How to Catch Spanish Mackerel

Other names

Scomberomorus commerson, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, narrow-barred mackerel, Spaniard

Description

The Spanish mackerel is probably the most popular of the mackerel species in Western Australia and a very popular sport fish. It can be mistaken for wahoo, but can be distinguished by the shorter dorsal fin with less (15-18) dorsal spines and the external bone and upper jaw which both extend to just behind the eye. Smaller Spanish mackerel may also be confused for other mackerel species such as slimy mackerel. They are blue to grey on their dorsal side (back) with many narrow vertical bands along their sides and a grey-silver colour on their belly. They have impressive teeth that you will need to be weary of when handling this species. Spanish mackerel can reach over 2m in length and 40kg, although they are most commonly caught at between five and 15kg.

WA distribution

Found between the Northern Territory border in the north and Geographe Bay in the south. Spanish mackerel are found in coastal waters and are often associated with structures such as reef edges and drop-offs. They will often be found in waters with sharp temperature changes, current lines or bait activity.

Rigs and Techniques

When fishing for Spanish mackerel, use an outfit with an over head reel, 6-15kg line (depending on the fishing method) and a meter or so of heavy wire trace (Something like 25kg will do) to avoid and bust-offs on those sharp teeth. Chemically sharpened hooks are a good idea to get the hook to catch in the hard mouth of the Spanish mackerel. Two popular methods for catching Spanish mackerel are trolling from boats and ballooning from the shore.

Trolling can be done with hard-bodied minnow lures or live bait such as slimy mackerel, mullet or garfish secured with multiple hooks. Add a swivel to your rig for trolling and keep the speed below about seven knots. Ballooning involves filling a party balloon with air or helium and floating it above the swivel on a live or dead bait rig when an offshore wind is blowing.