The first spotted mackerel of the season for Keira.

Maximising mackerel mayhem

Hi everyone, sorry I missed an article last month.

Right on crunch time, when it was due, I had my appendix removed.

A very common procedure I know, yet it had me out of action for a couple of weeks, on doctor’s orders.

I’m still on light duties, though the doc did say I could go fishing… if I had minions to do the work.

So, Keira put her hand up for fishing and I drove the boat.

We’ve had some fun on mackerel, mostly spotted, however the sharks towelled us up on a few occasions.

The taxman problem is getting bigger.

I watched Greg Lamprecht’s recent YouTube release and was frustrated for him as he lost good fish on isolated spots that a few years ago wouldn’t have held sharks.

He had his say about the situation and, like the rest of us, acknowledges that the problem is only getting worse.

Mathew managed a rainy day spotted mackerel.


Watch YouTube reports anywhere from the northern half of NSW and right along the Queensland coast and you’ll soon see that the problem is widespread.

It’s ‘Cape Carnage’ everywhere now.

Recently, Lewan had a 3m bull shark land on the corner of his boat.

He saw the shark coming as he was about to gaff a mackerel, so he quickly pulled the fish from the water.

But the shark didn’t slow down, instead it launched from the water, giving Lewan and Stratto a bit of a shock.

Stratto was up the front of the boat and said that from his angle there was a split second when he thought Lewan was a goner.

As I write, a report was released of a lady having had her leg mauled by a bull shark in Sydney Harbour.

With all the shark activity on our reefs, I decided to head in really close, to a spot where I haven’t had a shark problem before.

I got a few spotties, and while they weren’t as thick as those on the main reefs, at least when we did hook up, Keira could play the fish out as per normal.

There’s no doubt about it, mackerel are super fun and I love eating them.

Lewan captured a decent spanish mackerel.


We’ve been crumbing small pieces and enjoying mackerel nuggets or making delicious mackerel curries.

Treated right, spotties hold together surprisingly well in a curry.

I do prefer to eat spanish mackerel, however there’s nothing wrong with a spotty in my books, especially if you bleed them and drop them into a good slurry immediately.

The best bait for spotted mackerel so far has been the good old pilchard – either whole or half.

We’ve had an abundance of tiny yellowtail scad about 70mm long hanging on the bait reef lately and spotties are also finding these irresistible.

Trolling pink squids has worked, as has throwing a small stickbait or metal slug.

On the spanish mackerel side of things, when they’ve been about, slow trolling live bait has been successful, though they haven’t shown up in any real numbers yet.

Out wider, there haven’t been too many pelagic due to the complete lack of current.

A few rat yellowfin have come from Windarra Bank, but that’s about it really.

Keira and a brace of spotted mackerel from the local reef.


Most boats that have ventured out hoping for a wahoo or mahi mahi have resorted to bottom fishing to save the day.

This was quite successful, with a few snapper being caught, but great numbers of pearl perch and kingfish made the effort worthwhile.

I imagine the current will pick up soon and with it pelagic species will arrive – the next couple of months is prime wahoo time.

In the river, the fish have been pushed down to the lower half and are providing some good feeds.

Trevally are lacking, however whiting and flathead are reasonably common.

A few soapy jewfish are about, though the two species absolutely going off are mud crabs and mangrove jack.

All in all, things are trucking along OK.

Enough cyclones already!

Hopefully we get a good run of weather so we can make the most of the fishing that’s available.

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