Mackerel, probably the most versatile and easily obtained bait for sea angler. You can use a fillet of mackerel cut to an appropriate size for almost any fish. Mackerel are available either fresh or frozen from your local tackle dealer and also from your local fishmonger. There are many ways of presenting mackerel and they can be used for a multitude of different fish not only for salt water species but also for some freshwater varieties like pike. The majority of uses for mackerel require you to cut fillets from the bone. This is simple to do. Hold down the fish down by the head on a cutting board and insert a knife in front of the gill and cut down to the bone and then turn the blade so it is cutting away from you and allow the knife to follow the bone down to the tail. You can cut these larger fillets down into smaller ones for smaller fish if you require. For very large fish like conger, tope or sharks you will need to prepare a ‘flapper’. This is made by filleting the fish from the tail upwards to the head but leaving the fillet attached to the head. Do this on both sides and then cut away the backbone below the head, leaving the head in place with two attached fillets that move and give the impression that the bait is on the move and in distress.

When baiting up keep the flesh side on the point side of the hook.

Use whole Mackerel for: Conger, shark, skate, and tope.

Use Mackerel Fillets to fish for: Garfish, cod, dogfish, rays, huss, spur dogs, whiting and mackerel and almost anything else.