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Mastering Mackerel: A Solo Angler's Guide by Dave Leonard

If you're an angler with a passion for the thrill of the catch, mastering the art of Mackerel fishing can be a game-changer. Dave Leonard, a seasoned angler, shares his pro tips on how to successfully reel in the prized Spanish mackerel using effective techniques and strategies. From understanding the pelagic migration to choosing the right bait and rigging, Dave's insights are a valuable resource for those looking to enhance their fishing experience.

Pelagic Migration:

Dave highlights the importance of timing, talking about the pelagic migration season between November and June. The key is to target the 50-meter contour line, where various pelagic fish, including mackerel, congregate. First locate the signs of bait on the sounder. Where there is bait the predators will surely follow. Now is the time to start burleying the water.

Three Proven Fishing Techniques at Anchor:

  1. Floating Pilchard Technique Dave's first choice involves using three gang hooks without wire, a running ball sinker to suit the speed of the current to waft the bait gently down, and a 40-pound leader. This technique mimics injured or dead fish sinking through the water column, creating an attractive bait for pelagic fish. If the fish respond to this method but are biting through the line, Dave will add a short length of single strand wire.

  2. Stinger Rig with Live Bait Dave recommends a stinger rig with single-strand wire tied to the hook and a second length of single strand wire to connect a treble hook that you pin near the rear of the live bait. This technique is especially effective when using live bait for Mackerel.

  3. Fast Retrieve Jig Dave suggests a 70-gram metal casting jig with a treble hook be rigged and ready at all times. This setup is ideal for a quick reaction when you see schools of big fish coming through on the sounder, or mackerel feeding on the surface near the boat. The 70 gram weight will sink quickly to the desired depth before erratic jigging snaps it into life.

Rigging Like a Pro:

Dave walks through the baiting and rigging process using pilchards. After rigging the bait, he casts it behind the boat, checks the drag setting, places the rod in the holder, and starts a burley trail. Monitoring the sounder for fish activity is crucial during this stage.

Dave's firsthand experience is shared as he successfully hooks a Spanish Mackerel using the techniques described. He emphasises the importance of maintaining tension on the fish providing a real-life example of how his advice translates into a rewarding catch.


The video concludes with a brief overview of Spanish mackerel, including their characteristics, migration patterns, and preferred habitats. This information adds depth to the angler's understanding of the species and gives vital clues to enhances fishing success.

Dave Leonard's expertise provides a roadmap for solo anglers seeking to elevate their Mackerel fishing game. By incorporating these pro tips into your strategy, you'll not only increase your chances of success but also gain a deeper appreciation for the art and science of Mackerel fishing. Happy angling!