gold coast mackerel fishing

Gold coast Mackerel Fishing

Gold coast mackerel fishing

Spaniards, spotties, Schoolies

Scombridae family

Best time for Gold coast mackerel fishing January-May

Mackerel are one of the oceans fastest pelagic species, with razor sharp dentures and blistering high speed runs, big mackerel provide great sport and quality eating for those that actively target them off the coast of south east Queensland.
Species available include Spanish mackerel (also known as narrow barred mackerel and spaniards), Spotted mackerel (Spotties) and school mackerel (Schoolies).
The Gold coast gets a reasonable run of all three species between january and may every year, with spaniards up to 20 kilograms common with the odd 30 kilo thumper, not to mention Spotties and schoolies to 12 kilos.

mackerel fishing gold coast

Habitat for Gold coast mackerel fishing
Mackerel like to frequent areas that have bait holding structure, watch your depth sounder closely for large concentrations of bait fish such as yellowtail scad, slimy mackerel or pilchards.

Shallow reefs with raised pinnacles and/or drop offs are prime places to locate bait schools. Mackerel also love current lines, look for areas where warmer water meets cooler water and you will find mackerel.

Good reefs to try include the close patches off mermaid and palm beach, further out the 18-24 fathom ground east of Surfers paradise can also be productive.


Mackerel once hooked will tear off like a bull out of a gate, so a reel with a reasonable line capacity is required, big threadlines or overheads matched to a suitable weight rod will do the job, a main line of 10-15kilos will be more than adequate for stopping even the bigger specimans. Of course if you want to be more sporting you can fish a bit lighter. Wire trace is almost essential when fishing for mackerel. Dont go overboard with the wire, a 6-12 inch trace is adequate. The wire trace should then be attached to approximately 1200mm of suitable leader material. Your kit should include a variety of larger size snap swivels, assorted hooks of 5/0-9/0 size, gang hooks, and lures, good lures to try are hard bodies such as rapala magnums and Halco laser pros. Chrome slices and skirted lures also  account for their fair share of quality mackerel.

After that first blistering high speed run, a couple of shorter blasts in lower gear usually signal the beginning of the end for the fish. A little bit of gentle persuasion will then soon have the fish alongside the boat.

Once the fish is gaffed extreme car needs to be taken when handling the fish. Mackerel have razor sharp teeth and can leave a nasty wound. The fish should be dispatched and placed on ice as quickly as possible. 

spanish mackerel fishing gold coast

Bait and burley

Mackerel respond well to a massive range of baits depending on where abouts in the country you are fishing for them. The key is to use same bait that is prevalent in the area at the time. Usually off the Gold coast we use live yellowtail or slimy mackerel rigged on a single hook and set below a balloon in a healthy burley trail, but at times they will happily take a lightly weight floating pilchard. Any fish flesh ground up fine will make ideal burley, try to keep a constant trail trickling out, without over doing it and attracting local shark populations to the area. 

Gold coast mackerel Fishing methods

The most important thing when chasing mackerel is locating areas that hold fish, keep a close eye on your depth sounder for bait balls and areas of structure such as pinnacles and drop offs. Current lines where warm water meets cooler water are also good spots to try.

There are many effective ways to target mackerel including trolling lures, spinning metal lures, and live and dead baiting. A pilchard floated slowly down a berley trail is a highly effective method, as is setting live baits under a balloon. Slimies and yakkas are irresistible to big Spaniards. Try to present baits so they appear as natural as possible and be sure to set baits along way behind the boat. Mackerel have excellent eye sight and can be boat shy.

Of course if you don’t have a boat you could try one of our Gold coast fishing charters.


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