Not only is the Mackerel a great ultra light sporting fish in its own right, but it is also a baitfish capable of catching virtually every species of fish that swims around our shores. Some will say that if mackerel grew to ten pounds then we, and I include myself, would fish for little else.

For some species it is "the" bait. Used whole or as a flapper to provide a bigger bait, mackerel will catch all of our larger species such as shark, conger, ling and pollack. When properly prepared and presented it can also be a superb bait for many of our smaller species such as whiting and bream.

Fresh mackerel is always best, the juices send a scent trail downtide which many fish find irresistible, besides which it is always easier to fillet a fresh mackerel than one that might be a day or so old.

Take a sharp filleting knife and take the side fillets from the mackerel, flop them over and using your filleting knife thin the fillet till it is about 5 or 6 mm thick. Then slice and dice the fillets into strips that can be properly presented on your hooks.

It is a mistake to thread your hook through and through a chunk of bait because often it will spin and twist your leader into an unusable tangle. Far better to just pass the hook once or maybe twice through the strip so that it can flutter enticingly in the tide without masking the point of the hook.