To most boat anglers Mackerel is seen as nothing more than bait, it’s something you use to catch something worth catching. However, the shore angler tends to have a lot more respect for this most sporting of summer visitors to the UK. The provide an excellent introduction to fishing being both relatively happy to jump on your hook and not requiring any specialist or expensive tackle. Although still plentiful, the Mackerel can be easier to catch in certain areas rather than others, one hotspot is Whitby.
First of all where to fish? The easiest places to try are the East and West Piers, access is fairly straightforward and the fish are close by. For safety reasons you are only allowed to fish from the lower level of each pier, but this is not an issue as it makes landing your fish much easier. It also makes a live return should you chose to fish that way more likely. The techniques used for Mackerel fishing from a pier are the same in Whitby as they would be anywhere else. You should be thinking light spinning tackle (9-10 ft spinning rod with fixed spool and 10lb line) and either using a spinner or float. When float fishing a strip of Mackerel, a Sandeel or a local Spratt are all excellent baits, set your float for mid water and you should have plenty of sport. When spinning a standard cast, sink/retrieve motion will bring good results. Silver is a popular colour. Just remember to bring some spare spinners with you, as with any form of Pier fishing there is always the likelihood of losing some tackle to the structure, especially if you hook a run away Mackerel. One thing worth noting is that your method may affect where you fish on the pier, if you’re choosing to spin you may find the end better, static floats and a retrieved spinner tends to equal the mother of all tangles.
Remembering that Mackerel are more than just bait is something that a lot of UK anglers would do well to remember. As a Pier species they are second to none, Whitby offers the perfect opportunity to catch this species in comfort so why not give it a go?