Light Tackle Casting - Spanish Fun
Feature In The Coastal Angler Magazine, By Capt Matt Lamb
Summertime is here and you can have some great fun on light spinning rods catching Spanish mackerel. It’s some of the fastest fishing action you can get into. In late summer the Spanish will school up in very large numbers in the Beaufort Inlet and around the Fort Macon Rock Jetty. Most of the fish will be in the 2- to 4-pound range, but on a medium-light spinning rod they will put up a great fight. This kind of fishing is great for the whole family and especially for kids, because it’s probably the easiest fishing you can do. Simply cast and reel as fast as you can and that’s it!
You will find that the best action is early in the morning, before the sun gets too high, so be on the water before daylight. Some days, if it’s overcast and cloudy the Spanish will stay up all day. Around the end of the day from 5 pm until dark the Spanish will start their feeding frenzy again. As soon as the high light of the sun starts to go down, the fish will come back up and begin feeding again. At this time of year I have seen schools of Spanish feeding on glass minnows as far as you could see, all the way out in the Shipping Channel.
When you get near the inlet you want to keep your eyes trained on the water, looking for signs of feeding fish. One of the best ways to find them is to look for the birds. The birds will show you where the fish are. They will dive down, trying to pick up the stunned glass minnows that the feeding Spanish have left behind.
If you don’t have a boat you still can get in on the Spanish action. The Oceanana Pier, Sheraton Pier, Fort Macon Rock Jetty and Radio Island Rock Jetty are all great areas to fish from the shore.
There is a major key to having good success in catching the summertime Spanish: the lure you are casting to the fish it has to be small. If it’s too big, they will not bite! You can throw large lures at them all day and not get a bite, because the lure is too big. The lure has to be the same size as the bait they are feeding on or nearly the same size. That’s what they want, and that’s what they are going to bite.
Let’s talk about some of the best lures to use when casting for Spanish mackerel. Sea Striker Jig Fish Lures in the 1/2 oz. to 3/4 oz. sizes in Green/Silver, Pink/Silver, Blue/Silver, Black/Silver and Gold/Amber are all great choices. Crippled Herrings in the 1/2 oz. to 3/4 oz. sizes in the Chrome/Green and Chrome/Blue or Kastmaster Jigs in 1/8 oz. gold or silver and Hopkins in the same sizes also work great. Speckline Redfish 1/4 oz. Magnum in Chartreuse/White work well also. One of the all-time favorites for casting has to be the Gotcha-plug; casting any color or any size will really catch Spanish. There is a new lure out called a Pole–Kat Lure that works well too. They look like Gotcha-plugs but have holographic sides that look just like glass minnows. But most of the time, even the Gotcha-Plugs and Pole–Kat lures are too large in size. Again, the whole key to catching lots of Spanish by casting is matching the bait that they are feeding on, and 90% of the time it’s glass minnows. Any of the lures listed above are super easy to use. Make the longest cast you can, let it sink a few seconds and start reeling as fast as you can. Remember you can’t reel the lure too fast for the Spanish.
When rigging up for casting for Spanish you need to use a leader on your line or you will get cut off a lot. Seagaur Fluorocarbon in 30- or 40-pound test seems to work the best. If you don’t have any fluorocarbon, just use 30- or 40-pound test mono; it will work also. Avoid wire leaders…yes, you won’t get cut off as often but your bite ratio will go down dramatically, and you might not even get any bites. While Spanish can be one of the easiest fish to catch, they can also be one of the hardest to catch. If you are not using the right lure and size, they might be jumping all around the boat and you will never get a bite.
Stop by Chasin’ Tails Outdoors and we can show you what rods, reels and lures you will need to have for light tackle casting for Spanish mackerel. So, don’t miss out on some great fast action that will put lots of fish in the boat this summer. When they are schooling up in large numbers it is an unbelievable sight to see. It will definitely get your blood pumping to see acres of fish feeding like crazy.
If you catch a Spanish that goes over six pounds, you can get a North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Citation for your catch. Just bring it by Chasin’ Tails Outdoors so we can weigh it for you. We are an Official Weigh Station for the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Award Program. You can keep 15 Spanish a day per person and the Spanish have to be at least 12inches fork length in size to keep them.