About Mackerel Fishing
There is little as good as eating a freshly caught mackerel, but they do deteriorate rapidly if not frozen. This page gives a "how to" for mackerel fishing.

As mentioned on the Mackerel Reference page, mackerel like a good water flow, therefore shoals can be found around headlands, breakwaters, piers and even reefs. It has been known for mackerel to shoal around sewage outfalls. To locate these shoals, there are a number of methods:

  • Watch for diving birds, either offshore or near a beach
  • Heavy concentrations of jellyfish, in warmer waters. This indicates a warm flow of warter, which can hold mackerel shoals.
  • Small bubbles breaking at the surface of the water. This effect is seen when mackerel are feeding.
  • User an echo sounder/fish finder!
Good conditions for fishing are muggy, heavy evenings that threaten a storm but with little, if any wind. The mackerel will move inshore with the tide after food. Good fishing can however be found in most conditions if in a boat!

Once the fish have been located they will need to be caught! From shore or boat the most common method used by anglers is the feather. The most basic form of feather can be as simple as a piece of silver paper tied to a hook. The most common form however, are cock neck feathers whipped to a hook. The paper or feather should be mobile so that it flaps when pulled through the water. The colour of feathers can be bright, reds, blues and even white are common but any colour that can provide a contrast to the water can be used. There is no best colour to use as differing water conditions will affect the contrast acheived. Modern plastic lures are also becoming popular, and these work equally as well as true feathers.

The lines should be weighted, either by lead or a substitute and cast as far as possible. The line can be retreived eratically by raising and lowering the rod tip, interspersed by short periods of reeling in, until a mackerel is hooked. If a shoal is found then this will not take very long! If a good shoal is found then a fish for each feather on a line can be caught.

For the more sporting fisherman, a small spinner, normally in silver can be used. These must be retreived steadily when used.

When wishing to freeze mackerel, it is best to wrap the fish individually as this will ensure a faster feeze, thus the fish will be as fresh as possible when defrosted. If a number of mackerel are packed together and frozen the freezing process can take a few hours, thus causing deterioration and decay of the flesh.

Caught mackerel is also good for use as bait for other types of fish such as Turbot, Bass, Rays, Dogfish, Cod and even Conger. Depending on the target fish type the mackerel can be cut into fillets or used whole. If used whole then the head should be left on and the guts allowed to trail for the best results.