Catching more Spanish mackerel is a good goal for any angler, as these speedsters fight hard and taste great (just as long as you eat them fresh; remember, mackerel don’t freeze well). This can also be a tricky species to target, though. You want to make 2018 the year of the Spanish mack? Use these three tricks, and you will boost your catch rate.
- Pick up the pace – Spanish mackerel like fast, fleeing baits. Trollers should bump the throttles up to eight or even nine knots, and casters should crank back their lures as fast as is humanly possible. If you do plan to cast and retrieve for this species, using a reel with a high gear ratio is also a good move. And forget about the pauses and twitches that attract other species. In this case, just rip that offering through the water at top speed.
- Try gold, and try metal – Notwithstanding the fish you see photographed here, for some reason Spanish regularly favor gold-colored lures. They also tend to like to hit spoons. So small gold spoons are often the very best choice, when you want to target this species. (Note – this is true whether you’re casting or trolling).
- Get the lure down beneath the surface – Although Spanish do often feed right at the surface and may be spotted churning water, if you troll or retrieve your lure several feet below the surface you have a better chance of hooking up. For trollers, this often means adding a bunch of lead, or more commonly, an in-line planer. For casters, simply allow the lure to sink for 10 or 12 seconds before you begin your speedy retrieve.
BONUS TIP: Fillet your Spanish mackerel, skin the fillets, and slice the meat into inch-long strips. Then salt the meat and let it sit for half an hour. Rinse away the salt, put the meat strips into a zipper-lock baggie with rice wine vinegar, and allow them to marinade for two hours. Congratulations – you just made a simple form of “saba,” or pickled mackerel, which is eaten fresh as sushi!