Different Sea Fishing baits to use
Mackerel is widely available to the angler and is a top sea fishing bait for a variety of species. They can be caught on feathers, purchased frozen from the tackle shop, or bought fresh from the fishmonger’s shop. There are many methods of presenting mackerel on the hook, as it can be used in its whole form or cut into small strips.
Most shore anglers cut fillets, one from each side, and then cut these into small strips. To cut the fillets away from the bone, simply hold the mackerel down on a cutting board by the head and insert a sharp knife into the flesh behind the gills. Cut so that the knife blade reaches the central bone. Then turn the knife away from the head, cutting all the way down the body to the tail. By keeping the knife, blade flat and following the top of the central bone, the knife will exit at the wrist of the tail.
The cut fillet should lift away from the main body in one piece. If you then require a number of smaller strips of mackerel flesh it is simply a case of cutting uniform strips from one of the fillets. When you are shore fishing with float tackle for mackerel and garfish it is advisable to cut small strips. Boat anglers fishing for conger eels, tope or sharks will use what is known as a “flapper”. This is a whole mackerel with the backbone cut away to leave the head and side fillets intact. When presented on the hook, the fillets flap around in the tide, giving the impression the bait is on the move. If you catch a few mackerel next time you are out fishing, why not gut and freeze them to use later on in the year. if you are freezing mackerel it is a good idea to wrap them individually in clear Film (plastic wrap) after cleaning them, as this will protect the flesh from freezer burn.
For boat fishing, anglers will usually use a whole or half-mackerel bait, depending on the species they are fishing for. For larger species, such as conger, a whole mackerel is the standard approach. The mackerel is mounted up whole on a large hook in a fashion known as a “flapper bait”. This consists of a whole mackerel that has had the backbone removed, giving tie appearance of a moving target for the conger to grab at.
This also helps to release very strong scent trail for the fish to home in on. sea hook, which should be a size 6/0 or 8/0, is passed through the head with the point left clear. When fishing for bass or cod a simple whole side fillet can be mounted on the hook by passing the hook through the bait at the top of the fillet twice. This will ensure the bait stays firmly on the hook, but it allows the tail end of the fillet to move freely in the tide, imitating a small fish. The shore angler will be using smaller baits for species like garfish, cod, dogfish, whiting and even mackerel themselves. The most common way of preparing shore bait when using mackerel is to cut it into long strips.
Each strip is then used as an individual bait on a small sea hook, such as a 1/0. When cutting the strips it is a good idea to make the cuts at an angle across the body so the bottom of the strip tapers down to a point. The hook is inserted through the top end of the strip once only. Once present in the water the strip of mackerel will give the appearance of a small fish or fry; this is perfect for any larger fish on the lookout for a free meal. Mackerel is a great sea fishing bait to use.