It is quite possible for any old joe to grab a popping rod, drive up the queensland coast, pick an island group and cast non stop for 3 days until you’ve worked enough country to eventually land a popper in front of a gt. That being said, casting big poppers on heavy tackle isn’t quite like casting a baitcast outfit for bass. You get tired, even if you’re super fit it is still hard work just to retrieve a popper and when that bite does eventually come you’re going to want every bit of energy you can! Planning and execution is super important! Being able to time your sessions with high bite periods will not only see you encounter more fish but will lessen the amount of work needed to get that bite! The best sessions come from planning every move long before your boat leaves the garage! The way I look at it is trying to make a home made pie, each time you head out is like looking in the cupboard to add new things to your recipe. As time goes on you will learn more and add spices until you have the tastiest gt pie in the village! Here are a couple of my best tips for cooking gt pie.
Knowing which way a current is going to be running before you turn up to start casting will mean you can plan which area of the structure to work before you hit the water. There are a tonne of variables to take into account when figuring this out. Tides, wind or oceanic currents can all be factors. The best way to figure this out is through trial. Head out on the water on different conditions and take note of the elements. This may take some time to figure out but when you do it is one of the most important tools in finding gt. “No run, no fun” as the old saying goes and if you’re fishing the wrong side of an island or reef this could be the difference between a donut and a pack attack!
Fishing around tides mean moon phase is a very important part that I find a lot of people completely overlook or sometimes have trouble understanding. The best way I can explain this is to simplify it as much as I can. Around the new and full moon hold the biggest variation in tides. Between the moons (one week either side) are the neap tides (smallest variation in tides). The time leading up to the moon (new or full) is called a “making” tide as the tides are growing larger with each motion. In my experience, as the tides grow the fish feed aggressively until the largest tides. Once the largest tides pass they don’t necessarily stop feeding but their body language changes and they act differently, swiping at lures with their tail scutes and ghosting lures all the way to the boat. Nothing is more frustrating than casting all morning only to get a pack attack of gt swipe your lure all the way to the boat then swim down never to rise for the rest of the day!
Turning up to an island or a reefs edge and knowing exactly where to place casts is something that comes only through experience. What I have found is the first section of the structure to “break” the current is where fish love to congregate. This could be a five meter body of water next to an individual rock or a kilometre stretch of reef with a pressure edge. Back eddies and turbulent water is a dead give away. Once you get to an island or reef, drive around it until you find these current breaks then start there. Take note of not only the areas you raise fish but also the ones that look like they have “potential” as they might not work on the recipe you are currently using but by all means could work on a different one.
The low light bite is a one that a lot of guys fishing highly pressured areas use to their advantage. The intelligent fisho will hit the water before the early bird even gets a chance to hit snooze on his alarm clock! The question is how bad do you want it? While it suits pretty much everyone to catch a few extra zees in the morning so you feel super fresh when you hit the water there isn’t really much substitute for the early morning bite. Without getting into too much detail on a topic that could be an entire article on its own, the light transition and barometer rise on the right morning is a huge ace up your sleeve if you’re willing to put up with grumpy sleep deprived mates.
Finding the right recipe is always going to take time and effort. These are tips that have worked for me in the areas that I have encountered. Every fishery is different and the variables will change depending on the environment. As you learn more with every session there will be more variables that get added to your recipe until it all comes together. Planning off a recipe will give you more confidence knowing you are working an area more efficiently rather than relying on the volume of casts to get the desired result. One last thing I will say is once you find a recipe that is giving you consistent results in a certain area don’t be scared to start again in other areas. Its one thing to figure an area out but the hard part is trying somewhere new when you know it’s going to fire somewhere else!
Best of luck and i'll see you on the water!