Micro jigging is still in it's early stages for the seaway, It's a technique that works but not in every situation or all the time. I have been using the technique on and off for the last few months and its pulled quite a few fish, nothing outstanding but enough so that it's an option when other techniques have failed.
Micro jigging work's very well on Tailor when they are sitting on the bottom during the day. One problem with catching Tailor on Micro Jigs is they chew through the kevlar rope from the hook up to the solid ring. You can make your own by using heavy braid and decent hooks, most small single hooks lack the strength needed. I use Gamakatsu Big Bait 1/0 hooks. Big tailor will also have a go and will bite the whole jig off, nothing you can do about that. Other species it has hooked have been Bonito, Mulloway, Bigeye Trevally, Longnose Trevally and Yellowtailed Kingfish. It should yield some assorted reef and pelagic species in the future.
The best technique so far seems to be to drop the jig to the bottom, jig it up 5 times in quick succession, then sink it back down to the bottom and repeat. The majority of strikes seem to come on the sink down after the 5 jigs so watch your line going back down after the jigs and be prepared to strike if you see it pause. You can jig it all the way back to the surface as well every now and again. You can change the speed and timing of the jigs as well, sometimes the fish might want it slower or faster.
The best location so far is the North Wall Eddy/Runway/Deep Hole on both the run-in and run-out tides, the bottom of this area is covered in rocks so I recommend only using one hook rather than two. While you will drop a few fish it's better than constantly losing jigs. The Pipeline is also an area worth trying it, as is the Canyon and Northern Y.
There are a couple of brands of micro-jigs on the market. The Storm Gomoku range and the Maria Shore Tricker Jigs. The Storm Gomoku only come with one single hook and are around $9.00, the Maria's come with two single hooks and are around $15.00 The Storm Gomoku in 30gram Chrome is my current favourite, it has the right weight so that it can get down deep fairly quickly, a thin profile and a nice fluttering sink that throws off alot of flash. Other colours do work but not as well. You attach the jigs from the split ring at the end the hook is attached to.
Any light to medium tackle will work so you don't need to invest in specialised jigging tackle but a high speed reel will make it easier to work the jig at speed. I recommend a 3000 size reel with a 6:1 retrieve and anywhere from 12- 30lb braid. I recommend no less than 30lb leader as your jig will be hitting multiple rocks when it hits the bottom. Constantly check your leader to make sure it has no serious damage. As far as rods go, any light to medium graphite rod 6-7ft will do, a longer butt makes it easier to jig for long periods. Dedicated micro jig rods are available and are alot softer with a more parabolic action.
It's still early days for this technique but it's worthwhile investing in a few jigs and giving it a shot, especially once the sun is up and you are in between tide changes. Just remember to keep your jig near the bottom in the bottom couple of metres of water as that is where most of the strikes will come.
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
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.
Trolling can be a very effective technique in the seaway but as with every seaway technique the trick is to know where, when and with what. This article will go into detail about the lures to use, how to decide on which lure, where to troll, how to troll effectively and when to decide to troll rather than using another technique.
Trolling is the art of using the boat to propel the lure and give it action, basically cast out your lure, get up to a steady slow speed, say 3 knots let about 30 metres of line out then click the reel into gear. You can either hold the rod or stick it in a rod holder. Trolling keeps your lure in the strike zone for longer and is an ideal method when the fish are hanging deep on the bottom over a large area.
One of the most annoying aspects of trolling is that many lures will not troll straight. By straight I mean swimming in a straight line with the lure sitting horizontal to the bottom. Many lures will swim off to one side or the other and blow out of the water when the speed or current gets too great. In the seaway trolled lures are constantly exposed to extremes in current so a lure that trolls straight is very important. You will rarely catch fish on a lure that is not swimming properly so if your chosen lure is not, then you need to know how to adjust it so that it will.
For basic tuning if the lure is swimming to the left then your need to bend the front end of the eye to the right to get the lure to swim straight again. Its best to do this in small amounts, and test after each adjustment as the tiniest of movement in the eye can make a difference.
If the lure tracks LEFT, bend the front end of the tow point to the right.
If the lure tracks RIGHT, bend the front end of the tow point to the left.
Its also worth mentioning that upgrading trebles to be able to withstand the challenges of seaway fishing can make changes to the way a lure swims. Some lures do not like the heavy duty Owner ST-66 and will not swim properly once you have changed them while other lures are not bothered at all. All of the recommended lures below will swim properly with Owner ST-66 trebles.
Lures for trolling
You will need a number of lures to effectively troll the seaway. The reason for this is that fish often sit at different depths and getting your lure in the strike zone is very important. There are hundreds of lures out there that will do the job but I am only going to cover the known effective lures. Many lures have rediculous claimed depths on the box. For example the Sebile 118LL Koolie Minnow has a claimed depth of 13 metres which is rediculous. At best it manages 5.5 metres. Keep this in mind when purchasing lures.
Rapala XR10/Flash Minnow 25 - Basically the same lure but with different finishes. These lures will dive to around 1.5-2 metres and are ideal for fish that are sitting approximately 3-4 metres down. Tailor and Bigeye Trevally are the main targets for this lure but they will also catch Bonito, Mackerel and GT's.
Rapala XRD10/Halco Laser Pro 120 - These lures will dive to 2.5-3m and are ideal for fish sitting in depths around 4-6m down. Giant Trevally, Bigeye Trevally, Hairtail, Tailor and numerous other species are possible. The XRD10's can be frustratingly difficult to get to swim straight at times and suffer from water penetration into the body after a few fish. The Laser Pro's are very hardwearing and will handle lots of fish before needing to be replaced but the large body seems to limit its ability to attract different species. The XRD10 is more of an allrounder. The fat Minnow 9 is unproven and is still under testing..it looks good though.
Bolt Omega - This lure dives 3.5 - 4.5m and is ideal for trolling the Canyon and Northern Y. So far in the seaway they have caught lots of Giant Trevally, Tailor, Barracuda and Maori Cod though I would expect them to land many more species over the next few months as we get into summer. This lure seems to get in the sweet spot for many species, most predatory fish like to hunt upwards and if they are sitting on the bottom in 7 metres, then a lure running 4 metres will attract alot of interest.
Sebile Koolie Minnow 118LL/ Rapala Magnum 15 - These lures dive to 5-6m and are useful around the canyon and trolling around the north wall. The Sebile has landed lots of GT's and Tailor, the Magnum 15 so far only GT's but it hasn't had alot of swim time. Both of these lures will track very close to the bottom in the Northern Y so are useful if the fish aren't feeling very active.
Maria Deep Snare/ Rapala Magnum 20 - Both of these lures will dive down to 7 metres and are capable of bottoming out in the Northern Y so you should keep them on a short leash if using them in there. The Maria Deep Snare has a unique ability to sink down to a chosen depth and stay down there, for example you could sink it down to the bottom of the canyon in 14m and it will track close to the bottom for the rest of the troll. I haven't given this lure alot of swim time but I'm sure it will pick up some nice fish in the future. The Rapala Magnum 20 is the biggest lure in this article but fish will still hit it, it has been proven effective on low light GT's and I'm sure some other species would eat it as well. It is this lure that I am currently testing for use around the north wall for pelagics such as Spanish Mackerel.
Many different types of lures can be trolled, not only minnows. Metals like the 40-65gram Raider, 30 Gram Twistie work well trolled at times especially around the North Wall during summer. You can also troll poppers, small skirts/christmas trees, any of the plastics on 1/2oz Jigheads, Vib's like the Vivi30s will get down and stay down, the list is endless and sometimes going with something different can yield some good results.
Choosing what lure to use on the day
Deciding on what lure to use is much easier if there are two in the boat or if you are using two rods(though handling two fish hooked up at once when you are alone is...difficult). One rod can have a lure that runs to 3 metres, the other can have a lure that runs to 5 metres, you'll soon know which one the fish prefer. Alot depends on the area you are in and the species likely to be feeding. For example in the Northern Y, GT's are the most common so I would go with a a lure that runs to 2.5m like an XRD10 and a lure that runs to 4 metres like the Bolt Omega or a Rapala Magnum 15. If you were trolling around the North Wall and pelagics are likely, I would change that to a Flash 25/XR10 shallow runner and a Bolt Omega/Magnum 15 to get down deep. Experimentation is important, if you are not getting hits keep changing lures until you do.
The following video is a good example of using lures that gets down to the right depth on the day and how much of a difference that can make to your catches. I was using Bolt Omega's and Sebile Koolie 118LL which run from 4-5 metres where as Mick was using XRD10's which dive to a maximum of 3 metres. The result from that was 6 fish hooked to his 1. Diving depth matters when trolling, keep changing lures until you find out what they want.
Areas for Trolling
Random trolling around the seaway is not likely to yield many fish. The fish hold and feed in certain areas and a trolling run that takes in to account these area's will yield alot more fish. The following area's are the most consistent for fish taking trolled lures but remember that if people are casting around these area's already they won't take kindly to someone trolling through the area, always give a wide berth to other fisherman. The broadwater has lots of area's suitable for trolling, all maps are marked with good trolling runs for you to try.
North Wall Tip & Current Lines
The most important area for trolling here is the current line that is evident on a run in tide(A). Ideally you should troll right along the outer edge of this current line, you can do it both ways..with and against the tide it doesn't seem to matter I have caught fish on both. It's also worthwhile doing a troll a bit further out (B & C) for pelagic fish. You can also do a troll run that runs right along 'The Line' that heads directly east of the end of the wall(D). On a trolling run through this section with the run-in tide you are best starting back along the north wall flats dropoff then going past the wall turning as you enter the seaway then trolling along the current line that heads west into the seaway. Pretty much any fish are possible trolling through this section especially pelagics like Bonito and Mackerel but Bigeye Trevally, Giant Trevally and Tailor are the main species likely to be caught.
The South Wall
The South Wall does not yield as many fish trolling as the North but you should always keep it in mind. Schools of Bigeye Trevally, Kingfish and Giant Trevally will sit along this wall at times though Kingfish are rare on trolled lures in the seaway. Ideally you should troll no further out than 5 metres from the outer edge of the rock wall as the fish tend to sit just where the rocks meet the sand. They can sit anywhere along the wall so a decent troll run would run from the tower right to 50m beyond the eastern most tip of the wall(F). Due to the high numbers of landbased anglers it can be difficult to get a decent troll run going, you won't win any favours trolling close to the wall and picking up thier lines. It is also worth a troll along the front of the wall approximately 10 metres out as schools of fish will often sit just out from the end of the wall(G). Troll run E runs along the area where the rocks meet the sand on the inside of the north wall, around 6 metres down. All species are possible, some other fish that might be caught include Hairtail, Flathead, Mangrove Jacks & Cod.
Northern Y & Canyon
The Northern Y and Canyon are the best trolling area's in the seaway. The reason for this is the very rocky bottom in the Northern Y is a fish feeding area and the deep hole in the Canyon is a fish holding area. Inactive fish hold in the deep water in the Canyon until bait comes through at any stage of tide or the time of day signals feeding time(any time after 3pm or Sunrise through til 9am. When that happens the fish either move into the Northern Y or move into the Northern Channel to feed. I have included a diagram below outlining the best trolling runs for this area. You can integrate all of these trolling runs into a non stop troll but it is best to bring in your lure and check every so often to make sure there is no weed on it.
The South Wavebreak Wall, Southern Y & Southern Corner
This area doesn't hold alot of fish but sometimes you can get Tailor, Bigeyes, Salmon and Kingfish here, worth a quick troll but don't spend alot of time on it.
There are 3 main species that take trolled lures in the seaway. They are Giant Trevally, Bigeye Trevally and Tailor. Each requires a specific approach to target them effectively but there will always be occasions where fish will change things up a bit.
Giant Trevally are more commonly caught in the Northern Y and Around the Canyon on trolled lures than anywhere else. They want lures that dives to 2.5-3 metres(XRD10 & Laser Pro) at least but sometimes they won't hit lures unless they are running at 4 metres +(Bolt Omega, Rapala Magnum 15, Sebile Koolie Minnow 118LL). You can troll quite fast for GT's they will hit lures running at speeds over 6 knots(turbo trolling) and sometimes they will only hit the lures if they are running that fast. Giant Trevally are also possible on trolled lures around the end of the north and south wall's, particularly the tip where the rocks meet the sand approximately 10 metres out.
Trolling for Bigeye Trevally is mainly centred around the North and South Walls and the Pipeline. In particular the North wall tip and North Wall Flats dropoff holds quite alot of bigeyes over summer and it is always worth a troll at dawn with minnows or 30g Twisties during November and December past the front of the wall along the dropoff. Its also worth trolling along the inner section of the South wall from The Tower to The Gates as schools of bigeyes will also hold along here. The pipeline also has active fish feeding around it during the night over summer and you can troll around it and pickup Bigeyes one after the other if they are feeding. With Bigeyes keep the lure profile's small though, XR10/Flash 25/XRD10 are the perfect size but if you need to get a bit deeper you can go for something like a Sebile Koolie Koolie 90 which will hit 3.5m and has a nice thin profile.
Tailor are mainly found around the North Wall, you can pick them up trolling all around the wall from the inner eddies and current lines around the tip to the North Wall Dropoff. They will pretty much hit anything when they are in the mood, I've caught them on Rapala Magnum 20's at times. You can also find them further up the broadwater in the channels and around the deep holes by trolling Bolt Omega's or XRD10's. It's always worth a troll past the Cross Channels(Map 4) Most of the Tailor caught trolling are chopper size up to about 50cm, the big greenbacks are more specialised hunters.
Other species that may be caught on trolled lures in the seaway include Barracuda, Hairtail, Flathead, Bream, Various Cod species, Golden Trevally, Yellowtail Kingfish, Bonito, Spotted, School and Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, Snapper, Mack Tuna, Amberjack and Mangrove Jacks. None of these can be planned for but it does make things interesting.
When to Troll
Deciding when to troll rather than cast is a tricky decision. I usually use it as a last attempt at catching fish but there are times when a decision to have a quick troll can pay dividends. If you see fish on the sounder and metals or plastics dropped into them gets nothing then it's worthwhile trolling a minnow through them. In the late afternoon's trolling works particularly well as the fish may not be that active but still hungry and if they see a minnow swim past them they have a hard time passing it up. I usually don't bother trolling until after 3pm when the big fish are starting to think about dinner. Early morning works well too in the time between first light and sunup, if casting has produced nothing then a 5 minute troll can make you decide whether it's worthwhile or not.
Advanced Trolling Techniques
Trolling In Place
Trolling in place is a technique of using the high tidal flows of the run in tides to keep your lure swimming in roughly the same place. Simply drive in the the current area of your choice and keep the motor idling forward so that the boat doesn't move but the lure will be swimming in the current. You can give the lure extra action by sharply jerking the rod tip. It is a good technique to use in the current line at the end of the north wall when conditions are too rough to cast but you can still drive the boat safely, once hooked up the tidal flow will push your boat inside the seaway into calmer waters. You can also use it over the Pipeline and Canyon but care must be taken when other boats are around otherwise your line could get run over. You need a decent tidal flow to get this technique working, any of the larger tides near the Full or New moon would suffice.
Using a Trolling sinker
A trolling sinker is a barrel sinker with a swivel imbedded on each end. Trolling sinkers are used to give small shallow running minnows extra depth, by opening the bail arm on your reel you can drop the lure right to the bottom just before you go past a school of fish. It gets the lure down fast and put's it in the strike zone. On a standard troll run they don't give alot of extra depth, probably only a metre or so but being able to drop a small lure to the bottom is an important option. I prefer using small suspending minnows like the Rapala XR8 but any small floating or suspending minnow would work, avoid sinking minnows as they might get stuck on the bottom. There should be a trace at least a metre long between the trolling sinker and your lure to ensure the lure's action is unaffected. You can either tie the trolling sinker on or use snap clips.
Sometimes adding more action to a trolled lure will entice a strike from fish which are ignoring your trolled lures. If this happens try sharply jigging the rop tip forward three times in quick succession then pausing the lure, letting it swim a bit before repeating the action. This causes the lure to dart about aggressively which might get you a strike from shut down fish.
Trolling can be a very effective technique, BUT don't expect to troll around aimlessly and catch fish. Like every seaway technique it requires some thought, timing and observation to be successful. This article covers everything you need to know about trolling the seaway, all you need to do is put it into practice.
The Bolt Omega is a deep diving lure that runs 3.5 - 4.5 metres. I originally came across this lure up north in Hervey Bay, the depth it dives to and the realistic finish appealed to me so I bought a few to give them a shot. Turns out they were an exceptional trolling lure even better than the Rapala XRD10. It is one of the best deep diving lures around with a very tight shimmy and affordable to boot. This lure has been proven on Giant and Golden Trevally, Tailor, many Mackerel species, Barracuda, various species of Cod, Mack Tuna and many more. While the stock VMC hooks are adequate(if a little small), I have removed them and added Owner ST-66 #2 Hooks. The stock rings are very tough and do not need replacing.
These lures are pretty much a trolling lure only and unlike many lures actually dives to the rated depth on the box, around 4 metres. I recommend around a 30 metre dropback though if you want a bit more depth you can let it go as far as you like. Best trolling speed depends on the current and which way you are trolling, for or against the current. Against the current about 2-3 knots is best and if you are going with the current around 5 knots will see it swimming along nicely.
More details on trolling this lure will be released in the Trolling the Seaway Article coming out soon.
These lures can be bought from the Seawayfishing Shop.
Some of the Seaway Captures on the Bolt Omega.
Some of the fish caught on my Northern trip on the bolt Omega
The Skitterbait, a mix between a popper and a stickbait these 9cm lures have proven to be a top performer in the seaway and broadwater in the last couple of months despite some tough fishing winter conditions and in what is probably the worst time of the year for fishing surface lures. With the summer surface season approaching these lures will pull some top fish before the end of the year.
The Skitterbait is made of high impact plastic and is equipped with GT Bio #6 Hooks and #1 Owner split rings. It contains a magnetic retention system for the ball bearings to keep them in perfect place on a retrieve. When you cast it the momentum pushes the ball bearings past the magnet and right to the back of the tail. Due to this casts with the Skitterbait tend to go alot further than you might expect, very few plastic lures cast this well. Cast carefully or these might end up on the rocks.
Working the Skitterbait
These lures can be worked in four ways, a flat out retrieve will have this lure skipping across the surface, a blooping retrieve with the rod tip down will have the lure spitting out water with the occasional dive under the water, a slow twitching retrieve with the rod tip up will have the lure spitting out water and popping side to side(my favourite retrieve) and the standard walk the dog retrieve with the rod tip down.
Where the Rapala Skitter Pop 9 is big, loud and brash and is at its best in the roughest of water conditions and more vigorous retrieves, the Skitterbait is a finesse lure and should be worked as such. Pay attention to what its doing, if it dives under wait til it pops up to the top again and continue. Work it slowly with pauses for effect. Use this lure on light to medium gear, any heavier than about 15lb and you will lose some action. Any 7ft rod rated medium light t0 light is ideal for working it. I reccomend fairly heavy leader, no light than 20lb but preferably 30lb. You can tie it on with a loop knot or use snap clip to attach it.
This video shows the slow twitching retrieve in close to the north wall.
Where to use it
The skitterbait can be used anywhere from the calmest sand flat to the roughest conditions out on the ends of the walls. As a small thin lure it struggles a bit in very rough water at the end of the wall, but with a few extra pauses it will pop back up on the surface so you can continue the retrieve. The edge of the white water zone around the north wall tip and on the north wall flats are both excellent places to use it. The skitterbait is at its best when the sun is up and most fish have shut down, it will pull fish when all others are failing to get a strike.
What eats it
So far I have caught Giant Trevally, Tarpon, Bigeye Trevally, Dart, Bream and endless amounts of Tailor. It is only a matter of time before a Kingfish eats one, I'm pretty sure all the pelagic species would have a go as well. I'm still using the orginal prototype and it has landed well over 50 fish since the start of July, its lost a bit of paint but the fish are still hitting it.
If you have one of these and are having trouble with them, call me over if you see me out on the water and I'll give you a demo on how I work them. There will also be a video showing all the techniques coming out soon.
Skitterbaits can only be purchased through me on the water or in the SeawayFishing Shop
Welcome to the SeawayFishing Lure Reference Guide Part 3 Soft Plastics. 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. Other lure types will follow shortly. If you have a lure you think should be included let me know.
A shallow running minnow at 10cm in length that dives to about 1.5metres, these come in a range of colours including redhead, pilchard and gold colours. These minnows are ideal for edge work and casting at surface feeding fish, they can also be trolled up to 4 knots. These minnows have a very tight wiggle that fish seem to love. Best used with a slow retrieve with a few pauses in there, can also be used with the twitch retrieve. So far these minnows have accounted for lots of Bigeye Trevally, Tailor and Tarpon and hooked a few rampaging monsters that couldn't be stopped. Stock hooks needs to be replaced, I suggest Owner ST56 #4. Stock rings are fine. Colour is inside the lure so they will survive any amount of teeth damage. Cost is around the $10-15 mark.
Available through LuckyStrike Fishing tackle: email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.facebook.com/LuckyStrikeft
These are exclusive to BCF. So far the 'Exclusive to BCF' range has not impressed me, the rods cast poorly and the reels have very dodgy drags for the price. These however got me interested because the colour range includes both a very close imitation of a real prawn(Cracked Pepper) and a Pearl/Pink colour(Cloud 9). Basically a prawn replica without the legs, though they include the feelers(which tend to fall out if you use a front rigged jighead). The body includes a number of recessed slots for a variety of hook placements, you can rig them from the front with a standard jighead or weedless on a texas rig or from the back on a texas or carolina rig. The only species I have tested these on so far have been tarpon and they loved them but I'm sure they'd catch a number of different fish if they were fished on the bottom of the seaway. They are available in 2 sizes, 65mm and 90mm. Price is $9.95/pack of 6. Some of the plastics come out with a bent tail so check the pack before buying them.
The next Tackle Talk will feature a selection of the SeawayFishing lures I will be bringing out including the Flash series with high reflective finishes, Ranger series with natural finishes and the Ghost series with Clear and White finishes. All these lures will be sporting top of the line Owner or Decoy Split Rings and Owner ST66 or ST56 Hooks. Ready to clip on and catch a fish. Here's some minnows I am currently testing, only lures that swim properly and catch fish will end up for sale on SeawayFishing. Those that fail my quality assurance test and will end up in the bin.
I thought it might be interesting to chart my lure losses over the rest of the year just to keep track of how many lures I go through so here it is, includes detail on reason for loss, date, area. Starts from May 1st 2013.
|2/5/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / Tungsten 3/8oz bullet head / Gamakatsu SST 15||Wear through by Tarpon||South Wall||$4.50|
|2/5/13||Squidgy Slick Rig 80mm||Wear through by Tarpon||South Wall||$2.00|
|2/5/13||Zman 2.5" Curl Tail / 3/8oz Headlockz Jighead||Wear through by Tarpon||South Wall||$2.00|
|8/5/13||30gram Twisty||Snagged||North Wall||$8.00|
|9/5/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 3/8oz Headlockz Jighead||Snagged||South Wall||$2.00|
|15/4/13||Squidgy Wild Prawn 65mm / 1/4oz Headlockz Jighead||Wear through by Tarpon||North Wall||$2.00|
|20/5/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 1/2oz TT 3/0H Jighead||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|23/5/13||Tackle house Feed Popper 120||Cast off(should have changed that leader!)||Canyon||$35.00 (ouch!)|
|27/5/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 1/2oz TT 3/0H Jighead||Snagged||South Wall||$2.00|
|28/5/13||Rapala Skitter Pop 9||Busted off by Kingfish||Northern Channel||$20.00|
|2/6/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 3/8oz Headlockz Jighead||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|11/6/13||25gm Gillies Baitfish||Snagged||North Wall||$5.00|
|11/6/13||Zman 2.5" Curl Tail / 3/8oz Headlockz Jighead||Busted off by rampaging behemoth||North Wall Tip||$2.00|
|11/6/13||Zman 2.5" Curl Tail / 3/8oz Headlockz Jighead||Busted off by rampaging behemoth||North Wall Tip||$2.00|
|25/6/13||25gram Gillies Baitfish||Snagged||North Wall Tip||$4.00|
|3/7/13||30 gram Halco Twisty||Snagged||Graveyard||$8.00|
|3/7/13||20 gram Twistie||Snagged||North Wall Flats||$5.00|
|3/7/13||30 gram Halco Twisty||Snagged||North wall Tip||$8.00|
|3/7/13||Ecogear CCM Grass Minnow 1/4oz Tt Jighead||Cut off by Tailor||North Wall tip||$2.00|
|15/7/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 3/8oz TT Jighead||Snagged||South Wall||$2.00|
|15/7/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 3/8oz TT Jighead||Worn through by Tarpon||South Wall||$2.00|
|16/7/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM / 3/8oz TT Jighead||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|16/7/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM 1/2oz TT HeadlockZ Jighead||Snagged||North Wall||$2.50|
|16/7/13||Ecogear Grass Minnow CCM 1/2oz TT Headlockz Jighead||Snagged||North Wall||$2.50|
|7/8/13||Rapala XRD10 ST||Busted off||Northern Y||$25.00|
|13/8/13||Bolt Omega||Busted off||Canyon||$15.00|
|13/8/13||Rapala XRD10||Busted off||Canyon||$20.00|
|14/8/13||Sebile Koolie minnow 118||Busted off||Northern Y||$20.00|
|20/8/13||Sebile Koolie minnow 118||Cut off due to monumental tangle and double hookup.||Northern Channel||$14.00(on sale!)|
|9/9/13||Squidgy Slick Rig 65mm Dropbear colour||Cut off by Hairtail||North Wall||$2.50|
|9/9/13||Squidgy Slick Rig 65mm||Cut off by Hairtail||North Wall||$2.50|
|9/9/13||Squidgy Slick Rig 65mm||Cut off by Hairtail||North Wall||$2.50|
|7/9/13||Rapala Magnum 20||Busted off||Canyon||$28.00|
|21/9/13||Bolt Omega||Busted off||Canyon||$15.00|
|21/9/13||1/2oz TT Jighead Grass minnow CCM||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|21/9/13||1/2oz TT Jighead Grass minnow CCM||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|21/9/13||1/2oz TT Jighead Grass minnow CCM||Snagged||North Wall||$2.00|
|5/11/13||Skitterbait||Cut off by Tailor||North Wall||$15.00|
|5/11/13||Rapala Magnum 15||Busted off by shark||Canyon||$28.00|
|10/2/13||Pflueger XTR||Impact by flying Twisty||189.00||Yes. Shortened.|
|21/4/13||Daiwa SOL ML||Fell on it||119.00||Yes. Shortened|
|17/5/13||Daiwa Black Label MH||Manufacturing fault||249.00||No. Replaced|
|3/6/13||Gehaut Sagales||Poor Design||$50.00||No. Tossed Out|
|23/5/13||Samaki Allure M||Hatch fell on it||129.00||No. Damage was Terminal|
|14/6/13||Daiwa SOL M||Caught in cast by other rod||119.00||Yes. Shortened|
|16/7/13||Pfleuger XTR(again!)||Unknown, broke during cast||189.00||No. Tossed out.|
|15/11/13||Samaki Allure 701||Unknown, broke during cast||129.00||No. Terminal Damage|
There has been alot of chatter about these on the net lately and some friends of mine swear by these. To be honest I wasn't interested in these until the HeadlockZ Jigheads were released as supergluing jigheads onto plastics was always a pain in the bum. However the hardyness of the plastic appealed to me, especially for tarpon work as they tend to tear plastics to shreds with their constant jumping, but also for use on toothy critters like Tailor and Mackerel. While slugs work most of the time on these fish there are times when a more subtle approach with a plastic works better.
Zman Plastics come in a variety of shapes and colours, from 2.5" curl tails to 8" Jerk Shads and one major point in thier favour all styles come in a plain white/pearl colour. It has been a major sore point for me that many plastic brands do not come in a plain white/pearl colour particularly in the smallest 3" jerk shad styles, one of the most effective colour and styles for use in the seaway. Sure have all the fruity colours you like but plain white or pearl should be available in every soft plastic brand in every size.
I have been using the 3" MinnowZ and the 2.5" curl Tail in Pearl/ Shimmer Pearl/PearlBlueGlimmer for a couple of months now and have put them through some rigorous testing so the first question is.. are they as tough as claimed? Well... sort of, they are much tougher than any standard plastic but Tarpon will still tear them a new one after 5 or so fish. Usually the first tear isn't terminal so you can go on using them but eventually they will tear free and you'll lose the plastic.
Secondly, do they catch fish? Well yes they do BUT If fish are scarce there are better lures out there in my opinion. For prospecting work I prefer Ecogear grass minnows, Squidgy Flick Baits, Gulp Jerk Shads and Charlie Brewers Sliders. All of those have consistently pulled fish(and big fish too) when prospecting for fish, the same cannot be said for the Zmans I have been using. That said, if the fish are feeding hard, and are not fussy the Zmans will catch fish and last longer than any other plastic so they definitely have a place in my tackle box.
Now on to the TT HeadlockZ JigheadZ. Do they work as claimed? Well.. sort of. I have found that the HeadlockZ jigheads are much better than a standard jighead BUT the plastic will still get pulled down the hook if a fish grabs it hard and doesn't hookup. The solution to this is to place a tiny amount of superglue on the mid keeper section before sliding the plastic right up to the head. Its a much better way of keeping the plastic in place and keeps the superglue away from the head which has always bugged me. I do all this at home and once the plastic gets torn or disappears out on the water just clip a new prerigged plastic on. Simple, Fast and Effective.
Now one of my major complaints about jigheads lately is that even the heaviest one I could find was being straightened by tarpon. The extra heavy duty hook used on the HeadlockZ jigheads solves this problem, its been through alot(including me lifting 3kg Tarpon into the boat by the trace) and has yet to even look like straightening so I have now adopted the HeadlockZ jigheads throughout my whole plastic collection and I'm phasing out the old TT jigheads I used to use. One word of caution though, the black plating on the hooks used on these jigheads is prone to rusting quite quickly once it hits salt water so make sure you either wash the used plastics or don't put them with other jigheads. The hook point is quite durable and will remain sharp for quite a few fish, just make sure you check it every half dozen fish to make sure.
So overall a solid couple of products but they could still do with a bit of work, I'm happy enough to reccomend them as I will keeping them in the tackle box for those occasions when the fish are on the bite yet still want a plastic. These plastics will be included prerigged in the SeawayFishing Starter, Pro and Ultimate Lure Packs I will be releasing in about 4 weeks time.
One last thing, make sure you keep these in the original packet, mixing these plastics with other brands causes them to melt. Its not pretty, so keep them separate.
ZMan Lures - 7.95/Pack - Availability - Most Tackle Stores, BCF
TT HeadlockZ Jigheads - 7.95/pack - Avaialability - Most Tackle Stores, BCF. Most used sizes 3/8oz, 2/0 - 3/8oz 3/0 - 1/4oz 1/0- 1/4oz 3/0- 1/2oz 3/0
Websites - Zman Australia TT Jigheads
First step is to make sure the plastic is on straight, then pull it back out so the mid keeper is exposed. the apply a SMALL amount of super glue(I recommend a Gel type as its easier to handle) to the mid keeper. Then push it straight back on.
When you are finished the jighead should lie straight along the plastic with the hook point exposed.
Prerigged Zman 2.5" Curl Tails
Welcome to the SeawayFishing Lure Reference Guide Part 2 Slugs and Slices. 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. Other lure types will follow shortly. If you have a lure you think should be included let me know. Hooks on the lures are upgraded versions, though as you can see some have been on the lures for a while.
**** Note*** Spanyid Raiders are basically the same thing but the chrome coating on the Spanyid line is poor and they corrode really fast.
***Note** the chrome colouring on the Gillies Pilchard comes off really easily, recommend storing them separately!!
Rio's Live Chrome
***Note** the blue colouring on the Rios Live Chrome Series comes off really easily, recommend scraping it off anyway, the pure chrome underneath works better.
River 2 Sea Sea Rock
Welcome to the SeawayFishing Lure Reference Guide Part 1 Minnows and Stickbaits. 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. Other lure types will follow shortly. If you have a lure you think should be included let me know. Hooks on the lures are upgraded versions, though as you can see some have been on the lures for a while..
Megabass Vision ONETEN(110)
Megabass Vision ONETEN plus ONE(Vision 111)
Rapala Xrap XR10
Rapala Xrap XRD10
Daiwa Dorado Slider 140S
Daiwa Over There 130S
LuckyStrike Thunder Series 110mm
LuckyStrike Thunder Series 80mm
Tackle talk is a new section covering fishing tackle of all sorts but with an emphasis on new lures with seaway and broadwater potential. Today we will be covering OSP mylar minnows, FishArrow split tail Flash J's and a selection of Lucky Strike Minnows and sinking Stick Baits.
OSP Mylar Minnows
These have been around for a while and are pretty pricey at around US$15.00 a pack. They have a realistic body shape and flash belly, they are a bit more supple that the Flash J's and as a result have an excellent action in the water. Ideal for dropshotting or for use on the split shot rig with fussy fish but also can be used with a standard jighead with care. They come in 2 sizes, 2.5" and 3.5" with the 2.5" the perfect size for the bait that enters the seaway most commonly. Excellent colour range but nothing that would be a perfect imitation of a white pilchard, some colours come close though. Overall they look like an excellent addition to the tackle box but due to the cost they will probably only be brought out when the fish are fussy.
Only available through Samurai tackle at the moment.
FishArrow Split Tail Flash J
These are new this year, basically they have taken the original Flash J, reduced the height and width(awesome) added a split tail(awesome) and as a result a much better action in the water. Colour range is quite limited at the moment, the closes thing to a white pilchard is probably the Wakasagi or Kosan Ayu silver. Only available in 3" at the moment. They should be ideal for very fussy fish such as kingfish rigged on a split shot rig. Would also work well on a dropshot rig, though it looks too thin to be put on a standard jighead with the possible exception of squidgy jigheads with the wire keeper. They cost around US$13.00 a pack.
Only available through Samurai Tackle and numbers are extremely limited.
LuckyStrike Lanky 120mm shallow running minnow
The Lanky is a 120mm shallow running minnow, supplied by LuckyStrike Fishing tackle. The finish is good with some nice detail on the eyes and fairly hard wearing paintjob. The lure swims well and casts well and has a seductive wiggle that lures in the fish. In this category its up against the heavyweights of the megabass vision 110 and the Rapala XR10, both proven shallow running lures but I think it has the goods to be a longterm player in the field. Colour range is limited to Green, Blue, Clear/Black. Cost would be around the AU$15.00 mark so considerably cheaper than its competitors, so something you wouldn't mind chucking onto a shallow rock ledge or that risky cast. Pretty much restricted in use to edge fishing the seaway, working a shallow flat or casting into a bustup. Hooks and rings look good quality but restricted to light gear, nothing over about 15lb. I'll be giving this one more of a go over the next few months so we will see how it fares.
Available through LuckyStrike Fishing tackle: email email@example.com or visit http://www.facebook.com/LuckyStrikeft
LuckyStrike Thunder 110mm Sinking Bait
The LuckyStrike Thunder Sinking Bait is a 110mm sinking Stickbait supplied by LuckyStrike Fishing tackle. Finish is good with some nice detail, seems hardwearing so far. Stock trebles are weak and need to be replaced, I recommend Owner ST56 #6 or Decoy Y-s81 #6. The rings look good though and should be strong enough. This stickbait casts well but as with most stickbaits it depends on the angler to give it most of the action, though it does sink horizontally and have a wobble on the way down. I prefer the 3 jerk pause for most minnows and stick baits and this works fine with this stickbait. Colour range is limited to Yellow(pictured), Pink and Blue. Cost would be around the AU$15.00 mark. You could use this lure over the flats, edge fishing with care, sinking down through current lines or casting at surface feeding fish.
Available through LuckyStrike Fishing tackle: email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.facebook.com/LuckyStrikeft
LuckyStrike Thunder 80mm Sinking Bait
The LuckyStrike Thunder Sinking Bait is a 80mm sinking Stickbait supplied by LuckyStrike Fishing tackle. Colour finish is good, and seems to be fairly hard wearing so far. Once again stock trebles are weak and needs to be replaced with Decoy Y-s81 #8, though the rings are fine. The lure casts well, and wobbles horizontally on the way down. This one rises to just below the surface quite quickly once you begin the retrive and travels about half a metre under the water though if you added longer pauses it would stay deeper. Standard stickbait retrive works fine with it. Cost is around the AU$15.00 mark, colour range is limited to Pink(pictured) or Yellow. You could use this lure over the flats, edge fishing with care, sinking down through current lines or casting at surface feeding fish.
Available through LuckyStrike Fishing tackle: email email@example.com or visit http://www.facebook.com/LuckyStrikeft
So you want to use lures to catch fish in the seaway and you keep trying but get nothing. Then this article is for you, I'll go through the best lures, the best techniques, best places and the best times for lure fishing the seaway and hopefully by the end of it you'll understand what it takes to consistently catch fish on lures, but first a little story....
When I first started fishing the seaway with lures back around 2000, I visited it for an hour or so on each trip after I was done fishing the broadwater however I couldn't catch a damn fish to save my life. I was convinced that there were no fish in there, that all the stories I had heard were mostly exaggerated. I was using lures that worked just fine in the broadwater and rivers but did not work in the seaway. But it looked very fishy so I decided to change my approach. Within a couple of trips I began to catch fish, tailor first, then bigeyes, then big jewies, then GT's. So what changed? I looked at the seaway like its own area with selected spots to try within that area, I fished it from first light until well after sunup, increased the size and changed the type of the lures, used my eyes and ears to find fish that were feeding. This is in essence why some people have trouble with catching fish on lures in the seaway, they are still treating it like just another spot, or an extension of the broadwater. The seaway is unique and requires its own approaches, you have to think of fish holding anywhere within the water column, not just the near the top or on the bottom.
Firstly lets talk time of day. For consistent success you need to be out of bed and on the water by first light. The vast majority of lure caught fish in the seaway are caught in the hour before sunup and the couple of hours after. There's a very good reason for that. Most bait fish have something in common: a darker back and a light coloured underside. The sea birds that hunt them from the air look down from above, and find it hard to distinguish the dark backs from the dark coloured water. The big fish that hunt them from below look up and find it hard to distinguish their silver or white bellies from the bright light above. It’s only at dawn and dusk, when the sun is at an acute angle to the water, that light reflects off the side of the bait fish, making hunting them easier. And dawn is usually better than dusk because the seas are calmer early in the morning. Sure there are times when the fish feed between 9am and 3pm, particularly after tidal changes but this is very random. For consistency with lures fish from first light til a couple of hours after sunup.
Okay, lets talk lures, successful lure fishing in the seaway means being a jack of all trades. While there are plenty of fisherman who only use metals casting at the wall or only fish plastics on the bottom, being able to swap between all methods and cover the entire water column not only increases your chances of finding the fish but when you do find the fish you can choose a method that will engage the school and excite the fish, that is key.
If I were to choose only 5 lures to fish the seaway it would be these. Now keep in mind I use more than these but if I was stuck these would be the lures I would choose, above all others. I have included a brief overview of their use as well.
(metal)30 Gram Twistie - Surface feeding schools, sinking down to suspended schools, jigging over bottom holding schools
(minnow)Flash Minnow 25 in Redhead - edge fishing, trolled shallow suspended fish
(Deep minnow) Bolt Omega in Green Chrome - edge fishing deeper, trolling deep suspended fish
(plastic)1/2oz jighead with pearl slider - Bottom bouncing, sinking down through current lines, edge fishing over deeper sections
(popper)Skitterbait Black Redhead - surface feeding fish, fishing over rocky shallows, edge fishing
Now some people may be surprised by that list.. what no 20 gram twistie??? no megabass vision 110??? no 7 inch jerkshad??? With those lures I listed, I can effectively fish at every level in the seaway, from the deepest 20 metre hole to the 30cm of water covering a rock shelf. Most of those lures have dual purposes(unlike something like a vision 110 which is pretty much restricted to edge fishing) and those lures will catch every size of fish, from a 20cm tailor to a metre long+ jewfish. When you are first starting out its best to keep things as simple as possible while still covering all options and all those lures are available in QLD tackle stores.
Decisions, decisions. Now you have your time of day and your lures where do you fish. There are 4 main lure fishing areas in the seaway, the ends of the walls, the Deep Hole, The Canyon and The Pipeline.
The Pipeline gets most of the press and is the most popular area and for good reason. It holds alot of fish most of the time and is the most consistent site for surface feeding but I would guess less than 1% of the fish that hold around the pipeline ever get caught. Mostly they are just resting and getting a clean. Fish packed this tight usually stop feeding after a few are caught as well. Lure wise you are pretty much restricted to bouncing a plastic around the pipe, casting a metal or popper at surface feeding fish or sinking a metal down deep, jigging it or cranking back at speed. Due to its simple structure and limited options the pipeline is a great place for beginners.
The ends of the walls(particularly the north wall) are less predictable, schools of fish come and go all the time even within 1 tidal cycle. In a way because of its randomness it is the ultimate challenge for any lure fisherman, that's probably the reason I like it so much. The variations on how to fish it are endless and depend on where the fish are holding. Are they feeding on surface, in close under the wash, suspended mid-water or sulking on the bottom? Are they right next to the rocks just under the surface, at the base of the rocks, sitting on the dropoff or 100m away over the sandy bottom? All of these places hold fish at certain times.
The Canyon is the deep hole at the end of the North Wavebreak rock wall. It has steep rocky dropoffs, areas of coffee rock bottom and as you get further north mainly sandy bottom. Schools of GT's and Kingfish will often sit in the deep hole and wait for baitfish to come through, then they will move out and push the bait to the surface. Bustups usually don't last long so it is critical to get there and get a cast in quick with a metal like a 20gram Twisty/15gram Gillies Baitfish or a popper/stickbait. You can also troll over the Canyon with a 4m+ diving minnow like the Bolt Omega which will sometimes pick up GT's. Plastics like the Pearl Slider or Squidgy Flickbait can be worked over the bottom on 1/8-3/8 oz jigheads(depending on the tidal flow) and will pickup quite a variety of species including Golden Trevally, Giant Trevally, Cod, Snapper and quite a few other species. The Canyon tends to be hit and miss but its always worth a look.
The key to the ends of the walls is experimentation and observation. I usually start off with a popper/stickbait and drift along the edges, all the while keeping one eye on the sounder and one eye and both ears open for any surface bust-ups or birds. If I don't get anything with a popper, I'll do the same with a minnow then I'll switch to a metal and work the same area and out a bit deeper, giving it some sink time around the current lines. If still no go I'll hit the bottom with a plastic. Using these 4 methods you can explore every layer in the water column. If you see some fish on the sounder try sinking the metal right down into them and jigging it or swap it for the plastic and bounce it through the school. If that doesn't work try a smaller or a larger profile lure. Trolling also works better around this area than anywhere else in the seaway, if you see fish on the sounder well away from the walls look at what depth they are sitting at and pick the lure that will run approximately 1-2 metre's above them. If they are sitting 4-6 metres down use a lure that dives down to 3 metres, 2-3 metres down use a lure that dives to 1 metre. Don't pick a lure that will plow straight through the school as this will spook them. Most predatory fish hunt by looking up and silhouetting their prey against the surface.
The last spot is the deep hole. due to its depth(15-20m)pretty much restricted in lure choice to the heavier end, the heavier metals and heavy jighead rigged plastic. Vibs are effective but too prone to getting stuck on the rocks. The 7 inch jerkshad on a 1oz head is very popular and does work just fine but I'm tending towards smaller plastics these days like the pearl slider as its more of an allrounder.
There are two plastic techniques I like using in the deep hole. One technique that is very effective is dropping a plastic to the bottom and deadsticking it. Deadsticking is dropping your plastic to the bottom and letting it sit there, no jigs or ups and downs, just hold on and wait for the bite. Most anglers seem to forget that there is nearly always swell in this area which moves the boat up and down and therefore the lure and is enough to keep your plastic moving seductively without any unnecessary rod work. Every 30 seconds or so open the bail arm and drop the plastic to the bottom and lift it back up half a metre to make sure its in the zone, this is important!!!!!!Don't just stick it in a rod holder!!!!!.
The other technique is a simple triple hop, drop your plastic to the bottom and then lift the rod tip 3 times in succession, then let it sink back down. During the triple hop your rod tip should go no higher than a metre by the third hop. While using this technique most strikes will come on the sink down so be ready for it. Don't work the lure so that it looks like a retarded monkey on 100 cups of coffee. Your plastic is supposed to look like an injured fish and injured fish don't do 2-3 metre leaps towards the surface, subtlety is important. While using a dropshot method some time ago I caught plenty of fish just letting the plastic sit there and jiggling the tip. There is a time and place for fast erratic movement but those are when you are dealing with lots of active competitive schooling fish.
With metals, you can drop them to the bottom, jig it in place or do some fast jigging, works better with schooling fish holding midwater than fish on the bottom.
So to finish off and keep it simple... Get on the water and be fishing in time for first light, Find where the fish are holding whether through experimentation, looking at your sounder or using your eyes and ears and use the right lure at the right depth.
Remember that this article is for beginners, there is tons of more advanced techniques which I will cover in other articles. Any questions.. ask them below.
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.
Some new lures on the market now with decent seaway fishing potential, check out the lures below I've added videos where possible.
Zipbaits System Minnow 15F - 150mm, Floating, 26.5gms
A big floating shallow diving minnow, one of the closest pilchard imitations I've seen. Looks like it would be ideal for wash fishing especially at the top of the tide when you can get right into the rocks. Ideal for The Edge prospecting. Hardware is good with #3 Owner St46 as standard. An expensive minnow though at around $30-35.00. I'll be getting one for testing during the summer months. Some nice colours in the range though the Hologram Sardine(pictured) is the standout.
Ima Barbarossa - 120mm. sinking, 33 grams
A sinking pencil lure, has an excellent flash and a nice wobble on the sink. Should work well on the flats and working the Face with a decent sink time. No real standout colours though, I'd probably go with the Sahari Joker colour(pictured). The hardware looks good with #3 ST 46 as standard. Price is around $30-35.00.
Zipbaits Surf Driver 110s - 110mm, Sinking ,19.5grams
A medium sinking diver with a good wobbling action, would be a good lure for the flats and prospecting around the front of the walls. #6 ST46 are standard, these are a bit light for seaway fish, probably better off upgrading to #6 ST56. Price is around $25.00. A nice range of colours with Sand Borer(pictured) my favourite.
Zipbaits ZBL Monsoon Breaker - 115mm, Sinking, 29grams
A sinking pencil designed for long casts during strong winds, very streamlined and has a nice wobble on the sink with a slalom S action on a standard retrieve. Standard hooks may be a bit light being only #6 ST46, might need to upgrade those to ST56. Superb colour range with many nice colours including a nice garfish imitation 'Ohnago'(pictured). Price is around $25.00.
New Zipbaits Vib 80-25g NEW Limited Edition colour
This is a new limited edition colour of one of my favourite lures the Vib 80-25g, called Bloody Sardine this colour looks superb and is on my must buy list.
The Japanese make some great lures and finding them in Australia can be a frustrating experience, usually retail shops carry only a small range and only have them once never to be seen again, they also have a tendency to overcharge something chronic. Over the last couple of years Japanese tackle shops have seen this demand and are now catering for international anglers over the Internet. This guide will go into detail and review each of the online tackle stores that I know about judging each one on ease of use, payment methods, delivery times and range of stock. If you have experience with other online tackle stores please let us know in the comments below.
Firstly a word of warning about online purchasing. Online purchasing carries an element of risk as it relies on the honesty of the online retailer and there are alot of scammers out there willing to take your money and run. The old saying that 'If it is too good to be true then it usually is' most definitely applies to purchasing over the internet. That said most online tackle stores are honest and realise that repeat business is the path to success so they will dispatch your order promptly and communicate well. Wherever possible pay by credit card or Paypal as both methods carry buyer protection. Never spend what you can't afford to lose and always when purchasing via a new website make only a small order first to test dispatch times and communication.
Next, Delivery is something you need to take into account when purchasing. Unless you have the patience of a saint, EMS or FEDEX is the only way to go. These 2 options usually cost around US$15 and have a delivery time of 4-7 days. Standard Air Mail can take 2-4 weeks. Beacuse of this delivery charge you are better off buying 4 or more lures at once to offset the cost.
Price, on average you will pay between $20-25 each for lures shipped in from Japan, but this obviously depends on the strength of the Aussie Dollar. Always use a currency converter before you complete checkout to know exactly how much you are spending. XE.com is a good one to use. When paying by Paypal, they always have a exchange rate a couple of cents lower than the standard rate so it will cost you a little bit more.
Now on to the websites...
Samurai Tackle has a good store with a decent range of Vibs, Minnows and Poppers and a good range of quality trebles to choose from, as with many of the others its plastics range is limited though it does score points for having an excellent range of Ecogear Grass Minnows. Quite a few items are out of stock though, and sometimes items are listed that are not in stock. They do let you know when this happens and give you a choice of another or refund. The only payment method accepted is Paypal for international buyers. Dispatch time is very good, usually within 24-48 hours, delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Navigation is good with lures divided by type then brand, and brand searchable from the front page. Sale prices are in US Dollars only.
Plat often gets lures that noone else has, for example its the only one that has had the Daiwa Over There Range of sinking pencils. Most lures are not restocked though after they are sold out so you need to subscribe to the newsletter to find out when he gets them in. You can pay by Credit card or Paypal but the methods of doing this are a bit convoluted, he really should simplify it. Dispatch time is good, within 48 hours, delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Navigation is difficult with lures sorted by area of use( which is very subjective) then by brand. Sale Prices can be converted to Japanese Yen or US Dollars.
Ebay Tackle Stores
There are plenty of Ebay tackle stores but I'm only going to review the ones I've dealt with. Ebay has a feedback system that allows buyers to rate the seller, this is a powerful tool for a buyer to decide whether or not the seller is worth dealing with. The standard online warnings(see above) still apply though.
Shimreels is located in Vietnam and has an excellent Ebay store with over 8000 items in stock and the only store I have found which stocks a good range of Zipbaits Vib58-13g. Feedback is okay considering the sales he has. Communication is okay, but can take a day or 2 to get back to you. Payment is by Paypal only. Items are Buy It Now only, no auctions. Navigation is good, with categories by type and then brand. Dispatch is within 24-48hrs and delivery time is 4-7 days by FEDEX. Sale prices are in $US only.
Sayaka 603 (Ebay)
Sayaka 603 has a good store with a fantastic range of Megabass lures, which many of the other stores only carry in limited quantities. Feedback is okay considering the amount of sales he has. Paypal is the only accepted payment method. Dispatch time is okay with items posted within 2-4 days from date of purchase. Delivery time by EMS is 5-7 days. Because his range is limited navigation is easy via the brand categories. He auctions lures constantly which enables you to pick up lures very cheap at times, though it requires a bit of patience. Set an amount and only bid in the last 15 seconds of the auction, if the auction goes over your amount, ignore it and move to the next lure you are intereted in. Communication is okay but not great. Sale Prices are in $US only.