Hello, Pro Staffer Steve here from Tackle World Kawana. In this blog we are going to talk about chasing Mackerel on bait and with lures. As they say there is more than one way to skin a Cat and there is more than one way to catch a Mackerel so throughout this blog I’m going to outline some ways that could be new to you and hopefully improve your catch rate. First off we will talk about baits. Now we all know there are different dead and live baits that will work and everyone has their favourite so we won’t get into specifics about baits as the rigs I will talk about will work on a variety of baits.
Dead Baits: There are several ways to rig a dead bait and I will talk about some very successful rigs that will catch you fish, such as using a Wog to troll dead baits. At the bottom of this blog there is pictures of the rigs to use. When the selected bait is rigged up on your gang hooks and the spring coil nose cone is used to secure the head of the bait the Wog is then slid down your wire to the head of the bait with the short section going down first. Just inside the short section you will find a hollow style weight that will fit over the nose cone and head of your bait. This is done this way so when the bait is trolled along the longer section folds back over the bait and gives a sort of pulsing movement to your bait. The bait can be trolled from around 4 to 6 knots successfully if rigged correctly, but a good way to troll any dead bait rig is to take your boat in and out of gear, as you slow down the bait will sink. When you think it has sunk far enough re-engage the motor and bring it back to trolling speed slowly. This allows you to work different water depths.
Live Baits: A stinger rig is by far the most effective for a better hook-up rate. It is a pretty straight forward rig to make. Some single strand wire of around 60lb and a solid live bait hook around 1/0 to 2/0, and a good treble of a size around 2 or 4 will do the job. It does pay to make up a few of these prior to collecting your live bait and have a few different lengths to suit the size of bait when you catch them. It is ideal to try and have the stinger hook as close to the rear of your bait as possible to cover that short bight that Mackerel are renowned for. Best trolling speed is as slow as possible. Around 2 knots is ideal. To cover different depths while doing this is, you can use a down rigger or you can use a rig which is effective for me. What I do is to place a breakaway sinker set-up about 10mtrs away from your baits. I use rubber bands to secure snapper style leads to my main line and will use anything from a 4oz to 8oz to cover different depths. The rubber band will snap from water pressure when the Mackerel takes that first blistering run and the sinker will fall away. You will lose the sinker but it is not good to have it fixed to your line as it will more than likely cause a bubble trail that another fish will attack ending up with a bite off losing everything. If you find that one rig you are running at a certain depth is getting more strikes change all rigs to the same depth to increase your chances. It does also pay to have one out with no weight on it at all.
Lures: There are few different styles of lures that can be used. Skirted lures, trolled at around 8 to 10 knots. Divers that vary in depth that are usually trolled from any wear between 4 to 8 knots but there are one or two on the market that can be trolled up to 13 knots without the lure blowing out. High speed trolling lures which have no bib and a tow point set back from the nose to allow the lure to be trolled up to 15 knots depending on brand and style which will run about 1 to 2 meters deep. So what lure do I choose? Well when using slow trolled lures you cannot run a high speed one, as a slow trolled lure will blow out and you cannot get the tight vibrating action out of a high speed lure if trolled slowly. Lure selection will come down to two main things. 1, if you’ve found fish and don’t have any baits, by using a range of which vary in trolling depths. Slow trolled lures are good to work an area and find what depth the fish are at. Your sounder should also help in selecting a good depth range. The seconds point is when you don’t have bait and are looking to find fish, a pattern of high speed lures allows you to cover more ground when looking for bait or shows of fish. I have at times bagged out just looking for live bait by doing this.
In closing if you would like any further info on these ways to catch Mackerel please call into our store and see myself or our staff so we can go into more detail on lure selection and how to rig baits for you.