Photo: Alex Jones with a 10kg Kingfish caught trolling off Moreton Island.
I have been waiting all year to say this but here goes… THE MACKEREL ARE HERE!!!!!
These tasty hard fighting fish are certainly making up for being absent for so long. There have been catches coming from most areas but if you want to target them I will give you a few of the better spots. If you are land based ( yes you can get them off the shore )is the surf beach. There have been schools of hardie heads travelling up and down the beach and with them there are mackerel chewing on them. You will always get tuna with them as well and the best way to tell what is smashing the bait is that mackerel will not break the surface whereas tuna will launch themselves out of the water. So if you see bait fish trying their hardest to get out of the water throw a shiny metal lure in the middle of them and use a fast retrieve ,then hold on because the fun’s about to start.
If you are in a small tinny I would head to the mouth of the passage and round the end of the island. These are great places to drift fish for mackerel as you can have bigger baits out and fish for whiting at the same time. If this is what you do make sure that your mackerel rods are properly secured in good rod holders and drags are set as mackerel will hit hard and I have seen a lot of rod and reel combos banished to the depths.
If you are in a bigger boat and the weather is good enough the first place I would try is the shipping channel markers. First do a test drift to make sure the tide won’t smash you into the marker then drift by the channel marker casting a slug and again hold on. You can also get them by trolling especially if you are on the other side of Moreton over the reefs and around the edges of any bait schools. If you are trolling there is a chance you will get spanish mackerel which are the best eating of the three species we get here. They have the biggest size limit of the three species of 75cm. The other mackerel size limits are, school mackerel at 50 cm and spotted mackerel at 60 cm.
The passage is fishing well with most of the normal species being caught all the way through the normal spots. With the whiting if you want quantity fish south of the bridge but the quality, fish north of the bridge. Bream are hanging around any structure with the ripple and canal system being the pick of the spots. Flathead are of smaller size at the moment and seem to be hanging around any weed patches.