You don't necessarily have to use real bait to catch fish, you can use an artificial bait and as long as you fish it properly, the fish can be fooled into thinking that it is the real thing. Mackerel will eat just about anything that resembles a small fish, they will even take bare hooks if they shine. Bass for instance are not so suicidal, stupid, whichever way you want to look at it as mackerel, they will readily take artificials but you've got to choose your artificial baits carefully.

mackerel_feathersThe most common artificial used in the sea is a set of feathers. They are called feathers because originally that is what they were made from, nowadays they are made out of different materials and resemble other critters such as small shrimp. You can also get other artificial baits that are made out of rubber and resemble sand eels and fish. Unlike baits such as mackerel strips, worms, crab, artificial baits cannot just be cast out and left there motionless, you are wasting your time if you do this. When you use an artificial bait you have got to put some life into it so that it resembles what it is supposed to be, such as a small shoal of fish, i.e. a set of feathers, or a small rubber sand eel. This involves casting and retrieving, casting and retrieving and so on, it's quite hard work if you are doing it for a long period of time.

soft-fishing-luresThere are numerous artificial baits on the market. You can get worms, crab, small fish, sand eels, shrimps and prawns and probably numerous other critters that live in the sea. Many of these artificial baits resemble the real thing quite remarkably, especially the rag worm and lugworm, if you didn't know better you think they will real worms. They have also been impregnated with a special cent that is supposed to attract fish. Obviously the only thing they don't do is move by themselves.

I have tried worms, sand eels and crabs several times and I will be perfectly honest with you, I haven't managed to catch anything on them yet. However I have had plenty of bites which means fish are interested in them. Maybe they were small fish that were nibbling, I really couldn't say for sure. I've now come to the conclusion that if you are going to use these type of artificial bait, don't bother fishing them static because I just don't think they will work fishing like this. I think you will be more successful if you try putting some movement into these artificial baits, after all the movement is what attracts the fish as well. Try rigging up the worms "Texas style". This basically means using a special hook and mounting the worm so that it can be fished weedless. If you fish the worm like this then you can cast out, let it sink to the bottom and then retrieve it slowly putting some jigging movement into it which will hopefully give it some life and make it more attractive to fish. Fishing it "Texas style" means that you won't catch up on rocks or weed. You could even try fishing the same method with artificial crab, fish, shrimps and prawns.

In case you have never heard of "Rigging Texas Style", I have provided a YouTube video which shows a chap rigging an artificial earthworm Texas style.

Abu Garcia Toby spinner

One of my all-time favourite spinners is the Abu Toby. The spinner takes me way back to when I used to go on holiday up in Scotland, I caught quite a few sea trout using this excellent little spinner. However, you'll catch just about anything that swims in the sea and feeds on live fish with this little baby. They are very simple to fish with, just cast out, let the spinner sink down for a little way and then just retrieve slowly, maybe putting a little bit of a wiggle into it every now and then. You'll know when a fish takes it, the line will just tighten up.