||Fishing Maine-iac | Posted: April 3, 2003
You can catch Atlantic Mackerel from a variety of locations, from a boat or from shore. Atlantic Mackerel ( Scomber scombrus), also known as Boston Mackerel or Common Mackerel, is a popular baitfish, as well as a good eating fish, and are relatively easy to catch.
With the use of a boat equipped with a fish finder, you can find schools of this tasty tidbit quite easily, as they tend to travel in large schools. They can be found very close to shore, within 25 yards, or they can be out in deeper water. Keep an eye out for sea birds, diving towards the water, looking for a meal too, as they are an indicator of schooling bait.
Atlantic Mackerel like shiny lures, as they mimic shiners and small minnows, which they feed on. A good choice of lure is the chrome plated Diamond Jig, which can be found commonly in weights of 1/4 oz. to 3/4 oz., as well as weights slightly above or below those listed above. When you hit upon a large active school, they will hit upon anything with a shiny reflection to it, such as Rapala's, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, etc. They will hit surface lures making a noise, or subsurface. I have even seen them hit Plastic Tube lures in colors imitating small squid. Another rig, that many people use to catch Mackerel with, is very similiar to a Sabiki rig, used to catch baitfish. Many of these are both commercially made or locally made, and are sold in many bait and tackle shops all along the coast. Check with your local tackle store or baitshop for availability, as well as for some of the best advice on what is currently running, and where some of the best locations to catch your quarry are.
When they are schooling they will hit everything and anything that is small enough to fit in their mouths. They tend to usually be hungry, for they need to keep replenishing their energy levels, as they are always on the move, for they are a main course for many other predatory fish, such as Stripers, Bluefish, Atlantic Bonito, Bluefin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, or any predator fish bigger than they are.
The only tackle needed to catch them is a 6 1/2' medium action rod, with a Spinning Reel, capable of holding at least 140 yards of line, in strengths rated from 4 lb. test or higher. I tend to use 10 lb. test myself, to catch these little speedsters, as it allows me to put the brakes on them quickly, in order to get them into the cooler and get on to the next one before the school moves off. They can be caught from shore, from jetty's, piers, docks, or boats. They are a great fish to share catching with your kids, for when you get into a school the action is fast and furious. As with any type of fishing though, there can be those times when nothing seems to want to bite.
Up here in Maine, I tend to fish for them, for the most part, from docks, piers, shore, jetty's, etc., along the coast, as I do not presently own a boat of my own. They start hitting the Maine Coast near the end of May and the beginning of June, depending upon the water temperatures and the abundance of food on their migration North, for the Summer, hanging around until mid to late September. When the Mackerel start arriving, you know that Summer is upon us up here in Maine, and that the Stripers, on their Northward migration, will be right behind them looking for a meal, as well as the ever hungry Bluefish.
They have great speed for their size, and also put up a decent fight on a rod and reel. They can be anywhere from 10" inches to up to 18" inches or a little greater, and weighing up to 2 lbs. or so, with the average being a little over 1 lb. They are an oily fish, on the basis of Sardines, but are quite tasty roasted or grilled, and are a great source of protein and those ever important Omega3 oils, that doctors say are important for good health.
So, if you are in the mood for some fun action, and as a change in pace for your other fishing adventures, take some time to try out the Atlantic Mackerel. And when you do, take along an extra rod and reel, spooled with heavier line, such as 20 lb. test, just in case you run into Stripers and Bluefish or other predators, looking to enjoy what you may be catching too!