G’day, and welcome to the continuation of my Mackerel fishing column.

Last column I provided you some tips on how to catch a Spanish Mackerel.  This column I’m focusing on the all-important bait catching ready for dead bait trolling.

A few of the go-to dead baits are garfish, wolf herring, bonito, school and spotted mackerel.  The best part about these species is they are mega fun to catch and kids absolutely love it.  A great way to involve the whole family in fishing

Garfish can be easily caught with a dragnet in sheltered bays when burlied up with bread and a touch of oily Pilchard.  They are easily spotted on the oily surface once the burly trail entices them in.  Then it’s a matter of who’s on the deep end of the drag net.

School and Spotted Mackerel can also be burlied up with Pilchards in the shallow bays and rocky headlands along the exposed coastline.  They will take a ganged Pilchard with little or no weight cast into the burly trail.  Use a transparent mono leader as opposed to a steel wire trace because these fish have good eyesight and will shy away from an unnatural trace.  This is visual fishing at its best.  There’s nothing like experiencing a school of excited Mackerel fighting over your bait in clear water and watching the bite.   Once the burley trail is established and the Mackerel are around, casting a hard body, vibe or slug into the trail and retrieving at high speed works well.  Just ensure the heavy sinking lures hit the bottom first.  If you’re not into burlying up, then trolling spoons or hard bodies at speed works well. 

Wolf Herring can be caught in the same areas on small artificial lures but tend to hang out in the shallower water.  They are very good at escaping once hooked as they tear off easily.

School and Spotted Mackerel and Bonito can also be caught off the exposed coastline by following the birds.  Equipped with extremely good eyesight, sea birds quickly hone in on a school of pelagic fish in a feeding frenzy and can be seen from a long-distance.  Trolling or throwing small slugs, spoons and artificial lures over the top and through the feeding fish works.   Quite often the School and Spotted Mackerel will be hanging out below the Tuna so be prepared to let your lure sink or use a deeper diving lure.   A proficient angler can tell the difference between Bonito, Tuna and Mackerel feeding action so take notice of what’s busting up. 

School and Spotted Mackerel are exceptional eating, so if you’re not into converting your catch into a Spanish, then fillet them up and feed the family. You won’t be disappointed.

Dead baits that have been frozen and thawed out troll a lot easier than a fresh caught fish full of rigor mortis.  So beginners and experienced fishermen should wrap their baits in glad wrap ready for a Spanish mission. 

So between this column and the last one I’ve hopefully given you enough Mackerel fishing tips to encourage you to give it a go.  I also suggest you give it a go this variable winds winter season; so you don’t miss out on the opportunity.   Because you might have seen in the media about the Queensland Department of Fisheries shock assessment of Spanish Mackerel stocks in Queensland leading to the potential closure of that species to professional and recreational fishers once the biomass reaches a critical point.  Questions have been raised as to the accuracy of the assessment and the agenda behind it.  Is this the State Government’s way of securing the green vote?

The importance of this fishery cannot be understated.

The closure of this fishery will have catastrophic effects on the professional fishing sector and businesses; including bait suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, takeaway shops and cafes; not to mention the recreational fishing gear suppliers.  Small business will suffer big time.  I urge you to do your own research and voice your opinion to your local State Government member because this is a big concern.

Just in case people power doesn’t result in a sensible approach; you might want to upskill yourself in case your local Fish and Chip shop has to shut down…

There are a heap of ways to cook Spanish from crumbed, battered, smoked, baked, sashimi and the list goes on. However, the simplest suggestion for once you’ve learnt from YouTube how to fillet a Mackerel, is just to cut the fillets into steaks/portions, soak the flesh in white wine for half an hour, remove it, flour it and cook on the BBQ in olive oil/butter.  You can’t mess it up.

As much as I like to write about fishing, I’d also like to hear from you.  So please email me at info@allstarsinsalt.com.au to share your fishing trips, fishing tips, fishing stories and photos.

A day on the water is better than a day at work.

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