Micro Mackerel

By Will Smedley

Micro jigging, a new craze running through Australia at the moment, has in my mind revolutionized how to target many shallow water species on metal lures. Traditional ‘jigging’ methods in Australia generally referred to knife jigs in excess of 300g and very heavy tackle but now that’s not the case. Jigs as small as 15g are now commonly used to chase an array of species from shallow reefs to deep holes in rivers and canal systems. The possibilities for these lures are endless.

Spotted and Spanish mackerel are readily available along our Australian coastline and these fish are known for their great speed, acrobatics, screaming runs and very sharp teeth. There are hundreds of different techniques used for targeting these speedsters of the ocean, but how do we target them on micro jigs?

When you first look at a micro jig they may seem quite confusing. They are not a lure that you tie on and instantly become an expert at using, as with most things fishing related it involves a bit of trial and error until you find what works. I will share with you my tips on how I find these jigs work best while targeting mackerel in depths from twenty to forty metres.

Before you are even out on the water you must know what tackle to use. Personally 30lb braid or 1.2 PE, roughly 27lb, is a great all-rounder, with a leader of about 30 to 40lb. Wire is an option if you’re concerned about losing lures and fish. A spin reel of around 5000 size is ideal and I would suggest something with a 6.2 to 1 gear ratio for a faster retrieve and a rod rated around 15-30lb, preferably of around 6’ in length. Lastly a selection of jigs ranging from 15g to 40g, depending on the water depth you’re fishing.

Before you drop your jig to the hungry fish you will have to choose which point to tie your lure to, either the split ring near the jigs eye or the top point. Tying to the end near the eye is ideal for a fluttering drop and jigging retrieve, while tying to the narrow end positions the bulk of the weight to the rear of the lure for long casts and high speed retrieves.

So when you’re set up to go micro jigging for mackerel, either drifting schools or anchored on reef, however you find them, remember the following techniques to get them eating your jigs. Firstly, sound up your fish and see if they are actively feeding in mid water or near the surface, or if they are laying inactive on the bottom. If they are on the bottom I strongly suggest that you tie your jig on by the split ring, sinking it down to them and then using big rod lifts and winding up the slack, to try and fire them up off the bottom. When you feel that you’re jig has reached about a quarter to halfway up in the water column, proceed to fast wind it straight to the surface. By doing this you are gaining the mackerel’s attention on the bottom, as they will look at your jig making a ruckus near them and hopefully investigate. When you start to fast wind away from them they will get excited and pounce on your jig.

If you find them already fired up, mid water and near the surface, you can drop your jig straight to the bottom and by aggressively jigging and winding it will only be a matter of time before a mackerel will see it. If they are really active on the surface you could even try casting and fast winding your jig back to the boat for some spectacular sight fishing.

Another tip is to always remember that colour is a big factor. TT Lures make a variety of different colours in their Vector Jig range. They also make UV colours that are especially effective on low light days. Most jigs have a silver or white finish on their back, creating a great flash in the water. These in my eyes are the best jigs to target many species at the moment. Lastly if you find yourself getting your assist hook cord a bit frayed by the mackerel’s teeth, don’t be scared to put on a single assist hook as this could save you from bite offs from a lot of toothy species.

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About Michael Guest

Michael Guest’s love of all things aquatic was instilled at a young age, fishing, spear-fishing and windsurfing. His passion has grown into an addiction and whether it is catching bait off the wharf, teasing Marlin on the continental shelf, or crashing through undergrowth and casting at bass this is where he is most at home. A fisherman with the environment at heart, Michael loves to spend time fishing with his family. Catch and release and take only what you need are the two philosophies Michael wants to instil in all young anglers. From the watery depths to dusty roads Michael cut his teeth in the most spectacular of motorsports – rallying. Wins at State, National, Asia/Pacific and International level elevated him to be the first Australian to tackle a regular ride in the World Rally Championship.

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