Spanish Mackerel are a great choice for anglers who want fast action, challenging battles and a wonderful meal when the day’s fishing comes to an end. They are often in abundance along beaches, inlets, and the shallows of many bays, lagoons and green water estuaries along the south eastern united states and the Gulf of Mexico during the fall and winter months of the year. This species of mackerel is caught somewhere along the coast of Florida year round. They are a highly migratory species and usually congregate in large schools. During the winter months, they usually move southward to warmer waters. In the spring and summer months they tend to move back to the north.
Spanish mackerel are a favorite of fishermen, who frequent fishing piers, inlet jetties, beaches, and small boats from South Carolina south to Georgia, up and down both the coasts of Florida, and the Gulf coasts from Destin Fl. to Galveston Texas.
Spanish Mackerel caught off the Pompano Beach Municipal Fishing Pier
Spanish Mackerel are one of the smaller sub species in the mackerel family. They usually run from 1 lb to as large as 8 or 10 lbs. They are swift swimmers and have razor sharp teeth. Their favorite food are glass minnows, which too migrate in the same patterns. When the minnows are present the Spanish mackerel are usually not too far behind.
As a sport fish, Spanish Mackerel are highly prized for their ferocious strikes, their fast runs and their persistent battles on light tackle. The ideal rod and reel is a light tackle spinning rod and reel or small bait casting rod and reel with 6 to 12 lb test line. The reel line capacity needs to be at least 125 to 150 yards. Anglers usually use a small amount of light #4 to #6 leader wire, because mackerel’s sharp teeth will cut monofilament or braided fishing lines. Many various baits and artificial lures are used to catch Spanish Mackerel. They are caught from non moving positions on beaches bridges piers, jetties, and anchored boats. Many fishermen in boats choose to troll for them, which allows for the angler to cover a lot of water, and move with the school if the fish are on the move.
Artificial lures used for Spanish Mackerel include small jigs, spoons, small feathers, quills, and small swim baits. Because Spanish Mackerel are extremely excitable, a fast retrieve is the presentation of choice. The best lures are life like at fast speeds. They are also attracted to flashing objects, therefore shiny sliver or gold spoons, and brightly colored jigs, feathers and lures are the best choice.
The most effective way to catch them depends on the angler’s ability to net a large abundance of glass minnows. When a school is located, chumming with and fishing with the glass minnows will usually excite an eating frenzy and everyone catches fish.
When I was young (long before daily bag limits on mackerel}, my brother and I used to seine net, 30 gallons of minnows, in the early morning hours before daylight, and then catch hundreds of Spanish Mackerel in the Lake Worth Lagoon in Palm Beach, on the last of the incoming and first of the outgoing tides. We also caught them offshore in shallow waters by trolling, or casting and fast retrieving Tony Acceta Spoons and feathers, Japanese feathers, and Last Word spoons with feathers. When schooled up on shallow reefs like Pecks Lake, off Hobe Sound, an anchored boat was the approach, with casting and fast retrieving jigs and lures. Pecks lake has always been known for large schools of large Spanish Mackerel.
Today, there are daily bag limits and size limits on Spanish Mackerel. Be sure to inform yourselves on all applicable rules and regulations concerning migratory game fish.
Spanish Mackerel are also a popular bait fish for catching large off shore Big game Fish, like Marlin and Giant tunas. They make great trolling baits, and are a natural diet of these big fish. When I was on the Big Game Fish Tournament circuits over 40 years ago, Spanish Mackerel were one of our baits of choice. They are still often used as a pitch bait when anglers are high speed trolling artificial lures.
The Spanish Mackerel is the choice of many Light Tackle Anglers!
To learn more, or to purchase your Fishing rods, reels, tackle and gear to catch your Spanish Mackerel, shop,the Fishing Tackle Depot.