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Auckland On Water Boat Show

Trevally, love them or hate them

by Gary Brown on 12 Mar 2013
The author with a golden trevally that was caught off snake island near Townsville Gary Brown
In my part of the world silver trevally use to be classified as mainly a cold water species, but with the banning of all professional fishing in Botany Bay a number of years ago the silver trevally can be now caught year round.

They are found in an incredible wide range of areas, off the rocks, from the beach, on close offshore reefs, gravel patches, tidal and non-tidal coastal rivers, creeks, streams, brackish lakes, bays, harbours, inlets and lagoons.

Silver trevally can be targeted over the sandy flats, shallow weed beds, muscle and cockle beds, deep holes, drop offs, snags, breakwalls, points, islands, rock bars, ledges, rocky shorelines, mangroves, creek mouths, just name a few.

Tackle Guide

I find that a rod with a medium to fast taper, 2.1 metres long and three to five kilo line. Now the length of the rod will need to vary from place to place and it would be up to you whether you use a side cast, centerpin or threadline reel.

Sinker size will depend on the conditions you are fishing. The main thing you need to remember is to keep the bait moving and looking as natural as possible. If you are fishing in shallow water and there is not much water movement you may need to use no sinker at all and in a fast running you will need to increase your sinker size and have a leader of between 50 to 180cm below the swivel to the hook.

When fishing in the surf I tend to use a double hook paternoster rig with a small snapper sinker as the weight. This allows me to cast much further, as the sinker is the first thing that goes through the air. It also allows the hooks to trail the sinker causing fewer tangles in the rig. Once the rig has hit the bottom I can slowly wind it back in allowing me to have direct contact with both baits. Try putting on a small bead or a piece of pink or red tubing as an attractant just above the hook.

Many, but not all of the anglers that I come across have two thoughts about silver trevally. They fight hard all the way to the end and they are not very good on the plate. Well, as far as I am concerned they are correct in the first instance, but completely wrong in the second. Over the years I have caught hundreds, if not thousands of silver trevally and yes they do fight right to the end, but they are also great on the plate. That is if you look after them once you have put them in the net.

Due to the softness of the silver trevally flesh you will need to bleed them straight away, put them in an ice slurry, fillet and skin them and then cover the boneless fillets in bread crumbs. These boneless fillets can be then lightly cooked on the barbeque, put under the grille or shallow fried in a small amount of olive oil. You will be pleasantly surprised and you will keep coming back for more.

There are a number of baits that I prefer to use when targeting silver trevally. They are pink nippers, peeled prawns, blood, tube and beach worms and small narrow pieces of squid. Due to the fact that silver trevally don’t have much in the way of teeth and their mouth is very soft I will always peel the prawn before I put it on the hook and I will always make sure that the hook point is out of the body of the prawn and last but not least I will put a couple of half hitches around the tail of the prawn.

When using either a pink nipper or a worm for bait I will start threading the hook into the bait about 1cm from the end. This will allow me to tie a couple of half hitches around the tail stopping it from sliding down the hook or flying off when you cast the rig.

Soft Plastics and Blades for Trevally

Usually when I am fishing for silver trevally I am after a bit of fun and a feed. So, most of the time I will be at anchor, laying out a berley trail of chicken pellets and smashed up old pilchards, while at the same time feeding either an unweighted or lighted weighted peeled prawn, pink nipper, fillet of pilchard or small strip of squid. Once I have got enough for a feed I will change over to a soft plastic and start feeding it down the berley trail. If I had no response after feeding out about 20 to 30 metres of line I will start slowly retrieving it back to the boat in short bursts.

I find that Berkley Drop shot Minnow stick bait or 2inch shrimp rigged onto a 1/16th Bream Pro number two jig head or a 2.5 inch Z Mann Grub Z rigged onto a 1/40 or 1/28 once, 1/0 HWS TT jig head will do the trick when it comes to targeting silver trevally with soft plastics.

There are so many different types of retrieves when using blades and the one that I find that is the most reliable for me is the cast it as far as you can, let it sink to the bottom, pick up the slack in the line and then slowly lift your rod a couple of times. This will cause the blade to jump up off the sand, sending out vibrations to the patrolling trevally and arousing their interest as they flutter back down to the bottom.

Most of the times the trevally will take it as it flutters back down to the bottom, but I have plenty of fish by hooking them in the chin. My only guess to this is that they are hovering over the top of the blades as you lift it back off the bottom.

If you have never used blades before I would suggest that you get yourself a range of blades. Personally I have 1/8 and ¼ once TT Switch Blades and the 1/6 of a once Big Eye Blade from Berkley in a variety of about ten different colours.




InSunSport - NZAbell Point Marina 660x82 MoorHenri Lloyd 50 Years

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