Catching mackerel in winter using metal slices with Ryan Moody

Catching mackerel using metal slices

Mackerel are a premium fighting fish for recreational anglers and can be caught easily fishing with metal slices. Most Mackerel species are top grade food fish and are a staple fishing catch around many parts of the world.

During the winter months we see the arrival of the lesser mackerel species and the main two are the Queensland School Mackerel (Doggy) and the Spotted Mackerel (Spotties). They move through Northern Queensland during the June to August period and then make their way south along the east coast of Australia thereafter.

While they are quite often caught in waters as shallow as 3 to 5 metres inshore on the bigger tide periods, which are around the moons, not many people know what they do on the neaper tides as they seem to disappear during this period.

So what do they do?

I have found their pattern over the years and they simply move further out to offshore waters mostly around the 25 to 28mts, sometimes a little shallower. They will wander around until they find baitfish hanging on rubble bottom. The baitfish they feed on are yakkas, pilchards and herring mostly.

Once you have found the baitfish, one of the best methods to use for catching mackerel is retrieving metal slices.

When the fish are on the bottom in among the bait drop your slices down to the bottom and retrieve very fast until your lure is halfway up. If you don’t get a strike by then drop it back down and try again. If they are on the bait then it does not take long for the action to start.

Watch the video for some more tips on how to catch them and the exact technique to use.

The Queensland school mackerel is a great beginner’s fish especially for kids as they provide great entertainment and are easy to catch. Schoolies are a little dry if overcooked but make a great fish to smoke or use in dishes such as sushi and sashimi. However the Japanese spotted Mackerel is a great all round eating fish like its bigger cousin the Spaniard or Spanish (King) Mackerel.

When using slices try the 3 to 4 inch sizes. 3 inch is great for school mackerel but the spotted mackerel can grow up to 7 kg or more and they really like the slightly larger slices around the 4 inch mark. One very important thing like all lure fishing is that you must always use protective sunglasses as on the very odd occasion they can flick the lure back at you when they are along-side.

The best thing about slices is they will still feed on them even when they stop taking floating pillys and trolling methods. There is something about a fleeing bait fish heading vertically that they just can’t resist.

Now is a good time to be heading out and giving them a go.

And while you are out on the briny, keep an eye out for the illusive Wonky Holes – honey holes for reef fish such as large mouth nannygai and red emperor. You can find out more about Wonky Holes by watching our exclusive Wonky Holes presentation.

Click here to learn more about Wonky Holes

Click here for our free sounder interpretation presentation.

Click here for tips to discover the difference between CHIRP and traditional sounders

I would love to hear your experiences with mackerel and other species so please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below.

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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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  • Peter Cincotta

    Reply Reply June 19, 2020

    Thanks for the great info at the start about the new transducers iam interested to adding the black box to my 2yeat 9.5 sv echo map unit , the guys at Bcf weren’t very helpful , I don’t fish for Barra generally in Hervey Bay but I could use it for inshore whiting in shallow water thanks again

  • Gary

    Reply Reply September 13, 2016

    Great video Ryan. Caught a few of these up the North West a few years ago. (Snook out early one morning during honeymoon…) Great sport and fighting fish on light tackle. Was fishing off the beach using pilchards but would love to try lures next time I’m up your way.

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