When Outer Banks anglers think of May, Spanish mackerel definitely come to mind. And while many catch plenty of these fish by trolling, Capt. Noah Lynk of Noah’s Ark Charters has something else in mind.
“My favorite way to catch Spanish is by casting to them,” said Lynk (252-342-6911). Trolling is a very popular way – more popular than casting – for catching Spanish mackerel. But I really love casting to them. You really get to feel the entire fight when fishing that way,” he said.
And as the weather and water temperatures ease higher, these fish are willing participants.
“They respond really well to a variety of lures, including spoons and plugs,” he said.
The key to catching them this way, said Lynk is twofold.
“You have to be really accurate in your casting, and you also need to be able to reel at a high rate of speed,” he said. “You’ve got to retrieve it really fast.”
Anglers need to retrieve their lure at the same rate of speed that the lures run while trolling.
“When you’re trolling for these fish, you’re running at about 6 knots. So you have to match that speed on your retrieve when you’re casting to them,” he said.
The fish are mainly chasing glass minnows, anchovies and other small baitfish. So Lynk matches his lure size to that of the natural forage.
“They’re feeding on small baits, so you want to throw them something small. The Sea Striker Jigfish is a great one, and is fairly inexpensive. The Clarkspoon in size 0 and 00 work great too,” he said.
Fishing this way involves seeing birds diving on fish busting on the surface, then moving into casting range wihtout getting too close. That’s why accurate casting is so important.
“When they’re feeding like that, as long as you get the lure in there, you’re going to get hooked up. But some anglers get excited and foul the cast, or just try to cast it harder than they need to,” said Lynk.
“Just relax, don’t be in too big of a rush. Make a good cast and then get that retrieve started right away,” he said.