Metal lures for tarpon and other species
  |  First Published: April 2007

You have finished work for the week and you feel like going fishing on the weekend. You live in SEQ on the Gold Coast, so the Broadwater and Seaway are your target areas.

I fish with lures 95% of the time and live and cut baits the rest of the time. I enjoy the more active style of fishing and observing what’s going on. A good sounder, a keen eye and local knowledge about where the fish are holding are the keys to success. Local information can be gathered by from reports in the paper, friends, television reports and tackle stores.

Soft plastics are very popular and I’ve landed my fair share of species when fishing with them. To spice things up, I’ve been fishing metal slicers and jigs with faster and erratic deeper presentations. If you head out early to where tailor are holding, your 25g Lazers will soon hook a fish. When the current is running at 3 knots, a good cast behind the boat should do the trick.

While you’re trolling around, keep an eye on the sounder for deeper fish. Once a good showing is found, simply wind in your Lazer, idle the motor, and free spool down in amongst the fish. After your lure bumps bottom, quickly shut the bail, keep a tight line and give the metal Lazer a couple of erratic jigs. Lower your rod again and keep the line tight so you can feel any bumps. React to any bumps quickly and repeat the process while drifting along with the tide.

It’s amazing how many species will take small profile metal jigs – you can hook just about anything that swims. Tailor, trevally, tarpon, giant herring, mackerel, bream, flathead, mangrove jack, cod, Moses perch and even squid will take metal jigs.

If you lose the showing of fish on your sounder when jigging, go back to where you saw the fish first and repeat the process.

A Graphite rod, braided lines and good trace line is all you will need. I use a 7’ T-Curve 2-5kg with 10lb Fireline and 15lb Vanish trace. Add a 2500 Shimano Symetre or Stradic and your set-up will be spot on.

Tarpon in the Seaway can’t resist a 20g Lazer slug fished near the bottom or jigged just slowly enough to feel any contact. If you get a bump on the way back down, set the hook briskly without ripping the fish’s head off. The 20g Lazer slug fishes well in 30-40ft deep water and provides greater feel. Use local knowledge to find out where the tarpon have been hanging around. Along the south wall is a good place to try free spooling the slug straight down in 30-40ft. Once the slug hits bottom flip the bail arm over. You should then drift along in the tide with your motor idling near the rocks. While jigging, practice is the best way to learn how to avoid snagging on the hard and rocky bits as you drift along. Don’t let the lure drag along the bottom, but rather let it touch the bottom briefly before jigging it back up.

Tarpon can be left down deep for a while to tire and then slowly worked up, but can scream off and throw the lure at any stage. When tarpon do head up quickly, wind like hell and beat them to the top.

Also be ready for trevally of all species, mack tuna and good-sized mangrove jack to take your 25g Lazers. I’ve landed lots of 1-2kg fish along these walls with this technique.

Tarpon are often found along these walls near the surface so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s going on around you. If tarpon are around, cast slugs to them and get ready for a ‘never say die’ fight. If it’s getting busy in the Seaway, head off to the Broadwater for a session on the rubbers.

You can be anywhere in Australia and use these techniques that I have mentioned. Just keep putting yourself where the fish are, develop your technique and get your camera ready. – Gary ‘Oby’ O’Bryan

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