Macks Make Tracks
  |  First Published: June 2011

I’ve just got back from an enjoyable Easter break on the Gold Coast and it was nice to put the feet up and have a bit of rest and relaxation. But I’ve also managed to sneak a few days of mackerel fishing in.

Once again the close in reefs off Palm Beach and Burleigh Heads didn’t disappoint and we managed to boat some nice Spanish mackerel on every trip. The fish were solid sizes in the 7-10kg bracket and there seemed to be plenty of them.

The seasonal mackerel fishery off the Gold Coast never ceases to amaze me year after year and not having to travel more than a couple of kilometres offshore to catch quality fish, is a real bonus.

The boat I was fishing from was my new Formosa Tomahawk 5.5m centre console that I’ve decked out for running mackerel charters down off the Gold coast. So far I’m very happy with the overall handling of the boat and its fishability. I bolted a 135hp Honda on the back and it’s a good match for the hull with very satisfying performance and unbelievable fuel economy.

Unfortunately I’ve missed most of this year’s season, but I’m definitely looking forward to doing a few charters down there next season.

The mackerel generally turn up off the coast in December and stay in good numbers until the end of April. The majority of fish are already pushing back north following the bait schools and the warmer current line by the time May/June comes around. By there are always a few heavier winter Spaniards that are keen to take a well presented larger bait.

Palm Beach Reef, the Gravel Patch off Burleigh and Mermaid Reef get a fair bit of protection and on most occasions you can get an early morning troll in before the breeze swings more to the east. That’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to work a second boat in this area, because off Moreton Island we just have no protection from the southerlies.

Finding the reefs is normally fairly easy if you don’t have the marks, just look for the boats and if the spotties are on the chew, there will be plenty anchored on the reefs. Most anglers use Currumbin Creek to head out from and it’s generally pretty good but it does get very shallow from time to time around the bar area, so always take plenty of care!

There’s also usually plenty of board riders in the area, so keep a close eye on them when you’re crossing the bar.

This month, east of the South Passage Bar is generally all about bottom fish for most anglers, although there will still be a few pelagics about. Snapper will be the focus of most bottom fishos and numbers should continue to increase over the next couple of months. The fish should be widespread with most reef lines holding fish and it will just be a matter of finding which locations the fish are feeding on, at different phases of the moon. If the fish are thick it won’t matter as much, but over the years I’ve found different locations fish better on certain moon phases.

This time of year sees the current usually settle down, so the wider grounds are definitely worth a go for ambos, yellowtail kingfish, trag and pearl perch. If you have any of the wider wreck GPS marks, this is also the time of year to start having a look at them. The wide grounds east of Point Lookout in 90-100m of water will be worth a go for pearlies and pigfish on the right day.

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