Are the Mackerel in? Probably but not in the numbers that they are worth targeting from the shore outside of the summer months.
Mackerel fishing is the stable of anglers and holiday makers alike, though for very different reasons. Anglers will target Mackerel for two reasons, food as you cant beat a bit of fresh Mackerel. Secondly it is once of the best fishing baits known due to its oily nature giving off a great scent trail. Holiday Makers heading to the coast will have a go at getting some for the BBQ and sometimes the bin…
Mackerel are around year round and are occasionally caught among Herring in Winter but the numbers are very small. As the sea temperature picks up at the end of May they will head in shore in small numbers. Its easier to find them in the warmer waters on the South coast at this time. As the water warms around the UK they will appear in increasingly larger numbers further North. In my personal experience they can be caught in good numbers around North Wales from Mid July. The water tends to boils with them in places at the beginning of August.
Mackerel feathers are the easiest way of catching them, I find silver tinsel versions and white ones work well. This particular species is a shoaling fishing, most often travelling in large numbers to help against predation from fish such as Bass. This also puts them in huge competition with each other when it comes to finding food for themselves. I would say this is the reason they will literally be caught on bare hooks at times, trying to eat before another member of the shoal gets it first. Hence its quite possible to pull out 5 at a time in good shoal, look at boats that long line for instance.
They can be caught pretty much anywhere in Summer as they chase the white bait close in to the shoreline. Keep an eye out for bird activity or the water appearing to bubble for a good place to fish. Rock marks are good with decent depth at mot states of the tide or beaches with decent depth at high tide.
Mackerel will usually sit around in the top 10-16 feet of water but can be caught anywhere. Keep trying different depths if you struggle to find them, heavier weights can help here as a quick retrieve can leave the feathers in the top 3 feet of water. I have randomly caught a decent Mackerel on a two hook flapper using black Lug, it was the bottom hook too. (pic below)