Main menu

Fishing Report: Deep Trolling for Spanish Mackerel. 22/04/2010


The biggest, the best, the fastest and meanest mackerel of them all brings angler to their knees just thinking about them. This fish can peel hundreds of meters off your reel, causing your drag to smoke on the first run. It is an awesome feeling watching the line peel from your reel at a great rate of knots, with the drag screaming, not knowing when the fish will slow up and that there may be the possibility of getting spooled as the fish heads for the horizon. The smaller mackerel definitely don't go as hard; unless fished on light line, but the 10kg and heavier specimens go like the clappers on standard 10kg set ups - especially if you hook one while at anchor.

This Spanish mackerel season on the Sunshine Coast has been one of the best in about 10 years with plenty of good sized fish on offer to anglers over the past two or so months.  The smaller fish around the 5-8kg have started to move south leaving 8kg+ fish and increasing number of big rogue fish of 15-25kg to grace us with their presents right through to the end of winter with any luck.

It is over the cooler months when the fish hang down deeper in the water column and become harder to catch on standard mackerel gear. Live or dead bait trolled down deep will produce the best results and biggest fish. Baits should be trolled along with the outboard just in forward gear so that boat is moving at 1-2.5 knots. Make sure that your bait is rigged straight and swims straight before you let it out the back to troll.

Large hard bodied bibbed minnow style lures that dive to 5m+ will work on various occasions and you should aim to try these at dawn and dusk for best results.

The best areas to try trolling include those where birds are working, schools of fish feeding, pinnacles, bombies and dense bait schools showing up on the sounder.

Like most species of fish early morning and late afternoon are the key ‘hot bite' times. Spaniards love to feed well between sunup and mid morning when there is enough light for them to ambush bait readily.

Hard Lures:

  • Halco Laser pro 190 DD 7m+
  • Berkley Frenzy Mungo 6m+

Best Baits:

  • Live slimy mackerel, yakka, bonito, frigate mac tuna and wolf herring.
  • Good quality frozen bonito, tailor, slimy mackerel, gar, pike and large pilchards.

Bait trolling rigs:

  • TT Lures Bait trolling rig, 60g weight, 8/0 ganged hooks
  • SureCatch Chin Guard 85g weight, 6/0 ganged hooks

Both should be rigged with a length of wire 30-90cm depending on personal preference.

The Hot Spots at the moment:

Sunshine and Halls Reefs, Currimundi, the Gneerings and 5 mile Reef.


Spanish mackerel are excellent fighting fish and really give the angler a run for their money. They feed close enough to the coastline making them are readily available to all anglers, whether you own a kayak or a big ocean-going vessel. With better fighting capabilities, dashing looks and those super-healthy Omega 3 oils present in their flesh - why wouldn't you chase a Spaniard?




Noosa:  Long tail tuna and Mac tuna in the bay along with some sweetlip on the reef patches. Whiting and bream along Noosa North Shore. Flathead to 60cm and a few Whiting from the river mouth. Trevally on live baits from Munna Point and Woods bay.


Maroochy: Tailor to 3kg from the river mouth over night. Tailor in the cod hole just on dark. A 1kg jack from Bli Bli.  Bream, estuary cod and school jew to 5kg between Yinni Street and the Cod hole. Flathead throughout the river.


Kawana:  Flathead, bream and whiting along Buddina Beach. Squire and sweetlip on pilchards from Point Cartwright. Estuary Cod, Bream and trevally along La Balsa .


Caloundra:  Bream and flathead off the boardwalk. Trevally and jacks in Pelican Waters.



Paul Anderson and Dave McGregor regularly trolled slightly weighted XL pilchards behind their kayaks at less than 1knot so that the bait naturally sinks into the strike zone. Dave's top Spanish mackerel weighed in at 10kg and Paul caught a 6kg+ long tail tuna on his trolled rig.


Despite the rough conditions, Noosa angler John Kinloch boated two Spanish mackerel at Hall's Reef with this 23.5kg specimen being the standout (supplied by


This SureCatch ChinGuard rig is ideal for trolling large pilchards mid water for big Spanish mackerel and should be rigged with at least 30cm of wire.


Andy Gunn trolled XL slimy mackerel on weighted gang rigs at Currimundi Reef for these 9kg Spaniards.

Facebook YouTube twitter