Spotted Mackerel are one of Queenslands premium fish species. People travel far and wide to tangle with these oceanic speedsters. Some fishermen only fish for mackerel, quite content to sit out the cooler months only then to hit the water everyday during summer. Spotty's as they are commonly called congregate over shallow reefs in decent sized schools. The depth of water can vary from 10m to 30m and they prefer slow moving water, unlike their larger cousins the Spanish Mackerel. Spotty's are fished for almost exclusively with Pilchard baits, however chrome slugs and trolling does take its share of fish. Our preferred method is to fish at anchor for them using pilchard baits. The rig used must be very robust as these fish hit the bait on the fly at approx 30km/h so all tackle and rigging must be of a high standard. Especially knots.
Our rig consists of a hook in either black or brown. It is purely personal preference as to what sort of hook is used. The trace is 7 strand stainless steel with a black sheath & it is crimped at both ends.The crimps have been painted black as spotty's like to hit shinny objects and can cause bust offs if they hit the top of the rig by mistake. The pilchard is rigged through the mouth, out the gill & the hooks embedded in the rear of the pilchard as shown. Almost all mackerel fishermen use a rig that is very similar to this but with their own personal touches. Finally, when fishing for spots, depth of the bait can be altered simply by using a piece of foam as a float. It pays to have a few rigs out at different depths so you can easily find out at what depth the fish are feeding.
The other reliable method is spinning. Metal slugs up to around the 50g mark and cast out and retrieved at high speed. This sort of fishing is very exciting and hard on your gear. A fast retrieve reel is required and on just about every boat you will find a Shimano TSS4. Rods are a personal choice, but we prefer a 8 foot rod, rated to around 20lb. The Wilson Livefibre range suit this sort of fishing perfectly.
A well used slug. It has caught in excess of 30 fish and only need the reflective tape replaced.