Easter is nearly upon us and if you’re from NE NSW that means one thing - mackerel! This is the time of the year when the water really starts to warm up and both Spotted and Spanish mackerel start to get thick.
There is a number of ways to target these speedsters that will be sure to get your drag singing and the blood really pumping. Typically mackerel are chased trolling, drifting or on the cast on live baits, dead baits or lures. Whether you have access to a boat as a captain or deckie, or whether you target them land based, will help narrow your options. These fish offer great fun for anglers and fantastic meat yield, with 1 or 2 fish being plenty for a couple of big feeds.
Boat - There are so many ways to target mackerel on the in-shore reefs but the most important thing is finding the right conditions. Blue water or as close to it as you can get is always best and getting that temperature 24 degrees or above is ideal. Once you find an in-shore reef with these conditions, I like to find the bait or pressure edges and work them. Trolling hardbodies like a Laser pro or slow trolling live baits such as Yakkas or Slimies is an effective way to cover ground and find a few of the long squiggling lines on your sounder. Drifting while stickbaiting is effective and an unreal visual. Throwing the pick out and burleying up with gang pilchards drifting out the back can be very effective too.
Craig Hanlon - Website Production at Motackle & Outdoors
Land Based - Arguably the holy grail of mackerel fishing is pinning one off the rocks whether it be with a bait or lure. Fishing from the land doesn’t provide us anglers with the ability to “chase” fish and as a result, a nearly empty spool provides genuine fear and excitement. Mackerel can be spun with stickbaits or metals off the stones. Stickbaits like the Nomad range of Madscads or Riptides are really effective and watching a stickbait speared 3m in the air is unreal! In metals the Surecatch Knights are great although retrofitting with singles can help with hook retention on fish. Lastly is floating livies out, which is probably the most effective way to hook a mackerel off the stones.
Brendan Bernard - Fishing Purchasing Manager at Motackle & Outdoors
Be Prepared - There are a few things that are essential for all mackerel fishing. The first that can’t be ignored is the razor set of dentures they have and the importance of using wire to your rig. Secondly is the ability of big Spanish to empty spools - any mackerel gear should have minimum 300m of line and I’d suggest more if you’re land based. And lastly is being prepared fish care wise to get the best quality fish fillets possible, this means an esky or fishbag with more than ample ice.
Rob Mutton - Outdoors Purchasing Manager at Motackle & Outdoors
We all love a bit of “Mackerel Fever”, but why wouldn’t you for a fish that runs that hard and tastes great! Fish that are dispatched quickly and put straight to ice will make good quality sashimi and unreal ceviche. It also lends itself to smoking, curries and pastas. It’s the time of year to cash in on the excitement and adrenalin for beginner to advanced anglers and enjoy the warm water while it lasts.
- Matt Townes - Mail Order Manager at Motackle & Outdoors