CATCHING MEMBERS OF THE RAZOR GANG such as Wahoo, Sharks and King/Spanish Mackerel require the use of wire leader. While there are many ways to catch one of these toothy critters like trolling artificial baits, dead-bait or slow trolling live-bait or kite fishing and more, we shall touch on live bait drifting here.
Live scads of 3 to 4 inches are ideal live baits for big macks. 2 hook rigs are preferred as mackerels have a habit of biting off half the bait and missing a single hook rig more often than we’d like.
Match the live bait or circle hooks to the fish size you expect to catch. Hook the first hook just behind the head and the second behind the dorsal fin or in front of the tail. Hook just under the skin. Avoid hooking the lateral line as this will kill the scad quickly if not instantly. Hook size is normally 5/0 or 6/0 to a 4 inch scad. For single strand wires use the haywire twist to rig the hooks. I prefer to use either nylon coated or braided wire of 40 to 60 lb test and snell the hooks just as we would with mono leader.
This rigging method can also be reversed and the live scad slow trolled. When slow trolling the end hook may also be substituted with a small treble (which is sometimes left dangling/trailing acting as a stinger hook).
The wire leader may also be crimped leaving a small loop allowing the hook to dangle freely. In theory this seem better as the bait will presumable be livelier but the results seem inconclusive.
Keep the wire leader just short enough to prevent a cut off by the razor sharp teeth as a long wire leader is also highly visible and at most time stiff. Also if you join the leader to the mainline using a snap swivel, keep to non-shiny ones. How heavy the fluorocarbon leader needs to be depends on what might come a calling. Too light and a billfish will make short work of it. Too heavy and it may drive away finicky Spanish.
Being among the fastest fish in the ocean the spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) is a favorite target of many anglers and commercial fisherman. Remember to take only what is needed.
Many US states allow a two or three fish bag per day per boat for king mackerels. Kings must measure 24 inches. A mature, reproductive fish measures 28 inches (71 cm) and is usually two to three years old. king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) are believed to live up to 26 years and are capable of growing to 5 1/2 feet (167 cm) long and weighing 100 pounds (45 kg).