There is a certain feeling of not doing it correctly when it comes to fly fishing for mackerel, the days should be warm and sunny, the hotter the better, often you will hook them just a meter or two from the tip of the rod, and they attack your fly with almost a stupid type of vigour. Basically, the opposite of what regular saltwater fishing along the coast is. It's a fish that's great fun on a fly rod and a fish that will fill your days when it's too hot to fish for anything else with endless fun.
Flyshing for mackerel is not hard, it's easy, so easy in fact that during the right conditions you can hook and land over a 100 fish in one afternoon of fishing. They patrol the edge between the shallows and the deep continuously searching for their next meal so standing on the cliff and casting will always result in a fish or two. Me, I have a more relaxed way of approaching the mackerel. I live 5 minutes from the sea, mackerel has been a part of my life since i was a small child and I tend to fish for them a bit differently than most. I use the same gear, 7 wt rods, 7-9 foot leader and small baitfish and shrimps flies. it's my attitude towards it that differs. you can catch the mackerel all day long if you want to, but I prefer waiting, waiting for the spectacular moments that only mackerel fishing can bring, and you'll probably have one or two per hour during the right conditions.
First priority is seeing a lot of small baitfish in the water close to shore and second is to wait. Massive shoals of mackerel patrol the shorelines and once they find the baitfish they turn into a stampede, a feeding frenzy of epic proportions turning the mackerel crazy, making them bite after everything. Tens of thousands of fish making the surface boil. that's what we call them 'mackerel boils'.
So I wait, rod on the cliff, line and leader pulled out and prepared, sitting back with a coke in my hand and my ears alert and waiting for that sound that will make my heart go from slow to fast in a millisecond, on edge and feeling the reserves of adrenalin just waiting to kick in. It starts with the panicked sounds of baitfish fleeing in the surface, more and more of them, then the sound of thunder starts to build, by this time I'm searching along the shoreline from my vantage point and i spot the boil, 300m up shore from me and slowly coming towards me. the trick is to fish the edges of it. not the middle as that will almost always result in either no fish at all or foul hooked fish, fishing the border, the fish will select your fly and target it.
It's getting closer and I stand ready, casting my fly out just beyond the boil, a good 15m out, stripping as fast as I can I hook and land the first of the forerunners, 2 minutes later the shoal is upon me and I've already landed 5 fish and released them, fishing along the edges of the frenzy I land another 5 fish before the shoal slowly moves off and I follow it, catching another four stragglers I decide to release all but one., watching the mackerel move off beyond my casting range I sit down once again, start a small fire out of drift wood, smoking my freshly caught mackerel over it, letting the smoke, salt and smell of seaweed give taste to this gift from nature. I enjoy the rest of my coke while eating my dinner on the cliffs of the Swedish west coast. In the distance I hear the sound of panicked baitfish fleeing for their life, and the sound is getting louder. My rod and line are laid out on the cliff in front of me, prepared.
Bio: Photographer, writer, professional fly tier (though first and foremost) a fly fisherman. Ilias was born and raised on the west coast of Sweden. I grew up chasing sea run browns in the salt and pike in the fresh. When I am not writing and chasing fish on the fly I run a small hobby company, Apex Flies
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