Trevally Fire Up
  |  First Published: December 2011

Trevally have been caught in large proportions through the past spring, and now the summer season is here and so are the trevally.

Even though they are sometimes more active in the cooler months (winter), they have stayed around on the Sunshine Coast for the school holidays, so it’s a good time for junior anglers to go and have a try for these top predatory fish.

Trevally are well known for their powerful fighting ability when hooked, and they make a day of fishing great fun because where there is one trevally, there is plenty more. They are a great fish to get junior anglers ‘hooked’ onto fishing because most of the time when you find the trevally, you will catch a lot of them.

There are many species of this fish that are available on the Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas, silver trevally, golden trevally, giant trevally, big eye trevally and diamond trevally, just to name a few.

If you want to target these fish, you must have the knowledge of where they would be, what tackle will suit best, and what bait and lures will work best. If you learn how to target trevally, it will take you quite a big leap in your fishing, because there can be a lot to it.

Where and How to find them

Trevally can be found in estuarine (coastal) and offshore waters. You don’t always need a boat to chase these fish, because there are many options for you to choose where they might be. In the estuaries, they can be found hitting the surface of the water in large schools chasing baitfish, mostly in the deep channels and the river.

At the moment, various species of trevally have been caught in the Noosa river system, including the Woods Bays at Noosa in the morning or afternoon. Trevally can also be caught further upstream, around rock bars, jetties, bridges and boat moorings (marinas), because they know that these places provide a good food source for them.

The Mooloolah River marina, located at Mooloolaba, provides great structure for all kinds of fish, attracting the trevally at this time of year.

Offshore they can be caught on a corner of an island where the current runs through past a rocky outcrop or reef, where they will be waiting to attack baitfish that swim past. Moreton, Stradbroke and Bribie islands are good options for when fishing for trevally on the Sunshine Coast. Many species of trevally are being caught as far south as the Gold Coast, which is a good sign they are still around.

How to catch them

Trevally are caught on both various types of baits and lures, and they will fight hard until you catch them, break the line or pull the hook, this is why it makes it a great challenge catching them, especially for the juniors.

Starting with baits, they will go for a wide variety including prawns (peeled), worms, pipis, and for live baitfish, like herring and poddy mullet. Throwing a live herring or mullet into a school of trevally will bring a very positive result!

Trevally are not fussy fish, they will also go for a wide variety of lures as well, including chrome jigs, soft plastics and many medium to deep diving lures. Remember trevally will go for lures that are moved quite erratically and fast, imitating a ‘runaway’ baitfish.

Trolling diving lures throughout the estuaries, or offshore reefs behind your boat, or even casting lures from the bank around structure is a good way to tempt these fish when they are around. My favourite lures to use are surface poppers; they are great for many fish, especially trevally.

Casting poppers near structure, over reefs, around jetties or out over a deep channel will get your great results. Try to keep your tackle to an appropriate weight or size. If fishing for smaller species of trevally, 2-4kg line is ideal; also use smaller sized hooks, with minimum weight (lead).

When fishing for the larger species, including the giant trevally, heavy line, and heavy mono trace is definitely needed as they are very strong, and will take your bait or lure, and swim straight down into any structure to try and break your line. This just means the heavier line will provide you with pulling power!

Trevally fight a bit like mangrove jacks, finding any cover or structure to go around and bust your line.

Like always, it is essential to remember you have a net or gaff (if on a jetty or pier) ready. Once the fish has surfaced, you must net or gaff the fish as quickly and steadily as possible. These are the times when most fishers lose their fish, right at the boat or shoreline, and that can leave you a bit devastated. Also, any sort of camera is important for proof to show to your mates.

Trevally are a great fish for any junior anglers with some experience. Learning how to fish for trevally will give you a lot of knowledge on many other species of fish including how they feed, how to fight and how best to reel them in to the boat or shore. The next time you have a chance to go fishing, target trevally, make sure your tackle is appropriate for the species that is on offer in your local estuaries or reefs, and you’ll become like a professional!

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