Shore Fishing for Horse Mackerel.
This time of year it is common to practice this type of fishing, Horse Mackerel & small Amberjack come closer to shore to hunt for sand smelt. These species normally swim in large shoals and can have a very pleasing session if they do start biting especially if we use lighter tackle were the satisfaction is greater.
The first thing to do is look for a few shallow places especially were you can see the presence of sand smelt fish , this is a tiny fish that is very shiny and clear underside as these do attract the Mackerel. When looking it is common to see either one or a few Mackerel around hunting this bait fish, it is worth a try as if you don’t you will not find out if there is one or quite a few.
When it comes to Fishing gear it does not make a difference if you use the combination of rod and reel or the hand pole, just select your preference. The only advantage in using the combination set rod and reel is the facility on the reel which is your drag in case a very nice sized fish takes the bait you have more chance of not losing it when you are fishing with light tackle obviously as I always suggest this gives you more bites and the achievement is much more satisfactory.
If using the hand pole try using quite a light one as this species of fish gives a very descent fight for the size of the fish. Fishing line to use at this time of year it is best to use 0.14 – 0.18 line all depending on how confident you are and how flexible the rod is. The rig up is simple line from the tip all the way down install a float of your liking best would be from 2 grams to 4 grams all depending on the wind and swell. With regards to hook sizes I recommend to use a strong hook with a size between 6 and 9.
If on the other hand you decide to use the combination rod and reel set up , we would have to rig up the same probably would be best to use running float technique all depending of the water depth . If we go for the Bolognese set up we can rig up just the same as the hand pole set up with the advantage of enabling us to use smaller diameter line as there is the aid of the drag on the reel.
Now moving on to the Ground Bait, a good ground bait mix for this species will be Sardine Mix together with some herring meal & a dash of Sardine Oil all from the best in the water brand Ellevi. This brand has shown us what it can do with proof of good catches abroad and in our waters too.
When it comes to bait it is not much of an issue as this species is caught on the frozen shrimp or if we do see that there is sand smelt in the area try & catch a few and use it as a live bait as when it is not alive you do usually get the Mackerel to take the bait. There is other possible baits that you can use which the Mackerel normally also bites on are Bullet Tuna and Atlantic Mackerel.
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Peter Paul Azzopardi