Mackerel aren’t only easy fish to catch but great fun too, whether you’re using a light spin rod or a fly rod. They normally live in the ocean but sometimes come ashore, especially during fall, where you can easily fish them off docks or onshore. However, expect mackerel to put up a serious fight when caught by light fishing gear. King mackerel also have a reputation for putting on a good fight, especially when caught on ultra-light fishing gear. You also need to have the best mackerel lures for the best results.
When fishing for mackerel, the type of bait you use can make a big difference in your catch. Live bait is the most preferred type but you can use frozen bait or fakes, which are the easiest to lay your hands on. In this review, we look at the best mackerel fishing lures available on the market and what to look for in mackerel baits.
Let’s first review our top picks of the best mackerel lures available today.
Best Mackerel Lures on the Market
Here are our top picks, why we consider them to be our favorites, and the pros and cons of each fishing lure.
1. Rapala X-Rap Splashbait
This is one of our best trolling lures. It comes with a massive diving lip that can take the lure deep into the water. The lure has a running depth of 15 to 30 feet and comes hand-tuned and hand-tested for excellent performance.
The Rapala X-Rap Slashbait also happens to be the best lures for Spanish mackerel, which often feed on smaller fish such as sardines, glass minnows, and herring.
The lures typically mimic small fish. They come in an array of colors but the best color is definitely white followed closely by olive. However, make sure to choose a color that matches the color of the water and foliage in the area you’re fishing at.
The lures are also quite effective for both casting and trolling. You can even blind cast in a fast retrieve. They are great for sport fishing using the spinning tackle technique and work best when trolled behind planners.
2. Eat My Tackle Bullet Head Fishing Lure
This is another great trolling lure from a renowned fishing products manufacturer, EatMyTackle. The company has a solid reputation for manufacturing high-quality products sold at a very affordable price.
Eat My Tackle Bullet Head is a high-speed trolling lure available in red and black cable rigged style. It comes with a bullet head with a weight of 1.5 pounds which allows you to troll as you cruise.
The lure also features a 400-pound cable which is strong enough to handle the biggest fish that snags on it. It’s also rigged with two stainless steel 10/0 hooks with a 180-degree offset.
The lure also comes with a red and black premium grade vinyl double skirt for durability and great swimming. This is indeed a strong lure capable of pulling in big catches such as a monster Wahoo and the like.
3. Bass Assassin Sea Shad Bait
This is a great Spanish mackerel fishing lure with a soft plastic bait design. It can also be used to catch almost every saltwater fish species.
Another great thing about it is that it’s extremely easy to use. You can use it for blind casting when drifting flats and passes and quite easily catch mackerel fish even when you’re fishing for other species. It also works perfectly when cast into fish schools.
The Bass Assassin Sea Shad bait is quite economical in use. It’s not uncommon for Spanish mackerel to tear up the grub but unlike the bucktail jig, the assassin shard’s tail can be easily replaced. Even if the whole jig gets cut off, you can replace it for less than a dollar.
The bass assassin also comes in different colors that are attractive to mackerel. Our favorite colors are glow and chartreuse as well as the red and gold shiner. You also get a quarter ounce or half-ounce jig but you can ask for larger jigs if the current or depth of the waters you are fishing in requires it.
4. MagBay Wahoo Lures
This is another set of affordable wahoo trolling lures that can be used to catch mackerel fish too. The package includes two fully rigged 6-foot 280-pound SS leaders and a bag.
They are basically 12-inch wahoo lures available in vivid colors which are quite enticing to fish. It’s designed to help you to get a maximum catch. The intense colors are known to attract Wahoo’s and other fish like crazy.
The lures are fully rigged using a 7 Strand wire and also come with a lure bag. You can use the bag to store the lures properly when they are not in use. The MagBay lures are also great for catching dorado fish, tuna, and other fish species.
5. Nomad Design DTX Minnow
This is another great minute trolling lure that can be used to catch yellowtail, bonito fish, and other species.
It’s a strong and durable design lure that will serve you for many years. It’s not difficult to use but remember that you’ll need to attach hooks to the lure for the best results.
If you run into problems when getting the lure to the desired depth, you can always attach it with a wire and troll at 10 knots. It also works great as an offshore trolling minnow.
6. GOT-CHA G300GH-3PK
This is another popular and productively lure commonly used for casting Spanish mackerel. It’s also popularly used by surf and pier anglers who cast a mile and get an excellent hook-up rate when using treble hooks.
The best types of this lure come with a chrome finish. Another good thing about the Gotcha lure is that it’s available at a reasonable price.
The lure is also quite easy to use. You only need to cast it out, allow it to sink, then retrieve it back as quickly as possible with aggressive jerks.
The bait normally flashes while trolling to attract mackerel. For the best results, you can cast into breaking fish. This is one of the best baits for mackerel, especially the Spanish mackerel.
7. Clark Trolling Spoon Lure
Clark trolling spoons are quite popular for fishing mackerel. They have a long and slender tight wiggle design for easy handling.
They can even be trolled at fast speeds of up to 10 knots or more. The lures are also very light and come in different sizes to suit your local forage. In most cases, anglers use these lures together with trolling weights and planers.
They can also be used for light tackle trolling. With a long leader, you will definitely get better action from this spoon.
How to Get the Best Mackerel Lures
Before we get into the key factors to consider when shopping for the best mackerel lures, let’s first look at some of the most common types of mackerel fishing jigs available today.
These are some of the most popular jigs used to fish for mackerel because they cast quite well and easily get deep when needed to.
They also do an awesome job of mimicking sand eels and silversides, which are popular delicacies for mackerels. When you cast these lures out then simply reel in fast, you will often get a catch on your first or second cast.
So, the most popular mackerel jigs include the following:
Spoons are among the best mackerel fishing lures because they are flashy and available in a variety of colors.
They also cast fast and do a good job of imitating a wounded baitfish. It doesn’t really matter what brand of spoon you use because as long as it has a brightly colored and flashy design it will always catch mackerel.
Spinners are also effective in catching mackerel. They may not cast as far as spoons do but are flashier and create strong vibrations while being retrieved.
So, if you’re trying to catch mackerel closer to the show but the fish don’t seem to be too enthusiastic about your spoons, the best thing is to attract them and entice them to take a bite.
Remember that spinners come with a well-defined fish body design and produce better results than traditional spinners.
Rapalas are also very effective lures. For the best results, use small-sized plugs that combine perfectly with brightly colored lures, such as gold, white, and silver.
This is one of the best mackerel rig options on the market today. The rigs are quite unique because they provide you with multiple flies or lures on the line so you can cover a larger stretch of the water column.
You can even cover more water columns by bouncing the rig up and down while retrieving it. They help you cast wider and if you’re lucky enough you can catch multiple mackerel and other fish at a go.
There are different types of Sabiki rigs but the most common ones come with hooks dressed in plastic or feathers. The rings can be made of any material including straws.
You can easily replace lost or damaged hooks on the rig with your own creative applications, such as tying a small piece of tinfoil to the hook and it will definitely work.
This type of rig is best suited for sit-and-wait anglers. It works in the same way you set up a rig for trout.
All you need to do is to put a piece of bait or any flashing material at the end of the line and wait for the mackerel to grab it. It’s not as exciting as the other more active methods listed above but it does work eventually.
What to Look for in the Best Mackerel Lure
When looking for the best mackerel lures, the first thing you need to consider is the feeding habits of the fish.
For instance, mackerels are known as predatory, fast-moving, schooling types of fish. They normally engage in fierce competition for food with the other mackerel in the school. The whole school is constantly moving and hunting different types of fish that you can use as bait with your crankbait rod of choice.
They also have large eyes and tend to rely on their sense of sight for hunting. So based on these characteristics we can determine that mackerel don’t spend a lot of time inspecting a lure before taking a bite.
In the race against each other, they will grab any play item at first sight. This means that for the best success look for brightly colored or flashy lures that can catch the market’s attention at first glance.
Mackerels also move fast and hardly ever spend time checking the scent of a lure. So don’t waste money on scented models because they will hardly make any difference in your catch rate when fishing for mackerel.
It’s also important to choose a lure that’s capable of covering large amounts of water. A good option is to look for a lure with some weight to it and an aerodynamic design to help you cast over long distances. Weight will also help you fish deeper in the water if need be.
Just make sure that you have a first reel that can retrieve the line quickly and make your fishing more enjoyable.
So, what are the best mackerel lures? Based on the points discussed above, the best mackerel baits are basically flashy and bright-colored options that can cover plenty of water.
All the lures discussed above have these basic features but for the best results, we recommend the Rapala X-Rap Slashbait.
It’s available in brightly colored shades and styles and does a great job of mimicking small forage such as sardines, herring, and glass minnows.