Sunday, October 13, 2013

BOONDOGGLE!!! Spanish Mackerel Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico


The plan today is to launch from the public beach on Perdido Key from access #3. On this trip will be Henry, Lewis, Marian, Gregg from New Hampshire, and myself. In preparation for the Boondoggle, I stopped by my local tackle shop, the West Ashley Charleston Angler to learn how to make my own mackerel rigs. Captain Colt, a sales associate at the Angler collected the materials that I will need: Malin Hard-Wire (Stainless Steel Leader) material size #5 (43 lb test), a package of VMC O Shaugnessy Treble short shank #4 for the tail hook, a package of Owner Flyliner Live Bait 1/0 for the nose hook, and a package of Billfisher Crane Barrel Swivels size 12 (85 lb test). Then Colt explained on paper of how to make the mackerel rig.

For this blog I will try to simplify how to make a mackerel rig but too eventually to get to a professional looking rig takes practice. For the two hook mackerel rig consist of two pieces of the stainless steel leader material. The first piece needs to be 6 – 8 inches in length, I made my at the short end of 6”; the length will depend on the size of baitfish you will be using. I understand that you will need to have this length a little longer then the baitfish so that the rigged baitfish has some natural movement in the water. For the start I actually use a short section of 18” to make the short section. This allows 6 inches at each end. I make a loose loop, thread the end through the treble hook, and then start the haywire twist. To start the haywire twist, begin by twisting the wires around each other for about a 4 – 6 twist, and then I will start the barrel twist for the finish. The barrel twist is suppose to be a very tight twist about 4 – 6 twist count. In my case some of them are not very tight, in other words there is a small gap between the twist. To break the wire clean do not use wire cutter as this will leave a burr; instead bend the wire at a 90 degree angle and bend back and fore. This will create a break with no burrs.
The next step is to secure the nose hook to the short piece of the leader. Again bend the short leader and thread the end through the nose hook. Make sure that the nose hook opening is facing the treble hook. Follow the same process stated above for the haywire twist. Now you will be ready to attach the short leader to the long leader section.
The long leader section can be as short as 3 feet and as long as 6 feet. My rigs are made at the short end of 3 feet. So for the haywire twist process I add 6 inches; that makes my starting piece at 42”. As about I will make a slight loop 6” from the end. This end will be threaded through the nose hook and the wire loop from the short leader. Then finish with the haywire twist. Last you will attach a #12 barrel swivel using the haywire twist. The completed mackerel rig should be close to 39”. As I assembled a few of these rigs to have ready for the Boondoggle my barrel twist got better.
So today will be the test of my homemade mackerel rigs. Besides me using my rigs; the rigs will also be used by Marian, Lewis, and Gregg. We loaded up kayaks and equipment to be used for today journey for Spanish mackerel and paddling in the Gulf of Mexico. On the way to our planned launch site we stopped at Grey’s Tackle for some Clark Spoons, Gotcha Plugs and frozen cigar minnows for our trolling experience. When we arrived to beach access #3 the parking lot was very narrow.

The narrow parking lot provided a challenge for unloading of kayaks and set-up. The best approach was to unload, put the kayaks on the Wheeleez Beach Cart, lay the equipment in the kayak, removed/placed the T-bar in the bed of the truck, and move the kayak from the parking lot to the beach. Equipment set-up would be accomplished on the beach. Uff da!! I forgot my battery for my Lowrance Elite-5 DSI. This plan provided minimum impact on others parking so that they also can enjoy the beach.
Before we launch we took note of our surroundings, especially of the surf fishermen, so we would paddle away for their lines. Unfortunately Henry was not aware of the lines in the water and managed to peddle his Hobie into the lines. I would not be aware of this impact on fishing lines till later this morning. Once we were far enough off of the shoreline, I decided to rig up two rods for trolling, I had an old Garcia Mitchell 600 series reel mounted on a Okuma Baidarka 7’ 6” Medium Light rod and the other with a new Shimano TLD15 series reel attached to a Shimano Tallus Kingfish Series Rod at 7’ Medium with an Extra Fast action. This setup from my understanding is much better suited for mackerel fishing then the older setup.
Hooking up a couple of cigar minnows, letting the lines out I paddled for about 20 seconds, locking the reels down and ensuring the strike alarm clicker has been set; I continued paddling towards the group. Uff da!! I did notice that one of the lines had been hung up on the rudder system and could not work it free by myself. So I radioed Marian to assist me in getting it free. Henry decided he had to see what was going on so he peddled up to the Jackson Big Tuna and the Cuda to provide assistance. He never brought his line in when he approached, this resulted in our lines getting tangled as I had a small Spanish mackerel on the Okuma rod and that little guy decided to swim in circles and create a tangled mess of fishing lines. So I informed Henry that I will have to cut all the lines. The only line I did not cut was the one with the mackerel on it. However there was a mysterious line coming from Henry’s kayak, this line was from the surf anglers that Henry peddled through. The line was wrapped around his Mirage drive.
I decided not to re-setup the Shimano and continue to use the Okuma.  As I continued to paddle Lewis and Gregg radioed that they were getting strikes and some fish. One of the fish that Lewis caught was a remora. We thought that it looked like a cobia with the color markings but the fish had a flat head. Gregg radioed back that he thought that the description sounded like a remora and that he had heard from other Boondogglers that several of these were being caught. Lewis measured the remora and then had to peel the remora from the measuring board. We laughed about that. Shortly after releasing the remora, Lewis casted the bait back out and had a strike right off. It was another remora but this one decided that it was very hungry and inhaled the lure so Lewis had to cut the line and release the fish that way.
Sometime later my old Garcia Mitchell 600 series reel mounted on an Okuma Baidarka 7’ 6” Medium Light rod started singing and spinning. Unfortunately the reel just kept spinning creating a big bird’s nest. Uff da!! The worst part is that the line also got between the reel frame and the spool. When trying to clear the mess the line broke. Uff da!! I had to pull the line in by hand but I had missed the fish. Then I decided that I might as well re-jig the Shimano TLD15 series reel attached to a Shimano Tallus Kingfish rod. I will have to wait till I get back from the Boondoggle to fix the Garcia Mitchell reel.
Paddling around I managed to land two more Spanish mackerel one just short of 22” in the fork of the tail and the other right at 22”. So as I tried to get more or maybe something else, Henry yelled that he had caught a fish. It was a gafftopsail catfish. So I paddled over to take a picture of him and the catfish. At this time Marian mentioned that she was going to start heading back to section of the beach from where we launched. Gregg and Lewis were really way out there in the gulf compared to my position; so I decided that I would paddle in their direction in the hopes to catch up with them or maybe another hook up of some species of fish. Eventually Lewis radioed in and said that they were going to head back to the launch site. Since Henry did not have his radio along I had to paddle to him to inform him that we are all heading back in to the launch.
As we paddled, Marian radioed back giving us a report of some fish that was following her mackerel rig with a cigar minnow on it. It was very funny. Then she got really excited when it took the bait but she did not set the hook. There was a little pulling action but the fish would split out the bait. I’m not sure who got tired of whom but the fish did not return. Marian’s description gives me the impression that she had small bonita but we will never know.

All in all this was a great Boondoggle. If you have never participated in a Boondoggle; the next opportunity will be President’s Day weekend in February (14 – 17) at Crooked River State Park in St Marys, Georgia. At this Boondoggle there were 230 something yak anglers from Texas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia, North & South Carolina to name a few states that were represented. Maybe we will cross paddles at the next Boondoggle in Georgia.

1 comment:

  1. Rehash this throwing development, until you know absolutely when to discharge your hang on hold and when to keep down. shimano baitcasting reel

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