Casting for Spanish Mackerel



by Dave McKenzie

As we approach thewarmer weather, so too do we start to see the Spanish Mackerel show up on the Gold Coast. Truth be told, this year they never really left, but the numbers will certainly start to improve. Last season was phenomenal, and we can only hope this year is half as good! When I am offshore the majority of the time I see people either trolling hard bodies, or anchored drifting livebaits out under floats for Spanish. Whilst no doubt effective techniques, we generally cast lures to the fish seen on the sounder. The Mackerel tend to move around a fair bit, so it isn’t always essential to ‘find’ the fish on the sounder before making your first cast, but being in the area of some bait will help. Lure wise, we generally use lures that will get to the bottom without having to wait all day.

In 20-30m of water, I use the Bassday Bungy Cast weighing in at 30 grams, and will get to the bottom in roughly 30 seconds. Once on the bottom, a fast ‘whip wind whip wind’ retrieve is used, and the take can be fantastic. A short piece of wire can be handy when chasing Mackerel. I only use around 6 inches of wire; just enough to get past those teeth, without ruining the action of the lure. Metal slugs work too of course, and are a cheaper option if you don’t want to use wire. Gorilla make some excellent slugs for this purpose. With the slugs, once it reaches the bottom, starting winding as fast as you can until you reach the boat. By doing this, you also reduce your chance of the fish engulfing the lure completely and snipping you off with their razor sharp teeth.

I find that when we are fishing the popular reefs off the Gold Coast mid season, we could be one of 100 boats on the reef. Of those 100 boats, there’s probably 2 or 3 boats casting lures. I’ve not seen the bait fishos out-fish the lure fishos once. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but lure fishing can be extremely effective and offers the Mackerel something they aren’t constantly being exposed to. Give it a try.