It wasn’t so long ago that a call like that brought the farmers and their families down to the strand to fill up bags and boxes of all shapes and sizes with the dashing, darting, almost suicidal mackerel as they came close inshore chasing the shoals of sprats into the shallow waters.
These mackerel were destined to be salted away in barrels to help eke out the lean winter months.
But today the children caught their first mackerel with their cousins near Oysterhaven; having had their fill there, they thoughtfully brought a couple back for my tea.
I scored the sides of the mackerel with a sharp knife, rubbed some sea salt and Dijon mustard into the cuts and fried them in a little butter and a splash of white wine.So simple, so fresh, so so good!
It reminded me of a day a year or two ago when I went out salmon fishing with Seamus de Burca out of Ring. The salmon weren’t there, but the mackerel were. Pulling them in over the side, a quick clean then straight into the frying pan in the galley and a few minutes later onto the plate and ………..!
So if you are near the coast and you see the seagulls diving and the spratt shoaling on the surface near the shore, go find a line and a couple of hooks.