Offshore Trolling For The King
By Wayne Gilbert
Trolling for mackerel can be an extremely productive way to hook one of these big feisty fish. However, for anglers who have never trolled before it can also be an arduous and unusual experience. It generally requires large boats and specific equipment which most fishers donít accumulate for themselves alone. As a result, most trolling for mackerel is done as part of a guided expedition.
For those unfamiliar with this method of landing the big fish, trolling consists of having the boat pull the bait, be it a lure or live bait, through the water as opposed to having the angler cast the bait using a rod and reel. Trolling for mackerel is mainly done in open deep saltwater where the larger kingfish are more readily found although modified trolling techniques can also be employed closer to the shoreline.
Trolling for mackerel offshore can mean big boats with lots of horsepower and specialized gear for tracking the schools. Trolling reels are also unlike standard fishing reels and they require strong, heavy duty accessories for hauling in large fish. Many king mackerel can weigh far in excess of twenty pounds. After going to the trouble and expense required for this kind of fishing trip, an angler will want to be sure he/she knows proper trolling procedure and strategy. Using the proper gear is also crucial as even small mackerel have scissor sharp teeth that can cut through all but the strongest of lines.
Although very different in style from the more common methods of casting out bait, trolling for mackerel works on the same simple thought line: Make the mackerel think the trolling bait is something it wants to eat or at least wants to strike. To accomplish this, the angler must use a trolling lure or live bait that is consistent with the mackerelís everyday diet. Not only must the bait have the right look, color and smell; it is also important that it be pulled along at the proper depth and speed. Even a mackerel can usually tell if its prey is someplace it wouldnít normally be found, moving in a way it wouldnít normally move. Thus, trolling for mackerel requires every bit as much knowledge as the more nuanced methods of attracting fish.
So, if youíre thinking of hitting the ocean and trolling for mackerel this fishing trip be aware that itís not a haphazard way of pulling in a big fish in a short amount of time. Trolling for mackerel requires specialized watercraft, unusual equipment and distinctive gear. Not only that but any angler who chooses to troll must either pair up with a knowledgeable guide or be certain to know in detail the feeding habits of the mighty king mackerel.
Wayne Gilbert is a Florida native with over 30 years of fishing experience. His website about Flats Fishing, https://www.FishFloridaBay.com, has been providing its viewers with extensive coverage of the Florida backcountry fishing scene for a long time. Other topics include backcountry fishing, Florida Keys fishing, and individual gamefish habitats,statistics, and locations.
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