If you don’t plan to bring your own boat, a variety of fishing charter opportunities are available for up to a half-dozen anglers on what we call six-pack boats. If you’re alone or a couple, you can call the charter and find out if they can put a trip together with other anglers.
The great thing about fishing for mackerel is that several methods have proven successful. Straight trolling at seven to 10 knots with spoons, Halco or Clark, are very popular and can hook plenty of fish. For best results, the spoons should be deployed in an array that has the spoons fluttering at different depths from just below the surface to 5 or 6 feet deep. To keep the spoons down, you will likely need a planer with a lengthy leader. Some people will use a small, braided steel leader while others prefer to stick with monofilament in the 25- to 30-pound test range. Use quality black swivels to keep the fish from hitting hit gold-colored swivels and cutting the line. The swivels keep the lines from twisting. Stagger the distance behind the boat when the lures are deployed to keep the lines from tangling, especially when you’re making a turn.
Large crankbaits can also be trolled, although you may need to reduce your speed to keep the baits in the strike zone.
Not often, but sometimes mackerel won’t hit anything but natural baits, both live and frozen. For live bait, hardtails (blue runners), finger mullet or menhaden will work. Fresh frozen cigar minnows or ribbonfish (silver eels) with a duster can be the ticket
When using natural bait, one technique to use is what I call drift and bump. Drift with the wind and bump the motor in and out of gear. The bait will rise when the boat is in gear. When the motor is in neutral, the bait will slowly sink. Many fish prefer to strike when the bait is falling.