How To Catch Spanish Mackerel
Spanish mackerel is truly one of the greatest Pelagics in the ocean, with awesome streamlining and screaming runs, impressive razor-sharp teeth, and also they are great to eat with some fantastic mackeral recipes available!!
It’s one unreel fish with serious attitude. Other names also known as Narrow Barred Mackerel or King mackerel in USA. Spanish mackerel grow up to 60 kilo’s and 7 foot in length, although they are more commonly caught between 10 and 20 kilo’s in size.
Mackay is truly blessed with a great Spanish Mackerel run between June and October every year, with fish pushing 30 kilograms and the odd 40 kilogram monster. It’s possible though to pick one up anytime throughout the year, with lone resident Mackerel around, so always keep that live bait or floater out.
The Spanish mackerel fishing seems to keep on improving with new fishing regulations seeming to have an impact with bag limits of three per person. Remember the size limit of 75 centimetres as well. Three’s heaps anyhow, so only take what you need, especially when on a hot bite, it’s easy to bag out.
Some of the best techniques for catching Spanish mackerel are Trolling Lures and Baits, Jigging chrome lures.
Using live baits and even the old floating Pilchard or Gar. Definitely worth trying a couple or even all of these techniques to increase your chances.
When trolling, try having a mix of lures and swimming gar or Wolf herring. There’s a heap of different ways to make your own mackerel rig using a herring, but check out our Swimming Wolf herring rig below, it just doesn’t get any easier with excellent hook up rates.
Wolf herring are awesome bait and rarely let you down if a Spanish Mackerel is around, consistently catching larger fish as well. Look after your Herring, freeze individually and treat like gold, almost as dear to buy from your local tackle shop. Can be caught at times inshore on small lures and if you catch a few, send a couple my way.
Try a swimming gar as well as a couple of lures. Stagger the lures and baits to prevent tangles and all your bases are covered. Troll your spread about 4 knots which seems to be about the best speed when trolling big baits.
High speed jigging chrome lures can also be very productive and awesome action when they smash your lure at high speed. Try the surface and also work the bottom. Make sure you’ve got a good hold of the rod. Live baits under a balloon can be deadly, and if any Spanish mackerel about, they can’t help themselves; Stripey, Fusiliers, and other small fish are all top baits.
Will need to use single strand wire, about 100lb, trying to keep size down to a minimum, but larger mackerel can cut through if too light. Keep the balloon about 30 feet or so behind the boat whilst reef fishing and It shouldn’t be too long before a screaming run.
Definitely great sport on light line, generally with a blistering first run, which can scream out 100 metres of line in no time flat, then generally coming to the boat easy, but great care still needed as many fish are lost boat side, when they take off at the last moment and final run.
Another great tip is to keep the boat idling ahead, bringing the fish in slowly for the gaff shot. Also recommend a serious 6ft Gaff for that extra reach and control of a large Spanish when coming alongside.
Watch out for the razor sharp teeth, many serious injuries have resulted from getting too close to those teeth. Best bet is to secure the fish on the deck and brain spike, killing the fish instantly, then bleed. Ice the fish down immediately for best results after taking photos of course.
Join a local Game or Sport fishing club and talk to the tackle shops to find out how to find good fishing spots here are some local hotspots for Spanish mackerel.
They love a bit of current and deep water near islands, rocks and reefs, where there are plenty of Ambushing opportunities. One of my favourite fish to catch and I’m sure you’ll be hooked as well once you get one onboard!!
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