Mackerel on the fly, the westcoast way
By: Ilias karanzas Photos: Ilias Karanzas
There is a certain feeling of not doing it correctly when it comes to flyfishing for mackrel, the days should be warm and sunny, the hotter the better, often you will hook them just a meter ot two from the tip of the rod, and they attack your fly with almost a stupid type of vigor. Basicly, the opposite of what regular saltwater fishing along the coast is. iIs a fish thats great fun on a flyrod and a fish that will fill your days when its to hot to fish for anything else with endless fun.
Flyshing for mackerell is not hard, its 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 continuesly searching for their next meal so standning on the cliff and casting will always result in a fish or two. Me, I have a more relaxed way of approaching the mackrel. 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 differntly then most. I use the same gear, 7 wt rods, 7-9 foot leader and small baitfish and shrimps flies. its 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 youll probably have one or 2 per hour during the right conditions.
First priorety is seing a lot of small baitfish in the water close to shore and second is to wait.
Massive schoals 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. thats what we call them, Mackerel boils.
So i wait, rod on the cliff, lina and leader pulled out and prepared, sitting back with a coke in my hand and my ears tense 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 adrenaling 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 im searching along the shoreline from my wantage point and i spot the boil, 300m upshore 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
Its getting closer and I stand ready, casting my fly out just beyound the boil, a good 15 m 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 ive 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 decideto realese 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 cought mackerel over it, letting the smoke, salt and smell of seweed give taste to this gift from nature. I enjoy the rest of my coke while eating my dinner on the cliffs of the swedish westcoat. 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.