Mackerel fishing on Anglesey is great, whether it’s from the shore or boat they are usually about. Nothing beats catching fresh Mackerel whether its for the BBQ or filling the freezer with bait. Moreover its also fun, inexpensive and a good way of introducing children to fishing.
When do the Mackerel arrive?
Mackerel usually show up around Anglesey towards the end of April through to the end of September. Once they arrive in April you will see reports online as Mackerel madness hits! However the shoals tend to be quite small and sparse, catches are usually quite poor in most if not all areas. The shoals start growing in size as the sea temperatures rise at the back end of summer.
By the end of August and the start of September they tend to be around in larger numbers. Shoals can be seen close to the shore, with sea birds pointing them out as they actively target the fish. In places its clear as day where they are, the activity makes the water appear to boil. This usually occurs as the Mackerel chase the white bait shoals up on to the surface of the sea.
I was surprised to learn that Mackerel fishing on Anglesey can be done year round, particularly in mild winters.
However they are few and far between and it’s pointless to try and target them. With numbers so low it’s not worth the effort, they do sometimes come out among the Herring shoals. Holyhead Breakwater has been know to produce the odd few in late December and January. Mackerel caught at this time of the year are usually quite slim too, there is very little prey around for them. By the end of September the shoals have thinned out and head back out to sea.
Where are the best places to fish for Mackerel on Anglesey?
The coastline around Anglesey, according to the coastal path, is around 134 miles long. There are several well known “hot spots” around the coastline. All are from rock marks giving a good few metres of depth close in.
A few of the more well known places to target Mackerel can be busy in summer, especially during the school holidays. Popular areas do not necessarily mean you will catch every time you go. They can be hit and miss and also full of holiday makers, with little room if the sun is out.
A few of these popular spots do produce semi regular catches. Some of the more popular or well known Anglesey Mackerel fishing venues are places such as:
Moelfre (North Anglesey)
Penmon Point (North West Anglesey)
Mackerel Rock (West Anglesey)
There are literally hundred of places around Anglesey to try and catch Mackerel, due to its varied coastline. Avoid beaches as they are usually too shallow unless there are promenades with a couple of metres depth to them. High tide allows you to fish these type of fishing marks, but your best chance are at rocky venues. That said steep shingle beaches can give you enough depth to catch them close in. Ie Penmon and Llandudno north shore are examples of steep shingle beaches you can target Mackerel.
Good rock fishing marks on Anglesey will allow you to fish both the high and low tides. Deeper water close in is perfect for Mackerel as they search close in for prey, sand Eel will often shoal along the rock edges. They can be literally under your feet at times, sometimes a gentle cast will suffice.
The Ty Croes fishing mark is a perfect example of this, though it’s renowned for its Ray and Huss fishing. Very often it can produce good size mackerel, as will most rocky deep water venues on Anglesey. When Mackerel fishing in North Wales, Anglesey is the premier destination.
Mackerel fishing tactics and gear.
When fishing for Mackerel you need to find where they are in the water course. They can be found at any depth but are usually within around 20 feet of so of the surface.
A light strong fishing rod is best, it needs enough backbone to support a full brace of Mackerel ie every feather has a fish on. It does happen quite often if you get among the shoal. Secondly it needs to be quite light, after a while constant casting can tire your arms quickly. Holiday makers can use a telescopic rod if needed (something like THIS is ideal, it reduces the size needed when traveling with the rest of the holiday gear. 9-10 foot is around the ideal length of rod to save on weight and have enough strength.
Serious anglers will most likely already have a selection of rods to choose from, again 9-10 foot is the optimal size. I have in the past used carp rods which have performed very well as my Mackerel bashing rod.
A 3 ounce lead attached to Mackerel feathers or Sabaki rigs, cast out and allowed to drop should help you gauge what depth they are at. If they are close to the surface swap the lead for a two ounce, it stops sinking as quick and is a little easier on your arms. Once you have found them cast away!
If you find you can feel the fish attempting to take the rigs but are not hooking them, reduce the hook size of the rigs you are using. It can be that you are casting into what are known as Joey Mackerel, these are younger and smaller fish. Smaller hooks will help increase your catch numbers.
You can also try float fishing for Mackerel, slivers of the silver section of Mackerel belly hooked around 5 foot under your float. I have had good success with a string of 3-5 feathers underneath. You can also catch a good number of Pollock using this method in the right places.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of fish for the pleasure Angler to target around our shores. Unfortunately the large commercial fishing vessels from the UK and EU pulling them out at an alarming rate. If you do catch, please only take what you intend to eat or keep for fishing bait.
Too often I have seen holiday makers full of good intentions leave bags of Mackerel next to bins, they simply bag up all that are caught. No matter how small they are.