Mackerel – a large, isolated family of marine fish of the order of perciformes. The whole family is enclosed in 15 genera, in which there are at least 40 species. Before describing the general characteristics of the family and the most popular fish, it is worth noting that there are several types of fish, the features of which are described in other, separate articles. Many are wonderful trophies and often people travel to the other side of the earth for the sake of sea fishing on them.

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Mackerel Fishing

Characteristics of mackerel

There are significant differences between some fish in the family, but due to the presence of intermediate species, they are combined into a single family. This article gives characteristics and fishing methods for several similar species, which are called mackerels. They live in different geographical areas, but distribution areas may overlap. The group of mackerels most often includes two close genera: tropical mackerel and true mackerel.


All mackerels have recognizable features – this is a smooth body with a narrow, laterally compressed caudal peduncle. The shape of the bodies, fins and the presence of keels indicate that most mackerels are excellent swimmers. It is a known fact that in some species the body temperature is slightly higher than in the environment. The middle mouth is equipped with small conical teeth, including the palate and the opener. The sizes of most species of mackerel are in the range up to 70 cm. These are pelargic, schooling fish that are not connected with the bottom throughout life.

Reproduction habit of mackerel

The spawning period of mackerel can vary significantly not only regionally, but also depending on environmental conditions. Northern populations are characterized by a spring-summer period of spawning. In addition, depending on the weather conditions of a particular year, fish can migrate to regions with warmer currents. When cooling, shift to significant depths.

As already specified, the fish are not “attached to the bottom” in any way, and therefore all life processes depend only on the temperature of the water and, including, currents in the seas of habitat. To the shore, the fish approaches in the pre-spawning and post-spawning period, for the sake of feeding, as in the sea zone actively inhabited by forage species. Mackerels become sexually mature at the age of 2-4 years. In some species, females can spawn twice a year, which allows the species to maintain a sufficiently large mass.

Mackerel fishing guide: Techniques, bait and gear

Mackerel fishing techniques

The diversity of species, fish size and lifestyle implies different fishing methods. Almost all mackerel species are commercial species. Fish such as king mackerel, tuna and other species are caught with various types of amateur sea fishing, such as trolling, spinning gear for plumbing and casting, drifting and so on.

It is worth clarifying once again that this article discusses the relatively small size of mackerel species. Smaller mackerels, for example, bonito, can be caught with multi-hook tackle using fishing rods with “running equipment” and even on the simplest fishing rods. Given the conditions for the existence of mackerels, most fish of this species are caught in close proximity to the surface of the water. For fly fishing lovers, mackerel mackerel is also a very interesting fishing object.

Spinning for mackerel

When choosing gear for fishing on a classic spinning rod for fishing for mackerel, it is advisable to proceed from the principle of “size of the bait + size of the trophy”. In addition, the priority should be the approach – “onboard” or “coastal fishing.” Sea vessels are more convenient for fishing on a spinning rod, but there may be limitations. When fishing medium-sized species of “serious” marine gear is not required. Although it is worth noting that even small fish are fiercely resisting and this gives a lot of pleasure to fishermen.


Mackerels are kept in the upper layers of the water, and therefore, fishing on classic lures: spinners, wobblers, etc., is most interesting on spinning rods from marine boats. Reels should be with a good supply of fishing line or cord. In addition to a trouble-free brake system, the reel must be protected against salt water. Many types of marine fishing techniques require very fast wiring, which means a high gear ratio of the winding mechanism.

According to the principle of action, the coils can be either multiplier or inertia-free. Accordingly, the rods are selected depending on the reel system. The choice of fishing rods is very diverse, at the moment the manufacturers offer a large number of specialized “blanks” for various fishing conditions and the type of bait. When fishing for spinning sea fish, the fishing technique is very important. To select the correct wiring, you must consult experienced fishers or guides.

Catching mackerel on tyrant lure

Catching “tyrant”, the name is widespread enough and is used by fishers around the world. There are small regional differences, but the principle of fishing is the same everywhere. Still, it is worth noting that the main difference between the snap-in is rather related to the size of the extraction.

Initially, the use of any rods was not provided. A certain amount of cord is wound around an arbitrary reel, depending on the depth of fishing, this can be up to several hundred meters. At the end, a sinker is fixed with an appropriate weight of up to 400 g, sometimes with a loop at the bottom, to secure an additional leash.

Leashes are fixed on the cord, most often, in the amount of about 10-15 pieces. Leashes can be made from materials, depending on the intended catch. It can be either a monofilament, or a metal lead material or wire. It should be clarified that sea fish are less “finicky” to the thickness of the rigs, so you can use fairly thick monofilms (0.5-0.6 mm). Regarding the metal parts of the equipment, especially the hooks, it should be borne in mind that they must be coated with corrosion, because sea water corrodes metals much faster.


In the “classic” version, “tyrant” is equipped with baits, with attached colored feathers, woolen threads or pieces of synthetic materials. In addition, small spinners, additionally fixed beads, beads, etc. are used for fishing. In modern versions, when connecting parts of the equipment, various swivels, rings and so on are used. This increases the versatility of the gear, but can damage its durability. It is necessary to use reliable, expensive accessories.

On specialized vessels for fishing on the “home-made”, special on-board devices for winding tackle may be provided. This is very convenient when fishing at great depths. If fishing takes place from ice or a boat, on relatively small cords, then ordinary reels that can serve as short fishing rods are enough. When using onboard fishing rods with access rings or short sea spinning rods, a problem arises on all multi-hook rigs, with rigging out when fishing the fish. When fishing for small fish, this problem is solved by using fishing rods with 6-7 m long access rings, and when fishing for large fish, limiting the number of “working” leashes.

In any case, when preparing gear for fishing, the main leitmotif should be convenience and simplicity during fishing. “Sabiki Samodur” is also called multi-hook equipment using a natural nozzle. The principle of fishing is quite simple: after lowering the sinker in a vertical position to a predetermined depth, the angler makes periodic twitches with gear, according to the principle of vertical lightness. In the case of active biting, this is sometimes not required. “Landing” fish on hooks can occur when lowering the equipment or from the pitching of the vessel.

Mackerel fishing bait

Most species of mackerel are quite voracious, although not large predators. Various baits are used for fishing, in particular, wobblers, spinners, silicone imitations are used for spinning fishing. Of natural baits, cuts of fish and shellfish meat, crustaceans and others are used. Catching on multi-hook tackle often involves the use of fairly simple “tricks” from improvised materials. When using fly fishing gear, a large arsenal of small and medium-sized flies and streamers is used.

Where to catch mackerel

As already indicated, in the family there are a lot of fish and various species. Regardless of this, and from local names, in the scientific literature a significant number of species are called mackerels with an indication of the regional affiliation, for example, Japanese, Atlantic, and other mackerel.
The greatest diversity is observed in the warm waters of the tropical and subtropical latitudes of the oceans. But, for example, Atlantic mackerel inhabits the temperate waters of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, etc. Moreover, the distribution area of this fish reaches the North and Baltic Seas.

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