Mackerel are a fantastic beginner's fish as their ubiquitous presence in our summer seas means that if you get the time of day and year right, and have a little local knowledge, you will rarely return empty handed (I hope that's not an over-promise). We headed off for an early evening fishing trip a few weeks ago and came home with a bucket load for that evening's dinner.
The best time to catch mackerel is when the sun is heading over the yard arm on a clear sunny day. They arrive on our shores with their sparkly silver bellies and irredescent blue and grey stripes in June and stay to enjoy our non-balmy waters right through to the end of the summer. If you fancy giving fishing a go, then this is a great place to start. Head to the nearest fishing shop to tackle up and seek some advice on the best local spots.
The beauty of mackerel fishing is that the tackle is lightweight and cheap. We've always had the most success with feathers and when the fish are feeding well a dropped line with six hooks can bring up as many glistening, writhing fish. The best place to catch them is in steady or fast-flowing water, so the drop at the end of the pier is ideal. Look out for a gathering of gulls whose diving swoops often raise the flag to the arrival of a decent-sized shoal. Drop your line in and see what you can pull up. It really is as simple as that.