Fish Report - 5th August 2011

The Bundaberg area has seen an early run of school mackerel running along the coast. They are only small and you do have to measure some of them, as most are about 55cm, and with 50cm being the minimum you do have to be careful. They also have a bag limit of ten per person.

Here are a few tips to help you catch a schoolie mackerel.

If you are bait-fishing for a schoolie, you can’t go past pilchards for bait. I prefer the WA pilly as these are usually a firmer, shinier and fresher pilly. I also prefer a rig using 3 x 4/0 to 5/0 hooks ganged together, rigged on a length of 80lb mono trace line about 40cm long. I like the mono over wire as you’ll always catch more fish as the school mackeral can’t see it. Yes, you do occasionally get bitten off but you do catch more with the mono. I just think in the cleaner water the mackerel can see the wire sometimes and just shy away from the baits.

Live bait also works well when you can get some, with yakkas and small pike being favourites. I use a similar rig of mono trace but only use one larger hook about 8/0. Pin the livie in the back and front and float it out the back of the boat.

If you prefer lures, they work well also. The schoolies can be caught by casting or trolling with lures. When using lures, we usually run a light wire rig because the mackeral are usually more aggressive as speed is involved in trolling lures. Sometimes, the faster you go the more they want it and will just race in and smash it.

If casting, lures such a Raiders and Flasha chrome lures are the best. If trolling, Halco Laser Pros and Strada Trakkas are some favourites. I like to troll my lures about 20 metres behind the boat and usually troll at about a speed of six knots.

I hope these tips help you catch a feed of schoolies.

Till next time,

Tim Mulhall