Mackerels are a large, isolated family of marine fish of the perch-like order. The whole family is enclosed in 15 genera, in which there are at least 40 species. Before describing the general characteristics of the family and the most popular fish, it is worth noting that there are several types of fish, the features of which are described in other, separate articles. Many are excellent trophies and often people travel to the other side of the Earth for the sake of sea fishing on them. There are significant differences between some fish of the family, but due to the presence of intermediate species, they are united into a single family. This article gives the characteristics and methods of fishing for several similar species, which are called mackerels. They live in different geographical areas, but distribution areas may overlap. The mackerel group most often includes two closely related genera: tropical mackerels and real ones. All mackerels have recognizable features – this is a valky body with a narrow, laterally compressed caudal peduncle. The shape of the bodies, fins and the presence of keels suggests that most mackerels are excellent swimmers. It is a known fact that in some species the body temperature is slightly higher than that of the environment. The mouth is medium, equipped with small conical teeth, including those on the palate and vomer. The sizes of most species of mackerel are up to 70 cm. These are pelargic, schooling fish that are not associated with the bottom throughout their lives.
Ways to catch mackerel
The variety of fish species, sizes and lifestyles means different methods of fishing. Almost all mackerels are commercial species. Fish such as king mackerel, tuna and other species are caught by various types of recreational marine fishing, such as trolling, spinning tackle for fishing “plumb” and “cast”, drifting and more. It is worth clarifying once again that this article discusses mackerel species of relatively small size. Smaller mackerel, which are common along the Russian coast, such as bonito, can be caught with multi-hook tackle using rods with a “running rig” and even with the simplest float rods. Given the conditions for the existence of mackerels, most fish of this species are caught in close proximity to the surface of the water. For fans of fly-fishing mackerel mackerel is also a very interesting object of fishing.
Catching mackerel on spinning
When choosing gear for fishing on a classic spinning rod for fishing for mackerel, it is advisable to proceed from the principle of “bait size + trophy size”. In addition, the priority should be the approach – “onboard” or “shore fishing”. Marine vessels are more convenient for spinning fishing, but there may be limitations here. When catching medium-sized species, “serious” marine gear is not required. Although it is worth noting that even medium-sized fish desperately resist and this gives a lot of pleasure to anglers. Mackerels are kept in the upper layers of the water, and therefore, fishing with classic lures is most interesting for spinning rods from marine watercraft: spinners, wobblers, and so on. Reels should be with a good supply of fishing line or cord. In addition to a trouble-free braking system, the coil must be protected from salt water. In many types of sea fishing equipment, very fast wiring is required, which means a high gear ratio of the winding mechanism. According to the principle of operation, the coils can be both multiplier and inertial-free. Accordingly, the rods are selected depending on the reel system. The choice of rods is very diverse, at the moment manufacturers offer a large number of specialized “blanks” for various fishing conditions and types of bait. When fishing with spinning marine fish, fishing technique is very important. To select the correct wiring, it is necessary to consult experienced anglers or guides.
Fishing for mackerel on the “self-righteous”
Fishing for “tyrant”, despite the name, which is clearly of Russian origin, is quite widespread and is used by anglers all over the world. There are slight regional differences, but the principle of fishing is the same everywhere. Also, it is worth noting that the main difference between the rigs is rather related to the size of the prey. Initially, the use of any rods was not provided. A certain amount of cord is wound on a reel of arbitrary shape, depending on the depth of fishing, it can be up to several hundred meters. A sinker with an appropriate weight of up to 400 g is fixed at the end, sometimes with a loop at the bottom to secure an additional leash. Leashes are fixed on the cord, most often, in an amount of about 10-15 pieces. Leashes can be made of materials, depending on the intended catch. It can be either monofilament or metal lead material or wire. It should be clarified that sea fish is less “finicky” to the thickness of the equipment, so you can use fairly thick monofilaments (0.5-0.6 mm). With regard to metal parts of the equipment, especially hooks, it is worth bearing in mind that they must be coated with an anti-corrosion coating, because sea water corrodes metals much faster. In the “classic” version, the “tyrant” is equipped with baits, with attached colored feathers, woolen threads or pieces of synthetic materials. In addition, small spinners, additionally fixed beads, beads, etc. are used for fishing. In modern versions, when connecting parts of the equipment, various swivels, rings, and so on are used. This increases the versatility of the tackle, but can hurt its durability. It is necessary to use reliable, expensive fittings. On specialized vessels for fishing on “tyrant”, special on-board devices for reeling gear may be provided. This is very useful when fishing at great depths. If fishing takes place from ice or a boat, on relatively small lines, then ordinary reels are sufficient, which can serve as short rods. When using side rods with access rings or short saltwater spinning rods, a problem arises on all multi-hook rigs with the equipment reeling out when playing the fish. When catching small fish, this problem is solved by using rods with throughput rings 6-7 m long, and when catching large fish, by limiting the number of “working” leashes. In any case, when preparing tackle for fishing, the main leitmotif should be convenience and simplicity during fishing. “Samodur” is also called a multi-hook equipment using a natural nozzle. The principle of fishing is quite simple: after lowering the sinker in a vertical position to a predetermined depth, the angler makes periodic twitches of tackle, according to the principle of vertical flashing. In the case of an active bite, this, sometimes, is not required. “Landing” of fish on hooks can occur when lowering the equipment or from the pitching of the vessel.
Most species of mackerel are quite voracious, although not large predators. Various baits are used for fishing, in particular, wobblers, spinners, silicone imitations are used for spinning fishing. From natural baits, cuttings from fish and shellfish meat, crustaceans and so on are used. Fishing with multi-hook gear often involves the use of fairly simple “tricks” from improvised materials. When using fly fishing gear, a large arsenal of flies and streamers of small and medium size is used.
Places of fishing and habitat
As already mentioned, there are a lot of fish and various species in the family. Regardless of this, and from local names, in the scientific literature, a significant number of species are referred to as mackerel with an indication of regional binding, for example, Japanese mackerel, Atlantic mackerel, and so on. The greatest diversity is observed in the warm waters of tropical and subtropical latitudes of the World Ocean. But, for example, Atlantic mackerel inhabits the temperate waters of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, etc. Moreover, the distribution area of this fish reaches the North and Baltic Seas.
The spawning period of mackerel can differ significantly not only regionally, but also depending on environmental conditions. The northern populations are characterized by the spring-summer spawning period. In addition, depending on the weather conditions of a particular year, fish can migrate to regions with warmer currents. When cold, shift to considerable depths. As already specified, fish are in no way “tied to the bottom”, and therefore all life processes depend only on the temperature of the water, including currents in the seas of habitat. To the shore, the fish comes in the pre-spawning and post-spawning period, for the sake of fattening, as in the sea zone actively inhabited by forage species. Mackerels become sexually mature at the age of 2-4 years. In some species, females can spawn twice a year, which allows the species to maintain a sufficiently large mass character.