Editor’s Log: Boston Macs Are Back! - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Boston Macs Are Back!

If you’ve been following along with The Fisherman Magazine’s recent reports, you would have picked up on the headline highlighting the return of Boston mackerel in the Long Island Sound. I personally got a report of them being caught a month back by some of our readers with a picture or two included in an email. Even though it was true, just a lone report with a picture is not enough to call it a common occurrence. In the weeks that followed, that whole idea of it just being a one-time thing was totally blown out of the water with several reports coming in, and finally, I got out on The Fisherman’s boat and witnessed the mack attack for myself.

At first, Fisherman owner and publisher Mike Caruso, video producer Tim Smith, and I had no idea what all of the surface activity was outside of Mt. Sinai Harbor during late May. Casting surface plugs produced no takes, and we couldn’t get a good look at what was creating all of the commotion. We made a move back to the west, off Old Field, where we observed the same activity once again. This time, I hopped up on a higher point of the boat and made out the thin profile of these fish darting by. “They’re mackerel!” I said. Immediately, I made a switch to a small tin since we didn’t have any mackerel tree rigs on the boat. My first cast resulted in a hookup with one of these Bostons, confirming that they did indeed invade the Long Island Sound (at least in that area, from my firsthand observation).

While they were not the target of the day for us, clearly, it was a very cool side catch, and I’m convinced that some of the slot bass were chasing them around as well. I’m also sure that their presence, as long as they stick around, should bring in some larger bass and jumbo bluefish to feast on them. Some even say that bass prefer these mackerel over the typical bunker you see them feeding on.

I, for one, think this is a great sign of something returning that was once a common thing in the Sound. I shared the report with a few of my veteran fishing friends who have been doing this way longer than I have, and they did indeed confirm that years ago, Boston Mackerel were a targetable species in the Sound. My one buddy even had some from the shore inside the harbor.

While mackerel are rather oily, some swear by them in the smoker since the natural oils won’t dry them out quickly. Shark and bait fishermen should be thrilled as well. These fish make excellent chunk baits as well, again because of their oily nature. A small tin or soft plastic will catch them easily if you want to go that route, but you can also use a mackerel tree or sabiki rig if you’re looking for a double or even up to a quad-header.

There are no catch limits on Boston mackerel but please do refrain from overfishing and take only what you know you’re going to use. Let’s hope this fishery stays around for all of use to enjoy.


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