Changing of the Guard

By Luke Galea

What I am referring to here is the change of season and the change of viable fish hunting species that are on offer with the cooler months. Whilst “Winter” in Mackay is a somewhat debatable topic, the cooler months certainly do change things up a bit and we as anglers need to either adapt and try new things to catch those characteristic summer fish OR change it up and target what is now more prolific due to the change of season.

For instance, barramundi and mangrove jack are predominately targeted in the summer months. Many people would not worry about targeting them in winter but those who do will often need to fish shallower, warmer water or significantly downsize their offerings and employ the “jelly-bean theory” to get the strike. Other people will change it up and target species such as bream, whiting and flathead. They offer a good feed and are pretty good fun on light gear.

Although I do enjoy this style of relaxing fishing, I ALSO enjoy the line burning action of the hordes of long-tail and mac-tuna that turn up to gorge themselves on the massive schools of baitfish. Casting chrome slugs into a school of these pelagics will blow your mind. You land your slug in the middle of the chaos, wind it back to the boat as fast as you can, and then before you know it, it gets inhaled and the line burns off your reel in the opposite direction twice as fast as you could wind it in. These fish are truly silver bullets. 100% muscle and they never know when to say die. This is truly awesome fun.

It’s imperative that the chrome slugs you are throwing are very similar to the size of the schooled baitfish. Despite the melee’ of the feeding frenzy, these fish are not stupid and they won’t eat a chromie if it is not a very similar size to the schooling bait. This can be a little frustrating so its pretty important you go out loaded with half a dozen different size slugs and match the hatch as best you can.

The 6-7kg fish I experienced on this trip all fell to a 40g slug which was roughly 4cm long. For this weight slug, I opted to run a 15-25lb, 7 foot spin stick matched with my Shimano Stradic 5000FK and 30lb braid. The 5000FK is absolutely in its element doing this kind of fishing. A 4000 would also be quite satisfactory however I do prefer the larger spool capacity of the 5000. The Hagane gearing and body makes this reel smoother, more rigid and powerful than ever before.

Live It…Breathe It…