Tips On Catching Spotted Mackerel.
Spotted Mackerel are about to show up here in South East Queensland and this is one fish I enjoy fishing for as they are a lot of fun to catch on light gear and taste great. I do things a little different though here on the Gold Coast, I am not one to go to either Palm beach or Mermaid reefs and get into a yelling match with a hundred other anglers. I like to fish southeast of the seaway on the one-mile reef or the 16 and 18-fathom reefs for Spotted Mackerel.
Casting For Mackerel.
On rare days when you can find a school of Spotties without 50 boats driving through them, I like to go upwind and cast small metal slugs (20 to 40 gram) into the school while the wind is slowly blowing my boat quietly towards the school. Casting at Spotted Mackerel is very productive if there are no other boats driving through the school. My favorite outfit for this is a 2500 Daiwa Calida on a 3 to 6 kg Daiwa Black Label rod filled with 8-pound braid. Mackerel is a lot of fun on this light gear. This casting method also works very well with small stick baits and is very exciting fishing when you are watching Mackerel fight over your surface lure! By the way, I run a short 4-inch 38-pound single strand bite trace on all my casting lures.
Bait Fishing For Spotted Mackerel.
Bait fishing for them is also very productive but it takes time to locate the fish as the Spotted Mackerel will do laps around the reef system you are fishing, you just have to wait for your turn for the fish to come into your area. You will know what I mean by this if you have ever fished Palm beach or Mermaid reefs, you can watch the fish going from boat to boat around the reef. The best method for this is casting an unweighted half Pilchard out and let it sink slowly. The rig I use is very simple it is on a 6 inch 27-pound multi-strand wire with a 4/0 octopus hook with a small black swivel. My outfit is once again very light, mine is a Shimano Sustain 2500 on a G-Loomis 3 to 6 kg rod spooled with 6-pound braid. Be careful when using light gear in large groups of boats as Spotted Mackerel will go for a good run and with light braid, it will cut through other peoples anchor ropes and start fights. BE CAREFUL!
PS: Using cut pieces of Pilchards for burley does help when float lining for Mackerel.
Downrigging For Spotties.
Not a lot of people use this method for Spotted Mackerel but it does work very well when the other methods (above) are not working. If the Spotties are not in close eating baits or chasing your metal slugs or surface lures you will usually find them out a bit wider 16 to 18-fathom reefs down near the bottom and this is where the down rigger comes in handy! For this method to work well you will need to catch a few of those small yakkas (keep live) now you will need one of those South African rigs (shown below). The rig is made with a 2/0 straight hook (NOT OFFSET) with a small strong treble 3 inches from the top hook made with a 27 lb multi-strand wire. Now put the 2/0 straight hook through the nose of the Yakka and the treble lightly pierced through the skin close to the tail, now attach the line to the down rigger ball. The bait should be about 20 to 25 feet behind the ball, now let the bait go down until it is 5 meters off the bottom and slow troll around the reef system. My outfit for this is my Daiwa Saltiga Micro Jigging outfit spooled with 20-pound braid. I like this type of outfit because the light rod works well with the downrigger and it is heavy enough to handle Spanish Mackerel which you will hook using this method.