Fishing for Spanish Mackerel in Australia is one of those type of of fishing that has developed its own new breed of adrenaline junkie fishermen. The Spanish mackerel is one of the razor gang known primarily for their razor sharp teeth and lightening speed. These fish can be easily identified by the vivid dark, narrow bars that run vertically down the length of the fish. They can be found in good numbers from about Coffs harbour north all the way around to about Perth. Their habitat can be varied but typically if you find the bait you will find the Spanish. Mainly the pressure points on deep rocky headlands or deep bommies on reef edges will attract the bigger fish but schools of smaller fish around the 15kg mark can be found free-swimming wherever there are good bait schools. These awesome fish can grow in excess of 50kgs but a large fish is considered to be 35kgs.
Fishing for Spanish Mackerel successfully can be a difficult thing sometimes. You really have to be in the right place at the right time and it is up to your local knowledge to work them out. For example in Hervey bay you get a really good run if fish in march where as in Mackay the best run of fish is in July. They can be found in most areas all year round but the best fishing will be during the breeding season and the fish will also be in peak condition. There are quite a few different ways to fish for Spanish mackerel. The key is to get the fish excited.
Most people fail to realise that despite the Spanish Mackerel being a surface active pelagic fish, the actually spend most of their day hanging out of the current in the lee of a big rock or bommie. You can tow lures and baits past an inactive fish all day and he wont bite unless you can get him active. Whilst towing both a large shallow and a deep diving lure try flicking a high speed silver slice as you pick up the fish on your sounder. This can sometimes be enough to get the fish going and they will then hit anything that moves. The initial strike is what makes the blood of every hardcore Spanish mackerel fisherman boil. Pack attacks are common with more than one line tearing off the reel at a pace that can cause inferior reels to melt drag washers. They are quite capable of massive aggressive jumps and are very good at throwing a lure if they are given any slack line at all. It is always a good idea with any Spanish hooked on the troll to keep the boat in gear and moving away from the fish to ensure pressure is kept on when the fish changes direction.
Another method when fishing for Spanish mackerel is to anchor up and live bait. This is a better technique when there is a lot of bait around and the fish are well fed and very picky. The best way to rig up is a 3 gang hook with a short length of single strand wire attached. Pin your live bait once just behind the dorsal fin with the lowest hook and suspend the hole rig about 10feet under the surface with a balloon. Use cotton or light line to attach the balloon so that once the hooks are set, the balloon can break away and the fish can be fought normally.
Fishing for Spanish mackerel can be quite dangerous for people who are inexperienced with them. They are a very large powerful fish which i have personally witnessed someone loose three of their fingers to a single bite on the hand so always us a gaff and get the fish into a kill pen quickly but carefully. Also be careful of ciguatera poisoning in larger fish.
When fishing for mackerel in Australia limit your catch don't catch your limit.