My tireless attempts at improving my skills as a fly fisherman has meant that my latest blogworthy efforts have been limited to tarpon and catfish. This, coupled with many hours of frustration, blisters and my family not having had a decent feed of fish for quite a while prompted me to pull the yak out of the shed and take to the Pioneer river at dawn for what turned out to be a memorable session.

The tide was on it’s last run in and the Yak sliced through the glassy surface with very little effort, with a light wind from the south east I made a beeline for my favourite rock wall in the half light of pre-dawn. My plan was to jig soft plastics whilst drifting along the wall in the hope of picking up an estuary cod, mangrove jack or even a barramundi.

The action was fast and furious with the cod smashing every bait I dropped down, all up I would have caught over 30 of them but only a couple were legal so all were released to fight another day. I had a feeling that with so many fish on the chew it was only a matter of time until I banged into something a bit more challenging.

Estuary cod dwell in the heavy cover of sharp oyster encrusted caverns so my gear of choice is 30lb Fins Windtamer braid with about 6 feet of 20 lb fluorocarbon leader loaded onto a Shimano Caenan baitcaster with the drag locked up tight so I can extract some of the larger specimens before getting busted off, matched with a 4kg -6kg Silstar Power Tip Pro baitcast rod.

I was enjoying the familiar comfort of fishing from the Yak and with a fish every other cast I was having a great time. Suddenly my Atomic Prong 4″ prawn in Old Penny colour was smashed hard adjacent to the rock wall but instead of the fish heading straight for cover this one took off into open water. With the fish under the Yak and the drag locked up tight I had to think fast dunking the rod into the water as the fish powered off. Realising that this fish was not a Cod and had no intention of burying me deep into the oyster strewn abyss I regained my composure, loosened off the drag a little and settled in for the fight. At first I had visions of this being a Barra but as it dived deeper and deeper swimming in large circles under the yak I was convinced it was a Giant Trevally.

My suspicions were thankfully proven incorrect and I found it hard to contain my elation as the golden tail and barred striped flanks of a Golden Trevally became apparent through the clear water. A nervous couple of minutes followed as I did not want to rush such a fish only to lose it yak side so I played it out until it surfaced then slipped the Environet underneath.

60cm Golden Trevally

60cm Golden Trevally

Golden Trevally ( Gnathanodon speciosus )  are quite common around our local estuaries and inshore reefs and can reach sizes of 25lb plus. Eating quality is average to good with the pictured specimen being a better option if catching a feed is your goal. They can be found on both rocky reefs and shallow sand flats. Targeting Golden Trevally with a lightly weighted 5/0 hook threaded with several saltwater yabbies is a tried and tested way of tempting these aggressive fighters. They will also (as in this instance) succumb to soft plastics, in the shallows where they can be quite skittish fly fishing methods can also be very successful.

A brilliant morning on the river with a light wind and perfect conditions served up a piscatorial plethora of enjoyment culminating in one of my favourite species and a new Personal Best from the kayak.



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