Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures

This post will list Capt Jim’s Top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures. Capt Jim has been running Sarasota fishing charters since 1991. He loves chasing Spanish mackerel and considers them an underrated game fish. They fight hard, attack lures and flies with reckless abandon, are beautiful, and are excellent table fare when prepared fresh. Spanish mackerel are found all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Capt Jim’s best 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures are the #8 Rapala X-Rap, Crocodile casting spoon, Clark trolling spoon, Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits, Gotcha lures, and Diamond jigs. Spanish mackerel are aggressive feeders. They feed in clear water and use their razor sharp teeth to kill or wound prey. Then, they come back through and clean up the scraps. This makes flashy, fast moving lures the best choice when pursuing Spanish mackerel. Anglers can read more about Spanish mackerel fishing in this link.

Spanish mackerel fishing tackle

The best choice for most anglers fishing for Spanish mackerel is a 61/2 foot to 7 foot spinning outfit. Often times fairly long casts are required. 10lb monofilament or braided line works well. The good news is that most anglers who fish inshore salt waters throughout the country already own suitable equipment. Capt Jim likes the Penn Conflict gear. Anglers can click on the link below to shop,

2500 Penn Conflict/Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning outfit

Light conventional tackle is better suited for anglers who like to troll for Spanish mackerel. Conventional tackle handles the strain of planers and larger plugs. Anglers can spool these outfits up with 30 lb monofilament or braided line. This outfit is also ideal for bottom fishing for other species as well as vertical jigging. The Warfare 20 is an excellent and affordable light conventional outfit.

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Leaders of some type are required for Spanish mackerel fishing. Capt Jim uses a flourocarbon leader between 30lb and 50 lb test, depending on fish size and water clarity. Spanish mackerel will cut off lures, it is just part of the game. Steel leaders are an option. However, Capt Jim would rather get more bites and lose a few baits. In clear water, steel leaders will usually result in fewer strikes.

1) #8 Rapala X-Rap Slashbait

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

The #8 Rapala X-Rap Slashbait is number one on Capt Jim’s list of top Spanish mackerel fishing lures. It is his “go to” bait! Often times, Spanish mackerel are feeding on smaller sardines, herring, and glass minnows. These plugs closely mimic this small forage. White is the top color, with olive being second. Anglers should match the color to the water color and local forage.

Sarasota Spanish mackerel fishing

These lures are extremely effective when both cast and trolled. Anglers can blind cast using a fast, erratic, aggressive retrieve. Also, they can be cast into feeding fish. This is great sport! Rapala X-Raps are also very productive when trolled. This can be done simply on spinning tackle. Anglers need only let out the plug, count to ten, and drive around. This is an excellent technique in shallow, inshore waters to locate fish. Also, they work well when trolled behind planers.

2) Casting Spoon

Florida Spanish mackerel fishing

The Crocodile casting spoon is a terrific lure! It is number two on Capt Jim’s list of top Spanish mackerel fishing lures. One ounce is a great all-round size, though anglers can go up in weight if needed. These lures cast a mile and are a great choice when mackerel are popping up quickly. Crocodile spoons wobble enticingly and put out a lot of vibration. They are also effective for blind casting. Trolling is also extremely effective. Anglers should use a swivel to prevent line twist when using spoons.

3) Clark Trolling Spoons

Clark trolling spoons are extremely effective when fishing for Spanish mackerel. They are long and slender and have a tight wiggle. Clark spoons can be trolled at fast speeds, up to 10 knots. They are very light, however, and it is not really an option to cast them. Clark spoons come in many different sizes to match the local forage. Some type of device is used to get the spoons down in the water column. Trolling weights and planers are most often used. Anglers can learn more about light tackle trolling in the linked article.

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

Planers are clever devices that take a lure down, then “trip” when a fish is hooked. A #1 planer with a 20 foot long 40 pound test flourocarbon leader works great with a Clark spoon. This will dive down five to seven feet. Once the planer hits the rod tip, the fish will need to be hand lined in the rest of the way. Same goes for trolling sinkers. Generally speaking, the longer the leader, the more action the spoon will have.

4) Bass Assassin Sea Shad Baits

Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits are number 4 on the list of top Spanish mackerel fishing lures. These soft plastic baits catch just about every saltwater species, and Spanish mackerel are no exception. Anglers blind casting while drifting flats and passes catch mackerel when fishing for other species. They also work well when casting into schools of bait as well as breaking fish.

Longboat Key fishing charters

These baits are very economical to use. Spanish mackerel will tear up the grub. However, unlike a bucktail jig, the tail is easily replaced. Even if the entire jig gets cut off, the angler is out less than a dollar. It is hard to beat that these days! 4″ is the best size. Bass Assassin baits come in many different colors. All of them can be productive, with glow/chartreuse being Capt Jim’s favorite, followed by red/gold shiner. 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce jig heads are most often used, though anglers can go larger if depth or current dictates it.

5) Gotcha lure

The Gotcha lure is a well-known and productive lure for catching Spanish mackerel. This is particularly true on the east coast. Surf and pier anglers use them extensively. They cast a mile, have a lot of flash, and the hook-up rate is excellent with the treble hooks. They are also reasonably affordable. The best Gotcha lures for mackerel have the chrome finish.

top 8 Sarasota fish species

The Gotcha lure is very easy to use. It is cast out, allowed to sink, then brought back in as fast as possible with hard, aggressive jerks. The bait will flash and roll and attract Spanish mackerel to it. obviously, it works great when cast into breaking fish. This lure is primarily designed to catch Spanish mackerel, and it does the job well!

6) Diamond jigs

Diamond jigs are a bit of a ‘secret weapon” among charter boat captains in my part of the world. They do not look like much, nor do they have a lot of action. However, they are extremely effective in a certain application. That is when Spanish mackerel are feeding on glass minnows in clear water. They can be extremely fussy then and can be difficult to fool. The Diamond jig has just enough flash to get them to bite. They are light, therefore most often trolled as opposed to being cast out. One ounce works well when the bait is small. Larger versions are often used by anglers vertically jigging over structure.

In conclusion, this post on the top 6 Spanish mackerel fishing lures will help anglers catch more of these speedy game fish!




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