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Lures for Spanish mackerel needs flash, an erratic action, and the ability to stand up to the hard hit of a mackerel. Spanish mackerel attack like a submarine Spitfire, zooming in for the kill and then hitting the target hard. So, the lures need to move fast too, and it’s a challenge to create a lure that runs true at speed.
Spanish mackerel are a staple inshore fish because they hit hard, taste great, and put up a great fight on light tackle. That’s why even though the cobia, redfish, and stripers are biting, I carve out time to catch Spanish. In my years of catching these keen-eyed speed demons, I’ve found lures that produce consistent results. Here are my picks for the best lures for Spanish mackerel.
- Best Overall: Got-Cha Plug
- Best Trolling Lure: Original Clark Spoon
- Best Spoon: HR Tackle Sting Silver
- Best Jig: Tsunami Glass Minnow
- Best Budget: Bass Assassin Saltwater Die Dapper
Best Overall: Got-Cha Plug
Why It Made the Cut
This is the updated version of the lure responsible for catching more Spanish mackerel than any other lure. Whether you’re trolling or casting, you can’t go wrong with the classic Got-Cha Plug.
- Weight: 1 ounce
- Length: 5.75 inches
- Hook Size: Front: #2, Rear: #4
- Troll or cast
- Through-wire hooks
- Dozens of color options
- Plastic body is prone to cracking
The classic Got-Cha Plug has all the elements of the best overall Spanish mackerel lure. The super-sharp treble hooks connect to the lure with sturdy wire. A smaller hook in the front improves the chances of snaring a speeding Spanish mackerel. The pencil-shaped lure is streamlined and weighted for maximum casting distance. The Got-Cha Plug comes in a variety of colors and finishes to match the tastes of finicky Spanish mackerel. The Got-Chap plug darts side to side like a fleeing baitfish, whether you cast the lure and retrieve it with an erratic action or troll the lure behind the boat. It’s hard to improve on a classic, but the latest generation of Got-Cha plugs feature bold colors and bright finishes combined with exaggerated action and tough construction.
Casting a lure to blitzing Spanish mackerel is one of the most fun ways to catch fish. No casting lure has caught more Spanish than the Got-Cha plug. The streamlined design and forward weight stretch out each cast for maximum distance. Then, hold the rod tip low and jerk the rod while quickly working the reel. When the Spanish attacks, two super-sharp treble hooks make sure the fish stays connected. It all comes together to make the Got-Cha plug one of the most deadly and exciting lures for Spanish mackerel.
Best Trolling Lure: Original Clark Spoon
Why It Made the Cut
Beauty is in simplicity, making the Original Clark Spoon the best Spanish mackerel trolling lure.
- Weight: 1/2 ounce
- Length: 2 inches
- Hook size: #1
- Stainless steel hook
- Integrated swivel
- Gold or chrome plated
- Hook cannot be replaced
A Clark Spoon is nothing more than a thin strip of metal with a hook. But the little spoon’s simple looks belie the alluring action of the best trolling lure for Spanish mackerel. Troll a Clark Spoon behind a boat or kayak at up to six knots, the lure swims side to side while rolling and sparkling. I rig the lure on 25 feet of 30-pound monofilament behind an inline sinker, trolling bird, or planer for trolling. The Clark Spoon comes in a rainbow of colors and finishes, but chartreuse green and pink are my favorites.
Best Spoon: HR Tackle Sting Silver
Why It Made the Cut
Long casts and fast retrieves make the HR Sting Silver a favorite spoon for Spanish mackerel.
- Weight: 2 ounces
- Length: 2 inches
- Hook: #2 Treble
- Chrome finish
- 3X Strong Mustad hook
- Alloy body
- Limited color choices
The aerodynamic shape and dense alloy material make the HR Tackle Sting Silver one of the best lures for Spanish mackerel. The dimpled, chrome polished or painted surface imitates Spanish mackerel’s favorite meal—small baitfish. The 3X strong Mustad hooks easily survive many brutal attacks of a speeding Spanish, but are easy to replace when they wear out. Cast out the HR Tackle Sting Silver and quickly work it back to spark a Spanish mackerel’s attack instinct.
Best Jig: Tsunami Glass Minnow
Why It Made the Cut
Tiny, shiny, and quick, the Tsunami Glass Minnow imitates the small bait fish Spanish mackerel eat.
- Weight: ⅜ ounce
- Length: 3 inches
- Hook: 3/0
- Long-shank hook
- Not durable
The challenge to catching Spanish mackerel is matching the size and shape of the small glass minnows the predators like to eat. Tsunami’s Glass Minnow nails it with a slim ⅜ ounce jig head. Featuring a bushy skirt of mylar and flash and a long shank hook, the Glass Minnow matches the color and reflection of a speeding glass minnow. For a light lure, the Glass Minnow casts like a bullet. Work the lure with a fast, erratic retrieve to entice Spanish blitzing in the chum slick. To snare short striking fish, the Tsunami Glass Minnow has a long shank hook with a needle-sharp point. Most jigs don’t last long against the Spanish’s sharp teeth, but the Tsunami Glass Minnow is built tough stay in one piece.
Best Budget: Saltwater Assassin Die Dapper
Why It Made the Cut
The Bass Assassin Die Dapper is cheap, effective and easy to use for Spanish mackerel and a variety of inshore species.
- Weight: ¼ ounce
- Length: 3.5 inch
- Hook: 2/0
- Fish attractant infused
- Wide variety of colors
- Not durable
Spanish mackerel have a razor-thin row of blistering sharp teeth they use to cut a bait in half and then eat the pieces. Spanish mackerel fishing gets expensive when the fish repeatedly destroy lures and cut through the leader. I say: If you can’t beat ’em, feed ’em. Instead of losing expensive lures, I use an inexpensive Saltwater Assassin 3.5-inch Die Dapper on a 1⁄4 ounce jighead. The Die Dapper looks like a typical soft plastic paddle tail, but it is tougher and denser for saltwater fishing. The tail is thicker, making it more durable than other soft plastics. To keep a short-striking Spanish interested, the Salt Water Assassin is impregnated with fish attractant. For the price of one expensive Spanish mackerel lure, I can go through an entire pack of Saltwater Assassin Die Dapper soft plastics. When the Spanish are in a feeding frenzy, the Die Dapper makes the ultimate sacrifice.
How to Choose a Spanish Mackerel Lure
Spanish mackerel are lightning-fast and lethal. Their hunting strategy is running down little silversides and anchovies, then striking the victim with sharp teeth. Baitfish don’t have a chance. And neither does a fishing lure, unless it is fast, flashy, and tough.
Spanish mackerel hunt on the run, so a Spanish mackerel lure has to move fast. The best Spanish mackerel lure will have an alluring, erratic action. Spanish anglers cast high-speed reels and troll at up to six knots, so the lure must work quickly and predictably at full speed. Spanish mackerel lures are streamlined with subtle features that create a tight wobble on the troll or exaggerated zig-zag on the retrieve. To beat a gold and silver streak, the best Spanish mackerel lures ignore the speed limit.
Spanish mackerel have razor-sharp teeth and razor-sharp eyesight. To fool one of these sharp-eyed predators, you need to distract the fish with color and flash. The best Spanish mackerel lures combine shiny metal and sparkly colors to imitate a grass minnow, silverside, or anchovy. Spanish often feed on small baitfish, so the big challenge is matching the size of the minnows. Trolling a small lure requires adding weight or planer to keep the lure under the water. To cast and retrieve a lure to Spanish, look for a lure that packs weight into a small body.
Not only does the best Spanish mackerel lure have to survive the corrosive effects of saltwater, but it has to defend against the violent strike of a speeding fish. To start, the lure should use stainless steel hardware and corrosion-resistant components. Then, the hooks must be securely attached to the lure with wire or sturdy split rings. Even the best Spanish mackerel lures will eventually succumb to the abuse. Look for a Spanish mackerel lure with replaceable hooks and components.
Q: How do you rig a lure for Spanish mackerel?
lucky, you get a sparkling silver, gold, and green bullet in the fishbox. Rigging a casting lure for Spanish mackerel is an exercise in finesse fishing. Light lures, light line, and light tackle are the requirements for casting lures to Spanish mackerel. Start with a ½ to one-inch lure weighing less than an ounce. Spanish mackerel have excellent eyesight, so a 20 to 40-pound fluorocarbon leader is a prerequisite. Ten to a 30-pound braided line is thin and stiff for maximum casting distance. To cast and retrieve a light lure, go with an eight-foot-long medium to medium-light rod and 2500 spinning reel. Spanish mackerel are heavy hitters that require light tackle. Targeting them with spinning gear and lures is one of the best experiences in fishing.
Q: Where do you troll for Spanish mackerel?
Casting to Spanish mackerel is fun, but how do you troll for Spanish mackerel? When the wind stops blowing, the skies clear and the ocean calms down, I load my family in the boat and go trolling for Spanish mackerel. Pulling the best trolling lures for Spanish mackerel is easy and fun for everyone. Spanish mackerel live close to shore. To find Spanish mackerel, I look for structure, bait, and water conditions. Spanish are commonly found along the surf line, around reefs, and over depth changes. Water temperature is another key, and the fish usually like warm, clear water. They will corral bait along water temperature and color changes. Spanish mackerel are never far from the kitchen. Schools of anchovies, silversides, glass minnows, or menhaden attract the voracious feeders. To match the bait, I troll small spoons at six knots. Start with a one to two-inch metal spoon tied to 25 feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. To reduce line twist, add a small swivel to the middle of the leader. Attach a 200-pound-test swivel to the end of the fluoro leader and clip it to an inline sinker or No. 1 planer. Pull it six feet behind a trolling bird to troll the spoon on the surface. To search for hungry Spanish mackerel, troll a spread of four to six rods with each lure set at a different depth.
Q: How much do Spanish mackerel lures cost?
Sharp teeth and hard strikes are tough on tackle, so how much does the best Spanish mackerel lure cost? The lures in this review cost between a few cents and five dollars, and Spanish mackerel lures aren’t very expensive. Spanish mackerel are vicious feeders with sharp teeth and a lighting strike. Expect to lose lures. Nonetheless, the best Spanish mackerel lures balance value with performance and durability.
The list of the best lures for Spanish mackerel is short. That’s because only a few lures have the right qualities to fool a Spanish mack and can stand up to the punishment these fish dish out. But, the five baits on this list are all you need to catch Spanish mackerel anywhere they swim.
I trolled the lures shoulder to shoulder in my trolling spread. I cast the lures shoulder to shoulder with my friends. The survivors are the winners. After years of trolling and casting to Spanish mackerel, my favorite lures are simple, effective, and tough.
To determine the best Spanish mackerel lures, I started with a lure that looks and moves like a small anchovy or minnow. Surviving the mackerel’s razor sharp teeth and violent strike, the lure uses sturdy, corrosion resistant components. And, when I inevitably lose a lure to a Spanish mackerel, I don’t shed a tear. The best Spanish mackerel lures and components are inexpensive and easy to replace.