Part of successful fishing the seaway is knowing where to be at what time. Certain species will start feeding according to tidal and other influences and if you are there then some good fishing can result. With the use of basic formulas we can work out the feeding times for certain species in certain area's and predict certain behaviour.
Firstly and most importantly we need to accurately work out the tides. The official tides are laughably inaccurate in terms of actual tidal flow which as fisherman we are most interested in.
Over to the right we have a single days tides, these are the official tides for the Gold Coast Seaway on Wednesday 30th October 2013. The first column represents times of day, the second represents how big or small the tide is.
To get the actual tide we need to apply some basic mathematics to each value. To get the start of the run in you need to add 1.5 - 2 hours to the bottom of the official tide. In this case the official Low tide is at 10.52am so the start of the run in will be between 12.20pm and 12.50pm. It is impossible to get more accurate than a half hour window as it is determined by the amount of tidal flow on the day. The smaller the tide, the sooner after the official Low tide the water will begin to run in. The larger the tide(around the Full and New moons) the later after the offical Low tide the tide will start to run in.
To get the actual end of the run in tide, the tide will start to slow 15-20 minutes after the official top of the tide(17.03pm) so around 17.20pm it will start to slow and the tide won't start to run out until around 1 hour after the official top of the tide....so around 18.00pm.
To summarise... Add 1.5-2 hours to the official bottom of the tide to get the start of the run-in. Add 1 hour to the official top of the tide to get the start of the run-out. Smaller the tide add less time, bigger the tide add more.
The GT Tide
The GT tide was originally formulated as the perfect tide for GT surface feeding, but it can be applied to all surface feeding fish. Basically it is a tide that begins to run-in in the time between first light and the hour after. This is a good tide is because all the baitfish are pushed out of the seaway on the run-out tide and they hang around the dirty/clean water lines waiting to go back in with the tide. When this happens within the dawn timeframe you have two elements coming together, the dawn bite plus masses of baitfish entering the seaway which usually means some excellent surface fishing action during the dawn period and sometimes the hours after. GT's love it, as do bigeyes and kingfish.
To work out the GT tide you need to add 1.5-2 hours to the bottom of the tide to get the start of the run-in as discussed above. The GT tide usually only happens once or twice every two weeks. Over to our right we have three days which would be suitable for GT tide status. Right now(end of October) first light is at 4am sharp so the Monday tide with a forecast Low at 2.56am should have the tide pushing in at approximately 4.30-5am which is just about perfect. As there is only 30 minutes between the tidal differences on consecutive days you could go a day earlier on the sunday, though I suspect Tuesdays may be a bit too late.
Due to the fact that dawn is at a different time in different season's you need to adjust the time that causes that perfect run-in tide. During winter for example as first light isn't until around 6am, a perfect GT tide woul be one that has an official Low around 4 - 4.30am. Over summer first light is around 3.45am so look for tides with official Low's around 2.30 -3am.
When they are around, Giant Trevally are the most predictable fish in the seaway. Earlier this year using a basic formula I was able to predict within a 30 minute window of when GT's would begin to feed on surface if the tides were suitable. Basically, I would add 2 hours to the official bottom of the tide to get the start of the run-in, then add an hour for the clean water to get to the Canyon. Anywhere within the next half hour after that the GT's would begin to feed on surface.
Over to the right we have a selection of tides I would have picked as ideal for GT's earlier on in the year. Using the formula of adding 3 hours to the official bottom of the tide, the GT's would begin to feed around 7am on Thursday, 8am on Friday and 9am on the Saturday.
You can also use basic formula's to predict when GT's would start taking trolled lures as well, but you need tides as well as time of day. Afternoons tend to work a bit better and the top half of the run-in and first half of the run-out worked the best for trolling and by using a formula of 1.5 hours before sunset you can predict within a 30 minute window of when schooled GT's would take trolled lures. Using both of these formula's I was able to predict GT feeding behaviour and have some excellent sessions.
Bigeye Trevally have been very erratic this year but I have worked out some nocturnal feeding patterns for them around the pipeline, daytime is too erratic to predict. At night you are looking for half an hour after the start of the runout tide. Using the tidal formula above we can deduce that on Saturday the 9th the Official Low tide is 19.35pm. To get the start of the run-out tide we add an hour so around 20.35 plus add another half an hour to an hour for the fish to get organised. So they would start to feed anywhere between 21.00pm and 21.30pm.
Tarpon had similar behaviour to the Bigeye Trevally but in different locations and on both the run-in and run-out tides. By adding 30 minutes to an hour to the start of the actual run-in and run-out tides I could predict within a certain time frame of when they would begin to feed. The main difference between the Bigeyes and Tarpon is that the Tarpon moved around alot more so you still had to find them even though you had a fairly accurate window of when they would begin to feed.
Mulloway are a very predictable fish, they mainly feed when the tide is slowing down or speeding up. So using the tidal formula we know that Mulloway will feed around 1.5-2 hours after the official bottom of the tide, just as that tide starts to push in the seaway. They will also feed at the top end of the tide just as the tide starts to slow, so I would start fishing just before the official top of the tide to get the time when the tide begins to slow. The start of the run-out is also a feeding time for them so add 1 hour after the official top of the tide to get the start of the run out and fish for the next hour. Dawn and dusk are also important, if you can coincide Dawn with a slowing or speeding up tide your chances of cathing bigger fish are increased.
Kingfish are very random and it has been hard to work out any patterns or formula's for them. The small ones that have been hanging around the pipe tend to feed best 2 hours after the official top of the tide, but they are easily shut down. The big ones are much too random to get any sort of pattern going.
Obviously if you are constrained by work and family commitments and you can only go fishing on one day out of 7 then you are going to do it tougher than those who can pick and choose the days to fish. By checking the tides and using these formula's on the days you can actually fish, you can make the best of what time you do have on the water. If you do fish a day when none of the tides are right then I recommend just doing a bunch of random stuff in the hope that some odd fish behaviour present's itself. Every now and again you'll come across something worthwhile. Last Decembers 70cm+ GT's feeding well after sunup on the bottom of the run-out for example.
Welcome to the SeawayFishing Lure Reference Guide Part 4 - Surface Lures. Here you can find details of all the lures that I and others use when fishing in the seaway. If you see a lure mentioned in a report look it up here, all these lures have caught fish in the seaway. This page will be updated as new lures are found. Lures are listed in found order. If you have a lure you think should be included let me know.
As another week passes and we head towards November, the odd weather continues and the surface feeding is improving....slowly. I fished on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings this week.
Plenty of Tailor around the North Wall on Monday and Tuesday especially on the NE corner on Skitterbaits and Skitter Pops, Skitterbaits getting the numbers but Skitter Pops getting the quality during the dawn session, I suggest mixing them up to get the best of both. Once that sun is up fully though, the skitterbaits are the only things getting action. Microjigs fished on the bottom around the face and eddy on the run in tides have picked up some more tailor as well. Interestingly minnows and Twisties are yielding little though its possible I didn't give them enough swim time, probably due to the large amount of weed around the North Wall. . Yellowtail Kingfish ranging from 50-70cm are holding around the pipe and are coming up to the surface to feed on the run-in tides, it's very unpredictable though. Small queenfish are feeding early in the mornings in the Southern Channel but the bait they are chasing is tiny, so go as small as you can, 3-7 grams of slug or fly if you have it.
More bait is coming through with every run-in tide and the Northern Channel is starting to fill up with bait, there's some holding along the North wall of the seaway as well. I haven't seen any fish feeding on this large amount of bait as yet, though I did see a couple of bustups on the eastern side of the channel opposite the Canyon on Monday and Tuesday.
Bigeyes did show up on thier usual holding spot on Monday and Tuesday along the South Wall(between the tower and the last gate) but they were not feeding.
As for the weather, we have not seen a sustained SE wind event(3-4 days of 20-30kt SE or FWF) for months now, its all been days of Northerlies, then a day or two of SE then back to the Northerlies again. Sustained SE wind events usually push the large schools of bait into the Seaway and increase water temperatures, which usually drives some excellent fishing opportunities. So keep an eye out for that if one ever shows up.
I did go out this(friday) morning as well in the hope the strong southerlies would push more bait in, and it did and bloody hell it looked good, massive bait schools all over the place and lots of birds, geez it looked fishy. But nothing happened. No surface feeding anywhere and nothing but bait on the sounder. The only thing I managed was a few tailor along the North wall on Skitterbaits and 1 on a Microjig. Water temp was right down though at a solid 18.5 degrees.. not good.
So nothing has changed over the last week, it's still very hit and miss(mainly miss) and we are missing the high end predators. I suspect we won't see them until water temperatures increase.
Monday 21st October
3.00am - 11.15am
0251 0.04 0929 1.53 1547 0.16 2138 1.12
Tuesday 22nd October
4.00am - 11.30am
0322 0.10 1007 1.49 1630 0.22 2215 1.04
Friday 25th October
4.00am - 9.30am
0517 0.33 1214 1.30 1855 0.36
Another Tailor on the skitterbait
This kingfish took a skitterbait thrown into a group of feeding fish
Dad hooked into a good fish.. but the hooks pulled
So you have had your Seaway lure tutorial and still think you need a bit more help or have forgotten some of it? Want to give yourself the best chance for the just starting Summer Surface Season and Edge fishing Seasons. I am now offering SeawayFishing refresher courses for only $250.00.
The seaway is made up of 2 major rock walls, 2 minor rock walls, a mostly sandy bottom with a few select areas of heavy rock bottom structure. Each area is different and knowing what the structure is like can put you ahead of the game and give you a better idea on how to fish it effectively without losing too many lures. This article covers 4 area's and includes underwater video footage and screenshots taken when water visibility was around 15 metres. Any areas that are missing I currently don't have footage for, they will be added when conditions permit. If you want to take your seaway fishing to the next level, I highly recommend spending some time watching the video to get an idea of the areas you are fishing.
The following image shows where each section of footage was taken.
1. The South Wall Tip
The South Wall Tip doesn't have any rocky structure once you get away from the wall, though there is a deep sandy hole approximately 50m off the northern end of the tip which is 8 metres deep and sometimes holds fish. The majority of fish hang around the area where the rocks meet the sand so you need to fish fairly close to the wall, within 10 metres in most areas. Use your sounder to locate the area where the rocks meet the sand and fish around there with plastics on the bottom. As the tip area gets alot of wave action the rocks off the tip have cunjevoi and barnacles right down to the sand, this means the chance of snagging is high so use caution if you are casting around the tip.
The south wall tip showing the area where the rocks meet the sand
South Wall Inside edge approximately 10 in from the tip
South Wall Tip Fish Eye View Video
2. North Wall Line to One Tree
The North Wall Line is a sandy dropoff area with a few rocks that holds alot of fish, schools of luderick, trevally, tailor, mulloway and more will hold along this dropoff on both run-in and run-out tides.
The North Wall Line Dropoff showing a school of Luerick, Bream and Trevally holding along the edge.
The Tabletop Edge(the Bottom of the Face) is the North Western edge of the deep hole. It is made up of large boulders and sandy patches. Between these boulders is the occasional stick and weed patch. Fish will hang in the eddies between these boulders so getting as close to them as you can without snagging up will get you more fish.
The front edge of the tabletop
The edge of the deep hole along the face
The Deep Hole is made up of mainly sand patches with a few areas of rubbly coffee rock bottom.
North Wall Tip to One Tree
3. One Tree to Hairtail Reach
One Tree to Hairtail Reach is sandy bottom once you get away from the wall edge with just the very occasional piece of coffee rock, most fish seem to hang along the area where the rocks meet the sand but some schools of Trevally will hang out a bit further. As this area is quite shallow(4-8m) it tends to only fish well at night or when there is a large swell that provides wash cover.
The area where the rocks meet the sand opposite the sign on the north wall.
The area where the rocks meet the sand in Hairtail Reach
One Tree to Hairtail Reach
4. Northern Y North to Canyon Edge
The Northern Y North to the Canyon edge is made up of coffee rock and sand patches, there are large jagged edges, holes and valleys in this rocky bottom making it an ideal fish holding and feeding area. The edge of the Canyon itself is made up of rock which has splintered and has formed some sharp dropoffs. Away from the Canyon edge rubbly patches of rock take over again until mid way along the Canyon where it turns into a sandy bottom.
Mid section of the Northern Y showing the rugged bottom.
Where the Canyon starts to taper down on its eastern most point
The southern most edge of the canyon has a few sharp edged dropoffs.
Arrived at the seaway at 3.30am on Tuesday morning, had a quick fish along the edge and got bitten off once(hairtail) before dawn was upon me. Tried minnows at first around the north wall got nothing so switched to skitterbaits and landed two tailor around the mid to high 40's and missed a couple of others. Switched to minnows got nothing then went to the microjigs. That got me another two tailor around the same size in the Eddy and I dropped another couple as well. Interestingly I did get two hookups while I was talking to another fisherman with the jig just sitting a metre above the bottom. The tide slowed and the bites stopped. Went down to the pipeline and sent down the microjig and it was followed up by a small kingfish but no hits. Had a look in the Broadwater(plenty of bait), had a quick troll over the canyon and generally messed around for nothing else.
Came back to the North wall around 12.30pm just as the tide started to move in. There was a fairly well defined dirty water line so I fished around that for a while until the clean water, no hits on plastics or metal so I switched to the skitterbait. Mutton Birds had begun to gather around the North wall Eddy where I wanted to throw it so it was a case of cast in between them, if it got too close they would grab it. About 5 minutes in a good fish smashed it off the top about 2 metres off the rocks, after a stubborn fight a 58cm Tailor was in the net. That's getting up towards greenback size(but not quite) and an excellent fish off the surface in the middle of the day. Tried for a bit longer had one more hit but the mutton birds got too thick and I had to stop fishing surface. Tried minnows for a while before switching to microjigs. Hooked 2 more fish but dropped them both. As the sun began to go down I went for a run into the broadwater again, heaps of bait between Crab and Horseshoe Flats but nothing into it. Did a quick troll, tried again around the North wall with minnows but got zip Off the water at 7.15pm.
Wednesday morning I took dad out for a dawn session on the water by 3.30am, Tried minnows first(zip) switched to skitters got two hits no hookups around the northern side of the wall, then nothing. Got distracted by 3 whales that came in the seaway, then tried the South wall(zip) then tried microjigs(zip) then twisties(zip). Went back around the northern side of the wall once the sun was up, got two 40cm tailor in two casts on the skitter then Dad got 1 solid Tailor around 50cm on a limited edition Skitter Pop 9. That was it for there, we tried a bunch of other stuff none of which worked. Called it a day at 10.00am
So a tough couple of days, everyone I talked to over those two days was doing it tough, no-one managed any more than a handful of fish, if it wasn't for the tailor I would have caught nothing. Most of the Tailor are skinny post spawn fish but they are in good condition, I haven't seen any with shark wounds on them yet. There was no surface feeding anywhere. Not sure whats going on though the water temperature coming in the seaway had dropped a couple of degrees down to around 19 which may be a factor. There is plenty of bait hanging in the northern part of the northern channel but no fish into it as yet. Not much in the seaway itself. Very hit and miss at the moment though surface fishing for Tailor is yielding some good fish. Still the occasional small kingfish around the pipe but you need to be the first one to fish it.
The mutton birds are everywhere at the moment and they are quite willing to grab anything, even lures that are hanging over the side of the boat. They are also sitting in the channels and not moving until you get very close and as a result some are getting hit by boats and killed, try and avoid them if you can. There is already quite a few dead ones floating in the channels.
Giant Trevally or GT’s are the second most common Trevally species in the Seaway but are the largest, most sought after and one of the hardest fighting. This article covers everything I know about Giant Trevally so far.... Where and when to look, how to catch them and with what.
Giant Trevally 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 their 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 though bite times tend to be short.
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. When a school has become active they usually move away from their holding area's and into feeding areas. GT's holding in the Canyon will move into the Northern Y and Northern Channel, GT's holding on the pipeline will move into the triangle or the eastern seaway channel, GT's holding in the Deep Hole will move in front of the north wall, along the dropoff or into the eastern channel. I have also tracked them moving from the end of the north wall right through to the Northern Y before they decided to feed.
Active GT's feeding on the eastern side of the Canyon
Inactive GT's in the Canyon
Giant Trevally Movements
Giant Trevally have specific movement and behavioural patterns within the seaway area. While there are still a few unknown area’s where they disappear to for a few days I have mapped out a fairly decent range of movements for them. There are fairly well defined hold and feeding area's though they sometimes overlap.
GT Holding Area's Daytime
North Wall Deep Hole
GT Holding Area's Night-Time
North Wall Tip 100m East
North Wall Deep Hole
GT Feeding Area's
South Wall Surf Side(Only when swell is running)
South Wall Line(run out tide only)
Eastern Seaway Channel
North Wall Dropoff East(The Line - Run-in and Run-out Tide)
North Wall Flats Dropoff(Only when a swell is running)
North Wall Deep Hole
North Wall Runway
North Wall Eddy
Sea World Deep Hole
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 fish will attack the prey school, striking and stunning the prey, while the bulk of the school helps disorient the bait. 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 will generally only feed on the surface when there are large schools of baitfish around. This can happen anywhere within the Seaway and Broadwater.
GT's feeding on surface near the seaway mouth
The North Wall
GT’s can be found all around the north wall, but they feed in different ways and in different areas according to the tide and time of day. Edge fishing usually only yields the odd fish on poppers, stickbaits and minnows in the early mornings or late afternoons. Casting a vib or a metal onto the flats on the northern side in the mornings and bringing back over the dropoff can be an excellent technique if theres a bit of swell running, they won't be sitting there if its calm. GT's will often sit at the base of the rear swell on the North Wall Flats and a twistie dropped to the bottom is often eaten on the drop. During a runout, the GT's will sit in the deep hole area, these fish are usually taken on livebaits and plastics but metals can be used as well if you can find a school. 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 like the Squidgy Slick rigs in 65mm or Zman 2.5" Curl Tails through the school. Surface feeding fish are rare around the North Wall but occasionally schools will pop up around the front of the wall or in the channel between the walls 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 eastern dropoff(The Line) than most fish, 50m away from the eastern end of the wall is a good place to start looking.
The edge of the North Wall Deep Hole
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, even then you still won't get close enough. You can fish along the walls with vibs and plastics, just bump them along the bottom with an occasional twitch. there is a 14 metre drop-off approximately 20m out from the wall where the GT's will sometimes sit, plastics flicked through this area can pick up a few fish. During a run-out tide when there is no swell its worth dropping a lure down on the current line leading out from the wall as sometimes small schools hold in that area.
The area where the rocks meet the sand on the south wall
The Pipeline and The Triangle
The Pipeline is one of the area's Giant Trevally will hold when they are not feeding, it can hold hold massive schools of hundreds of Giant Trevally at times. Giant Trevally will hold here until a school of baitfish comes through then they will move away from the pipe and bust the surface in huge numbers. When this happens 30gram twisties(or other slugs/metals) and poppers thrown into the school usually hookup. You can also try dropping metals, plastics or vibs down next to the pipeline and retrieving them quickly back to the surface. A livebait drifted over the top of the pipe during the run in tide usually picks up a GT or two. You should keep an eye on the area just west of the pipe as well(The Triangle), as small schools will often move off the pipe and sit 20-50m off the pipe on a run in tide. For these fish, 30 gram twisties or microjigs dropped to the bottom will often pick up a few fish.
The Northern Y
The Northern Y is a Giant Trevally feeding area. If they are in this area they are usually in feeding mode and you can catch them on trolled lures, metals, plastics or poppers if they are super active. They can be found anywhere within this area but prefer sitting around the rocky areas in the northern middle and to the eastern side of the channel. You are more likely to get GT's in the Northern Y during the Dawn or Dusk periods.
Wavebreak Island & The Canyon
The Canyon is a deep trench that runs east and north from the end of the North Wavebreak Wall for approximately 100 metres, large schools of Giant Trevally will often hold along the edges of the canyon and in the canyon itself. Similar to the pipeline the GT's will hold here until a school of baitfish comes through then move out of the canyon and bust the surface. You can troll along or over this area with deep diving minnows that dive to 4m+ or drop plastics down into the school and poppers cast around can often bring a fish up from the bottom. The best areas to troll are the edges of the canyon particularly the most eastern edge roughly halfway across the channel.
The edge of the Canyon
The Northern Channel
The Northern Channel is a GT feeding area, from the southern end near Wavebreak to the Northern end around Crab Island, GT's will feed anywhere in this area depending on the bait around. It is impossible to predict when they will decide to feed in this area, I have seen them do it at various times of the day and throughout all stages of tide. You just need to keep an eye on it and look for any bird or fish activity.
The Seaworld Deep Hole
The Seaworld Deep Hole sometimes holds small schools of big GT's, these fish usually only feed just on dawn as the sun just peeps over the horizon or just on the top of the tide and usually only for 10 minutes or so. They can feed anywhere from the area near the boat ramp out to the channel. Just keep an eye out for any bustups or bird activity , as they will know when the GT's are active.
Lures and Techniques
Slugs and slices account for a decent percentage of GT captures. 20-30gram Twisties, Spanyid Raiders, Surecatch Knights, Gillies Baitfish and Pilchards all work when thrown into a school of feeding fish. The important thing to remember with slugs cast at feeding GT's is to keep the speed slow to moderate, fast retrieve's (especially on high speed reels)tend not to get hit as the GT's can't keep up, they are fast but they aren't tuna. Metals can also be jigged vertically through schools of fish. Drop them to the bottom and slowly wind it up to the surface works, as does dropping it down do a fast rip for about 5 metres then sinking it back down and repeat, you can also to 5 fast jigs in a row then let it drift back down. A long cast letting it sink to the bottom and winding it back at a moderate speed is also an excellent technique.
These are the metals proven to work on GT's:
Gillies Baitfish - 15 & 25gram
Gillies Pilchard - 25 & 40 gram
Surecatch Knight 20 & 40gram
Spanyid Raider 20 & 40gram
Halco Twisty 20 & 30gram
GT caught on a Gillies Baitfish 25gram
Trolling works exceptionally well on GT's in the seaway. Deep diving lures are needed with a minimum of 3 metres depth, but 4 metres plus is recommended for most areas. The best lures are the Bolt Omega, Rapala Magnum 15 and Maria Deep Snare but most deep diving lures will work. Trolling can work during the day particularly on a run in tide but the best trolling times are between dawn and the couple of hours after, and 3pm and dusk regardless of tide. Trolling around the Northern Y and Canyon, over the Pipeline and around the North Wall are the best area's for trolling for GT's. See the Trolling the Seaway Article for more information on Trolling.
These are the lures proven to work so far on trolled GT's:
Halco Laser Pro 120
Maria Deep Snare 120
Rapala Magnum 10, 15 & 20
Double hookup on GT's while trolling
Poppers and Stickbaits
Poppers can work very well on GT's if they are active. I have seen GT's come up off the bottom in 8 metre's of water to hit a popper, this is quite common around the Canyon and the Northern Y channel right next to it. A popper thrown into a bust-up is usually eaten very quickly, especially during low light periods. There are two methods that work quite well, you can just do a straight retrieve at a medium to fast speed or you can do a blooping retrieve. The 3 Bloop Pause is the technique I use the most. Smaller stickbait's like the Cultiva Tango Dancer or the Atomic K9 Bulldog seem to work reasonably well once the sun is up, but big poppers seem to be the go for dawn/dusk. Stickbait's are usually worked with a Walk the Dog type retrieve, basically wiggling the tip as you retrieve and the stickbait should pop from side to side. You can also just wind them straight in. You can work larger stickbaits like the Saltiga Dorado Slider with a far more aggressive jerking retrieve. Don’t forget to pause it occasionally as many fish will hit them on a pause.
Poppers and Stickbait's that are proven to work with GT's:
Rapala Skitter Pop 7 & 9
Halco Roosta Popper 105
River2 Sea Bubble Pop 88,110 & 130
Tackle House Feed Popper 120
Owner Cultiva Tango Dancer 95 & 115
Daiwa Dorado Slider 14 F & 14S
Atomic K9 Bulldog
Little Jack Seguroid 70
Double hookup on GT's with Poppers
Soft Plastic's work okay on GT's and work fairly well at picking up random fish when you are prospecting. Plastics like the Gulp Jerkshads in any of the sizes, Zman 3" MinnowZ, Squidgy Slick Rigs in 65 & 85mm will all work. When you are prospecting for GT's a simple triple flick with the rod and then let it sink back down works fine. When they are feeding on surface during the middle of the day and refuse to hit any metals or poppers, split shot rigged Flash J’s in Glow Silver will work but any decent baitfish imitation plastic would do. Cast the plastic into the school and let it sit for a few seconds before giving it a slight flick then let it sit, then another flick. You are trying to imitate a dying baitfish so keep the erratic movements to a minimum. Working a plastic through the bottom sulking fish in daytime holding area's sometimes picks up a fish or two, but don’t expect too many that way.
Soft Plastics that are proven to work with GT's:
Ecogear Grass Minnows M
Pearl Sliders 3"
FishArrow Flash J 3"
Zman MinnowZ 3"
Gulp JerkShads 3, 5 & 7"
Squidgy SlickRigs 65 & 80mm
This GT was caught slow rolling a Squidgy Slick rig 80mm over the tip of the north wall
Vibs or Vibrating Lures can be a very effective lure for GT's at times as they sink fast and stay down deep. On a medium speed retrieve they stay close to the bottom and heavy vibs(30gm+) can even be trolled effectively around the North Wall and Northern Y. The best area's for vib's are around the pipeline, down in the Canyon and on the North Wall Flats. You can cast them out and do a slow lift and drop retrieve, or do a fast burn with a couple of pauses back to the boat. You can jig them vertically just using a slow lift and drop or up the pace with a fast jig 5 times in a row before you drop it back down. While Vibs are not used as commonly as other lures, they are still very effective at catching GT's.
Vibs that are proven to work with GT's:
SF Vivi 30s
Zipbaits Vib 25 & 35
This GT was one of a dozen caught casting a Zipbaits Vib 25 over the North Wall Flats Dropoff
Giant trevally are a reasonably common catch on livebaits. Any livies will work but pike and yellowtail are my preferred baits. The Runway, the Deep Hole 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 on a run-in tide. On the Runway and Deep Hole, keep your baits around 1 metre off the bottom for best results. See the Livebaiting the Seaway article for more information on Livebaiting.
GT's are not afraid of big lures, I have caught alot of fish this year on large Poppers(River2Sea Bubble Pop 130) and minnows as large as the Rapala Magnum 20(14cm). These larger lures tend to work better than small lures in low light situations around dawn or dusk or on the bottom of the runout tides during the day. Size of lure doesn't seem to make a difference on the size of GT you get, I've caught small GT's on big lures and vice versa.
This 74cm Gt took a Rapala Magnum 20
We have certainly seen more GT's caught in 2013 than in any other year but there is still a way to go before the complete story of the seaway GT's is revealed. Where they disappear to I don't know, but I continue to gather information about movements and behaviour in the hope of completing the puzzle. If you have anything else to add let me know below.
After a 2 week break I was keen to get out to the seaway and see what was around. Arrived at 4pm to fish the afternoon session, tide was probably as bad as it gets..last of the runout.. swell was down to less than a metre from the SE but the wind was around 20kts from the SE. Had a quick look at the Canyon(tons of ribbon weed) before proceeding on to the end of the north wall. The end of the north wall looked alot better, some decent schools of bait along the clean/dirty water line, manta rays, the occasional bustup and lots of mutton birds and terns. Very fishy. Attempts to fish with surface lures proved impossible as the mutton birds jumped on the lure almost as soon as it landed so I switched to 30 gram twisties. That had me hooking in to tailor every few casts for about an hour on the north eastern corner, size wasn't anything special though mid 30's to mid 40's. They went off the bite as the sun set so I moved back into the seaway for the evening session. Once the sun set I went to work looking for Tarpon, Bigeyes..anything.. I fished the incoming and outgoing tides but try as I might, I didn't get a hit all night. Thats a big change from a couple of weeks ago.
Right on dawn I focused on the north wall again, skitterbaits were being rolled on(the fish comes up to the surface but doesn't hit the lure properly) quite a bit but the fish just weren't hitting with any enthusiasm. At least until the tide started to push in around 5.30. As the clean/dirty water line pushed around the front of the wall that was the trigger for the fish to feed and schools of Tailor and Bonito started smashing into the schools of mainly white pilchards. Skitterbaits thrown into the mix were nailed instantly, even the bonito where hitting them(another new species for the skitter). Size was around 40-45 for both the Tailor and Bonito. They stopped feeding on surface after about half an hour but there were plenty of fish showing on the sounder so I switched to a new technique..Micro Jigging. Micro Jigging is basically taking a slug(10-40grams) with a single assist hook, dropping it to the bottom jigging it 5 times then dropping it back down and repeat. On the second drop I hooked a good fish which turned out to be a 53cm Tailor, thats the biggest Tailor on lure I've seen for a couple of months so that a pretty good start. I proceeded to hook another half dozen Tailor and a lone bonito off the bottom on the micro jigs so I was mighty impressed and I didn't get stuck once. Considering I was sinking that slug right into the rocky dropoffs on the edges of the deep hole that was great. Micro Jigging has alot of potential for the seaway, while it is too early to call it a must do technique, I'll be giving it a fair go over the next few months to see if it has the consistent results to merit inclusion in my arsenal of seaway techniques. An article will be coming if it proves to be a solid performer.
I had a quick troll over the Canyon and hooked a GT but dropped it, had a look in the broadwater.. plenty of bait but no fish. Called it a day around 9am.
The bait around at the moment is in a mix of sizes, from tiny eyes(eyes on a clear body) to fully grown white and frogmouth pilchards. There is enough around now to start getting the fish excited but we are still waiting for some bigger fish to show which could happen any time. I'm going to call this a soft start to the summer surface season, surface lures have already picked up some good fish and it should only get better from here. There is bait around the ends of the walls, in the Triangle and in the Northern and Southern Channels leading to the Seaway. It will be interesting to see what happens on the next lot of morning run in tides on Wednesday onwards next week. Mutton Birds are a good sign as they usually follow the pelagics around so we might see some schools of tuna and mackerel come through. There are small kingfish still over the southern end of the pipeline but they are only feeding properly on the first half of the runout tide.
This article will cover the gear I use and recommend for fishing the seaway. You can use pretty much any gear you like but the better suited the outfit is to fishing the seaway the more fish you will catch. Multiple outfits are recommended to cover every angle.
I mainly use 7ft Graphite/Carbon Fibre Rods, the extra length gives you better casting distance, though you can go up to 8ft without too many problems. 6ft rods are just too short for good lurecasting but work fine for livebaiting. You can go as cheap as you like, obviously the better the rod, the better your casts and more fish you will catch. I find rods in the $130-$200 range are a great balance between cost and performance. One of my alltime favourites is the old Samaki Allure 701 which had a pricetag of only $130.00. One thing you should look for is the butt length, a longer butt enables you to cast two handed and put more punch into the casts, getting greater distance. All of my favourite rods have a butt length of 25-27cm. Butt length is measured from the bottom of the reel seat.
What I'm using right now in Rods:
2 x SeawayFishing Strong LLBC702M & ML ($150)
Samaki Allure 701SM ($130)
Daiwa Black Label BL762MHFS ($250)
Daiwa SOL 701MLFS ($250RRP bought for $120)
The most important aspect for any reel you use in the seaway is a decent drag, it must be smooth. A jerky drag will cost you fish. Another thing to consider is reel line capacity. While most fish will never use anything below the top 80m of line, every now and again you'll hook something that will need 200m+ so keep that in mind. Plenty of big fish have been landed on small 2500 size reels but when you want to throw around big lures like 14cm poppers or 60gram Raiders, you'll need a 4000 size reel with a decent strength braid(20 -30lb) on it. Another thing you should look at is high speed retrieve reels. 6.0:1 should be considered a minimum for throwing poppers and slugs. You can work plastics on the slower 5.0:1 reels, but when you are chasing surface feeders, being able to wind in a cast quickly and punch it out again fast will put more fish in the boat. I don't use overhead or baitcasting reels for lure fishing in the seaway.
What I'm using right now in Reels:
Jundao T7-30 ($80) spooled with 12lb Spider Braid
SW 3000 ($80) Spooled with 20lb Daiwa Saltiga Braid
Daiwa Ballistic 3000 ($220) Spooled with 30lb Daiwa Saltiga Braid
Daiwa Advantage 2500A ($220) Spooled with 12lb Spider Braid
Daiwa SOL II 3000H ($330) Spooled with 30lb Daiwa Saltiga Braid
Daiwa LD50H ($250) Spooled with 50lb Bionic Braid
Braided lines are the only way to go for serious lure fishing in the seaway, the sensitivity can tell you when a fish takes a halfhearted swipe at a lure or when your jighead is bouncing around in the rocks. The smaller diameter will also give you better casting distance. There are many brands available but they are all fairly expensive for what they are. I have used quite a few brands, from the cheap but good lines I sell here on SeawayFishing(Spider Braid, Daiwa Saltiga Grey) to brands like Sunline 4x4 Momentum which retail for around $60 for 125m. What brand you choose is up to you, it doesn't make alot of difference in the end. You might get an extra 5 metres in casting distance using a high end thin braid but the first wind knot you get will have you halfway through your brand new spool of expensive line. These days I prefer the cheap end of the spectrum due to how much line I go through.
Good brands I have used and recommend
Fins Original PRT
Stren Sonic Braid
Sunline 4x4 Momentum
Sunline Super PE
SF Daiwa Saltiga Grey
Leader: 20lb minimum, I use 30lb almost exclusively. Now most people will balk at such a heavy leader but there is a good reason for it. I originally started off with 12lb leader, then went to 20lb, then went to 30lb. 30lb seems to be the sweet spot between usability and ability to take punishment. The seaway has lots of rocks and lots of toothy critters both of which will remove lures from your line. Tailor for example will cut through 20lb with just a swipe at a lure that connects with the trace. The only time I will go less than 20lb is very clear water in the middle of the day using ultra finesse plastics. 99% of seaway fish don't care what leader you are using, as long as you present the lure to them at the right time and place they will eat it.
All my oufits(rod,reel,line) are graded into small, medium or large sizes. Each size has multiple tasks for seaway work. Having multiple outfits ready to go is important, if you get busted off on one then another can be used quickly. Bite times in the seaway can be short so maximising your fish catching time is important.
Small outfit: 2500 or 3000 size reel filled with 300m 6-12lb braid , 7ft Light or Medium Light rated rod - Light plastic work, skitterbaits, light metals
Medium outfit: 3000 or 4000 size reel with 200-300m 20lb Braid, 7ft Medium rated rod - Trolling deep diving minnows, large plastics, jigging medium sized metals, minnows & poppers
Large outfit: 4000 size reel filled with 300m 30lb braid, 7ft 6" Medium Heavy rated rod - Big poppers & stickbaits, big metals, big minnows.
Livebait Fishing Outfits
4000 size reel, 30lb Braid, 50lb leader 6-7ft rod rated medium heavy
6000 size reel(or large overhead) , 50lb Braid 100lb leader 6-7ft rod rated heavy
this Ansa Catch and Release Mat. Unlike other most other fish measuring mats this one is actually accurate and folds out flat. We should see some good fishing this month so I look forward to seeing some of your reports.
The Summer Surface Season is my favourite time of year for fishing in the seaway, it begins when large schools of Frogmouth Pilchards enter into the Seaway and Broadwater. These schools can turn up any time from mid September to Late November. We have already seen a few small schools entering so the bulk of the bait can't be too far away. Once these schools of bait enter they are usually followed by large schools of predators like Tailor, Bigeye Trevally, Giant Trevally and Yellowtail Kingfish. Striped, Mack and Yellowfin tuna as well as Spotted and School Mackerel are also possible around the ends of the walls and just offshore.
One species usually dominates the catches but it differs every year, In 2007 we had an exceptional run of Yellowtail Kingfish, in 2008 we had a great run of 60cm+ Bigeyes. Last year we had a run of 70cm+ GT's. Most feeding activity is centred between the walls from the tips down to the Triangle on the morning run in tides but as last year showed us you shouldn't ignore the runout tides either. Birds will show you if there is any surface feeding going on, for a refresh on what to look for reread the Birdwatching article. You should keep an eye out early morning from first light until after sunup and in the late afternoons after 5pm for any signs of bird activity.
For a look at what to look for on these early morning run in tides check out one of my oldest videos below, from the summer of 2008-2009.
Lures to use when this surface feeding is going on is the 20gram twistie, Rapala Skitter Pop 9 or my pick for the best lure this season "The Skitterbait". Cast any of these lures into a bustup and you are very likely to get hit. With the twistie, a medium to fast paced retrieve back to the boat works just fine. With the Skitter Pop a medium paced blooping retrieve works the best, the Skitterbait can be worked a number of ways, either blooping with the rod tip down, twitching with the rod tip up or a flat out skipping retrieve. Other lures will work of course but these are my top 3 for Summer Surface Feeders.
It is also worth keeping an eye on the area just outside the breakers on South Stradbroke Island as this often sees alot of surface feeding by Tailor and Dart. Inside the broadwater there is usually some surface feeding by Tailor, Bigeyes and Queenfish in the channels but these tend to be smaller fish than those that feed in the seaway itself.
It will be interesting to see what the GT's do over summer as the big schools are still hanging around the seaway, if they add into the general mix we could be in for one awesome summer of fishing.
His sighting of GT's in the canyon at night(along with the screenshot of the sounder) piqued my interest and I'll be trying to see if I can catch a few while it is dark over the next couple of months. Well done to Tim and let me know your postal address so I can send the reel, line and lures to you. Thanks to all those who posted reports this month.
I have been away for the last week so I have no end of week report to deliver, with the Flathead Classic on now with over 200 boats competing I would recommend giving it a miss this weekend anyway. I'll be back into it next week and hopefully things are picking up. I have some new techniques to test as well, I'll be giving some saltwater fly fishing a go as well as some micro jigging. Saltwater fly has always been a very effective technique in the seaway but it has been suited to more shutdown fussy fish than aggressive fast moving predators. It should be interesting to see how it goes.
Micro jigging is fairly new and I'm pretty sure noone else has used it in the seaway yet, its basically jigging a small slug rigged with an assist hook from 10-40grams in a fast vertical style. I'm pretty sure it will work well on pipeline, north wall and canyon fish as well as any other tightly schooled fish. There will be more about both techniques once I have tested them fully and figured out the best way to use them.
We are coming up to my favourite time of the year, October through December will see me on the water more than ever. Edge fishing season has begun and catches will increase from now until reaching thier peak in December, the summer surface season will begin in earnest once the bulk of the frogmouth schools show up. More on the Summer Surface Season shortly.