Mackerel Fishing


Mackerel fishing is one of the most popular forms of fishing in the UK. They are one of the best fish to eat hot or cold, and at the end of the blog I will give my BBQ method. Here’s our guide to some of the different ways to fish for mackerel.

Boat Fishing

You can fish for mackerel from a boat from April to September all around the coast of the UK. Once you are at sea you can anchor, then set a string of six feathers, with a weight of about 200g. You would probably use a short rod to drop down to the bottom. If you then reel in giving a short twitch every three turns of the reel, this will make the feathers look like baitfish to a mackerel.

Pêche Cap d'Antibes (06) Alpes Maritimes Paca France

The main thing to work out is what the fish are feeding on, as a rough guide if the fish are feeding on whitebait, you use white feathers, if they are feeding on sand eels use red feathers and if they are feeding on a mixture use mixed feathers. You should use a colour for about six drops then change, you also have to remember that mackerel are by nature a shoaling fish, so if you do not catch fish on each colour, you may not be in the shoal so try again. When you do start catching you should catch a fair few fish but if you stop the shoal may have moved on. So keep trying or move the boat. If you have a sounder on the boat this will help locate the shoal.

Pier and Jetty

From a pier or jetty with a short cast you can get among the fish. As with boat fishing you need to reel in once you have cast – try to remember to keep the rod high so as not to get stuck on the bottom. With this type of fishing you would use a longer rod than on a boat to get more distance. You would use the same terminal tackle as for boat fishing, but please be aware of safety when casting as hooks can be painful, so look around before you cast. Use the same colour of feathers as the same feeding pattern will apply. You can use a luminous bead on the feathers to attract the fish, and you can also use small lures that look like small fish with a treble hook on the back to catch mackerel.

Beach Fishing for Mackerel

When beach fishing for mackerel you will need a longer rod as you need to get further out and distance is the key, but make sure that the rod is not too heavy as you may be casting for about three hours before high tide and an hour after high tide. A tip is to go where you want to fish at low water to see if there is any debris or rocks there. If you find debris and you cast 6 hooks, you will lose them, so look for an area with no obstructions. Mackerel are a mid-water feeder so when reeling in keep the rod high and do not stop reeling to gain from the fish feeding in the surf.

When beach, pier or jetty fishing the tides are very important. You can get a tide table online for your area or from some tackle shops. In my area the tides are worked out at Southend Pier, so if I was fishing at Shoeburyness (3 miles eastwards) the high tide would be twenty minutes earlier than Southend Pier, or if I was fishing at Canvey Island (4 miles westward), they would be thirty minutes later. Most tide tables will have high and low water, also they will have an S for Spring high tides and an N for Neap, low tides depending on the moon’s cycle.

The only thing left is to get the BBQ ready! For mackerel I’d advise applying a little salt and pepper butter, wrapping the fish in tin foil, cooking for about six minutes each side (ensuring that the BBQ is hot before starting) and then enjoy with some bread and butter.

Tight Lines to all.

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