Rack up the mack
  |  First Published: June 2013

June is a great month for fishing up north. It is a time when we see even the most northern Queenslanders wearing their favourite beanie and flanny. Even though the temp has dropped, angler’s enthusiasm is as high as ever.

Mackerel Time

Cooler temperatures have set in with the consequence that the close inshore water temperatures have dropped. This has resulted in some great fishing not far from the ramp as schools of mackerel hang around feeding on the improved numbers of bait that have also moved closer inshore.

The shipping channel, straight out the front of the Ross Creek, is an excellent starting point to get into some mackerel action. There are a few techniques to target these fish and the simplest one would have to be trolling. You only need a minimal amount of gear just a few quality set ups and a selection of proven lure styles.

Setting the lures at various lengths behind the boat and using different diving depths are other ways to improve your catch rate. For instance, a shallower diving lure should be let out a bit further and the deeper diving ones are best put a little closer to the boat. Often a certain diving depth will catch more fish and changing your other lines to that depth is the way to go, other days they will smash anything – but those days don’t come around often enough.

Lures that have worked well on previous trips have been the Halco Scorpion 150, Strada Luana and the Bolt Mystique. Brighter colours and chromes are good choices with the extra flash making them irresistible to a mackerel that just has to smack the lure with plenty of aggression. Trolling at speeds of around 4-6 knots is recommended to get the lures swimming at their prime and working at the labelled depth.

Another successful technique is to anchor up and get a consistent berley trail going to attract the fish to you and keep them there. Casting out a garfish or pilchard rigged on a set of gang hooks into your berley trail won’t last long if there are a few school mackerel about.

The advantage of this technique is that you have a good chance of hooking into a couple of other desirable species that may come to investigate the berley trail. Golden snapper, cobia, cod and the occasional nannygai are all within reason of catching. They all fight quite different to a hooked mackerel so if you’re onto a fish that stays a bit deeper or is a bit more stubborn you may be quite surprised to see what comes from the depths.


Yes barra! It may be jumper weather but the barra are still there and they still have to eat! I have talked to many fishers that have had some great days through the winter on barramundi and by changing your techniques around slightly you can still be catching them in this traditionally slower period.

The main key that we have found to get the bites from less active fish has been to use slow sinking soft plastics and suspending diving lures that are smaller in size. Dropping the size down sees the fish become interested and with the action of a suspending lure sitting in the strike zone for longer the barramundi sees this as an easy meal with little effort required to take it.

Using lure scents, such as the Squidgy S-Factor and the Stimulate range, can also give you a better chance of catching a few winter barra. It is simply just another factor you can use to help you catch fish.

Targeting areas that will be warmer in water temperature and hold good amounts of structure are ideal as they are what the fish will feel most comfortable in, which will in turn result in the barramundi feeding more actively. Fishing these areas with the correct lures and techniques should see you into some action and hopefully consistently finding the right species of fish that we love to catch.

In closing, June offers some of the best inshore fishing for the anglers with smaller boats and the creek fishers that still love to cast a few lures. Changing your methods a little can make a big difference to the end so keep casting and don’t forget to pack the beanie!

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