Small mackerel for surface live bait

#1
As of Saturday, they were still catching thresher sharks at Stearn's Wharf. According to the tackle shop, they feed near the surface. Does anyone have a recommendation for a surface rig for live mackerel. I thought about a castabubble, with a bead on each side and a stopper knot 3-4 ft up the line.

Second, how do you control mackerel as live bait?

Steve
 
#2
For threshers, most people use a somewhat specialized rig. It is much like a sliding live bait rig, but majorly beefed up. Instead of a snap, what is usually used is a wire slider or a "non return slider", upon which the leader is attached. For the leader, usually 4-10 feet (depends on water conditions) of 60-100 fluoro is used, with lines on the heavier end being preferred. Sometimes a float is attached to the leader at the slider to keep the mackerel at the surface. To anchor the mainline, a 5-6 oz sputnik style sinker is usually used. As for the mainline, a long shock/rub leader of 60-100 lb mono is used, as to prevent damage from the shark's rough skin. Meanwhile the mainline is usually 30-50 lb mono or 65-80 lb braid. With this rig, the mackerel is mostly free to swim around in a circle with the radius of your leader, so keep your distance from other anglers.

This website has tackle (though at a somewhat unreasonable price) and the pics will help guide you if you choose to make your own rigs: http://terrafirmatackle.com/shop/
 
#3
For threshers, most people use a somewhat specialized rig. It is much like a sliding live bait rig, but majorly beefed up. Instead of a snap, what is usually used is a wire slider or a "non return slider", upon which the leader is attached. For the leader, usually 4-10 feet (depends on water conditions) of 60-100 fluoro is used, with lines on the heavier end being preferred. Sometimes a float is attached to the leader at the slider to keep the mackerel at the surface. To anchor the mainline, a 5-6 oz sputnik style sinker is usually used. As for the mainline, a long shock/rub leader of 60-100 lb mono is used, as to prevent damage from the shark's rough skin. Meanwhile the mainline is usually 30-50 lb mono or 65-80 lb braid. With this rig, the mackerel is mostly free to swim around in a circle with the radius of your leader, so keep your distance from other anglers.

This website has tackle (though at a somewhat unreasonable price) and the pics will help guide you if you choose to make your own rigs: http://terrafirmatackle.com/shop/
Thank you for your detailed answer. As far as the "shock/rub" leader, wouldn't fluorocarbon provide better abrasion resistance?
 

Reel Newbie

Active member
#4
Would weed whacker line work well? I’ve seen on YouTube that someone was using it in the uk as stub leader. Should be sturdy, it’s a thick and hard nylon that needs to be crimped. I think it was ta fishing or something, and he was using it on blue sharks off a boat.
 
#5
Thank you for your detailed answer. As far as the "shock/rub" leader, wouldn't fluorocarbon provide better abrasion resistance?
It would, but fluoro isnt as good as absorbing shock as mono. Also fluoro, especially at that poundage, gets expensive considering you will be switching out the rub leader with every fish.

Weed whacker line would work, but the issue is connecting it to the mainline, as given that the shock leader has to be at least as long as the fish you are targeting, crimps and knots, especially with that thick of a line, would rip out your guides or at least cause severe backlash as you would have to wind some of it on to make a decent cast.
 
#7
A rig like that would probably work well kayaked out or drifted from a boat.

Just a note if you are able to hook a thresher: They do not release well, especially from piers. Although there are rough denticles on the skin, the underlying skin itself is delicate. I have seen a number of pictures showing severe line damage, ranging from sharks with a quarter of their skin gone to one individual having lost half of the top lobe of its tail when it tried to whip the mainline. Netting them is a difficult proposition given their size and body shape, and the nylon mesh will likely have the same effect as fishing line. Fish and harvest them responsibly, and take only what you can easily eat and give away.

Tight lines!
 
#8
A rig like that would probably work well kayaked out or drifted from a boat.

Just a note if you are able to hook a thresher: They do not release well, especially from piers. Although there are rough denticles on the skin, the underlying skin itself is delicate. I have seen a number of pictures showing severe line damage, ranging from sharks with a quarter of their skin gone to one individual having lost half of the top lobe of its tail when it tried to whip the mainline. Netting them is a difficult proposition given their size and body shape, and the nylon mesh will likely have the same effect as fishing line. Fish and harvest them responsibly, and take only what you can easily eat and give away.

Tight lines!
Thank you. That is an important consideration. I had hoped to be able to cut the line short on anything that was too big too land (there is a ladder at Stearns), but I am not interested in doing lasting harm to any fish I wouldn't keep.

Steve