Pelagic Frenzy
  |  First Published: March 2009

With Cyclone Hamish bearing down on the southeast coast in March, we are guaranteed to be in for some severe flooding. This means April could be a bit of a fizzer for us fishing nuts.

It’s a shame really as the fishing action in the past month or so has been terrific, thanks to the weekend weather. It has been a long time since great weather coincided with the weekends (maybe that’s what attracted the cyclone).

I have been spending some quality time fishing offshore and inshore and have been really enjoying it; the pelagic action has been mind blowing with bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and some monster mac tuna all harassing the acres of baitfish moving along the coast.

Getting connected to them has been pretty easy with casting metal slices at them and winding them back flat out being the gun method. I use Halco Twisties, as I find the shape of the body sees it taken whilst it flutters down. If you missed the head of the school of tuna, let the slug sink deep then crank it back at high speed and that’s where the mackerel were hanging.

Whilst at the ramp, I noticed a boat that had slugs rigged on their rods with steel traces connecting them. I asked the guys how they went and they said they could not get a fish to take the lures. One thing I gave up on years ago was steel traces, if you want to catch more fish don’t use them. When your spinning for pelagic fish use a heavier mono trace you might lose the odd lure but you will certainly get more hook ups, and luckily enough the old steel slug is about the cheapest most effective lure on the market.

I have also been fishing the bottom for a feed and have caught plenty of nice sweetlip of late. It pays to have a selection of baits as each trip they seem to prefer different bait. I have been fishing soft plastics as well and catching plenty of hussar, stripes and the odd sweetlip. However, I can’t seem to keep clear of those dreaded triggerfish – they make short work of your plastic so if they are there move on.


I went on a recent trip up to Bustard Head. The weather was perfect and I took my 4.1 Polycraft out of Middle Creek and headed up to fish Inner Rock at the base of Bustard head.

My first cast with a Rooster Popper was devoured by an XOS GT, which pretty quickly busted me off on the coral drop-off below us. My next cast landed in the same spot and this time I got three bloops before it to was taken and not returned by a massive GT. At the same time my fishing partner Russel cast in a large Halco Twisty, he let it sink then cranked it back as fast as he could. As the Twisty hit the surface it was set upon by a pack of great queenfish, he hooked up then landed the first of what was going to be one of the best queenfish sessions I have experienced.

We spent the next six hours catching countless queenfish on poppers and occasionally loosing poppers to the big guys that patrolled amongst them. We had the Queenies chasing the poppers on the surface all the way to the boat, doing summersaults once hooked and most of the time both of us were hooked up – it was just mayhem.

For a bit of a change during the day we also caught Spanish mackerel, school mackerel, blue fin tuna and a hand full of species on plastics off the bottom while we tried to have a break.

In hindsight the fishing had just been getting better and better, maybe they knew about the massive cyclone that was due visit a week or so later. Hopefully all those great pelagics will still be there when the weather settles down again because I can’t wait to get back into them.

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