closely resemble the Smackerels are what I keep returning to. They look fantastic when strung together in threes behind spinners to create the illusion of a school. On occasion, I’ll also tie a piece of mackerel flesh to the hook to add flavor. Mackerel can smell fish quite well in the water.

If you are starting the season without any bait, grab a can of clams in their own juice or, if nothing is coming out of the water at all, slop a smackerel through tuna fish juice. Most of the time, all it takes to get a bite is a smackerel running or jigging behind a sinker. You only need to tie on a light swivel and a hook once they begin to bite heavily; I usually omit the leader. Sometimes there are just no schools around. This happens when Blue fish start moving in.

Mackerel Tackerel: I take a light, 5-foot closed-face rod and reel (a $10 bargain from Walmart) when I go fishing for mackerel. 6-61/2’ Open faced reel / rod. I rig the light reel with 8-10lb monofilament. The open faced has 12 – 18lb mono. I occasionally cast with one line while fishing it near or on the bottom.

I typically only keep the 5′ pole and the following small case of terminal gear in the trunk if I’m going to work. There are sleek-looking lines available, but for pier, jetty, and shore fishing like this, all that cash for braided line and super fine line that costs about $20+ per small spool should be put on the shelf.

I bring a compartmentalized plastic box with five or more mackerel smackerels in it. I might prepare a few casting setups with spinners and weights. About ten #1 or #2 bait hooks and four or five swivels are needed to rig up pieces of mackerel as bait. While you’re there, probably someone else will need to borrow one. A small, sharp knife or fillet knife to cut up the bait Mackerel, mussels, clams, snails, or whatever else I find to use as bait A few eight to ten tiny sinkers that range in size from 1/8 to 1/4 oz. I have a few yards of 20-pound test in case I need it as a leader. A couple 2/0 or 3/0 hooks and a 1 oz. weight. If you find Stripers lurking near the bottom when the Mackerel have left, that’s even better. In case I want to bring any home, a plastic bag or small cooler

That’s pretty much it. I keep a cheap fish kit in my trunk from May to October. It’s a kit that consistently yields all the fish I want to catch.

Good luck and good fishing. May it bring you as much or more pleasure than I have experienced in a sport that is not only entertaining, instructive, and exciting but also provides you with delectable seafood on your plate?

Serving size equals 100 g of raw, naturally occurring food. Amount Per Serving Calories 205 Total Fat 13. 8 g Total Protein 18. 6 g Omega-3 2. 45 g Cholesterol 70 mg Sodium 90 mg.

When Do Mackerel Run in Maine?

Fish migration from the ocean to the upper reaches of rivers and other bodies of water is referred to as the “fish run” during this period.

Typically, the goal of the run is to look for food, spawning sites, safety, or better weather, among other things. When mackerel run in Maine, it is best to be in the water because they do so in schools, increasing your chances of catching a bite.

In Maine, you can anticipate that mackerel will migrate to rivers and other smaller bodies of water from June to August or as soon as summer starts. In fact, the state refers to these months as “hopping months”!

When northern contingent mackerel move inshore to southern coasts, the migration can begin as early as May. When they return north to spawn, they will pass through coastal Maine once more by September. This is when they begin to head to deeper waters.

There will be more river activity during their runs, which will result in the production of trout and salmon in addition to mackerel. This is due to the fact that as the waters warm, fish are more likely to migrate to central Maine and invade the flowing tidal rivers and coast at this time.

Mackerel will likely spend a lot of time close to the shore, especially if the migrating bluefish stay further south. At this time of year, they frequently congregate in schools of thousands, occasionally dispersing or blending with herring or shad as they feed.

Because of the ripples that schools of mackerel make as they migrate, you can see them from the surface, especially during the day. Since you can hear some firing in the water and see some reflections, nights are also a great time to go fishing for them.

But just because mackerel are migrating doesn’t mean it will be simple to catch them. There are slow days, particularly when the weather is bad and stormy or windy. Because of this, you must also take the day’s weather and water temperature into account.

In addition, you should ensure that you have the necessary tools and skills to successfully catch mackerel during these times. When they are migrating, you can find them in water columns of 10 to 25 feet along the coasts, and you can catch them safely from boats or the shore.

►Species Description

Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus

Small (12 to 18 inches), schooling, iridescent gray to greenish blue fish, Atlantic mackerel have whitish bellies and dark, wavy stripes along their backs. Fish of the open sea, the Atlantic mackerel range widely and move in large schools from Labrador to North Carolina.

► Season

Mackerel migrate through estuaries and harbors in search of food from late spring through fall, although these migration patterns vary from year to year. They can be seen rippling the water’s surface, drawing predators like whales, porpoises, and seabirds.


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.

How do you catch mackerel from shore in Maine?

Several different methods work well when fishing from shore. Fish are drawn in from a distance by casting a mackerel jig, letting it sink, and then quickly reeling it in. However, mackerel frequently swim close to the shore, and frequently, schools of fish gather around and even below docks and floating structures.

Where are the mackerel in Maine?

Remarks: Seasonal migrants, Atlantic mackerel move in large schools. They start to appear in many of the state’s harbors, coves, and coastal rivers in late spring, where eager anglers go in search of them.

How many mackerel can you keep in Maine?

Bag limit: 10 fish per angler per day. Season: October 18 through December 31 and May 19 through September 21 respectively.

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