The pelagics are coming!
  |  First Published: October 2015

As the weather warms up and the humidity rises pelagic fish like tuna and mackerel will start to turn up over the next couple of months, so now is the time to starting preparing for their arrival. Pelagics love the warmer currents that make their way down the east coast as the warmer months approach. It is essential to know the basics on how to fish for pelagics, because fishing for them can be at times unpredictable.


Mackerel are a hard-fighting fish and have spooled many a reel! The main three different species of mackerel that swim our waters around South East Queensland are spotted mackerel, school mackerel which average around the 3-4kg mark, and the famous and delicious Spanish mackerel that can grow up to 1.8m and weigh over 50kg. Fighting these fish is an awesome experience as the reel drag screams as the fish takes line at an astonishing rate that will get any anglers adrenaline pumping and heart racing.

Using light gear is fun with mackerel, but it’s recommended to stay on the heavier side of tackle. Rods with a line rating to 15kg and running 15-25kg braided lines will defiantly help with the battle. Leader is a point of contention with a lot of anglers using wire, while other anglers reckon this scares off the fish and will only use heavy mono leader.

Floating pilchard baits is by far one of the favoured way to target mackerel in many anglers’ eyes, but trolled hardbodied lures are also a great way to target them. Fast moving deeper diving lures like the Strada are one of the favourites with the Samaki Pacemakers also another great alternative. Troll your lures at 4-8 knots and work the reef edges and drop offs as baits like yellowtail, yakkas, pilchards, bonito and mac tuna will school in these areas.

You can also catch mackerel nearly anywhere there is baitfish, and this is usually indicated by birds diving in the water. A good thing to remember is if there’s birds, there’s most likely mackerel.

Tuna are another species that comes under the pelagic heading. Powerful and ultra-fast they are shaped like a bullet and can spool a reel quickly. Mac tuna are one of the most commonly caught tuna around South East Queensland, averaging about 2-3kg, but sometimes they can get over the 6kg mark.

Longtail and yellowfin tuna can easily reach 30kg in size, and they abound surround our waters around South East Queensland. You will usually find tuna under large flocks of birds feeding on the baitfish, just like mackerel. Tuna can come and go very quickly, which can be a bit of a pain as you can spend your whole day chasing them and burn a lot of fuel.

Metal slugs are a great way to target these speedsters of the sea, so matching the slug to the bait and you’ll be in with a chance. Tuna will normally feed to the north so try to can get in front of them and let them come to you. Cast your slugs, wait a few seconds for it to sink and retrieve quickly.

Another great way to fish for tuna in schools is to use soft plastics ranging from 3-6” in a jerk shad style matched with 1/2, 3/8 or 1 ounce jigheads. The preferred soft plastics are Z-man 5” Jerk ShadZ, Gulp 6” Jerk ShadZ, and 145mm Squidgy Flick Baits. Working with a fast burn is the desired way to tame those pelagics of the ocean.


For the fishers who can’t get offshore the Noosa River will start to fire up as we start moving into the warmer months. October means two things; summer whiting and mangrove jack. This is when these two species start to show up and excite every angler.

Whiting will be starting to move in from offshore and cogenerating in the deeper channels on low tide and the shallow sand flats on the high tide. A good way to fish for the summer whiting is to use surface walkers and poppers while usiset up on an ultra-light finesse rod and reel combo. My newly favoured combo to use for whiting is the new Shimano Zodias Rod 4-8lb and the new Shimano Stradic 1000 FK matched up with 4lb PowerPro and a 4-6lb floating leader like Unitika Silver Thread. The reason for the floating line is because fluorocarbon line sinks, and this can interrupt the action of the surface lure you are using; but a floating line won’t.

With hundreds of surface lures out there today ranging in all different shapes and sizes, it can be hard to find the perfect one for your needs. The best surface lures to target those elusive shallow water whiting are the Bassday Sugarpen 75mm, River2Sea 65mm Bubblepop and lastly the Bassday Crystal Pops.

This time of year also sees the mangrove jack fire up as the water temperature and humidity rises. The upper reaches of the Noosa River is a great place to start your hunt with the area between the lakes really firing in the low light periods.

• For all the latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au, for up to date bar and fishing reports and don’t forget to drop into Davo’s Tackle World Noosa or Davo’s Bait & Tackle Northshore at Marcoola to find out what’s biting and where, and remember, Tight Lines and Bent Spines!

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