As we come to the end of 2013 it's time to look back on what happened this year in the Gold Coast Seaway And Broadwater. It's been an interesting year, I've spent more time in the seaway this year than any of the other previous years and as a result I have a much better understanding of how and why fish feed in there. That said, the seaway can still be a tough place to catch fish consistently, alot of the time on overnighter trips I found myself waiting....for the next tidal change or change in conditions(dawn/dusk). For consistent results, stacking the odds in your favour by using the right timing is essential, as is keen observation and experimentation of techniques to see what the fish want on the day.
Here's a rundown of what species showed up in each month.
January - Striped Tuna, Big GT's, Tailor, Bigeyes
February - Floods, Bigeyes, Dart
March - GT's, Bigeyes, Tailor, Mack Tuna, Tarpon
April - GT's, Tarpon, Tailor, Kingfish, Mulloway
May - GT's, Kingfish, Tailor, Mulloway, School Mackerel
June - School Mackerel, Mulloway, GT's, Dart, Tarpon,
July - Mulloway, Hairtail, Tailor, Tarpon
August - Mulloway, Tailor, Tarpon, GT's, Bigeyes
September - Mulloway, Tailor, GT's, Tarpon, Hairtail
October - Tailor, Bonito, Mulloway
November - Yellowtail Kingfish, Tailor, Dart,
December - Yellowtail Kingfish, Tailor, Bigeyes, Dart, Hairtail, Queenfish, Mulloway
The GT's played the biggest part this year and some awesome sessions were had on just about every technique from March to August. What was the most interesting was the progression of techniques used throughout the year from slugs, to plastics, to poppers/stickbaits to trolled minnows.
Yellowtail Kingfish again proved how tough they could be with this year only a few large specimens landed during the year, many(many) more got away. The smaller Kingfish that showed up during November and December showed how much fun they can be when they aren't too big to land on light gear.
Tailor showed up in schools of smaller fish numerous times, both in the Northern Channel and in the Seaway itself but Greenbacks only showed as single fish around the North Wall a few times during the year. The summer run of greenbacks never eventuated.
Bigeyes showed up in numbers during the first few months of the year, then disappeared only to reappear in short bursts in the last couple of months of the year. At this time they are still unpredictable.
Tarpon were caught in singles for the first couple of months, then we saw some schools feeding during the day in the Northern Y which stuck around for a couple of months. Nocturnal session's around the North and South walls had the Tarpon throwing lures with wild abandon as usual during June and July. They tapered off as usual around the end of October.
Hairtail showed up in odd times during nocturnal sessions but showed their typical here today gone tomorrow behaviour, they still managed to cut off at least 20 plastics this year.
This year saw a few oddities captured, Golden, Longnose and Cale Cale Trevally, Barracuda, Sharks(on lures), Blue Maori Cod, School Mackerel and I even saw a couple of spanish mackerel landed.
Thanks to all of you who have shared your fishing adventures with me over the past year, both on the website and on the water: Vince, Andrew, Howard, Andy, Jayde, Chris, Kane, Jeff, Tim, Brett, Shamus, Wade, Steve, Wayne, Mick, Steven, Peter, Gordo, Rob, James, Kris, Ricko and anyone else I may have missed.
Lets hope that 2014 see's some more good fish landed for all of us.
Skitterbaits have gone through extensive testing to find out the most appropriate hook setup, you can see the types of hooks I have used below. Currently they are only sold with VMC 3X 9626 Hooks.
These are the hooks supplied with skitterbaits when I get them, they are weak suitable for small tailor and trevally only. It's obvious they aren't up to the task for most seaway fish so I looked for an alternative that would maintain buoyancy without sacrificing strength.
GT-Bio #6 Hooks
The first set of hooks I supplied with skitterbaits.
I came across these hooks and they looked ideal for the task, lightweight yet strong enough to handle most fish. I tested them extensively before releasing them with skitterbaits. As of this time I have caught over 200 fish on them including many small Kingfish, GT's up to 65cm, loads of Tailor up to 58cm, Bigeyes up to 59cm, Dart, Tarpon and even fought a battle with a 12 Kilo+ King for over 40 minutes. The worst that happened over 6 months of testing was some bending of the hooks when trying to remove them. That said, it is simply not possible to test for every variable in fishing so other things did happen once they were out in the wild. Once I heard of a few problems(only 4 in over 200), I started to test new hook patterns in the hope of improving them.
Decoy Pluggin Singles
These were tested as an alternative to the GT-Bio Trebles, found to work okay (but had a poor hookup rate)and offered as an alternative on November 25th 2013(not currently offered).
VMC 3X #4 Hooks
The hookup rate with the pluggin Singles was poor so I set about testing heavier duty trebles. The VMC 3X #4 looked to be about the right size so I tested them but ran into the problems I had earlier on in the year. That is the skitterbaits would barely float and would sink sometimes. With a bit of testing it didn't seem to affect their fish catching ability (as long as you kept them moving)so I changed the trebles offered from the GT-Bio #6 to these.
Owner Bound Doubles
These are my favourite setup but not currently offered for sale, Owner #2 Double hooks bound together with 200lb Braid. These have a better hookup rate than the single hooks, the hookup rate of the VMC trebles without the extra weight and more strength than the GT-Bio hooks.
Afternoons provided the best fishing this week, with the morning sessions seeing few fish landed. I fished Tuesday and Thursday Mornings with a full day session Wednesday to catch the afternoon tide as well.
The afternoon run-in tides saw some excellent surface feeding by Tailor, Bigeye's and Dart, which were quite happy to hit anything thrown in the vicinity. Twisties and skitterbaits worked well but I'm sure anything thrown in the vicinity would have worked. I didn't see or hear of any Kingfish feeding in the afternoons though. The Kingfish did feed on the morning run-in tides on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not Thursday(which I would have picked for a better day for it). Only a couple were caught though, feeding times were short, between 5 and 10 seconds for the most part.
It's been a funny week, the fish seem to of only fed in the afternoons and thats it, they were done for the day. Morning sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only yielded a few Tailor around the North Wall and small kingfish feeding over the pipe in very short bursts, though some big kingfish did show a couple 0f times in the Canyon.
After dark there has been some massive Hairtail around Hairtail Reach on the run-in tides, from 1.2 to 1.5m long. I picked up a few on plastics, got cut off plenty of times and trolled up a couple on Rapala XRD10's. I also managed to find(I ran right over them on a troll run) some jewies busting into bait in the same area and picked one up on a Rapala XRD10. With the amount of bait coming through it's worthwhile keeping an ear out for surface feeding by jewies in that area at night and casting plastics or minnows at them.
Overall it's been a disappointing summer season, very short bite periods, no greenbacks, bigeyes have been rare, little dawn feeding and the edge fishing has been poor. Still there has been a few excellent sessions if you were in the right place at the right time. Fishing the seaway in summer is always different every year, you never know what it is going to happen. This summer has been tough to consistently pull good fish, lets hope the new year changes things a little.
This is my last weekly wrap up for 2013, the next article will be Looking Back on 2013. If you are heading out, Good luck and stay safe on the water.
|Tuesday 17th December||4.00am - 11.00pm||0123 0.09, 0812 1.59, 1440 0.20, 2020 1.07|
|Wednesday 18th December||4.00am - 7.30pm||0158 0.10, 0846 1.59, 1515 0.18, 2055 1.06|
|Thursday 19th December||4.00am - 12.30pm||0232 0.11, 0921 1.58, 1549 0.18, 2131 1.05|
Silly Season is approaching. Between December 21st - January 5th will see heavy traffic in the Seaway and Broadwater. It can be a testing time for boaties with water rage incident's, inexperienced boaties, massive cruisers flying through at top speed and jetski's by the hundreds. That said, the fishing can be excellent if you know what to look for and where to be at what time. I'm not planning on fishing alot during this time, I'll probably only fish on the worst weather days(20-30kts SE or NE with the right tides) so for those of you who have time off and want to get on the water I'm going to make some recommendations. Remember that tides do matter, as does the weather and you should allow for that on the day.
North Wall - Currently only holding Tailor & sometimes Dart - Minnows, poppers, stickbaits, metals - Dawn or Dusk + run-in tides. Fish with surface lures if they are busting up otherwise go for a metal. Minnows still work from first light til sunup. Microjigs can work fished near the bottom during the day.
South Wall - Currently holding Bigeyes, Kingfish, Tailor, Dart. Bigeyes are erratic, use metals or poppers if they come to the surface, at night stick with minnows or poppers/stickbaits. Kingfish can be found anywhere along the wall depending on the day, look for the birds figure out where they are holding and wait for them to come up. 20 gram twisties or stickbaits work on them. Tailor and dart are only found around the end of the wall, metals work the best.
Pipeline - Kingfish, Bigeyes. Wait for the fish to bust up and throw metals or stickbaits at them. Run-in tides or the first couple of hours of the run-out tides only.
Canyon and North Wavebreak - Bigeyes and GT's, Big Kingfish - Erratic, sometimes they show and sometimes they don't. Be there at sunup or the hour after for your best chance, look for bustups.
Remember that things can change by the day, so keep your eyes open and keep changing your techniques if you aren't getting anything.
We had Northerlies this week which not only dropped water temperatures down to 19 degrees, but also created a dirty plume of water coming in the seaway during each run-in tide. Thankfully, the northerlies have abated and the dirty water has now gone but water temps are still around the 20-21 degree mark, occasionally getting up to 23 degrees on the bottom of the run-out. Baitfish numbers are still high but the fish species taking advantage of it hasn't changed since last week. This weekend has very small seas and light SE winds so don't expect too much action in the seaway. The tides weren't great this week so I fished mornings only on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
A run of very small (15-20cm)Tailor has mixed in with the larger fish and they are feeding off the end of the North Wall on the run-out tides. These little fish will hit anything and it's quite entertaining to see them hitting a big popper until they hook up. The larger fish are in very close to the wall, I got Tailor from 45-55cm by fishing minnows and skitterbaits right next to the rocks. No sign of anything around greenback size though. I still caught Tailor in the dirty water caused by the northerlies too so if it happens again, it's still worth a few casts. Time of day doesn't seem to matter, I was catching good Tailor at around 10am in the morning on Thursday.
Small Yellowtail Kingfish (55-65cm) are still hanging around the south wall and they are feeding from just after sunup for anything between 15 minutes and a couple of hours depending on the day. They are moving along the wall and picking a feeding spot on the day. On Monday and Tuesday morning they were feeding at the end of the south wall, busting up for about 15 seconds then sitting on the bottom for 15 minutes or until another school of baitfish came through. On Thursday they were feeding around the southern end of the pipeline and only fed twice. Skitterbaits and 20gram twisties work well on the surface feeding fish, 20gram twisties dropped into the school of kings on the bottom got a few hookups but no fish landed so if you see them on the sounder it's worth dropping a twistie down to them and cranking it back to the surface at speed. In general, if the tide is running out on sunup look for them at the end of the wall, if the tide is running in on sunup look for them around the pipeline. I didn't see any big Kingfish this week.
Didn't see any Bigeyes this week but apparently a few were caught on Monday around the North Wavebreak Rock wall. There is none around the North Wall.
Queenfish are still around in the Southern Y and over the pipeline at times, the usual small slugs work on them but you'll need a few casts to get a hookup.
Most of the GT's are still up the rivers, I know that some are located in the stretch above Sovereign Island and in the lake at the top of the Coomera. Hopefully they will make their way back down soon.
|Monday 9th December||3.00am - 10.30am||0116 1.08, 0650 0.30, 1328 1.40, 2003 0.13|
|Tuesday 10th December||4.00am - 11.00am||0227 1.12 0804 0.38 1429 1.28 2100 0.15|
|Thursday 12th December||3.30am - 10.00am||0438 1.29, 1039 0.40, 1634 1.12, 2244 0.13|
Fishing the Seaway between Sunset and Sunrise can yield some excellent fishing for those who put in the effort, but just like fishing the seaway during the day, its all about where, when and how. This article will go into detail about the locations, timing, techniques and species that can be encountered fishing the seaway during the hours of darkness.
Firstly, your safety is paramount. While the area west of the pipeline is safe in all conditions, the area east of the pipeline out to the ends of the walls should only be fished at night by those with a long history of fishing the seaway during the day. In this area, tides, swell direction and wind strength all play a part in whether it is safe to fish. Unless you know how each of these factors affect the area's around the ends of the walls, then they should be avoided.
You should also be aware of other boats moving around, some boats are not adequately lit and night and it is easy to run into another boat if you are not paying attention.
All boats moving around after sunset are required to have a red/green forward facing set of lights PLUS an all round white light that cannot be blocked by anything. Water police do check these. If you are anchored then you are required to have an all-round white light. Your night vision is super important at night, if you have LED red/green lights then you should place some white tape over them to dull the output. You can also do this to your allround white if it is too bright. In cabin/gunnel LED lights are not recommended as these will destroy your night vision.
A decent headlight is recommended as this will enable you to see what is going on right in front of you, whether that be tying a knot, changing lures or netting a fish. I have tried most brands and few are capable of handing the constant exposure to salt water. The Black Diamond Storm is the only headlight I recommend at this time.
East of the Pipeline.
The North Wall
The North Wall at night can yield alot of fish if the conditions are right. Species likely to be caught at night off the North Wall include Bigeye Trevally, Mulloway, Hairtail and Tarpon. Edge fishing along the wall yields Bigeye, Hairtail and Tarpon, while letting your lure sink down closer to the bottom will pick up Mulloway. The most important area's for night fishing the North Wall are; the North Wall Flats Dropoff, The Eddy, Hairtail Reach and the Line. See the North Wall map for these.
The North Wall Flats Dropoff usually holds Bigeye Trevally in season(October through March) at night. These fish can usually be caught with poppers, with plastics or by trolling minnows like the Rapala XR10 or Flash 25 but any minnow that dives to 2-3 metres would work. Occasionally Tailor will show up along here as well.
The Eddy holds fish on a run-in tide, Bigeye's, Tarpon, Mulloway and Hairtail are all possible. Plastics on 1/2oz jigheads work the best, as you need to get it deep. As for the plastic anything around the 5-8cm mark is fine. Ecogear Grass Minnows, Squidgy Slick rigs in 65 or 80mm, ZMan Curl Tails or Pearl Sliders are all proven performers. You can cast at the wall, give it a few winds then giving the lure a bit of time to sink down deep in the water column. A slow steady retrieve works best with a few pauses, keep it slow all the way to the boat as the sometimes the fish will grab it within a couple of metres. Getting snagged is common as the entire bottom is covered in rocks.
Hairtail Reach (see map 3)only fishes well on a run-in tide, the way the tide runs in causes an eddy along this stretch of the wall and species that don't like strong tidal flows will sit in here at night. As the name suggests Hairtail like the area alot, as do Tarpon, Bigeyes and Mulloway. The best method of fishing this area is with plastics on 3/8 oz jigheads, you can go to 1/2oz if you are fishing away from the wall. Cast it at the wall and slowly wind it back to the boat with a few pauses. Poppers can also work along here if bigeyes are active. You can also troll minnows like the XRD10 & Bolt Omega along here. Eagle Ray's are also an accidental catch along here, you'll know it if you hook one of those.
The Line only exists on a run-out tide but can hold Bigeye's, Tailor, Mulloway, Tarpon and Hairtail. 3/8oz and 1/2oz jighead rigged plastics work the best at night but shallow running minnows like the Rapala XR10 and Flash 25 can also get a few fish. Cast alongside the wall and let it sink down, working it slowly back to the boat as you drift out with the tide. You can also sink it to the bottom over the dropoff and drift it along bumping it near the bottom.
The Deep Hole
Due to the high tidal flow the Deep Hole only fishes well during the first and last hour of the run in tide or on the run-out tide. Bigeyes and Mulloway will sit in the deep hole at night. Mulloway will be on the bottom but schools of Bigeyes will sit midwater on the edge of the deep hole. These Bigeyes can be trolled with diving minnows like the XRD10 and Bolt Omega, or Plastics on 1/2oz jigheads, or by dropping a heavy metal like a 30gram twistie down into the school and jigging it back up. Mulloway require plastics, livebaits or dead baits fished near the bottom.
The South Wall
The South Wall is an erratic place to fish, sometimes it can yield some excellent catches, most times it's a ghost town. Tarpon, Mulloway, Bigeye's and Hairtail can all be caught along the South Wall. At night I find it fishes the best on a run-out tide and the area from the tip of the wall to 100m in is the most consistent. Casting plastics on 1/2oz jigheads parallel to the wall letting them sink then slowly retrieving them with plenty of pauses seems to work the best as the water along the south wall is quite deep up to 14 metres in some places.. On run-in tides keep an ear out for bigeye trevally feeding along the wall particularly along the stretch from the pipeline to the tree line as sometime large schools can get along there and some excellent fishing with poppers can result.
West of the Pipeline
You can anchor up on the pipeline if you are fishing dead or livebaits but if you prefer a more active way of fishing the Pipeline you can drift over it with the tide. Plastics like the Gulp 7" Jerk Shad will pick up Mulloway near the top and bottom of the tides as the tide is slowing much the same as they will during the day. Bigeye Trevally can be found around the Pipeline feeding on the surface, sometimes on a run-in tide but more often about an hour after the tide turns to run-out. You can also troll around the Pipeline with deep diving lures like the XRD10 or Bolt Omega. If they are busting up on the surface you can use poppers like the Rapala Skitter Pop 9 or Flash Pop 8, accuracy matters so try and get that popper into the bustups as soon as possible. Shallow running minnows like the Flash 15, 25 or Rapala XR10 will also work cast near the bustups. Over to either side of the pipeline in the shallower slower moving areas, Hairtail and Tarpon are possible on 3/8th oz rigged plastics. If you anchor in these areas you can also pick up some Hairtail on dead baits.
The Canyon and North Wavebreak Rock Wall
Mulloway can be picked up in the Canyon on Plastics, livebaits or dead baits when the tide begins to slow. Other than that it's a hard spot to get a fish during the night. Around the end of the North Wall of Wavebreak, you can catch Bigeyes, Tarpon, Hairtail on plastics fished on 3/8th or 1/2oz jigheads, sometimes the bigeyes can be caught on poppers. The fish here seem to like the runout tide better, they will sit in the eddy just at the end of the wall or the channel leading directly south of it and grab the bait as it gets flushed out past the end of the wall. Other fish that can be caught in this area at night include Barracuda, Sharks, Mangrove Jacks and GT's.
Tarpon are covered in detail in the So You Want To Catch A Seaway Tarpon Article so refer to that for more information.
Mulloway have similar behaviour at night that they do during the day, they like slower tidal movements and area's out of the main tidal flow. The hour as the tide is slowing near the top of the tide and hour as the tide is speeding up are both excellent times for Mulloway. You will also find mulloway feeding in much shallower area's during the night as the cover of darkness makes them more confident to move into area's less than 5 metres deep. If you can find area's with lots of bait out of the main tidal flow(Hairtail Reach, the ends of both walls for example) these will usually have jewies simming around under the bait and soft plastics slowly worked underneath the bait will usually pick up a couple. Just remember that you shouldn't jig or flick your soft plastic at night, a slow steady retrieve with plenty of pauses will get you plenty of strikes as the fish will track the lure for a while before hitting it. By jigging or flicking it you can move it out of the fishes view as visibility at night is restricted to a metre or so.
In the Main channel area's (Deep hole, Pipeline, Canyon)wait for the tide to slow and you can fish with vibs or big soft plastics like the 7" Gulp Jerk Shad on 1 oz heads. If you are bait fishing, you can drift with livebaits over these area's or anchor up with deadbaits of Herring, Tailor or Mullet and wait for the fish to come to you.
Mulloway in the seaway can range from 45cm soapies up to 1.8m monsters.
Bigeye Trevally are specialised nocturnal Hunters and those big eyes give them a big advantage over and baitfish in the area. That said Bigeye's are very fussy about when they actually feed. The pipeline Bigeyes love a tide that has just turned to run-out. They will often spread out during a run-out tide sometimes feeding in the Triangle, sometimes on the 3/4 line, sometimes in the middle, sometimes on the southern side of the pipeline right down to the seaway tower. If Bigeyes are feeding quite often you will hear them before you see them. If I expect Bigeyes to be feeding, I will turn off the motor and listen for 5-10 minutes, once you hear them and you have a direction you can figure out the track they are feeding on and get over there wait for them to come up and cast into a bustup. Casting accuracy matters for these feeding fish, getting a lure within a couple of metres almost guarantees a fish.
Bigeyes can also be found along the north wall from Hairtail Reach up to the tip and along the North Wall Flats dropoff. Poppers can work if they are actively feeding on surface but they are usually caught on small plastics like the Squidy Slick Rig 70mm, Ecogear Grass Minnow M fished on 3/8oz heads. When Bigeyes sit along the North Wall Flats Dropoff you can troll them up using Rapala XRD10 & XR10, Flash 25 or any other small minnow that dives 1.5-3m. You can also pick them up on poppers here when they are active. Run-in tides are best for North Wall Bigeye Trevally.
The North Wall of Wavebreak Corner will also hold schools of Bigeyes during the night at times but these tend to be much smaller fish on average around 25-30cm, these fish respond well to small soft plastics, or small poppers. These fish prefer to feed on a run-out tide as well.
Bigeyes in the seaway can range from 20cm babies to 70+ cm fully grown adults but the average size is around 45cm.
Hairtail are a bit of an enigma, sometimes they will show in the seaway in big numbers and can be picked up on soft plastics and trolled minnows. They like slower moving tidal area's like Hairtail Reach(Run-in tide only), The ends of the walls on a run-out tide, the North Wall Eddy on a run-in tide and the end of the North Wall of Wavebreak on a run-out tide. Officially a winter species, sometimes they will show up in the middle of summer. They can also be taken on live-baits and dead baits of Pilchard, Herring and Tailor. They are an unpredictable fish but are a welcome addition to the seaway's nocturnal feeders.
Hairtail range in size from 50cm up to 1.5 metres.
Other fish that can be caught at night in the seaway include GT's, Snapper, Mangrove Jacks, Flathead, Cod, other reef species, Barracuda, Tailor, Shovelnose Sharks, Bull Sharks and Bream. Other than the Bream which can be caught on lightly weighted baits and the Bull Sharks(Large dead baits of fish or Eel), these fish are a random event and cannot be targeted successfully.
Livebaiting in the seaway at night is almost exactly the same as it it is during the day, fish the top and bottom of the tides when they begin to slow. The amount of species likely to be caught decreases and it can pick up a few of the random species like Cod and Mangrove Jacks. Mulloway are the number one species caught on livebaits at night. For more information on livebaiting read Livebaiting the Seaway - the Ultimate Edition
Looks like the standout fish for the summer of 2013 will be the Yellowtail Kingfish. They fed in some big ways this week but timing and location were critical. Tailor and Bigeye Trevally were also around in numbers on some days(and nights). I fished the afternoon tides on Monday and Tuesday followed by a morning session on Wednesday.
Converting fish feeding opportunities into fish in the boat is quite tricky, casting accuracy is imperative. Some anglers are still coming home empty handed. Cricket scores of fish are unlikely but if you find the fish in the right mood you can catch fish for a good hour.
The Kingfish action this week has been covered extensively in the Seaway Yellowtail Kingfish Update posted yesterday. Give it a read if you want to target these hard fighting sportsfish. Many other fish have been mixed in with these schools of Kingfish as well, Tailor, Bigeye Trevally and GT's are all being caught out of Kingfish schools.
Tailor are feeding along the North Wall and are mixed in with the Kingfish feeding around the South Wall particularly when they are near the tip. They are liking they windier days alot more than when it is calm. Keep an eye on the area's surrounding the ends of both walls and the 100m back from the tip. You can also work the edges with poppers and minnows around dawn or dusk or around a run-in tide change. Micro Jigs pulled in good numbers of tailor on the start of the run-out tide about 20 metres out from the north wall along the runway. Drop them to the bottom, give them 5 quick jigs then let them sink back down and repeat. Lures that are working casting at the wall are 20gm Twisties, Rapala Skitter Pop 9's, Skitterbaits and 30gram Storm Gomoku Chrome Micro Jigs.
Bigeye Trevally have been a bit more active this week coming up around the pipeline on the run-in tides in the mornings and mixed in with the Kingfish along the south wall. They have also been active at night on the run-out tides along the south wall from the pipeline to the tower. Skitterbaits worked great on these night-time fish but most poppers or shallow running minnows would work. Slugs like the Gillies baitfish 15 and skitterbaits work fine on the daytime fish as long as you get it into the bustup.
There have been a few Queenfish around 40cm in the southern channel during the day, you'll need to go to small slugs around 5-7 grams, check the dirty water lines on the run-out tides.
There is plenty of action on days when the weather is bad, not only that but the fish seem to feed for longer and are more aggressive so you are more likely to get a decent catch. If you are only fishing on days with light winds and calm seas(and going by the sheer volume of boats that went out on Wednesday.. many are) then you are missing out. You still need to pay attention to the tides, and fishing on the first couple of hours of the run-in tide is the best. Be at the mouth when the tide begins to push in and work your way in the seaway as the tide pushes the clean water further in. Keep an eye out for any bird activity especially false diving birds as these are usually over Kingfish.
Lastly, sorry about all the Skitterbait mentions in just about everything I write up. I know it seems like I'm going for the hard sell but these lures work on almost everything at the moment and in so many situations it's hard to put anything else on the end of the line.
|Monday 2nd December||3.00pm - 9.00pm||0039 -0.04, 0729 1.67, 1347 0.08, 1935 1.22|
|Tuesday 3rd December||3.00pm - 8.15pm||0123 -0.08, 0814 1.76, 1436 0.02, 2024 1.21|
|Wednesday 4th December||3.30am - 10.30am||0208 -0.08, 0902 1.80, 1528 0.00, 2115 1.18|
There are lots of Yellowtail Kingfish in the seaway at the moment and some patterns of behaviour are emerging, this is what I know so far.
There are two sizes of Kingfish. Small fish in the 55-65cm Range and Big fish in the 90-120cm range. Each of these size ranges are feeding in different ways and area's so I'll cover each separately.
These small kingfish are feeding as a group, usually in schools of 20 plus fish but I have seen schools of 50+ fish feeding at the same time. These smaller fish are focused on the run-in tide particularly as the clean water pushes in and the South Wall of the seaway though sometimes they will venture over as far as the 3/4 line across the pipeline. Time of day doesn't seem to matter though they don't seem to like feeding before the sun is well up(5.00am) and after 5.30pm. They don't feed for long, 15-30 seconds is about it, so be close and get your lure in there or miss out.
On Monday afternoon from 4.30-5.30pm they fed all along the South Wall of the seaway every 5 minutes or so starting from 50m back from the tip and working thier way back towards the pipeline during the hour. They weren't fussy and skitterbaits were nailed as soon as they landed as long as you got into the feeding school. On Tuesday afternoon due to the late tide they appeared at around 5.15pm and did one long blitz all along the South Wall lasting about 5 minutes and then they were done. On Wednesday morning they fed every 10 minutes or so around the southern end of the pipeline up as far as the tower in close to the wall.
Slugs and slices around the 20 gram mark will work as would small stickbaits but they just can't seem to resist the skitterbait. The reason for that is the way they feed, they will often focus on one individual baitfish on the surface and chase it until they catch it and the skitterbait being a good imitation of the frogmouths around at the moment just looks like one more fleeing baitfish on the surface. They are often swimming at you when they take the lure so the hit can be a bit confusing, you think you have a fish on but there isn't alot of weight so keep winding until they finally realise they are hooked, then they will take off. These little kingfish are great fun on light gear and they don't fight as dirty as the big fella's do so you can fish them on any sort of light gear from 6lb to 15lb.
These big Kingfish continue to cause anglers grief, more have been hooked this week but none landed. The main area for these big fella's is the Canyon and the northern channel leading north to the first set of channel markers. They have also been sighted numerous times around the Cross Channels markers particularly the Green one just south of Crab Island. You will also get the odd one around the pipeline. The Canyon fish are by far much easier to hook. Individual fish will come up to the surface to feed but these are hard to hook, what you are looking for is a group of kingfish, 5+ fish or more. If you can get a cast into the bustup while they are feeding like this your chances are good of hooking one. Accuracy matters, getting the lure right into the middle of the action is your best shot at getting a hookup, the further away from the main bustup the less likely you will hook one. Landing them is..... difficult. Most big kingfish hookups around the Canyon are over in less than a minute. If you can try and keep the line as vertical as possible and get them slugging underneath the boat, letting them run lots of line out gives them the best chance of escape as they only need to find a small rock to swim past and it's all over.
The run-in tide seems to be the most consistent time for them but they do throw in a bit of random behaviour coming up on the run-out tides. The most important thing is not too much chop in thier feeding area, on a run-in tide and a northerly wind the canyon chops up alot and they don't like to feed in that. The same tide with a South Easterly is much better and will see them up and active.
As for lures, skitterbaits are working well but there is also a chance with sinking stickbaits around the 9cm size and chrome like the gillies pilchard slugs might get hit as well. One technique which hasn't been mentioned before is trolling, now while it doesn't seem to work once the sun is up I did hook a big kingfish on Monday with a trolled Bolt Omega after sunset, unfortunately the hooks pulled as the fish was circling the boat but I was able to get a good look at him and he was every bit a meter long. It might have been just a once off(I tried again on tuesday with no luck), but if you are fishing the afternoons and the sun has just set it's worthwhile putting a minnow out and having a troll around, if you don't get a kingfish you might get a one of the other species that frequents the area.