How to catch Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel is a staple fish of the tropical and sub tropical waters of Australia. They’re known for its great eating qualities and super sharp razor teeth. Commonly referred to as “Mackies”, they tend to be found on the edge of reefs and around drop offs.


Mackies are a pelagic species which means they hunt in the mid to top water. The most common methods of targeting these fish are by using lures or bait. With either technique, its important to run a wire trace to prevent bite offs.

We have found great success trolling or casting bibbed minnow lures such as the Halco Laser Pro’s or Rapala X-Raps. It’s worth using various depth divers to cover the water column as much as possible. Good colours to start with are silvers, blues, and the old trust red heads.

One of the most productive bait rig for Mackies is the old trusty floating pilchard/mulie/sardine. We tend to cast one out while bottom fishing for reef fish. It’s amazing how many times this method is successful.


Mackies are a strong fish and their initial run can be ferocious. However, they aren’t built for a long fight and generally run out of steam after one or two good runs. They also stay relatively high in the water and won’t run you into the reef. So its possible to catch them on pretty light gear. A good combo for trolling is a 20lbs overhead set up running mono if you plan to troll. You need something that can also handle the odd Tuna or Wahoo that might take the lure as well.

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