Making the most of mackerel mania
  |  First Published: June 2016

Over the past month we have had another bad case of wind, and I’m not talking about post-feed at the new Mexican restaurant in town. We have seen persistent strong winds again with only a few short opportunities to get out into the blue, so most anglers have stayed at home or in the calmer waters of the local estuaries and rivers.

There have been good reports all round of fishing in the local estuaries, with most anglers rewarded for their efforts. Nice mangrove jack have been lurking about in the snags, taking most opportunities that are presented to them. Fishing tight into these snags and other structures will produce a hook-up or two, with many anglers opting for artificials to entice that savage strike from a jack.

Soft plastics between 3-5” have been doing the damage, but remember to fish as light a jighead as you can, as this will better your results.

Anglers fishing the estuaries have also caught king salmon, grunter and barramundi. Traditionally the barra taper off in the cooler months, but the persistent warm water we’ve had may have helped to keep these feisty fighters on the bite.

The warm water and the odd downpour have kept the local mud crab population healthy, with good numbers of them still scurrying about. Throw a pot in this month and you should find a few crabs traversing the bottom.

We did see a couple of runs of good weather, with glassed-out conditions on a few days. On the days we managed to run wide to the reefs we were greeted with solid numbers of coral trout and red-throat emperor waiting to engulf our baits. Early mornings and late afternoons have been the pick of the times. We should see this trend continue this month, so if weather permits, a trip to the reef is the go.

Over the past month we have also seen an increase in Spanish mackerel numbers, which is usual for this time of year. Some serious numbers have turned up out at the reef with some fish slowly making their way into the islands.

Some large models have been caught to 25kg+ but the average size has been around 9kg, which is perfect if you intend to keep a few for a succulent seafood meal. Keep an eye out this month, as we should see the numbers hopefully increase and eclipse the woeful season we experienced last year.


In other news, one thing we at Renegade have embarked on this year is contributing to a research project on our local fishery. This Fisheries research project involves gathering information from both commercial and recreational fishers on select target species.

While most states seem to have sufficient knowledge of their fishery, and the biomass of most species, in Queensland we seem to have significant gaps in our knowledge. There is limited understanding of fish numbers versus fish taken, fish growth and so forth.

To gain a better idea of the sustainability and health of our backyard, we need to provide information to help Fisheries better manage stocks. It isn’t hard to do. For just a few moments of our time while we’re out on the water, we can provide vital information to Fisheries. Why? Because we don’t want policy makers to base their policies on guesswork. For example, we don’t want them to assume the worst about a species when it’s actually doing quite well, or to allow open slather on a different species which may be in decline.

If you’re interested in helping out, contacting Queensland Fisheries is the first step. Most information can be found on their website at www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries, and it really is an interesting read.

You may be surprised who else in your fishing community is already participating.

That’s it from me, good luck out on the water this month and hopefully you’ll bag a few while enjoying our backyard.

• If you’re interested in a game, sport or reef fishing charters around the Whitsundays, give Luke a call on 0429 724 822 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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