Feathers are a traditional method of mackerel fishing, with strings coming in sets of three or six hooks. Originally they were just dyed chicken hackles tied via the nylon traces, but over the years more and more patterns have come onto the market, till there is now a considerable range. All feathers are, however, quite easy to use. You simply hurl them out to sea, let them sink, then work them back to shore with a sink and draw method. Somewhere along the way, if you are lucky, then one or more mackerel will throw themselves suicidally upon the hooks. An hour or two's mackerel fishing will catch enough mackerel to feed half the street or provide you with enough bait to fish through the night for conger eels or other large predators. Feathers have their uses, so I keep some handy. Mackerel can also be caught on trees by the half dozen when trolled behind a boat through thick schools. Sadly, mackerel are often ignored for their value as sport fish. They fight hard, can sometimes be finicky biters and often take off on strong runs. Mackerel have a heavy fish flavor, are related closely to tuna and render some dark meat. Caught one at a time on light gear they are also a very fun fish to catch. This is especially true for young anglers who run short of patience. When mackerel are schooling thick a young fisherman can see plenty of excitement in mackerel fishing. If you are serious about light tackle, then your rod must match the fish that you are after. It is, after all, a shock absorber between the fish and yourself. Theoretically, the more floppy the rod, the less likely that you are to lose the fish. Imagine, for example, that a large mackerel takes your bait. Being a predator it dashes in for the kill and hits your bait at five miles per hour, which, when multiplied by its body weight, gives you a force of 6 lbs. A powerful rod, with a test curve of three pounds, is struck against the bite and the line, at ten pounds breaking strain, has very little in reserve. Make a single mistake and fish, and tackle, are gone!
Good luck and Good fishing. May it bring you much enjoyment in such a sport that not only is fun, educational, and exciting but also puts delicious seafood on your plate!