Most people won’t turn down a feed of Spanish mackerel, and in certain parts of the world like the NSW North Coast and Perth Metro, the short window during the year when they can be caught is highly anticipated for this reason. One of the most effective techniques on these toothy speedsters is trolling both lures and baits. While preferred trolling techniques vary all over Australia, there are a few principals that can be applied anywhere you happen to be fishing for them.
Firstly, if using lures, there are a few that have proven time and again how deadly they are on Spaniards. The Halco Laser Pro series is absolutely synonymous with Spanish mackerel, however the Nomad DTX Minnow range are quickly earning a name as a great mackerel catcher. Zerek’s Pelagic Z is another purpose-built bluewater trolling lure perfect for these predators, and anglers have always reported good success with the Rapala X-Rap Magnum Divebait.
If using bait, there are a stack of accessories to rig bait and help them to swim straight. The best solution by far is the Zombie Fish - a super quick and durable rig for perfect dead bait trolling. The Shad Head Bait Trolling rig from Full Scale Tackle and the Tackle Tactics Bait Trolling Rig will keep dead garfish, wolf herring and slimy mackerel baits tracking straight and calling in big mackerel.
Of course, targeting such a big toothy animal requires a good single strand wire trace, otherwise gear losses end up being high and your valuable time and money will go to waste. Mason Singlestrand Wire Stainless Steel Wire and Halco Singlestrand S/Steel Wire are perfect for mackerel trolling, and can be attached to rings via a Haywire Twist, which is a knot worth learning if planning to take up this challenge.
When look for good water to target Spaniard on the troll, it’s worth remembering that just like any pelagic fish, they can turn up anywhere, however there are certain things that will attract them. Bait schools found on the sounder or even those visible on the surface are always worth closer inspection. Reef fringes and current lines will often be good hunting grounds for hungry Spanish, and will attract a whole range of other bluewater predators as well.
Trolling speed is another consideration, and while it is hotly debated, staying between 6-10 knots should ensure you’re not going too fast or too slow. Many will argue you can’t go too fast for mackerel, however most baits and lures won’t swim effectively beyond certain speeds, so it’s more a matter of finding a speed that achieves the most enticing action for your offering.
If you’re looking for a way to get more Spanish mackerel into your Esky, make sure you look into the world of mackerel trolling. Like most forms of fishing, it can lead to other things and help kickstart an addiction!