Catching mackerel – the art of full house

A full house is a fish caught on every hook and is either a mark of the quality of the lure or the stupidity of the fish – the purpose of this exercise is to discover which.

To ensure we reveal which of these two factors a full house can correctly be attributed to we are conducting the Scottish Mackerel IQ Experiment.

Unable to measure the IQ of a mackerel through traditional methods we will attempt to catch the fish using some impressively daft lures and the success rates of each lure, when compared with other fish types, will reveal the true intelligence of the mackerel.

In order to keep Scottish Mackerel IQ Experiment data consistent, neutral and accurate the lures will be used from the same fishing mark in the Isle of Mull area two hours either side of the high tide.

Academic scrutiny

Focus groups, personal interviews and surveys have been conducted with mackerel believed to be truly representative of the population genus under study. All mackerel partaking in the Scottish Mackerel IQ Experiment lunged for lures of their own free will and were not coerced or persuaded to do so with incentives, financial or otherwise.

Mackerel electing to take part in the Scottish Mackerel IQ Experiment were in no way related to, or financially linked with, Octane’s team of researchers, statisticians, scientists or pie-chart colourers-in.

The following lures, some weird and some wonderful, will be trialled during Summer 2018:

Scottish Mackerel IQ Experiment: Lures

  1. Feather. The traditional and ever popular mackerel lure. Tried, tested and much loved by anglers the world over, mackerel feather lures come in many bright colours and sizes. Not being sure if mackerel see in colour, we prefer the startling contrast of white.
  1. Foil. Beautifully reflective and shiny, attention grabbing and irresistible to impulsive mackerel – mackerel foil lures work well in shallow waters where they glint and sparkle in the sunlight filtering through the surface. 
  1. Star Wars Stormtrooper Lego action figure. A Storm Trooper’s shiny white armour offers good protection against Jedi laser blasters but will it stop the snappy but slightly daft mouths of hungry mackerel
  1. Uniqlo UJ Jean Innovation wash label. This clean, white and reflective wash label, made from a crafted and traditional mix of Korean polyester and dralon, is sure to fox even the most judicious of mackerel. 
  1. Barclays Bank, Telford High Street cashpoint receipt. Of the purest white, bleached, 50% recycled, FSC accredited paper from sustainable Scandinavian pine forestry. Will this receipt look like a fish through the sharp discerning eye of a mackerel? 
  1. Red hot chilies. Red, hot, shiny and conical in shape, these beauties are sure to cause a stir and, if they were to swam past me whilst diving, I’d be sure to take a snappy lunge.
  2. No lure at all. Will astute mackerel simply hook themselves in a selfless attempt to skew this most scientific of experiments – or will the brainier among them attempt to promote its species for the chess champions they really are? 

Results will be made public end of the last day in autumn 2018.


Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions and, employing Octane’s Eight** methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food,ocean fresh*.

*The term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught, prepared, cooked and eaten same-day.

**Octane’s Eight is our philosophy. We believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1. we line fish, 2. we lobster pot, 3. we spear fish, 4. we sea forage, 5. we land forage, 6. we stalk, 7. we seed the sea, 8. we seed the land. Why is it campers and ramblers feel so obliged to consume biltong, baked beans and instant coffee?

See ocean fresh in practice with the post ‘Drive through calamari’ – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in under an hour

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