The silver trevally has a reputation for being an ugly fighter, which is true: once hooked, these fish will run hard to the nearest piece of foul and dust you off before you even know what’s happened. If you give just an inch on these cunning fish, the battle is almost over and the angler won’t be the one walking high.
Targeting the trevally isn’t that hard. They move into the coast over the wintertime and you will find them in very shallow water. As they like lots of current, the West and East coast harbours fish very well. The harbour mouths and anywhere with heaps of current and a bit of structure should hold a school of trevally at some stage of the tide.
Set up for targeting trevally
Once your desired spot is found, anchor about 40 meters away and pump a very solid berley trail with chopped up pilchards going over the side every 10 seconds or so.
Soft bait gear is great for this type of fishing, but upgrade up your braid to 8kg and run your drag as hard as you can, as once these fish get their heads down it’s very hard to turn them. Use 20lb fluorocarbon trace with a light gauge hook.
The silver trevally's soft mouth is dreaded but you won’t pull the hook as long as you keep your line tight at all times during the fight. Netting the fish close to the boat is more of a concern, because it is so easy to end up with a slack line and the hook will come loose.
Let the bait drift back into the berley trail as naturally as possible, so it looks like all the others bits of pilchard cubes. Once you get a take, wind up tight on the fish and keep its head turned and coming for the boat. If it’s a solid trevally, and it does turn and get its head down, you will have a real handful trying to stop the fish charging for the reef!
Nathan dusted off
Nikolaj the Saltwater FlyGuy and I took Nathan for his first trevally hunt on a good incoming tide with good current moving over the structure. We were in 2 meters of water and anchored 40 meters off the structure. We started pumping the berley hard and within minutes, we had a massive school of fish from 5-9kg swimming at the back of the boat. We warned Nathan of these fish as he proceeded to lower his bait over the side. It would have drifted only a few meters behind the boat before a huge fish engulfed his bait and headed hard for the rock. It stopped once for a breather along the way and then started again, and didn’t stop before the fish was right at the structure, touching the oysters and dusting off Nathan.
Nathan isn’t a small guy and when retrieving all the line and checking the drag, you couldn’t pull line from the reel! FlyGuy and I were just laughing, and Nathan was just in awe of the power of these amazing fish. To be fair the fish would have been 8-9kg but we did warn him from the start.
Over the next hour we caught a heap of solid trevallys on the spin gear and fly rods. On the last bait, Nathan hooked another horse and just managed to keep it off the reef and to land an absolute massive silver trevally monster.
The trevally is one of the coolest fish to catch. They are just so strong for their size, and there is nothing better than watching people for the first time hooking into a monster trevally and getting dusted.