The trevally is a very popular edible fish, it is a strong swimmer and can be shy to take a bait, rendering it as a challenging fish to catch. In this article I will provide detailed information on how to increase the odds of landing trevally from the bricks.
I got up early yesterday and hiked to a ledge in Oruawharo Bay with the intention of live-baiting small kahawai or trevally and hooking a kingfish from the rocks. After a short walk on the beach right about sunrise and a climb over a hill, I arrived at one of my favourite fishing spots and deployed a berley half an hour before low tide. It was 0730 and I was slightly out of breath, but excited and motivated to being out there.
Due to my fishing motivation and lack of good conditions to take a picture, I, unfortunately, cannot depict to you the pleasant sight of a school of trevally and snapper which were feeding right by the rocks. There must have been about 30 trevally and I spotted even some bigger snapper feeding right at the surface.
Tips On How To Land Trevally
To increase chances of landing trevally, one must acknowledge that they have softer and smaller mouths than snapper. They are also stronger swimmers and thus fight harder when hooked. What makes landing them more challenging is that they keep close to the rocks and since they don’t make an effort of hiding well, hooking them can be frustrating.
- Stray lining small baits on light line without using a sinker is the way to go
- Cube pieces of bait and chuck them into the water right at your feet
- Watch if the trevs eat what you have to offer and also observe how the free-flow bait floats and descends in the water
- The hooked bait should descend as fast or as slow as the free-flowing bait
- Embed a small hook (4/0) well into the bait
- When hooked, trevally will go sideways unlike snapper; you will need to stop them from taking much line, but do not put too much pressure on them as it will end in the hook ripping out of the mouth
- Again, due to the soft mouth, you must keep tension on the line at all times
- It helps to reduce the drag towards the end of the fight
- Ideally, trevally are not lifted out of the water by hand, but a gaff or better net is used to land them
The plan was to catch a small trevally or kahawai and deploy it as a live-bait to catch a kingfish. After catching and releasing snapper after snapper I changed my tactics, used smaller hooks, with smaller baits and kept my eyes on the water, looking out for the odd, fast swimming kahawai. 30 minutes had passed, the school of trevally was still there but I had no live-bait.
A single kahwai shot into the berley trail and I managed to land and deploy it. It was about 35 cm, a bit too big for my taste, but well, it was out there… After a further hour, still no sign of kingfish, and still no success in landing one of the many 40 cm+ trevally that fed actively in the berley trail.
So I took the berley out of the water and got the camera. This is kingfishing folks, so I leave for 5 seconds and on returning, I see no trevally or other baitfish, I push the on button on the camera and boom, a kingi is circling my live-bait.
The kingi was about a meter long and had a good look at the kahawai, which was swimming vertically by now. A bit strange as it was in top condition but a live-bait is more likely to be taken when it is actually afraid of its predator, trying to swim away rather than just trying to dive in vain.
So the kingi came, saw and left again, the trevs and snapper were back in the berley trail and it was damn time I landed a small trevally.
Things were looking very promising by now, there was a small trevally under a balloon, I had fresh kahawai bait and concentrated on hooking bigger trevally. As it turned out, they were just as keen on the pilchards as they were on skinned cubes of kahawai. Bait-presentation was paramount, if they were the wrong size or if they were floating or sinking too fast, the trevs shot towards them quickly, had a little smell and look and then turned around.
Mimicking free-flowing bait is the trick when it comes to trevally. After a bit of experimenting I figured it all out and could hook as many as I wanted.
To my surprise, more kingi action followed. A smaller kingi came to check my trev out, it circled it a few times and I believe it had a few goes at it, since I saw the trev moving very fast, trying to get away and the balloon submerged a few times, too.
I was ready, gimbal on, rod in hand, gaff by my side, but unfortunately, for the next two hours the kingi remained in close vicinity but didn’t take the trev and I was unable to entice it to take dead baits. I wonder if a smaller trev would have made the difference.
By 11 o’clock I had enough, packed in and hiked back to the beach.