Mackerel on the Fly

Think Small For Fall Flounder
October 24, 2019

Spanish mackerel on the fly? Youbetcha.

I’m no fly fishing sharpie, but guys who are step aboard my boat every now and again. And one of those that impressed me the most lately was a guy named David, who’s a Grim Reaper for fish with a buggy whip in his hands. What really surprised me, however, was watching him catch Spanish mackerel on the fly. This species is best targeted by trolling at a rapid pace, which is essentially the antithesis of fly fishing. So, how’d he make it work?

Spanish mackerel on the fly? Youbetcha.

  1. He didn’t even pull out the fly rod until fish were visibly within casting distance. Then, he isolated himself in one section of the boat where he could fly cast without snagging boat parts or other anglers.
  2. Boat positioning played a role. Once David was in position, the boat had to be positioned in such a way that he could send the streamer in the correct direction. As captain, that means maneuvering to the caster’s behest.
  3. He used a long, thin-profile streamer with flash, and a long hook-shank. This reduced the chances of a bite-off, but still presented a streamer that more or less matched the hatch.
  4. He never stopped retrieving at top-speed until the fly was literally inches from the tip of the rod. Several times, mackerel attacked just a few feet from the boat.
  5. He chose a light floating line, as opposed to a heavy sinker. True, the sinking line might allow for working the lure deeper. But in this case, gaining distance and then being able to rip the lure back to the boat at top speed was much more important than attaining a specific depth. And if he had been casting that heavy, sinking line, he would have quickly tired out.

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