Giant Trevally or GT's are the second most common trevally species in the Seaway but are definitely the most sought after and one of the most hardest fighting of the trevally species. They can be caught all year round though they are much more common from January to June. They will feed at all water levels depending on thier mood on the day, if there is lots of bait around they will feed on surface. January through to May sees the larger fish holding in the seaway in big numbers and once an active school is found some excellent fishing can result.
Active vs Non Active
Active Giant Trevally are those hunting food, they do this for only a couple of hours a day, usually at dawn or dusk but if there is lots of bait they will feed according to the tides with the second half of the run in tide being the most consistent time. Non Active fish are those schooled up and not feeding, usually in The Canyon, over The Pipeline or in the North Wall Deep Hole. Non active fish usually do not eat anything though you might be able to tempt the odd fish with a finesse plastic or a livebait.
Giant Trevally feed in a number of ways, when they are chasing baitfish on the surface one GT will take a leading position, with others trailing behind it. Several individuals will attack the prey school, striking and stunning the prey, with the leading fish generally being more successful. Some fish act individually and opportunistically within the school if one of the baitfish becomes isolated, the main advantage of schooling is the ability to further break up and isolate baitfish schools.
Giant trevally can turn up anywhere at anytime but there a few locations that hold them consistently.
The North Wall
GT's can be found all around the north wall, stick baits, metals, plastics and vibs are the lures of choice depending on where they are holding at the time. During a run-in tide work the edges with stickbaits or metals, and prospecting the current lines with metals can also work. Casting a vib or a metal onto the flats on the northern side and bringing back over the dropoff can be an excellent technique if theres a bit of swell running. During a runout, fish the runway and the deep hole with vibs and plastics. At night on a runout tide GT's will often sit on the bottom in a large flat school approximately 100m out in front of the north wall tip in 9 metres of water. These fish can be tempted by very slow rolling plastics through the school. Surface feeding fish are rare around the North Wall but occasionally schools will pop up if a school of baitfish comes through, just keep an eye out for any birds flying around. Schools of Giant trevally can also hold further out along the dropoff than most fish, 30-50m away from the wall is a good start. If you see a school on the sounder try dropping a 30gram Twistie and slow rolling it back up to the boat. If they are hungry they will have a go.
The South Wall
The south wall fishes best for GT's when there is a bit of swell running, unfortunately its also very difficult to fish from a boat and get your lure in the zone because of the way the swell hits the wall. Metals cast from a safe distance can yield some good fish but you need long distance casting gear for that. You can fish along the walls with vibs and plastics, just bump them along the bottom with an occasional twitch. During a runout tide when there is no swell its worth dropping a lure down on the current line leading out from the wall as sometimes schools hold in that area.
The pipeline can hold massive schools of Giant Trevally but it can be a tough place to fish for them. Occasionally at the top of a run-in tide they will bust the surface in huge numbers and getting your lure in there guarantees a fish. You can also try dropping metals or vibs down next to the pipeline and retrieving them quickly back to the surface. Plastics dropped down next to the pipeline also work well if they are schooled up and feeding.
Wavebreak Island & The Canyon
The north wavebreak wall holds a few GT's and its worth a cast along the current lines with metals and vibs and along the walls with plastics. The Canyon is a deep trench that runs east from the end of the wall, schools of Giant Trevally will often hold along the edges of the canyon and in the canyon itself. You can troll along or over this area or drop plastics down into the school and poppers cast around can often bring a fish up from the bottom.
Giant trevally are a reasonably common catch on livebaits. Any livies will work but pike, slimey mackerel and yellowtail are my preferred baits. A 45cm GT will go for a 35cm pike so they are not afraid of a big bait. The runway, the dropoff and the pipeline are the best spots for livebaiting GT's. With the Pipeline, drift the livebait approximately 6 metres down, Giant Trevally will dart up from their holding position on the pipe to grab it as it drifts past. Just try and make sure your bait is near the bottom.
Giant Trevally Movements
Giant Trevally have specific movement patterns within the seaway area. While there are still a few unknown area's where they disappear to for a few days we have mapped out a fairly decent range of movements for them. The image below represents what we know about them so far.
Given the level of uber secrecy that usually goes with fishing, both techniques and in particular fishing spots some people have asked me why I post such a high level of detail on a easily accessible web site. After all there are some people in our society that are quite willing to rip as many fish out of a spot as they can. Just witness the disgraceful slaughter on the sand pumping jetty any time theres a run of tailor. Theres a simple reason for that, as far as the seaway is concerned it doesn't matter. Noone can possibly outfish it, even on the best day's fishing you are lucky to get more than about 40 fish and that doesn't happen very often.
The reason for that is variables. The seaway has more variables than any other place I know, while some locations have these too, in the seaway they matter alot more. I'll list them below.
Tidal Flow :a little or alot..it makes a difference
Tidal changes: certain fish only bite hard during tidal changes thats only 30 minutes at a time, a couple of times a day.
Time of Day: Dawn and dusk increase fish activity.
Moon : Moonlit nights make it tough to catch fish, also can increase fish activity during the day.
The amount and type of baitfish: more bait = more big fish
Weed: very frustrating when it occurs, can make the north wall unfishable
Water Clarity: you don't want it too dirty, you also dont want it too clear.
Swell size: can be a dangerous to fish in swell sizes over 2 metres, also creates wash areas for fish to feed under.
Swell direction: Determines how the swell hits the walls, a 2m southerly swell is fishable around the ends of the walls, a 2m easterly swell is not.
Water temperature: Higher water temps make the fish more active, colder makes them sulk.
Phosphorescence: Waste of time fishing at night if there alot of this in the water.
Wind Strength: Strong winds make it impossible to fish the walls properly, decreasing drift times and making certain areas unsafe.
Theres probably a few more but thats all i can think of for now. There are thousands of fish in the seaway at any one time and more fish come and go every hour and these variables are changing every second.
Theres also one other reason why the seaway is safe from overfishing, despite what we might think the fish are not dumb. Virtually every trip I come across massive schools of fish that shut down after a few fish are caught. They are still there but they refuse to hit a lure or eat a bait. Bigeyes, Tailor and Jewies are particularly prone to this. Whether thats caused by panicked vibrations from hooked fish or some other factor I don't know. Some fish are also very particular when they feed(Tarpon I'm looking at you), if the conditions aren't right then they won't touch a thing.
Add all this together and you get a constantly changing challenging environment to fish in, which is the main reason why the fishing the seaway has kept my interest for so many years. You never know what the next trip will bring.
Tide : BOM: Low tide at 04.49 am, High tide at 04.49am ( 0.16-1.28)
Time Fished: 02.00am to 10.00am
Moon Phase: 3 days before first Quarter.
Water Temp 25.9-26.8 Degrees C
Mainly sunny. Lots of schools of frogmouth pilchards offshore and entering seaway during the run-in tide. Mack Tuna close inshore, some other fish were hitting the bait but not sure what they were, big though.
Moved into the seaway at 2.00am, first up I wanted to try for a Tarpon. The moon was up and I've never had any luck on clear moonlit nights especially with Tarpon and today was no exception. I found some likely looking shows on the sounder but I couldn't get them to eat anything. Give me overcast with a bit of rain anyday. Tried a number of techniques for a couple of hours before heading back to the wavebreak flats to do some rerigging. While I was there some bigeyes popped up and started hitting bait on the surface, first cast with a ZBL popper and they were all over it. Not huge fish with the average around 40cm but nice to get some fish in the boat, I managed about 10 of those before they stopped.
By that time first light was showing, rather than lure fish the end of the wall which at the bottom of the tide is usually a waste of time anyway I headed offshore to the bait reefs. I had two reasons for doing that. First reason was I wanted to get some yellowtail for livies to see how they compare to live pike and secondly I wanted to be out there when the tuna first came up. Wasn't long before the yellowtail came on the bite and I soon had about 15 or so swimming in the livewell, at that time I was distracted by the tuna smashing into bait on the surface. I chased them around for an hour landing 6 mack tuna from 60-68cm on a 40gram raider. There were bigger fish in there though, some of the surface hits looked like bombs hitting the water. I worked my way back to the seaway casting at all the schools landing a few fish, some schools were right in close, some even came in the mouth of the seaway.
Back at the seaway the tide had just started to run in. First drop with a yellowtail landed a tailor around 45cm, then a small jewie around 55cm. Then I got distracted with some bustups hard up against the south wall, they were balling up bait and smashing them in close to the rocks. Turned out these were schools of bigeye trevally and casting a 10gram gillies at them it was a fish a cast, fish weren't huge average size would have been 35cm with the odd bigger fish up to 45cm.
I left them to it and went back to livebaiting, by this time the run in was in full force and it was impossible to fish near the eddy or the dropoff. I tried out a bit further where the current was less severe and found a big show on the sounder. First drop yielded a 53cm Giant Trevally. The next 8 drops all yielded GT's the biggest coming in at 68cm, 2 64cm fish with the rest between 50 and 60cm. Action packed fishing at its finest and those big GT's were damn hard work. The last two yellowtail yielded one more tailor at 55cm and 1 more jewie at 55cm. By this time it was 10.00am and I gave it away for the day.
So another good day despite the slow start, the amount of bait and fish around at the moment is incredible. Yellowtail obviously work fine as a livie and the hookup rate seems to be a bit better than pike. Only two were put out that didn't result in a hookup. The mix of lure fishing and livebaiting definitely maximises your fishing time and results, especially once the sun is up.
This one won't be a full report as most of the day was spent researching some new stuff.
Anyway found some tarpon in the seaway early, hooked 9 but only landed 1. Typical shallow water Tarpon though, very acrobatic and very hard to stay attached to . There are some nice tuna schools just south east(500m -1km) of the seaway in around 50ft of water. Good size fish for the most part with a few smaller tuna as well. Looked like a mix of yellowfin and mack tuna. They get fussy quick once the sun is up so you need to get onto them as they come up just on dawn.
While checking out a few new live bait spots this morning, I saw a metre long yellowtail kingfish swim past, in water less than 2 metres deep. So its a safe bet that the kingies know exactly where the food is and aren't shy about shallow water.
Tide : BOM: Low tide at 05.14 am, High tide at 11.08am ( 0.41-1.13)
Time Fished: 01.30am to 08.30am
Moon Phase: 3 days before first Quarter.
Water Temp 24.2-24.9 Degrees C
Some clouds mainly sunny, occasional showers. Water quality was poor at the bottom of the tide. Easterly swell made it lumpy around the ends of the walls. Trevally still holding on the pipeline. Water temps were way down on last week.
We moved into the seaway at 1.30am with Garry as my decky, found some active bigeyes occasionally hitting the surface. We fished with poppers and managed 5 from about 35 to 57cm before they shut down. Looked for some Tarpon along the walls but found none, none that were feeding anyway. The seaway was quite lumpy due to the runout tide and easterly swell. We moved back into the broadwater to fish around some lighted structure, I picked up a reasonable flathead at 63cm on a rapala xr6 and Garry got busted off by something next to a jetty, cod or a jack maybe. It was pretty quiet though. Moved back into the seaway for dawn, and we fished around the end of the north wall for a bit, but I only managed one dart. Water was quite dirty due to the bottom of the tide which may have been a factor. Picked up one small jewie around 55cm on a plastic. We left there to go and get some livies, being the bottom of the tide the fish were a bit tricky but we managed 15 or so. Back at the seaway the tide was at the very bottom with no movement, so it was quite slow to begin with. As the tide started to move Garry hooked up first on a nice GT of around 48cm. I followed shortly after with a bigger one around 60cm. The next fish we got were 3 jewies, 57, 70 and 63cm, 1 tailor at 53cm. I also hooked up on an unstoppable which made a beeline for the edge of the rock wall about 20m away and found a nice cave to sit in, the line shredded about 5 seconds later. We did drop quite a few fish today with at least 6 livies coming back with substantial teeth marks. We ran out of pike and called it a day.
Not too bad a trip today, with some nice fish landed, nothing too exciting but a nice mix of species.
There have been a few questions about how I go about attaching the wire between the hooks of the 2 hook rig. I was using a uni knot but I've been testing a new knot over the last few weeks and now that I've caught some nice fish on it I'm quite happy to recommend it. I can't remember if I read about it somewhere or if I came up with it on my own so we'll just call the the Figure 8 knot for now. Its quite simple and very strong but there are a few caveats. You must use nylon coated multistrand wire and the strength needs to be 30lb and above, any lighter and it will likely fail. You must also test it by hooking it up to a bar and giving it a hard pull, if the wire was kinked during the knot cinching it will break, otherwise it will be solid as a rock. Its worth noting that all my traces are tested with heavy load prior to bagging, that way you know the trace wont fail when you've got a fish on.
Step 1. Tying the figure 8 knot.
Cut about 20cm of wire. Thread the wire through the eye of the hook then bring it back along the incoming wire, loop it around the wire then thread it back through the loop you created close to the eye of the hook. Once you've done that it should look like the picture below.
Tighten up the loop by pulling on both the incoming wire and the tag end and it should look like the picture below. Cut the tag end leaving about 3mm of tag. Ensure that you slide the knot down the right hand side as shown in the picture below. This will be the eye the mono gets attached to.
Tie another figure 8 knot to the hook on the other end of the wire. Test both knots by hooking it onto something and giving it hard pull. Once finished it should look like the picture below. That is the wire section completed. Ideally it should be between 10 & 15cm long for pike, 7-10cm for slimies & yellowtail.
Cut about 45cm of 40-50lb mono, using a uni knot attach it to the top hook making sure that it is tied to the left of the wire and tie a swivel on the other end also with a uni knot. Your trace should now be completed, test the trace under load before bagging. Your completed trace should look like the picture below.
Once completed and tested all my traces are placed into ziplock bags showing hook size, intended bait use, wire and mono strength.
Tide : BOM: Low tide at 01.00 pm, High tide at 07.36am ( 0.20-1.53)
Time Fished: 03.00am to 09.00am
Moon Phase: 1 day before new moon.
Water Temp 26.5-28.0 Degrees C
Some clouds mainly sunny. Water quality was excellent in all areas, very clear at the top of tide 5m +. Divers and spearfisherman around the north wall after 8am. No significant swell.
We moved into the seaway at 3.00am, scouted around for some fish and found a few active bigeyes around the north wall. using 9cm Rapala skitter pops we managed 6 up to 45cm before moving on to scout for some more fish. Around a beacon we managed one more bigeye and a few more hits before moving on. Just on dawn we moved back to the north wall and caught a few more bigeyes on poppers best going 55cm but it was a bit quiet. We decided to give livebaiting a go so we went and caught some pike, they were a bit tricky today so it took us a bit longer to get the 2o fish we needed. At around 7am we came back and tried drifting with the incoming tide but it was obvious that the tide was running too fast even for 4oz sinkers. We tried the south wall for a while unsuccessfully. As the tide started to slow we moved back to the north wall and the response was immediate, with a couple of small jewies of 63cm coming onboard. Unfortunately, this was when my camera decided it had enough and promptly shut down. Of course murphys law dictates that when you have no camera to capture the moment you'll definitely get a good fish. We kept going and landed 3 tailor from 45-55cm. It wasn't until I sent down the runt of the litter, a little pike around 15cm long that I hooked on on the fish of the day, it hit hard and fast and tore off about 50m before doggedly fighting beneath the boat for the next half an hour, it was a very tough drawn out fight but finally a 93cm yellowtail kingfish was in the boat. A picture of the fish was taken by the lovely lady from fisheries patrol who had been watching the fight for about 15mins(A big thankyou to Philppa for emailing me the pic). By the time we got back to the north wall, divers and spearfisherman were all around it and the fish were shut down so we gave it away.
So that was it, another good day with some reasonable fish and it was good to land a yellowtail kingfish for once. They are one of the hardest fighting fish around and its no wonder so many get away, especially around the pipeline. I was using 20lb line and the fish had the advantage throughout the whole fight, balls of muscle with fins. Awesome fish. Not alot of fish today but still a good trip. I'll be taking 2 cameras from now on.