Among the latest lure releases online were these Fish Arrow Flash-J 3" in Glow Silver, now that I have a pack here to look at I'm very impressed, easily the best white pilchard imitation I've yet seen. They have a metallic foil insert which imitates the silver belly section. A bit expensive at around $13.00 a pack for only 5 plastics so not something you want to be throwing at tailor or pike, but would be ideal for fussy tuna and trevally. A finesse plastic they should be ideal for dropshotting.
Suspended weed seems to have gone, small amount of weed on the bottom. Lots of baitfish schools just offshore.
On the water at 2.30 am, this was a trip specifically to target tarpon. Over the last few months I've put together a list of conditions that tarpon seem to prefer and this trip was to test one of these factors. The tide was not ideal with it being the bottom half of the runout and weather conditions were.. challenging... with a strong northerly wind and occasional patches of rain. However THE most important factor was evident(and at this point I'm not going to tell you what it is.. sorry maybe later), so I went ahead anyway.
Motored straight to spot 1, but there was nothing there, moved onto spot 2.. nothing there either, not looking good so far. Both of those locations had yielded Tarpon in the past but they were not there this time. I moved on to another location that I had thought might hold them and thankfully this time I was on the money. First cast with a plastic and I was on to a leaping silver demon, a couple of jumps and some decent runs and I had him next to the boat, one more jump and he threw the hook. I moved around a bit over the next hour and found the tarpon were sitting in an area roughly 100 metres long by about 10 metres wide, the fish weren't bunched up like they usually are but were quite widespread. Because of this a few casts were required for each fish, but I still managed to land 7 Tarpon from 53cm up to 58cm and jumped off at least that many again. One fish in particular just would not stop jumping, he must have jumped at least 15 times but I still managed to land him, even in the boat he just would not stop moving.
At around 4.30am the fish switched off and I moved around the front of the walls looking for other fish, unfortunately it was the bottom of the tide and the water was very dirty. It wasn't until the tide started to run in that I pulled a few more fish, with 3 tailor and 2 small bigeye trevally falling to twisties. Tried plastics on the bottom for a while but managed to drop the only 2 fish that I hooked. I investigated some bird activity offshore and found some large schools of baitfish but nothing feeding on them, won't be long before they enter the seaway in big numbers, might even happen during this next big southerly wind pattern.
Lots of suspended sand in the water. Lots of floating weed around the north wall.
On the water at 4.30am we proceeded to the seaway to see if we could find some fish, straight away it was evident it was going to be a tough day with the water looking very dirty with alot of suspended sand and weed, visibility was down to less than a metre. We persevered anyway and Dad landed a 40cm tailor on a Skitter pop. We pulled another small bigeye and one small tailor and had a few other hits that didn't connect but the dirty water was having an effect. We headed offshore to have a look around and stopped at the Scottish prince for one small tailor and also had a look at the narrowneck arti but it was all very quiet. No sign of any pelagics. We headed back to the seaway and jigged plastics for a while and dad landed a 60cm jew on a 7'' Gulp but that was it. Just goes to show how quickly the seaway can go from awesome fishing to average.
Lumpy Easterly swell requiring constant readjusting of boat positioning. Lots of floating weed around the north wall. No Moon.
On the water at 04.30am , I moved straight into the seaway to see what was around. Conditions were good to start with a light SW and a strong tidal flow with well defined current lines. As part of my ongoing test of the effectiveness of XOS lures I decided on using a System Minnow 15F to start with, at 15cm long its easily my biggest minnow and at around $35.00 each one of my most expensive, not something you want to lose. Its only a shallow runner so fairly safe to be throwing around rock walls while its still dark. After the first couple of throws I had a decent hit but it didn't connect, next cast it got smashed and the fish went airborne a couple of times which had me thinking big tailor then slugged it out down deep doing multiple runs. To my surprise it ended up being a quality tarpon at 60cm, they obviously aren't shy at hitting large lures on occasion. I had a few more hits on that lure that didn't connect so I switched to conventional tarpon tackle with a small plastic. First cast with that and I was hooked into another tarpon this one throwing the lure on its third jump. Next cast I hooked up once again this time landing another 60cm tarpon, great fighters at that size. By the time I had dealt with that fish dawn was upon me so I switched back to the big minnow in the hopes of tempting a big greenback. Wasn't long before I hooked a decent tailor at around 50cm, poor fella looked like he had been in the wars with a ragged tail and lots of scars. A bit more casting with that for no result and I switched to a zipvib 90 and quickly pulled another 2 tailor around mid 40's. Changed to a popper to see if I could get some more fish on surface but all I could manage was a couple of mid 30's bigeyes which was a bit disappointing, the water looked perfect for it. Changed to plastics and caught another 2 tailor and a bigeye all average size. Moved down to the pipeline, had one cast with a 30gram gold twistie, let it sink then ripped it back at speed, about halfway back to the boat it got smashed by something with alot of power, it took off on multiple short runs but I had it under control after about 5 minutes or so I thought. As it came up to the boat I saw it was a nice yellowtail king around 80cm, but as soon as it saw the boat it took off again this time with a purpose.. despite being about 50m away from the pipeline it made it back there in about 10 seconds flat shredding my line as it went. Nice. Not the first time that has happened though. No chance of stopping a fish like that on 10lb braid unfortunately. No more fish were interested after that so I moved to a new spot, the tide was slowing so I chucked out the big plastics in the hope for a jewie and It wasn't long before it got eaten. They were hungry today and I managed 6 jewies all between 58 & 63cm, so all standard undersize fish. Good fishing anyway, some of them actually put up a decent tussle on 6lb braid. I had to skedaddle at 9am so I left them biting.
So that was it, not huge numbers landed but some quality fish in amongst them and a good range of species. It was tough staying in position once that wind got up and I copped a number of waves over the stern but it was good to see a bit of wave action there today. Oh and if you look carefully at the open mouth of that jewie you can see another hook and about a metre of trace that it had stuck in there, I removed that one as well before release.
Bigeye Trevally are the most common trevally species in the Seaway. They can be caught all year round though they are much more common in the summer months. They will feed quite willingly on the surface depending on the amount of bait around. December sees the larger fish holding in the seaway in big numbers and they will feed on the surface at first light during a run in tide. Just look for the birds.
Bigeye trevally can turn up anywhere at anytime but there a few locations that hold them consistently.
The North Wall
Bigeyes can be caught around the entirety of the north wall, poppers, metals, shallow minnows, vibs all work here. During a runin tide work the edges with poppers or minnows, and prospecting the current lines with metals also works well. During a runout, the point and the flats still hold a few. Surface feeding fish are common around the north wall, with schools of smaller fish popping up from time to time as well as occasional bustups by larger fish, getting a lure in there within 15 seconds or so almost guarantees a fish.
The South Wall
Not as consistent as the north wall but still worth a try around the southern side in the bay, the point and along the walls with poppers, metals and vibs. Surface feeding schools can pop up anywhere but are more common from the pipeline up to about halfway towards the point. Look for schools feeding just offshore after first light.
The pipeline can hold massive schools of Bigeye Trevally but these fish usually only feed during dawn and dusk, its almost impossible to catch these fish during the day. At dawn or dusk they move out and hunt schools of baitfish on incoming tides. You have to keep an eye out for these fish as they bust the surface for only 30 seconds to a minute at a time, speed is essential as you have to get your lure in there while they are still feeding. If no schools are visible you can also try dropping metals or vibs down next to the pipeline and retrieving them quickly back to the surface.
Wavebreak has 2 points of interest for bigeyes, The north wall and the flats. While not a consistent producer its always worth a look if no other spots are producing. The north wavebreak wall holds a few transient fish and its worth a cast along the current lines with metals and around the walls with poppers. Keep an eye out for surface feeding fish and cast at them with metals or small poppers. The flats hold a few bigeyes at night and early morning, either cast to surface feeding schools with metals or prospect with poppers while its dark.
Bigeye trevally will take most lures, but metals like the 20gram twistie and 40gram raider will take most fish. They will also quite happily take poppers such as the Tackle House feed popper 100, the 90mm Skitter Pop or the zipbaits ZBL popper. Minnows account for their fair share as well such as the Rapala X-Rap and megabass vision 110. Vibs such as the Zipvib 80 and Eclipse heavy slight 90 also work well when dropped down to the bottom around current lines. Plastics work as well but are not as consistent.
See also Bigeye Trevally Videos
See also Ian Banks Diving the Gold Coast Bigeye Trevally Underwater Pics and Vids
Northerly bumpy Swell. Lots of floating weed around the north wall. Schooling luderick around the end of the north wall.
On the water at 5am we headed to the seaway for a quick fish. This was a trip specifically to see if the fish were interested in poppers again, as what I saw on Wednesdays trip made me think they would be. Despite the tide being completely wrong for popper fishing i was confident that I might get a couple of fish. I chose a 100mm Tackle House feed popper as my lure of choice while John had a 90mm Rapala Skitter Pop. Wasn't long before my popper was eaten by a decent tailor which ended up going 52cm, next cast I was hooked up again, this time a 40cm bigeye. Over the next 30 minutes we hooked lost and landed both bigeyes and tailor about every second or third cast. All on poppers, it was great fun and a welcome return to surface fishing after months of fishing the bottom. John lost a very big fish close to 60cm right next to the boat. After that it went a bit quiet so we switched to metals and shallow running minnows, we managed a few more hits and foul hooked a few decent Luderick(there were big schools at the end of the north wall). That was it though, we called it a day at 7am.
While not alot of fish were landed(<10), its good to see fish are taking poppers so early in the season, it bodes well for October, November, December when things really start to heat up.
During the summer season there are 2 distinct weather patterns, South East and Northerly. Each of these patterns plays a part in the fishing in the seaway, as the water can go from clean blue water to dirty green water in a matter of days. Below we have 2 sea surface temperature pictures, one dated 4th december 2009, and the other 6 days later dated 10th December 2009. Weather patterns are usually cyclic repeating every 6-7 days until a significant change comes through altering the cycle.
The first one (4th December) shows the sea surface temperature after a sustained period of South Easterly Winds. A warm water current (25-26 degrees) has pushed right in close to the seaway and the water was clean and fish were very active with lots of surface feeding by kingfish, bigeyes and tailor. Warm Water currents can also bring in the pelagic species such as Striped, Yellowfin and Mack Tuna, Spotted and School mackerel and bonito. the one caveat to this is that a sustained South Easterly weather pattern is sometimes associated with a cyclone up north. This can bring a deluge of rain and floods which will shut down the seaway for weeks. The Gold Coast can handle about 150mm of rain without much effect, any more than that and it will flood which can wipe out the entire summer season.
The second picture (10th December) just 6 days later shows what happens when a strong northerly weather pattern takes over. A cold water current (21-22 degrees)has slipped up the coast from NSW right up as far as the tip of north stradbroke. This cold water current brings dirty green water right into the seaway and shuts down much of the action. Fish can still be caught but not in the numbers that are around with the clean warm water associated with a South Easterly weather pattern. Northerlies also stir up alot of sand and weed into the water, particularly on the north wall this can be a problem.
The strong winds at this time of year can make fishing the ends of the walls difficult, however prediciting a lull in the wind is quite easy if you know what to look for. Usually when a SE weather pattern switches over to a Northerly pattern, the day of the switch is usually calm with little wind and these days are ideal for fishing as the water is usually clean and with enough wave action so the fish are feeding aggressively. The same lull happens when a Northerly switches over to a SE pattern, though the water is usually dirty.
Current sea surface temperatures can be found by visiting the CSIRO ocean currents page. If you have a look at the current map (2nd September)you'll see alot of warm water in close, this has brung in the pilchards and baitfish and what has increased the level of fish activity in the last few days.
No Swell. Lots of phosphorescence at night, lots of floating weed around the north wall. Lots of pilchard schools around.
On the water at 3am we headed to the seaway to see what was around. Once getting there we found the phosphorescence level was once again very high, we persisted for an hour or so before giving up and heading to a spot further upriver away from the dreaded neon glow. Once there we found a few active fish and quickly pulled a couple of 40ish tailor on Zipbaits poppers. That was pretty much it though, we tried a number of other locations but all was quiet. We moved into the seaway for dawn and headed up to the north wall. Unfortunately the floating weed made it impossible to fish on the bottom with vibs or plastics as they fouled almost instantly. We moved over to the south wall and on the first cast I got smashed on a Zipvib 90, a dogged fight had me thinking kingie but it turned out to be a 57cm bigeye trevally, my biggest one for the year so far. There was plenty of bustups there for about 10 minutes before they went quiet but we hooked no more fish. There were lots of birds flying around now so we investigated and found some acreage size schools of pilchards but nothing feeding on them. We moved back to the north wall and proceeded to hook into some chopper size tailor on 20 gram twisties, we landed 4 before they too went quiet. A random cast off to the side hooked another fish this time a 30cm luderick. By this time it was 7am and decided to call it a day.. err morning.
Not a bad fish this time but early mornings are not producing the goods, so we may cut them out until it gets a bit warmer. Quite a bit of surface action around today, more than I've seen for about 5 months in fact. The volume of bait should mean good fishing in the weeks ahead, lets hope we get some decent waves to go with it. Due to the volume of weed, looks like the north wall would fish better in the second half of the runin, first half of the runout.