Catching Spanish Mackerel with soft baits
If you are trying to catch Spanish Mackerel in Charleston, be sure to head out early and be rigged up and ready before you set out. Fortunately, it's not to hard to find feeding schools of Spanish Mackerel if you are targeting high salinity zones.
Look for bait busting on the water or birds pausing over top of schools of bait to help you indicate exactly where to target. Be rigged up with a light colored Zman plastic, I prefer the pearl colored paddlerZ attached to a Zman Redfish eye jighead (3/16 - 1/4 oz.) using a loop knot attached to 2-3 feet of a solid flourocarbon leader, (20lb is sufficient). I use Seaguar's Blue Label 15brand because I've had good success with it over the years.
Next, determine which direction the school of bait fish are headed and cast your Zman plastic in front of the school. Immediately retrieve your bait with a steady to fast paced reel, no action is needed. These fish are fast and will target your bait as it breaks free from the school. If you slow your retrieve you will lose your bait and jighead because these fish tend to eat from the back up meaning they will chomp your whole bait up and cut your leader off in a split second if you slow down your retrieve. After you hook up, if you have a friend fishing with you have him cast his bait nearby where your fish is hooked up as these fish are aggressive feeders and it's not uncommon to have another spanish mackerel trying to eat the bait out of your fish's mouth therefore increasing your odds of a double hookup.
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