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Searching for silvers
  |  First Published: March 2015



Regardless of where they reside, every species of trevally is brutal. From giant trevally busting up the heaviest of fishing tackle to the petite silver trevally busting up a bream anglers light tackle, this particular species never gives up and battles it out right to the end.

Unfortunately, in Victorian waters, we don’t get to experience the extreme battle from a GT, but we do get to go toe to toe with silver trevally. From one extreme to the other, silvers might not sound that appealing when put up next to a GT, but when caught while flicking 4lb braid, 5lb leader and a small hardbodied lure over the shallow flats of an estuary, silver trevally surely stack up.

Silver trevally might be a schooling fish, but they are a species that is rarely targeted specifically throughout the state.

Silvers, as they are more commonly known are caught as a by-catch when flicking lures in estuaries or while fishing for whiting in bays and inlets. Regardless, when trevally are hooked anglers are often caught unaware and the battle can be intense, even for a small model.

Trevally, have two body features that anglers should be aware of when going to land a silver in boat or on a pier. Firstly, when hooked, trevally lay on their side. Along with their tail beats, the weight of bringing a fish in sidewards can cause tackle to break. Secondly, they have soft lips, so if you go too hard and you’ll tear the hook out. There is no easy way to tackle trevally, but if you can find a happy medium, you’ll be happy with the ones you do land.

LOCATION, LOCATION

Silver trevally are a species that would have to one of the most difficult to locate due to their pelagic nature, as they are always on the move. In saying that, in some instances, they will school under piers and jetties, but rarely can you head out and find them busting on the surface or sound them up holding on a reef.

Finding trevally often comes down to luck but while fishing for other species such as Australian salmon or King George whiting, silver trevally can be attracted with the use of berley. Before being successful on silvers, you still need to be in a likely location where they are bound to be hanging about.

Like whiting, trevally do like rifling through weed beds and over soft sandy areas searching out potential food items, which is why they are encountered by anglers when fishing for whiting.

In Western Port, trevally can be caught right throughout, but tend to be in better numbers where the water is cleaner and clearer. Specific locations include Joes Island, Crawfish and Eagle Rocks on the flood tides, the Middle Spit, North Arm, Stony Point Pier, Tankerton, Tortoise Head Bank, Cowes, McHaffies Reef and Cat Bay.

Those fishing from piers or jetties tend to also do quite well on silvers, mainly due to the fish schooling up around the pier’s pylons. Although this could occur at any pier at any time, September seems to be the prime month this occurs and Stony Point, Flinders and Cowes piers are good places to start.

TACKLE CHOICES

In Victoria and in particular Western Port, silver trevally don’t grow into big beasts, rather a 30-40cm model is more of a common catch. Of course there are those exceptions when someone strikes it rich and hooks onto a 50cm model and then the fun really starts. Knowing that trevally are a tough species to battle, tackle is too light could possible be met with a bust-off or a hook straightening, while too heavy tackle won’t allow you to have any fun, as you’ll just be cranking them in.

In a perfect world, using the right outfits for different species makes all the difference but we can’t always afford to have 20 rods and reels to cover every species we target.

When it comes to trevally, there are two main outfits used. One is for when targeting them with lures, in which case a 7’ 2-4kg soft plastic rod with 2500 series reel will match up perfectly. On that, spool at least 125m of 8lb braid with 10lb leader and you won’t go wrong.

Outfit number two will cover all your bait fishing needs and will double up for whiting and salmon fishing. In this case, a 7’ 2-4kg slow action rod so the hook is set with the load up of the rod rather than striking and possibly tearing the hook out of their soft lips. Catching trevally using baits still requires a finesse technique, but more so in the rigging department. A paternoster rig tied from 15lb fluorocarbon leader containing two 1/0 Black Magic KL circle hooks will be the best setup.

BAITS AND LURES

Trevally don’t tend to be too selective in the bait department as they are constantly on the move and eat what ever passes them by.

When attracting them to an area, I prefer to use berley, which consists of cook pellets soaked in tuna oil mixed with mashed pilchards. This is put into a berley pot and placed on the sea floor next to the pier or under the boat. Even then, just a few pilchard, mashed up or left whole will emit enough small to bring them on. The current or waters pressure will cause the berley and fish scent to flow out of the pot and bring the fish to the source of the smell. Small pieces of pilchard, calamari, blue bait, white bait and pipi are the top baits for silvers, while any small baitfish profiled lure will do the trick.

Specifically targeting trevally is a lot of fun and very few anglers actually choose to go out and do so. For a bread and butter species, they certainly stack up in the light tackle battle department and if you’re in for some rod bending, line peeling action, then grab the berley and get silver searchin’!

BAIT FISHING OUTFIT

RODWilson 7’ Texilium 2-4kg
REELShimano Rarenium 1000
BRAIDICON 6LB HI-VIS Yellow
LEADER8-12lb fluorocarbon

LURE FISHING OUTFIT

RODWilson 7’ Magnium 2-4kg
REELShimano Rarenium 1000
BRAIDICON 6LB HI-VIS Yellow
LEADER6-10lb fluorocarbon
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