Fish for Your Dinner – Spanish Mackerel

What better way to start your holiday then to go fishing for some fresh Spanish Mackerel.

The first thing you need to ensure is that you have the right fishing gear. Through their migratory periods the Spanish Mackerel are relatively easy to catch and you can use either lures or live bait. We would recommend you use a Daiwa Sealine SLX Conventional Reel 3BB 270yd 30lb 4.9 to 1 or Okuma Titus Gold Alum Lever Drag Hi Speed 6.2 to 1 370yd 20lb Fishing reel combined with a Daiwa Sealine XB Boat Rod 7′ 1pc 20-60lb rod.

Other recommended tackle for this style of fishing is an overhead reel carrying 400 yards of 15 to 30 lb line, mounted on a medium actioned rod. Regulation game fishing type tackle is good but longer and softer rods tend to work better than game rods. The main reason for using longer rods is that mackerel have soft mouths and it is easy to pull the hooks out if the fight is forced. The smooth, parabolic action of a jig type rod is easier on the fish and the hooks stay put.

Large thread line reels and large bait casters can also be used particularly on spotted mackerel, although the Spaniards can test them for line capacity. The most important point is for the reel to have a smooth drag, this is essential on fast running fish. When fishing, the reels are set in-gear with the ratchet on and a firm but not overly hard drag. Mackerel are clean fighters and don’t have any tricks other than sheer speed. Naturally when fishing for mackerel other fish will take the baits too. And it’s not a bad by-catch either with fish like Cobia, yellowtail kingfish, marlin, longtail tuna, mackerel tuna, sharks and bonito. They all take baits intended for mackerel, so obviously this is all a bonus to the day and provides extra sport.

Spanish Mackerel are renowned for aggressively taking trolled lures and baits. Using 1-1.5oz red and white feathered lures as well as minnow lures or the Rapala with red head and white body trolled at about 8-12 knots work best to entice that hook up. You can also troll at 6-10 knots with live bait. Rigged garfish trolled around likely areas will also work well as will small bonito and frigate mackerel on the Spaniards

The first choice for bait is live slimy mackerel. This bait is the most consistently favored by the fish. The big specimens are good for the Spaniards and the small to medium ones are ideal for the spotted mackerel.The next bait in line is pike, followed by local herrings and pilchards..

During the mackerel season, finding the bait can be the most important part of the day as no bait or the wrong kind of bait may mean no fish. Mackerel are a first rate table fish and can be filleted or turned into cutlets as they have a very soft spine. They must be iced soon after capture to keep them in good condition so a large cooler filled with plenty of ice is essential.

Always remember that mackerel have extremely large, sharp teeth and they can and do bite and slash unwary anglers. When the fish is gaffed, the quickest answer is a tap on top of the head with a small bat or length of pipe. Leave the hooks in its mouth and just tie on another trace. The hooks can be extracted later when cleaning the fish.

We recommend trying the recipe below you will not be disappointed!

Spanish Mackerel (Serves 5-6)


4 Spanish mackerel steaks on the bone

4 limes juiced and zested

1/4 cup light soya sauce

Good splash fish sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 soup spoon ginger crushed and chopped

1/4 cup white wine (semillon or sauvignon blanc)

Marinate fish in above mixture 1-2 hours, then prepare the following: 1/4 cup chopped coriander 1/4 cup chopped parsley 2 chopped chillies 1 soup spoon sesame seeds 3 to 4 drops sesame oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped Juice of 1 lime plus zest


Mix together all ingredients and pat one side of fish steaks and sear on hot BBQ plate with oil, or on char grill, but not for too long as you don’t want to burn the herbs. Turn over and cook for enough time to bring to medium (do not overcook). Serve with mixed green leaf salad tossed with remaining mixed herbs.

Should you want alternate Spanish Mackerel recipes or recipes for any other fish please do not hesitate to contact Marilyn via email We will email them to you within 24 hours. Alternatively if you have a favorite recipe you would like to share please email that. We shall put that on our site with credit to you.

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