I’m just not a rainbow trout kind of guy – what my top 5 says about me

20151204Dogtooth

I’m just not a rainbow trout kind of guy – what my top 5 says about me

Everyone has a top 5 list of favourite fish based on their preferred method of fishing and where they have been lucky enough to fish in their lifetime. I was looking through my photo collection earlier in the week and I began to compile my top 5.

After writing the list down on a piece of scrap paper I began to think what does the list say about me? Well:
– It’s no secret that I like to holiday in tropical locations
– 4 out of the 5 can be caught on surface lures
– I’ve only caught one of these species on bait
– None involved any sort of finesse (sorry, I’m just not a rainbow trout kind of guy)

So enough jibber – on with the list:

5. Coral Trout

With a massive paddle-like tail and rarely venturing too far from their coral homes I’m putting the coral trout in at number 5. They certainly don’t have the stamina of many fish out there but they certainly make up for in brute force over a short distance.

I’ve lost count of the number of soft plastics, stickbaits and poppers I’ve lost to these characters over the years. The eagerness of even little trout to attack a big lure goes to show what aggressive predators they are. Once they get bigger you better hope you can pull them away from the coral quickly as it only takes a few seconds before they’re back into the reef.

The bad thing about coral trout is that as they get really big they become difficult to hold for a good photo. Try smiling while holding a wet, slimy sack of blubber.

4. Dogtooth Tuna

Where a coral trout can reef you in 4 meters of water a dogtooth tuna can do it in 400 meters of water. Doggies really are the brutes of the sea. Whether they are over an offshore seamount or hanging around the channels of a coral reef they have the power and the stamina to destroy tackle and anglers.

Earlier this year I had a dogtooth (that looked about the size of a dolphin) take a popper off the surface. What followed was the standard screaming run to the bottom followed by the knock-knock-knock of being run through the reef before the 300lb leader wore through. There wasn’t any sign of hesitation or slowing down for a break. They have serious go in them.

These guys are regularly attacked by cookie-cutter sharks and I would be pretty angry too if I had several biscuit sized chunks of flesh cut out of me on a regular basis.

3. Giant Trevally

I’ve spoken to quite a few divers who say that when a big GT shows up on a reef even the sharks make themselves scarce. They really have a presence about them and rightly so. Seeing several GT’s chase down a fast moving popper or stickbait is like watching a pack of wolves chase down a chihuahua. There is no getting away and the end is brutal.

My biggest GT ever (40kg) ate a medium-sized red bass that I had just caught on a big popper and almost played to the boat. The popper got stuck sideways inside the GT’s mouth. When it felt me set the hook it took off dragging me around the boat like a toy. When it was eventually released it was in much better condition than me.

2. Yellowtail Kingfish

The kingfish slots in at number two mostly because they are very accessible as well as a fantastic sportsfish. Unlike many of the other species on the list, big kingfish can be caught within a short distance of many major cities in Australia. Indeed they seem to like the environment we have created for them often using wharves, pontoons and navigation markers as cover and feeding locations. No matter what size they are they have an uncanny ability to find structure once hooked.

1. Milkfish

Seems a bit strange for this guy to fit in at number 1??? Pound for pound these fish are INSANE. Mostly they are caught on fly around scum lines but in locations where people feed the fish they have developed a taste for white bread making them quite accessible targets on spin gear.

Once hooked the first run is mental – long and fast with a rooster tail of spray coming off the line as it peels of through the water. Second, third and fourth runs are exactly the same. They seem to just never give up. Once landed you can tell why they are so tough, a muscular torpedo shape and a deep forked tail. Just complete overkill for a fish that seems to eat marine worms off scum lines. If you ever have a chance to catch one then I highly recommend it.

Noteworthy mentions (ie my wishlist)

– PNG Black Bass, Black Drummer, Sharks, Bluefin Tuna

 

What’s your list and what does it say about you?

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

John Buchan