Shark Mackerel are a fun light game fish that frequent warm watered coastal areas.
There are many ways to target Shark Mackerel using a wide variety of baits or lures. These aggressive fish and are known to hit with a blistering burst of energy and I would recommend whether you’re fishing from the boat or casting from the shore – to be prepared!
Shark mackerel are most often a by-catch for anglers targeting other pelagic fish such as tuna and Spanish Mackerel so rig big – you don’t want to lose other prized pelagics if they jump on the line.
- Rod For Trolling 5’6 – 7ft 8-24kg (depending on line choice)
- Rod For Casting – 7-10ft 10-30kg (depending on line choice and location)
- Reel – Trolling. Spin or Overhead is fine as long as it has a fairly strong drag and minimum 200 meters of line
- Reel – Casting. Spin and make it strong! Fishing from the shore casting means that you can’t chasing the fish to gain line and you need to wrangle him up over rocks on some occasions
- Line – At least 20lb braid with 40lb leader – most ideally 50lb with 80lb leader
- Wire? – YES, they have razor sharp teeth that will pop your line without you even seeing the bite on some occasions! That said, I have landed many without wire (lost many too), so don’t feel it’s game over if you happen to leave the wire at home. Recommended wire 30cm-60cm of 40-100lb.
Baits & Lures
Trolling lures fairly fast from 5 knots up to 10 knots is best, these fish have no problem hunting down a scattering bait fish and same applys for chasing lures.
There are many lures to choose from when casting or trolling. Bibbed lures would be my choice but try not to go larger than 150mm – Shark Mackerel often feed on smaller baitfish. For casting featherheads, metals or soft plastics works well too, just don’t expect them to handle too many mackerel attacks!
Tips to remember
Sharkies can be great fun when they are on, so keep your eyes open for the usual signs such as bait schools or diving birds.
When the sun gets higher in the sky fish your baits deeper. Mackerel do not have reteners that alter according to the light like we do so they go up and down the water column to cope with the glaring light.
Don’t troll into the sun – it blinds them from seeing the baits just like you and I.
If you are going to keep a Shark Mackerel be sure to bleed him well. These fish have a very strong yeast smell so by bleeding them well the flesh isn’t too fishy and can be a wonderful feed for all.