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2013 Fishing Reports

Local Fishing Feature: Marauding Mackerel 03/03/2013

To start the new year, consider targeting one of Australia's most well known pelagic species - mackerel. At this time of the year they start to show up in good numbers around the coast with big schools appearing to feed on small white bait and frogmouth pilchards. Mackerel inhabit the close reefs, bays and deep gutters along our beaches in seeking out prey and will take a variety of lures and flesh baits. There are a few different species of mackerel that are caught off the coast including school mackerel, spotty mackerel and the prized spanish mackerel. Widely sought after by many anglers young and old due to their fantastic eating quality and die hard fighting style, mackerel of any variety will put you and your tackle to the test.

Owning a boat is often associated with criteria for catching mackerel, however this is certainly not the case. Mackerel often venture in quite close to rocky headlands and beaches in search for schools of bait fish making them available to land based anglers and kayakers. School or spotted mackerel will also appear busting up on the surface around bait balls and are often mistaken for feeding schools of tuna that also encroach our bays after schools of small bait fish. The best way to tell the schools apart is by the type of splashes that you see. Mackerel will put out big long splash that give the impression of someone slashing the water with a knife while the tuna tend to make smaller splashes and are often seen getting air borne.

Although if you do find a bait ball that is made up of tuna don't be afraid to cast baits or lures around them because more often than not there's going to be a few mackerel hanging underneath that bait ball. Spanish mackerel have a different feeding style compared to their cousins and they grow a lot large too with some spanish mackerel being landed around the 25kg mark. Unlike schoolie and spotted mackerel, spanish mackerel tend to scatter themselves across a wide area and they will normally only take larger baits or lures. As you can see, the photo of Trent from Top Catch Charters holding up a Wahoo, looks very similar to your locally caught Spanish mackerel. Wahoo, also known as Jack mackerel, are most commonly mistaken species for varieties of mackerel.

When chasing mackerel the biggest advantage you can give yourself is to use steel trace. Mackerel have a pointed mouth filled with razor sharp teeth that will slice and dice through braid or mono with ease. Mackerel will take a variety lures from slugs to hard bodied varieties and will rarely turn their nose up to a float flesh bait. When chasing the schoolie and spotted mackerel that are in a feeding frenzy, 20lb line would be ideal – it's heavy enough to slow them down and light enough to let you cast your lure into the school. But when chasing big spanish mackerel, 50lb line would be the minimum requirement to slow the big torpedos downs. The best way to catch mackerel on bait is using a floater rig; this rig involves a set of gang hooks around a 5/0, 40 to 50cm of steel trace, a heavy duty swivel and if needed a small amount of weight. Your bait will sit nice a high in the water column right were the mackerel are feeding. For land based anglers, the rig can be completed by tying a balloon above the swivel. By doing this, the rig can be floated out a long distance but remember to tie the balloon on nice and tight so you don't lose it and to use biodegradable balloons. Mackerel have liking to flesh baits so pilchards, slimy mackerel, bonito/tuna strips, or live yakkas (if available) are ideal baits to use.


Lure fishing for mackerel needs attention to detail with lure presentation, depending on the day and action. When the mackerel are in a feeding frenzy they will tend to focus on the profile of your lure so if the bait their feeding on is small use a small lure and if the bait is big use a big lure. Mackerel love fast moving lures so hardy body lures and metal slugs are ideal for these predatory fish. Metal slugs are perfect when the mackerel have a bait ball on the surface and are in a feeding frenzy while the hard body lures are excellent for trolling around the bait schools or on the open patches of reef for the bigger Spaniards. Trolling pilchards or whole baits is another method that is extremely effective for all types of mackerel. The whole baits can be rigged on a gang with a skirt or on a chin guard rig and then trolled or retrieved at a varying pace. By changing the speed of the retrieve the rigged bait will rise and fall in the water column giving it a bit movement and action enticing that strike. Once you have hooked that metre-plus mackerel, be sure to keep the tension on the line and hang on for that memorable fight!

Talking Tackle: Troll Bait rigs

Troll bait rigs are an ideal rig to use when trolling dead baits for pelagic species. They give your bait an excellent swimming action and presentation and they allow you to troll your whole baits such as pilchards, slimy mackerel and gar without the messy twists. There are a few different brands on the market with TT Lures trolling rigs and Citer selection being the standouts. TT have once again have produced a bullet proof rig with heavy gage hooks and swivels along with a few extras of wire and bands to secure your bait to the hook. Citer has two different types of troll baits; chin guard and gar swimmer. The chin guard has a cylinder shaped head that allow the bait to travel through the water in a straight line instead of spinning around in circles like a plain gang rig. The gar swimmer has a solid moulded bib that makes the bait swim like a hard body lure, putting out large tail kicks to attract that big mackerel into striking. If you're looking to troll up that big spanish mackerel or a few spotty mackerel the troll bait rigs are must have in your tackle box.

ChinGuard

TT trolling rigs and citer chin guards are excellent trolling rigs that will get your pilchard or slimy swimming nice and straight.

PaulAnderson15.25kgSpanishMackerelYaroomba
Paul Anderson thrives on the hunt and chase on his fitted out kayak – purpose build for mackerel fishing, this fish caught at Coolum Reef.

Mahi Mahi Top Catch Charters
Another beautiful fish taken offshore on a Top Catch Charters trip over Christmas – a mahi mahi or dolphin fish.

Wahoo Mooloolaba Skinner Trent TopCatchCharters
Skipper Trent from Top Catch Charters with a Wahoo caught off Mooloolaba on New Year's Day.

Local Fishing Report: Thursday 03/01/2013

Noosa: Well the southerly change today will have the wind and swell increasing today, so stick to sheltered waters. Worth a try for mackerel and cobia in the Bay's. Whiting, flathead and trevally in Weyba Creek. Whiting and golden trevally to 2kg in Woods bays. Mangrove jacks from Tewantin, and a few good muddies in the upper and middle reaches.
Maroochydore: Good dusky flathead caught and big ones released in the lower and middle reaches. Jacks to 2kg taken in the Creeks, from Bli Bli and the Bridge pylons. A few good grunter bream from Bli Bli and Petrie Creek. Whiting along the black banks. Mud crabs taken in the channels of the middle and upper reaches and up the creeks.
Kawana: A 2.8 kg/58cm Mangrove Jack was taken overnight in the Minyama Canals. A few whiting and dart along Kawana Beach. Whiting and flathead to 70cm from Mountain Creek. Jack in Kawana Waters and around McKenzies Bridge, Mountain Creek area. Bream on soft plastics around the moorings.
Caloundra: There has been a few catches of big flathead and trevally in the top end of the passage. Trevally, jack and mud crabs in the Pelican Waters Canals and Coochin Creek. Good whiting, a few sand crabs and plenty of average flathead with quite a few quality fish to 60 and 70cm in the top end of the Passage.

Black-Marlin

Larry Heenan caught this Black Marlin at the 50 m Mark Ne of Mooloolaba. Could not be released due to damage to gills.

Local Fishing Report: Wednesday 02/01/2013

Noosa; Well the southerly change today will have the wind and swell increasing today, so stick to sheltered waters. Worth a try for mackerel and cobia in the Bay's. Whiting, flathead and trevally in Weyba Creek. Whiting and golden trevally to 2kg in Woods bays. Mangrove jacks from Tewantin, and a few good muddies in the upper and middle reaches.
Maroochydore: A bloke caught a Black Marlin that he couldn't release, out on the Gneerings, yesterday. Nice jack taken in Petrie Creek and upper reaches. Good dusky flathead caught and big ones released in the lower and middle reaches. Jacks to 2kg taken in the Creeks, from Bli Bli and the Bridge pylons. A few good grunter bream from Bli Bli and Petrie Creek. Mud crabs taken in the channels of the middle and upper reaches and up the creeks.
Kawana: A 2.8 kg/58cm Mangrove Jack was taken overnight in the Minyama Canals Yesterday. A few whiting and dart along Kawana Beach. Whiting and flathead to 70cm from Mountain Creek. Jack in Kawana Waters and around McKenzies Bridge, Mountain Creek area. Bream on soft plastics around the moorings.
Caloundra; There has been a few catches of big flathead and trevally in the top end of the passage. Trevally, jack and mud crabs in the Pelican Waters Canals and Coochin Creek. Good whiting, a few sand crabs and plenty of average flathead with quite a few quality fish to 60 and 70cm in the top end of the Passage.

WadeJacobsenGoatIsland37cm1.1.13

Wade Jacobsen fished around Goat and Channel Islands in the lower Maroochy for a nice feed with whiting up to 37 cm.

Local Fishing Report: Tuesday 01/01/2013

Noosa; Enjoy the lighter variable winds early today ahead of the southerly change tomorrow, but there will still be a bit of swell, so take care offshore. Worth a try for mackerel and cobia and sweetlip on local reefs. Whiting, flathead and trevally in Weyba Creek. Whiting and golden trevally to 2kg in Woods bays. Mangrove jacks from Tewantin, and a few good muddies in the upper and middle reaches.
Maroochydore: Nice jack taken in Petrie Creek by Jeff Vere yesterday morning. Good dusky flathead caught and big ones released in the lower and middle reaches. Jacks to 2kg taken in the Creeks, from Bli Bli and the Bridge pylons. A few good grunter bream from Bli Bli and Petrie Creek. Mud crabs taken in the channels of the middle and upper reaches and up the creeks.
Kawana: The crews on Top Catch Charters fished Caloundra 12 Mile and Currimundi for Coral Trout to 5.5kg, nice sweetlip and gold spot wrass. A few whiting and dart along Kawana Beach. Whiting and flathead to 70cm from Mountain Creek. Jack in Kawana Waters and around McKenzies Bridge, Mountain Creek area. Bream on soft plastics around the moorings.
Caloundra; There has been a few catches of big flathead and trevally in the top end of the passage. Trevally, jack and mud crabs in the Pelican Waters Canals and Coochin Creek. Good whiting and plenty of average flathead with quite a few quality fish to 60 and 70cm in the top end of the Passage.

Anglers Advantage Fishing Charters Sunshine Coast-Hamish Grant-Flathead Maroochy River

Hamish Grant was pretty excited to catch and release his first Dusky Flathead in the Maroochy River.

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