Mackerel are tons of fun on a light spin rod or fly rod, and are pretty easy to catch. They may not be the largest species of fish, but they put up a good fight for their size, especially if caught using ultra light gear. While targeting mackerel may not offer the challenges of trout or bass fishing, this little pelagic fish can still offer many hours of enjoyment.
When selecting lures, it’s important to keep in mind the feeding habits of the target species. Mackerel are a fast-moving, schooling species of fish. They compete fiercely with other mackerel in their school, and the entire school is constantly on the move hunting down prey species. Mackerel have large eyes, which suggests predator that relies heavily on their sense of sight. The traits brings us to the following conclusions:
- Mackerel will not have time to inspect a lure closely. They are always in a race against other Mackerel to grab a prey item first. Brightly coloured or flashy lures that grab attention should be chosen instead of super realistic looking lures.
- Mackerel will not have time to notice a lures scent for the same reason mentioned above, so scented lures are unnecessary, and in my experience make no difference in your catch rate.
- You want a lure that can cover large amounts of water. This means something that has some weight to it and is preferably aerodynamic to help with casting distance. The weight will also allow you to fish deeper in the water column if necessary.
The take away is we want to use a brightly coloured, flashy lure that will cover lots of water. Spoons are my go-to for Mackerel fishing because they come in a variety of colours, are flashy, and cast like a bullet. Pictured below are a few different types of spoons I use. Kastmasters are a favourite because of the distance they get while casting, and the action they produce mimics a wounded bait fish perfectly. That being said, the specific brand doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s a brightly coloured/flashy spoon, it will catch mackerel.
Another very effective type of lure used for mackerel is spinners. They don’t cast as far as Spoons but have much more flash and create stronger vibrations when retrieved, so it’s a bit of a trade-off. If the mackerel are feeding a bit closer to shore and aren’t enthusiastic about taking spoons, I’ll use spinners to entice them into biting.
A commonly used rig for targeting mackerel is the Sabiki rig. Sabiki Rigs are perhaps one of the most widely used type of rig for fishing Mackerel. They are unique as the multiple lures allow you to cover a much wider amount of the water column. If you bounce the rig up and down as you retrieve it, you can cover the majority of the water column. Sabiki rigs come in many different styles. the most common being feathers or plastic, but they can really be made of anything, even straws and they’ll work. I usually make my own and they tend to look something like this guys lures.
Please let me know if there are any other lures that you have had luck fishing Mackerel with in the comments below.