Early Season Spanish Fishing…. Getting The Season Started With Success
Early summer just off the Carolina beaches means the water is teaming with not only Bluefish, but also Spanish Mackerel. Fun to catch and good to eat, they’re a fish that’s easy for most anglers to reach with a boat. On any given day you can see boats that range from bigger jon boats and smaller center consoles to the big sportfishing boats trolling from the beach, to a few miles offshore. Fishing for Spanish is relatively easy, but there are a few things that you can do that will determine if you have a great day of fishing or just a boring day on the ocean.
First, let’s talk about rigs. I like to use a 20-pound test 20′ fluorocarbon leader. This gives your lure considerable distance from the water disturbance from the planner or weight. The water disturbance can spook the fish and make it harder for them to see the lure. I like to use a combination of medium torpedo weights and small planners mostly in the 1-2 or 3 range. The size of the planner is dependent on the water clarity and the activity of the competing bait the Spanish are chasing. The dirtier the water the deeper I send the lure.
When it comes to lures, there are many choices, but the overwhelming choice is the Clarkspoon. For years I used their silver and gold colors, but now I’ve moved to the green or chartreuse. Again, these colors seem to help with the dirtier water that we’ve been experiencing lately. While many anglers fish with the smaller Clarkspoons, I prefer the larger because I think that if you fish with a bigger lure, you’ll get a bigger fish.
Now it’s time to set your lines. Make sure to position your lighter weights and planners on longer lines to avoid tangling with your deeper running rigs closer to the boat. Set your speed at about 6 mph. You may need to speed up or slow down, depending on the success of the bite. A tactic that the veteran charter captains use is what they call “digging up” the Spanish Mackerel. This is a process of finding bait breaking the water then going in circles around that bait. This action focuses on the movement of the bait and is constantly pulling your lures near and through the bait and Spanish schools. Make sure not to get too close since it will cause the bait and the Spanish to dive.
In closing, the best tip I can give is to always be ready to make changes. This means changes in your depth, location, color of lure and speed. It’s all about being ready to adapt to the constant changes in the environment and habits of the fish.