Flying to Spain - Spanish Mackerel Fishing Techniques

Flying to Spain - Spanish Mackerel Fishing Techniques


Flying to Spain

By Ben Jones

Any bite off the top is exciting, but there isn’t anything that gets the heart pumping more than a long silver torpedo exploding through the water at a 100 kilometres an hour taking your lure with it!  The speed at which a Spanish Mackerel will hit a top water lure out of the water is nothing short of incredible.  These fish literally glide out of the water and it is nothing for these weapons to get 3-4m clear of the waterline.


There are a few certain details that will help put you in the firing line, firstly is finding their location.  Spanish Mackerel are frequently found on many of the inshore reefs from the Mid Coast of New South Wales right north along the borders of Queensland, the Northern territory, and right round to the Mid-South coast of Western Australia.  There are a few important requirements such as bait, structure and preferably some current.  Any heavy reef with large pinnacles and ledges are always a good place to start.  Putting your topwater popper or stickbait past this area and working back to the boat will put you in the strike zone.


Techniques for top water will vary and it is worth trying all of them at some stage.  The first technique is popping, which is what I favour when the bite is quiet.  A large popper with big “bloops” and splashes seem to be irresistible.  Make sure though when working the lure that your Pops are consistently as big as possible. The part that I find the most tempting to the Spanish is a pause. Don’t be afraid to extend the pause either as so many hits occur when this is done.

The other more natural option is working stickbaits which can be used in a couple of different ways. Fast burning a floating stickbait across the top will work a treat around large bait schools.  This will represent a fleeing morsal.  Again though, a pause between fast burns will be very tempting to them.  Another good technique is slow sweeping your stick either sinking or floating.  This is done by pointing the rod at the lure and making a full low sweep of the rod, just past 90 degrees.  It is important to let your lure rest and settle between sweeps. Any quality stick bait will provide a natural action through the water using this style.  My personal favourite is the Shimano Ocea Rocket Dive which seems to give a unique tight action that will prove deadly on these speedsters.

While working either a popper or stickbait one of the most important things to remember is staying in touch with the lure.  So many times a Spaniard will hit you out of nowhere and if you’re not ready to take the slack and strike, you’ll lose that fish. 

If I am targeting Spanish, I’ll always fish a lighter drag which can be difficult when you know the by-catch is usually a beasty GT!  The blistering initial run can sometimes catch you unaware and can leave you skiing across the front deck if the drag pressure is locked down too tight.

Be ready for some frustrating hits and misses, bite offs and hook shakes, but that’s all a trade-off for what can only be described as impressive action from these topwater speedsters.