January is on!
  |  First Published: December 2007

The first month of 2008 is a great time to get to the Whitsunday islands for fishing.

Tuna and GT activity!

It’s an awesome time of year for surface lure fishing in the salt water as well as fresh water for big barramundi at Peter Faust Dam.

In the deep blue, yellowfin tuna and GT are good targets and they seem to love the Nomad Dogtooth stickbait lures. The Nomad Dogtooth lures were built for big fish!

Ranging in size from 20-30cm long and imitating a large garfish, mullet or other large bait, these lures are dynamite!

Here’s what happened on a recent trip around the Whitsundays:

We started fishing at 5:30am just as the sun started rising. We had two Stella 8000 reels mounted on two Tc-urve Power Spin rods. Two Nomad Dogtooth stickbaits were tied on to the end of 150lb Jinkai leader and 80lb Suffix braid.

Our first target was Minstrel Rocks and the surrounding reef drop-offs near Deloraine Island. We tried to locate groups of bait which swirled on the surface around the calm clear water, we found this is where the big fish were lurking.

A first cast was fired out and it was long. As Kerrin worked it back past the rocks with a splashing zig-zag retrieve, a GT of around 20kg engulfed the stickbait.

Kerrin set the hooks hard but the large singles fell out. We moved around to the other side of the rocks and made another long cast to the edge of the rocks.

Another GT of around 20kg hammered the stickbait as it paused on the surface in close to the rocks. The fish dropped the lure just after hitting it and we missed another fish.

The third strike of the day came minutes later and this time a large yellowfin tuna attacked the stickbait.

Just after releasing the beautiful yellowfin, another one of around 12kg smashed the stickbait and we were on again!

The Dogtooth Stickbait was red hot as yet another GT; this one of around 25kg inhaled the lure. We made a couple of strong hook sets as the strong pelagic moved fast through the coral reef heads.

We followed it around and eventually it was landed and released. An awesome fish in an awesome area!

The stickbaits we were using surprised us yet again with its attractiveness to big game fish. We now always have one of these lures out there on our morning and afternoon fishing sessions!

Small popper fishing!

Another surface fishing option is to fish the inshore saltwater creeks and rivers with small surface presentations.

Small trevally, bream, mangrove jacks and small queenfish all love eating food from the surface. They’ll eat small garfish, mullet, herring, crabs, anything small and tasty!

A good place to fish small surface lures is around any large creek mouths. Usually the creek mouths have rocks, oysters and shallow sand flats which attracts heaps of bait.

Other great areas to flick in a small popper are under mangrove branches, amongst fallen trees on the bank, under wharves or jetties and anywhere which is shady and has a lot of cover.

We like to fish small poppers when the sun just rises or when it’s just setting as it gives you more chance of some surface action.

We’ve also found that really small pops with the popper attract plenty of interest. A slow, bloop-bloop, pause retrieve really works well.

Ultra light threadline gear is the best choice for casting small poppers. Light braided line of around 5lb to 10lb, (15lb for oysters and other structure!) and leaders of around 10lb to 25lb will do the perfect job.

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