Hayley displays an iconic summer species, the spotted mackerel.

Spanish and spotted mackerel

Mackerel are still all the rage this month.

While not the worst season, they have been patchy, particularly the spanish variety.

Spotted mackerel have been consistent without being thick.

I came in with a bag of spotties recently that averaged 4kg a piece, so the quality has been fairly good for the most part.

In previous seasons, my daughter Keira had caught a few decent spaniards and some monster doggy mackerel, though she hadn’t caught a spotty.

This year she filled in the gap, as you would have seen last month.

I was very excited to get last month’s BNB and find her on the front cover, proudly holding a spotted mackerel.

She’s been a great deckhand while I’ve recovered from my appendix operation.

Rocco admires his first spanish mackerel.


One morning, we had one of those great occasions when we hooked a spotty as soon as the bait hit the water.

Keira caught seven fish in seven casts and then somebody turned the switch off.

Mackerel can be a frustrating fish.

We persisted fishing and caught a few more that bit very tentatively, but it’s bizarre how they just stop biting.

What haven’t stopped biting yet however are the sharks.

I had a fairly good whinge about them recently, so I won’t bang on about them again, though seriously, enough!

Hayley and her dad Nev headed out with Damien, and about a hundred other boats, for a morning on mackerel and were rewarded with a feed of spotties.

They are keen to get out again soon and knock over a few more spaniards.

On an afternoon adventure, Damien also put Rocco onto a nice spanish mackerel.

Good on you Rocco, I hope the future holds many more for you.

Nev and Hayley with the makings of a good feed.


As I sit here and type away, I’m thinking of my latest trip which, at the time of writing, was just this morning.

It was a good reminder of being persistent and the benefits of also mixing things up a little.

We anchored at sunrise on a good patch of slimy mackerel.

After putting some bait out, we waited patiently, yet the only bite we got was on a half pilchard that I unfortunately had the drag a bit tight on and it broke us off.

After an hour we moved to another location and anchored up again.

I had Gary with me and, to fill in time, he fished the bottom with a paternoster rig.

After a couple of moses perch, a nice parrotfish and a tailor, he set the hooks into something that took a bit of drag.

Initially I called it for a small jewfish, but it emerged as a big parrot that weighed exactly 4kg.

We caught a few more moses before it went a quiet, though we weren’t unhappy with our mackerel by-catch.

Gary caught a thumper parrotfish when waiting for a mackerel.


The current changed and we ended up fishing back around the anchor rope, so we changed tactics and slow trolled some slimy mackerel.

Finally, at 11am, we hooked and landed a spanish mackerel.

Not a huge fish but a nice feed nonetheless.

Into the rivers and mud crabs have been sensational in both numbers and quality.

Try to find the boundary between fresh and salt, as it moves up and down the river with the varying rainfall.

During the last rain event on the Brunswick River, there were some massive buck crabs caught between the highway bridge and the mouth of the river.

As the salt starts to push upriver, the crabbers getting the best results are the ones who continually move and place their pots slightly upstream of where the salt is pushing to on the top of each tide.

Mangrove jack are also going off their heads in the lower reaches, so now is the time to get a jack… before the water starts cooling off.

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