Spanish mackerel finally show up
SPEAROS have been holding out for the arrival of this season's Spanish mackerel.
Fishos are getting them however pickings for divers have been slim, until two weeks ago.
Large schools of inquisitive mackerel finally arrived.
I started out with a rock-hop and found the water very warm and the visibility terrible. "If you don't go, you'll never know" and so I took the boat out to Split for a look.
Heads up: when conditions are bad, dive in the shallows. Stack the odds in your favour and part of that is being comfortable.
A pleasant afternoon was spent swimming along the eastern side of Split and I found a bommie where the activity looked promising.
Bait in abundance, holding tight to the structure not swimming around with alacrity.
Calm bait spread in the water column is a sure sign there are no predators.
Scared, jumpy bait is always worth a good look.
In between the bait, some predators: kingfish, trevally and amberjack, another great indicator.
Things looked good and true to form as I watched the school of bait, a big shark charged through them, followed by a small school of Spanish.
The game was afoot and a reasonable fish went into the eskie for supper.
Other boats had even better reports.
One group of divers spent a rough day out but came back with a good bag, including mackerel, cobia and some demersals.
Stories of sharks abounded, including a brush with a 4m white shark.
When the sharks are full on, the fish usually are too.
Then another group of friends braved rough conditions, at the end of last week, to visit the Lighthouse.
Massive schools of big mackerel drifted through and the divers managed a reasonable bag for their effort.
Mackerel seem to be everywhere and when conditions allow, some of the headlands offer the best chance for a good fish.
Third, Sawtell, Muttonbird, Macauley's, Look at me now, Woolgoolga and Darkum are all very worthwhile.
The more far-flung headlands are always going to provide a better chance.
Be aware, when fish are working in such big numbers expect to receive a visit from the gentlemen in grey suits.
Sharks are full on just now, so take care.
I am headed to the Coral Sea, as I have some unfinished business with monstrous dog-tooth tuna, more about that when I get back.