Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel is a pelagic fish that is targeted by both commercial and recreational fisherman in Western Australia. Growing up to more than 40kg and living for over 20 years these fish are capable of putting up big aerobatic fights hence are high on the list of any fishing enthusiast.

Spanish Mackeral
12kg Spanish Mackerel caught off the coast of Coral Bay, WA

About Spanish Mackerel

Featured by its green back covered with yellow spots and silver sides, the narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel swims vibrantly through open waters. Many fishermen in Western Australia look forward to having Spanish mackerel on their dinner table – it’s not only fun to catch, but also makes a delicious meal.

Sometimes, the Spanish mackerel is confused with the Grey mackerel or juvenile king mackerel. But certain traits can help you distinguish among the three different species. It is a famous commercial Mackerel in Australia and is also known as Macko or Snook.

Spanish mackerel aren’t picky eaters; they’ll devour anything they get their mouth on. They love shrimps, sardines, squid, and quickly moving bait. They also eat small fish like anchovies and silversides as well – you’d want to remember their preferences for your next fishing trip!

But they don’t only eat – they are eaten as well. Generally, sharks and dolphins can consume them.

Spanish mackerel have an average lifespan of 12 years. They are capable of reproducing at 2 years of age. 

Where can you catch Spanish Mackerel?

You can find Spanish mackerel offshore and nearshore in open waters or sometimes resting up near reef ledges. In Western Australia, they can be found in several regions, ranging from the North Territory border to Cape Leeuwin. Popular areas to catch them up north include Coral Bay, Exmouth, Dampier Archipelago and Mackerel Islands

Spanish mackerels move in large, rapidly-moving clusters. With their tribe, they migrate seasonally as the temperature of water changes. During the summer months, they prefer warmer water, and hence follow the route of the Leeuwin current (in Southern WA).

Additionally, Spanish mackerel move from offshore waters to inshore waters in March. As the temperature rises, you are more likely to find them inshore. This means you can catch them land-based.

Below are some known locations where Spanish Mackerel are caught in numbers:

Steep Point near Shark Bay in Western Australia

Steep Point (Near Shark Bay) – Western Australia

Steep point is named after the steep cliffs where the sea waves crash onto the rocky shore. Only accessible via 4WD, Steep Point is popular spot for 4WD enthusiasts and ...

How to catch Spanish Mackerel?

Blink an eye, and you’ll miss your next mackerel – that’s how fast they are. That’s why using the right techniques and equipment will go a long way when it comes to these speedsters.

Trolling Lures

The main method for Spanish mackerel is trolling lures. When it comes to lures, I like to troll red and white deep divers (6m+) do the trick up north. Shiny metal lures such as a silver spoon also do well. Basically, anything attractive that aids fast retrieval will do the trick.

For more info on how to troll for spanish mackerel check out the below video:

Trolling Baits

Another popular method for catching Spanish Mackerel is trolling baits. Check out the below video showing how to rig a garfish when trolling for Spanish mackerel.

When Spanish Mackerel fishing so be sure to check out the Department of Fisheries site for the latest info before heading out.

How to Cook Spanish Mackerel

When it comes to preparing and cooking spanish mackerel, my favourite method is to dice up the spanish mackerel is steak-like fillets. I’ve found this to be the quickest and easier way to prepare and cook spanish mackerel. Below is a photo of a spanish mackerel we caught and filleted whilst camping at Warroora station up near the ningaloo reef.

Spanish mackerel steak fillets
Some beautiful spanish mackerel fillets caught near Warroora Station, WA.

Check out the below video for more useful tips on how to prepare and cook up spanish mackerel:

Fun Facts

Spanish mackerels are speedsters – they swim at rapid speeds, making them difficult to land. However, if they are around the area you are fishing in, they’re easy to catch. Plus, they fight hard. You’d have a fun time winding ‘em up!

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