Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Mack & the Knife


As you can image I get to fillet a LOT of fish. Some are hard work and some are a joy and my all-time favourite to fillet (and one of the best to eat) is a Spanish Mackerel. The number of times I have to explain to guests that, No, it is not imported from Spain, it is a great local fish. There are 2 varieties, a narrow barred Spanish and a broad barred Spanish, more commonly called a Grey Mackerel and they are abundant, particularly during winter and form the basis of North Queensland better “fish and chip” trade.

The larger of the 2 species, the narrow barred Spanish mackerel is one the great fish to use in a number of ways. A firm white and finely flaky flesh it is a little drier than some tropical fish which makes it a perfect fish to batter of crumb as a “fish and chip” fish and has been our go to fish since day 1 in the restaurant. The other great way to have this, and a fish dish that would be my “last meal” fish dish is a mackerel steak. Simply cut straight though with just the back bone left and treated like a steak on a char grill. Because this is cut “across the grain” it need to be seared hot and quickly to seal in the moisture and the flavour of fresh mackerel off a char grill is literally North Queensland on a plate.

I have just finished a 2 hour filleting session on Mackerel, Barramundi and some beautiful local long tall tuna and the macks make it all so easy. Fillet the big ones for fish and chips and steak the medium size fish for the menu. Yum.