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Thread: This year's target fish: Spanish Mackerel.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Default This year's target fish: Spanish Mackerel.

    Not much of a thread, but I'm bored on my lunch break, so I figured I would just throw it out there. I really want to catch some spanish mackerel from my kayak this year. I caught a few down in FL with deepblue on the same charter that yielded much larger fish, but man, on light tackle, those things were fun. Just cooked up one of my freezer bags full of fillets, and I can see why they were my grandmother's favorite fish. Targeting them this summer might involve some longer trips, but I'm convinced it'll be worth it. I will also be in obx in June, so hopefully they'll be around.

    So I guess what I'm saying is...if anyone has any tips or good spots to hit up this summer, let me know please? And if you're catching some and are willing to report it to me, I will gladly provide you with some smoked fish, which I've gotten quite good at making. Blues, king mackerel, spanish mackerel, your choice, assuming I've got some left in the freezer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    The times I've seen them have been a narrow window during the late summer-end of August/beginning of September when the water was warmest in the lower slower. I've had success trolling at a higher rate of speed then with rockfish. Granted, this was in my pre-kayak, power boating days. We were fishing around Point Lookout if I recall correctly. Their presence also seems dependent upon salinity and other variables it seems. Time will tell. Best of luck this year.
    Tight lines
    Hobie Ivory Dune Outback
    Wilderness Red Tsunami 145

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    103

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    I haven't tried for them in my kayak, but I have read a lot about them on the main forum at tidalfish.com I would suggest researching them there.
    Seems to me they prefer a faster trolling speed in the 5mph range whereas rockfish were more in the 3-3.5mph range. Never really saw much about casting or jigging for them, though.
    Green Old Town Loon 111

  4. #4
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    Feb 2016
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    We caught plenty right out in front of the breakers in FL, while kayak trolling fairly slowly. I experimented with a few lures but they hit the usual small paddletail, gulp minnows, and hair jigs (which we were trying to catch bait on). I do think they may prefer speedier trolling but I doubt it'll matter too much if you find enough of them in an area. I think the toughest part will just be to find them in the bay...but that's why I've got friends/snaggedliners right?

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    3,917

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    Most Spanish mackerel caught in the Maryland portion of the bay come by trolling. As noted above, troll at a speed faster than for stripers (4-6 knots)-- this is unlikely to sustainable for most kayakers. Gold spoons are commonly used to get their attention, but other lures work too.

    When they are around (late summer/early fall), they can co-locate with schools of stripers and blues. If you cast out to breakers and work the lure extra fast around the edges, you may hook one. Occasionally you can see fish leaping in the air around the edges of breaking fish -- they may be Spanish.

    I catch several Spanish mackerel each year while casting on the flats in Tampa Bay. I remember once I had cast out my lure when the guide said to pull up my anchor and move. I began cranking the jighead back to the kayak rapidly and was rewarded with a Spanish mackerel. The last Spanish I caught there was in mid-October. I was paddling quickly from one spot to another across a 3' deep grassy flat. I trolled a paddletail and soon hooked this feisty Spanish mackerel. They do have lots of sharp teeth.

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    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Odenton
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    I've picked up 2 Spanish in the Chesapeake Bay, one each in the last 2 CBKA tournaments I fished. The one was in the Chester River and the other in Eastern Bay, both came on small xr-8 xraps trolling along channel breaks. There were several boats trolling the same general area of Eastern Bay trolling for Spanish based on their speed.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2013
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    Spanish mackerel have been on my list the past couple of years but it's
    always been too windy for me. I do, however, know of peeps who have
    them in the bay from their kayak.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimo View Post
    I've picked up 2 Spanish in the Chesapeake Bay, one each in the last 2 CBKA tournaments I fished. The one was in the Chester River and the other in Eastern Bay, both came on small xr-8 xraps trolling along channel breaks. There were several boats trolling the same general area of Eastern Bay trolling for Spanish based on their speed.
    Good to know, thank you. Isn't the running joke that you pedal your yak between 8-12 mph though? Thats prime speed for Spanish mackerel I bet. But on a more serious note, maybe I should do the cbka tournament this year. I would like to do jbay also but I don't think that's even happening

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by yakscientist View Post
    Good to know, thank you. Isn't the running joke that you pedal your yak between 8-12 mph though? Thats prime speed for Spanish mackerel I bet. But on a more serious note, maybe I should do the cbka tournament this year. I would like to do jbay also but I don't think that's even happening

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Folks do seem to have some fun with that. Those 2 and others that I have caught trolling in Florida from the kayak were all caught at 3.5mph or less. Its always seemed to me the speed is just to weed out all the strippers and blues but who knows.

    CBKA is good, you should fish it. Jbay will be missed but I'll probably try to work in a fishing trip there in mid may regardless. Great time of year to be fishing there.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimo View Post
    Folks do seem to have some fun with that. Those 2 and others that I have caught trolling in Florida from the kayak were all caught at 3.5mph or less. Its always seemed to me the speed is just to weed out all the strippers and blues but who knows.

    CBKA is good, you should fish it. Jbay will be missed but I'll probably try to work in a fishing trip there in mid may regardless. Great time of year to be fishing there.
    Thanks for the info! Yeah John (silasvirus) and I were talking about a jbay trip even if there isn't a tournament, so we should organize an impromptu snaggedliners trip up there. I doubt we would be allowed to camp on the airfield, but there may be a decent hotel around where our kayaks would be safe in the parking lot overnight.

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