Fishing for Giant Trevally in Australia has got to be one of the most adrenaline pumping, heart stopping forms of fishing available. There is only one way to describe a battle with a GT and that is that they run on pure rocket fuel. They are by far the biggest and the meanest of the trevally (jack) family and it seems every single one of them has an extremely bad anger management problem, and they refuse to get any help from rehabilitation programs to quell it.
The Giant Trevally is a sleek, deep heavily bodied fish that can vary in colour from a blueish grey to silver to almost black when they are really pissed off. They have a large forked tail with razor sharp scutes on the tail stock so be extremely careful when handling them as these scutes will open up your hand. They feed exclusively on small fish on the surface which they will hunt in small and sometimes large packs. Trevally will circle a school of bait and drive it up against a current line or shallow reef edge where they will shoot through the school picking off the baitfish.
They range from about Brisbane all the way north right up to the Torres Strait and into the Kimberley, but the best easily accessible location to get some massive GT action is the reefs and islands of Shoalwater Bay, Mackay and the Whitsundays in central QLD. The combinations of large tidal movement and deepwater ledges in this area is the primary reasons why there are such good numbers of these fish here. Being a Trevally they are not really rated as a food fish but purely as a sport species which is yet another reason why the species is so prolific. Also being a trevally they are seldom hard to find with most offshore islands and reefs holding heaps of them. GTs also like to sit right up against the rocks in the white water so a lot of the time you will have to land your lure very close to the rock.
When fishing for Giant Trevally in Australia you must specialise. These fish WILL find any weak link in your gear. When we go chasing GTs there is no room for error as the lures we use are quite expensive and at this point I'm sure the GTs have a really nice little collection going. Our main line is 100lb dyneema braid to about 600mm of 150lb tournament leader. Always use a bimini twist or something similar to maintain maximum knot strength. Lures of choice are stick baits or big cup faced poppers. I like the halco rooster haymakers or the gillies GT minnows. Hooks and split rings should be beefed up to cope with the 80lb of drag that you are going to have to put on the fish to turn him. Rods and reels should also be strong enough to handle this pressure.
Look for bait balls. When on the reef, if you find the bait, the GTs are never far away. From this point on all you have to do is put your popper in the middle of the bait school and work it back across the surface to the boat. A big GT will usually hit with so much force that it will nearly rip the rod out of your hands and will usually do so right next to the boat in full view of everybody. Your drag should be so tight that it hurts your hands to pull it off the reel but a big GT will strip it off with ease on his first run. The fish will then usually go into deep water and slug it out with you laying on its side using the full depth of its body against the water. Once you finally manage to get him to the surface they are usually so tired that a quick tail lift into the boat is all you need to get them in. These fish really aren't much good to eat so a few photos and a quick release will ensure the fish lives to fight another day.
The all tackle world record stands at 68.5 kgs taken on a popper on the shoal north of Fraser island so be ready for a hard fight even from a fish of 20kgs. When fishing for Giant Trevally in Australia your best bet is to employ the services of a guide as the gear required is very expensive.