The Spanish Mackerel: A Fascinating Species with Unique Migratory Patterns and Fishing Challenges in Western Australia

The Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) is a fascinating & sought-after species among anglers and commercial fishermen. With its impressive size, skillful movements, and unique migratory patterns, this fish holds a special place in the waters of Western Australia. In this article, we will explore the migratory nature of the Spanish mackerel, its size, its fierce reputation in fishing, and provide specific details about its presence in Western Australia, including its preferred depth and key information about the species.

Migratory Patterns:

The Spanish mackerel species is known for its extensive and impressive migrations. It follows a seasonal pattern characterized by moving north during the warmer months and returning south during cooler periods. This pattern is influenced by water temperature, availability of prey, and breeding behavior.

During the summer months, Spanish mackerel inhabit cooler southern waters and migrate northwards, seeking warmer temperatures as well as abundant food sources, such as baitfish and squid. The northward migration extends up the Western Australian coastline, attracting anglers and fishing enthusiasts along the way.

As winter approaches and water temperatures decrease, Spanish mackerel migrate back down south, following their food sources and returning to their breeding grounds. This cyclic journey contributes to their reputation as a highly migratory species.

Size and Characteristics:

Spanish mackerel are known to grow to impressive sizes, reaching lengths of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) and weighing up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds). Their slender, streamlined bodies, sharp teeth, and powerful tails contribute to their agility and speed in the water.

These fish fight very hard, making them a challenging catch for even experienced anglers. Anglers often admire their acrobatic jumps and powerful runs, as they test their angling skills to their limits.

Fishing Challenges and Techniques:

The Spanish mackerel’s aggressive nature and strong swimming ability present unique challenges for anglers and commercial fishermen. Their sharp teeth and fast movements make it important to use suitable tackle and techniques to successfully land these prized fish.

In Western Australia, popular fishing techniques for Spanish mackerel include trolling, casting lures, and live bait fishing. Trolling involves pulling rigged baits or lures behind a moving boat, mimicking the appearance of baitfish and enticing the mackerel to strike. Casting lures or using live bait imitates natural prey, attracting the predator’s attention.

Finding Spanish Mackerel in Western Australia:

Western Australia is renowned for its abundant fish stocks, and the Spanish mackerel is no exception. The species is be found along the Western Australian coastline, from Shark Bay in the north to Esperance in the south.

The Spanish mackerel’s preferred depth can vary, often found in waters ranging from 5 to 30 meters deep. Some popular locations for targeting Spanish mackerel in Western Australia include Exmouth, Broome, and the Abrolhos Islands. These regions provide excellent opportunities to catch this prized fish throughout the year.


The Spanish mackerel, with its remarkable migratory patterns, immense size, and unmatched fierceness, captivates fishing enthusiasts in Western Australia. Its seasonal northward and southward migrations, along with its powerful swimming abilities, make it a thrilling species to target. Western Australia’s waters offer ample opportunities for anglers and fishermen to experience the thrill of capturing this remarkable fish.

Photo courtesy of Robbie Riches, Aug ’23

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