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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Trolling the Weedbeds for Doggie Mackerel

I have had a load of people ask me about lure selection and technique for trolling the Weedbeds for Doggie Mackerel. So I thought I would post up a bit of information on what works for me.

I tend to approach trolling for Doggie Mackerel in exactly the same way I would Spanish Mackerel, just on a smaller scale. So my lure selection and technique is very similar. I am a really big fan of the Rapala CD range of lures for Spanish Mackerel. So for Doggies I like the same lure, but in a smaller size. The CD9 is about right. Its 9cm in length and dives to around 3m. The areas of the Weedbeds that I like are between 3m and 4m in depth, so this is perfect. Like for Spanish Mackerel, the red head and white body is hard to pass up, but any good reflective colour is fine.

The Rapala range of lures are on the pricey side of things, and in the small size can be hard to come by. The Halco Laser Pro is a dam good alternative. It's Australian made and really well built, they represent a good vale for money alternative. 

The model I am using is the Halco Laser Pro 120DD. Its about 12cm in length and dives to 2.5m. Again, the depth is perfect, but at 12cm its a little larger than I would like for Doggies. But I guess you can discount the smaller fish at least! I have trolled the above two lures side by side, and there wan't a clear winner. Both took fish. 

I do fish a small length of wire off the front of the lures, they are too expensive not to! But I keep the wire very fine and very short. Use a gauge to match your line class. You don't need 500lb wire if you are trolling 20lb braid! Single strand is far better than multi-strand. I only use about 2 inches of wire, just enough to prevent a bite of from a head strike. I have never lost a lure to a bite off with this short trace. I attach the wire to the lure with a haywire twist and then build in a loop in the other end with the same technique. Then a small clip will attach the lure to line. 

You don't need any special tackle to troll for Doggies. I tend to use basic barra gear, a Calcutta 200 on a G•Loomis 644 with 20lb braid. But spin gear would be fine. 20lb is an absolute maximum line class reqired, lighter is fine. Just make sure the line class has enough strength to take the pressure of the lure under speed and to set the hooks when a fish strikes. Light lines and low drag pressure will not provide sufficient pressure to set the hooks. 

I troll at about 4-5knots. Cover some ground and try to locate schools of fish. Then continue to work the area the fish are holding in. The Weedbeds cover a massive area inside the cape, and you can encounter fish anywhere from the mouths of Alligator and Crocodile Creeks right out to Cape Cleveland. Keep an eye on the rod tip and make sure the lure is always working. There can be some floating weed around that will foul the hooks, this will stop the lure working and rod tip will stop vibrating. Its also worth watching for strikes, not all fish will hookup and strikes often don't pull line from the reel.  A bounce from the rod might be all you get!