All I want for Christmas
  |  First Published: December 2005

If you’re fortunate enough to be allowed to suggest what you’d like to get for Christmas, the options available to those who haunt their local tackle emporium are mind blowing! With such a huge range of tackle available these days it’s possible to find an outfit to suit any budget.

I can’t remember a time when walking into a well-stocked tackle store has been more exciting. The mid to high end reel range, for example, currently offers the most comprehensive selection of superbly engineered products the market has ever seen. It’s an Aladdin’s cave that will keep tackleophiles absorbed for hours. Just remember that it’s important to obtain plenty of advice before you buy, either from press reviews or by talking to experienced anglers and tackle shop staff.

Internet purchasing is the big thing these days, but unfortunately it cuts out an experience that is an integral part of being a keen fisho. There’s nothing better than walking into a tackle shop that has ‘atmosphere’, that special welcoming feel that signals its membership of the wider fishing family.

The prices might be a bit dearer because of the extra overheads involved in operating a retail store, but who can really put a price on the pleasure of browsing and chatting with people of like mind? How many times has a bit of tackle shop ‘good oil’ led to a fishing trip turning from mediocre to brilliant?

So the journey involved in identifying the would-be contents of those presents under the tree with your name attached can be almost as much fun as pulling them out of the wrapping paper. Hope your Christmas is happy and fish filled!

Me, all I want for Christmas is loads of rain during the wet season! It’s a big ask, I know, but the Cape hasn’t had a decent ‘wet’ for four long years and the area desperately needs a good soaking.

Oh yeah, and Santa, could you bring me a new ………….!


There is never a shortage of trevally around Weipa but they tend to become more active when the water temperatures are at the top end of the scale. The past couple of months have been no exception, with hot trevally action playing an increasing part – particularly in the offshore scene.

The two heavyweights, brassies and GTs, have regularly been stretching arms, along with the other usual suspects – goldens, tea leafs, big eyes and bludgers. Even a few of the rarer tilley trevally have been turning up on the deeper reefs.

While barra get most of the attention when it comes to making babies during the warmer months, many species of trevally also get the urge for a bit of hanky panky during the long hot summer. Goldens are sometimes observed swimming very closely in pairs in the shallows, usually when the moon is at its peak, while some of the big giants take on a much darker hue that may signal their intentions.

Popper tossing around the headlands and shallow offshore bommies has produced some spectacular strikes and more than the occasional wipe-out. Some you win, some you lose, and a favourable result usually involves a fair degree of good luck along with good fighting technique and skilled boat handling.

There’s nothing quite like landing your first big GT on a popper; it’s one of those milestones that most serious anglers have as part of their fishing agenda. To some anglers it comes easy, but most have to work hard to win the day.

Any big trevally strike on a popper is spectacular and is sure to get the adrenalin flowing, and not only in the lucky angler. The importance of top quality lure hardware and razor sharp hooks, along with adequate tackle, cannot be overstated.

The trevally strike of the year happened during a memorable day when a crew from Brisbane raised seven fish over a couple of hours south of Weipa in late October. The jet black, hump-backed 40kg plus monster exploded out of a couple of metres of water on to a fleeing Halco Rooster Popper, then turned and unceremoniously dragged 30m of 15kg braid over the bauxite reef before the line shredded.

‘It’s a bloody porpoise!’ was one exclamation just before the lure was taken. That creature was easily the largest trevally I’ve seen in my decade of Gulf fishing.

Deep jigging still remains the most effective method of catching trevally on lures. The fish will congregate around offshore reefs and bait schools and are easily recognized on even the most basic of sounders when you know what to look for.

Trevally can show as a congregation of individual fish in the form of traditional arches but, more often, they come up on the screen as a large mass just off the bottom or in mid water. They can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from a dense bait school but the difference soon becomes apparent when a lure is dropped in their direction.

Perhaps the most spectacular action happens when trevally are found feeding on a surface rippling bait ball, a sight that is one of the most exciting experiences in the fishing realm. In this situation, the trevally are ready to eat anything that comes their way but often have other species such as longtail tuna, mackerel and cobia racing them to any offering.

It’s a dilemma most anglers will relish – how to sort the trevally from the other ‘less desirable’ species. If only we could be faced with such choices more often!

The one certainty about any of the trevally species is that you are never going to win any encounter without a struggle that seemed to come from a fish much larger than the one you just landed. Any wonder they are such a favourite in the piscatorial arena.


1) The author with a typical Weipa brassy trevally taken on an assist hook rigged Laser jig.

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