Spanish Mackerel - Mackay Fishing And The Great Barrier Reef
Spanish Mackerel, What a fish, one of natures truly awesome predators, a streamlined killing machine with razor sharp teeth to match.
Anyone who’s been hooked up with one, won’t forget in a hurry, and definitely one of my favourite fish to catch great sport, great looking and great eating for a pelagic species. An Awesome fish and very appropriate for Reefari’s Logo, as these fish are held in such high regard.
Although not known for jumping during a fight whilst hooked, on occasions you will see Spanish Mackerel launch into the sky up to 20 feet into the air as they chase baitfish from the deep with great speed under surprise attack. Definitely a sight to see, and I’ve been lucky enough to witness only on a few occasions.
Other names known as Narrow Barred Mackerel, Blue Mackerel and King Mackerel in United States. Found throughout all Northern Australia from Northern New South Wales to Exmouth in Western Australia.
There’s plenty of great Fishing off Mackay for Spanish Mackerel all year round, but we get our best run from June through to October, with good numbers and quality fish caught. Mackay has possibly the best run of Spanish Mackerel on the east coast of Australia and easily accessible to all size of boats and even some shore side locations, such as the Mackay Marina Rockwall.
Multiple hook-ups can be common, and there’s nothing like three or four lures screaming off in different directions to get the adrenaline going. The beauty is these fish can be caught inshore close to land, around the Whitsunday islands, and throughout the maze of reefs which make up the Great Barrier Reef.
There are quite a large number of easily accessible places within 15 minutes from Mackay Marina and the Pioneer River Boatramp. Great spots to try are Slade Island, Roundtop island, and Dangerous reef.
Spanish mackerel grow to a massive 60 Kg, and a couple of metres in length with numerous monsters caught each year over 30 kg, and some do push that 40kg mark off Mackay. Most average between 10 & 20kg, and are a definite great catch at that size, and safe to eat.
There well known for that first big run, with blistering speed and huge hits, music to the ears of fisherman with screaming drags and ratchets, an awesome adrenalin rush when one goes off. After that first big run and if you still remain hooked up, the fight settles down and a fish will generally come to the boat quite easy.
Recommend a large 6 foot gaff with plenty of reach to secure your prize. It’s still not over with a lot of fish lost at the boat, with a couple of last minute runs fighting for freedom. They’ll throw or pull the hooks, bust lines, hit outboards and keep you on your toes.
Spanish Mackerel Fishing Tip: Just keep the boat idling forward, and maintain some momentum through the water, this keeps the fish settled and you can lead him in slowly and controlled in for a good gaff shot, give it a go next time.
Be Careful when you bring aboard 6 foot of angry Spanish Mackerel, they’ll make a mess, and with razor sharp teeth, can do serious damage to feet and legs, and watch those loose hooks, Get attached to a Spanish Mackerel and you’re in serious trouble. Best bet is to get everyone clear, some people use a mackerel donga, old baseball bat, but I do believe in Iki Jime, brain spiking a fish and subduing it quickly and humanely, and also preventing ruining your catch.
Size limits of 75cm, apply to Spanish Mackerel in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and also bag limits of 3. Mackerel do give a huge fish fillet to weight ratio, and even one nice Spanish will feed you for ages.
Watch the truly big fish and especially up over 25 – 30 kilos would have to start suspecting Ciguatera poisoning. Although not sure of any cases reported off Mackay, but definitely does occur in areas further south in larger fish. Make sure to cut off the pectoral fins as well to comply with new fishing regulations.
Check out our how to catch Spanish Mackerel page, with more advanced tips and videos. An awesome fish and well worth chasing, truly blessed with some world class fishing off Mackay and the southern Whitsunday islands. New Regulations seem to be doing there bit with more and larger quality fish and fishing every year. Can’t wait for the Mackerel Season, and getting amongst them right now. You will always get the loner fish around all year, off Mackay so still pays to try your favourite fishing spot. These loners are generally very big as well, good luck!!
Your Should Also Check Out These Spanish Mackerel Resources
How To Catch Spanish Mackerel
Trolling Lures For Spanish Mackerel
Live Baiting For Spanish Mackerel
Jigging And Casting
Make Your Own Mackerel Rig
No Fish Is Too Big...
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