The Monster Spanish Mackerel


First Day Swains Reef

The first day we arrived at Swains Reef aboard Iluka Charters. The skipper provided  me with some advice on where to dive. I got in the water near the reefs edge to be greeted with a steep drop off. I took my flasher out with me in the hope of drawing in an inquisitive dogtooth tuna. After multiple dives though without any fish, I was starting to doubt whether this location held any fish.

Swains Reef bound Spearfishing

Aboard Iluka Charters MV Lady-N Swains Reef bound. Image courtesy of Iluka

First Glimpse

However, as I surfaced from one on my dives, I looked down to the flasher to catch my first glimpse of a very large fish that was slowly approaching the end of my flasher. The first thing that came to mind was that this was the Dogtooth Tuna that I have been wanting to shoot for a very long time. I took a few moments to breathe up and then began my decent.

As I was swimming down, I quickly realized that this fish was definitely not a Dogtooth Tuna but instead a large Spanish Mackerel. By the time I got down and level with the fish, it was swimming away from me. I began following the fish trying to get within shooting range.

Spearfishing nirvana

Swains Reef has some magic spots for spearfishing. Image courtesy Iluka Charters

The approach

As the fish came within range I knew that I did not have a great angle to work with for placing a good shot. I thought that if I didn’t shoot soon, I would lose my opportunity to land this fish. The fish kicked as it realized I was closing and as it did, it presented me with the angle I needed. I took the shot. My reel started spooling and my first instinct was to connect my belt reel.

The fight

My gun reel spooled very quickly and I was glad that I had hooked up to the belt reel. However the belt reel was now also being spooled at a rapid rate. I called my dive buddy over to lend me his rig line for extra insurance. I attached his rig line and the fish finally began to slow down. Every time I started to bring the fish up, it would kick and get further and further away. It seemed like I was losing the battle in this tug-of-war. The back and forth battle lasted for about 20 minutes and then finally it seemed as if the fish had finally given up.


Spearfishing Mackerel Peter Taing 36.8kg (80 pounds)

The Tank in-water

As I drew the fish to the surface, I noticed the shot I had placed wasn’t great. I instructed my dive partner to place a second shot in the fish. He quickly swam down, to get level with the fish and then took the shot point blank. To my surprise, his spear did not completely penetrate the fish, however it did hold.

With two spears in the Mackerel the battle was nearly done. My buddy and I pulled the fish to the surface. As I managed to get my hands in it’s gills I knew I had won. The battle was finished and I had shot and landed my personal best Spanish Mackerel.

Later when we weighed the Mackerel it came in at 36.8kg!

Brisbane based Spearo Peter Taing 36.8kg King Mackerel

spearfishing - eating what we catch

ILuka Charters Dusk Filleting and Bagging session

For more great mackerel stories read our Month of Mackerel summary – its everything you need to know about spearfishing spanish mackerel and also check out this Couta mayhem story at Coatesmans blog

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