About Spanish Mackerel Fishing in Orange Beach
Spanish Mackerel is one of the most popular migratory pelagic fish that are caught in the waters just south of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. These fish have been a staple for many fishermen for over 100 years because of their abundance and easy access. The Spanish Mackerel is a small fish as compared to it's King Mackerel cousin that shares the same waters south of Perdido Pass. These fish are anywhere from 12 inches to up to over 24 inches and weigh as much as 6 pounds each. The average size is about 1 1/2 pounds each.
How to catch Spanish Mackerel while Trolling in Orange Beach
We fish for Spanish Mackerel mostly on charter boats in Orange Beach by dragging lines behind the boat with small spoons and multi colored straws attached to planers that help get the lures down to just below the surface where they can easily be found by the spanish. Most of the time charter boats pull a variety of lures ranging from a skirted cigar minnow on a flat line way behind the boat. We also put out number 1 planers with straw rigs some 50 yards behind the boat. We also put number 2 planers out with a little larger spoons (about 3 inches) with bright pink or green coatings on them and pull them about 25 yards behind the boat. The larger, number 3 planers are only about 15 yards behind the boat and they dig deep under the water where larger fish like King Mackerel can find them. Sometimes the larger Spanish can easily eat the largest of our baits. Generally speaking, the smaller and best eating Spanish eat smaller baits. We usually troll the lures at 5 to 6 knots and we catch them right off the beach, all the way out to 6 miles offshore. Sometimes the bite is not good going one direction, like into the waves and the fish bite better when the Orange Beach Fishing Charters are trolling with the waves. The best advice we can give you is to zig zag and change up your lures if they are not biting. When they do bite, see what color they hit and look at the cloud cover and see if shade from the sky effects the bite. Sometimes, on a cloudy day, darker colors on the lures work better and on bright days, bright lures like pink and sky blue works best.
Food Quality of Spanish Mackerel
The food quality of these fish is good and anglers should definitely keep enough fish to eat while they are in town. These Spanish Mackerel don't yield a lot of meat, so you will need to at least plan on 1 fish per person that you are wanting to feed. The meat is white and flaky. It is best when sautee'd in a pan with the Orange Beach Fishing Cooperative Game Fish Seasoning sprinkled on top. This seasoning is also good on vegetable and can be added to sour cream to make a sauce for fish tacos.