Dane scored a spanish mackerel on a dead bonito.

Dead bait for solid spanish mackerel

Hello everyone, I hope you were able to catch a break in the weather and head out for a mackerel or two.

On the Gold Coast, the wind and swell were non-stop for at least two weeks straight, making it very difficult to get out.

Finally, there was a nice window of good weather that created a great opportunity to head out to get among some mackerel.

As we get into the later months of the season, the spanish mackerel really start to fire up and become more consistent, especially the good 10-15kg models.

I was lucky enough to get out and into some solid spanish, regularly bagging out with a friend on the boat in Queensland.

Slow trolled dead bait have been the go-to on the local reefs lately.

And luckily, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s in the morning or afternoon, any early finishes at work turn into an afternoon session and consistently come up trumps.

Slow trolling dead bait has its ups and downs at the best of times, but when this species wants a bonito or tailor, they hit it hard, causing an amazing sound that all fishos live for.

Cory managed a solid local spanish mackerel.


When towing the dead bait, I tend to keep the speed at a constant 6-8km/h to ensure the bait is swimming correctly and looks the most lifelike.

As with all mackerel fishing, once you find the bait, the fish tend to be not too far behind – this goes for any reef you fish at.

It doesn’t really matter where the fish are sitting, whether it’s down deep or on top, the dead bait always finds a way to get bitten.

There are various rigs you can buy at your local tackle shop – a TT Fishing chin weight, a Reaper Rig, Head Start rigs or you can buy the chin guards and add your own hooks.

I prefer to make my own rigs instead of buying pre-made mass produced versions.

Some rigs come with single hooks, some come with trebles and some come with both – it really depends on how you like to rig the bait and what action you’re wanting out of the bait.

The wire I usually run is 60-80lb single-strand, which is attached to my rig, with 2-3 hooks on the rig.

There are unlimited videos on YouTube that show how to rig up dead bait and how to tow them to successfully to get a fish to eat.

The author with a decent local longtail tuna.


One downside to using these bait types is that spanish mackerel are notorious for biting the tail off bait, without you even noticing, so I regularly check my bait every 30 or so minutes to see if they’re still performing correctly.

A growing problem that has become quite apparent is the number of sharks that are ‘taxing’ fish.

While this has been going on for many years, it has become so bad recently that once you hook a fish, the sharks are onto it instantly – you don’t have a fighting chance of boating it.

The number of fish getting sharked from the Seaway all the way to Tweed Heads is starting to get concerning, whether it is tuna, mackerel or even a giant trevally, fishos don’t stand a chance.

No matter what gear you have or how good at fishing you are, like it or not they will get your fish.

Another dramatic way to get spanish mackerel is by throwing big stickbaits and poppers.

The aerial strikes from spanish are absolutely awesome – jumping a few meters in the air – and while it’s a rather expensive way to catch them, it is impressive.

Find the pressure edge on local reefs and start throwing big long casts with nice consistent sweeps and hold on.

The rougher the water, the better it is to get a fish.

The author and a sharked giant trevally.


And while doing this, you have the chance of catching tuna, wahoo, even a giant trevally.

The past few weeks have been fishing very well locally.

Though it usually fires up later in the season, most people can get them on various techniques, which is the greatest part of fishing.

Anyone, young and old, can learn and get into the amazing sport of fishing.

It can take you all over the country and the world – plus, the sunrises and sunsets you witness when on the water cannot be beaten.

Well, that’s all for me for this month.

Hopefully you get a few things out of this and get out to get into some fish.

Tight lines!

About Bush 'n Beach Fishing mag

Check Also


Isisford Fishing Competition 2024

The Isisford Barcoo Recreational Fishing Club invites you to its annual fishing competition on the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *