Product Reviews

View the latest product reviews.

Local Boat Ramps

Information on the quality and location of local Boat Ramp facilities. Includes photographs, maps and some video content.

Family orientated

Promoting family fishing.

Fish for the future promotes catch and release fishing.

Great Fishing Locations

Popular fishing spots including GPS locations, sounder shots and maps.

Regular fishing reports

Regular fishing reports from our fishing trips.

Product Reviews

View the latest Product Reviews.

Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Nannygai on Artificials

Edit (7-1-11): I have been in contact with Willson Fishing who distribute the SureCatch Crystal Ball Octi-jig in Australia. They have had some excellent communication with my and apparently this particular version is not designed to be fished on heavy gear. I have been informed that there is a HD version that features wire assist hooks and can be fished up to 24kg. There are some on the way for me to test out in the field. I'll feed back when I have had a chance to give these stronger versions a go. 

Yesterday morning Dad and I took another run out wide in his boat. This time we were in search of Red! We have been hitting a particular wreck in search of Cobia the last few trips, so a change was in order. As my boat has not been in the water for a while now, there were some marks around the Maggie Shoals that I have not been to in a very long time. So we decided to revisit these.

My father is a stink bait fisherman from way, there will be no converting him! But I'm really enjoying the soft plastic craze and am keen to start chasing fish like Nannygai, Cobia and Fingermark using this technique. So I was determined to stick at it.

We left the ramp about 5am in the first light to keep an eye out for logs. These are clearing slowly by the way, but still enough around not to run out in the dark. We passes at least 2 that we would have run right over had we not been able to see them! I was armed with about 5 packets of 7in Gulps, 1 packet of 4in Prongs and a couple of 55g Octo-Jigs...and Dad had his trusty Pillies.

The first of the marks we were to hit is one I found a couple of years ago using the sea-snake technique discussed here. The water was still green at over 20nm out, and didn't look too good at all. There was a small show of Nannygai on the sounder sitting just off the mark. So small to try and anchor to, we decided to give it a few drifts. I sent down a 7in Gulp in a natural Pilchard colour. We had just about completed our first drift over the school when there was a very distinctive take on my plastic and I was connected. Only fishing 30lb Power Pro on my Twin Power any big fish was going to be a challenge. But holding the spool and pushing the line to its limits managed to keep the fish off the bottom and I was soon gaining ground. A few lunging runs later and a large red shape appeared through the green water. A nice Nannygai in the 5-6kg range was in the boat! I have caught a few good fish on plastics now, but this was an achievement for me.

Unfortunately this was the only fish to be pulled form this mark, and a quick look at a nearby patch didn't show anything on the sounder at all. So we headed a little wider to one of my favourite spots. The sounder lit up nicely and down when the lines. It wasn't long and we had a double hookup of nice 2-3kg Nannygai. This was looking good!

A few more drifts and a few more fish. Time to try anchor on the school! I'm not a big fan of anchoring, it can be very difficult to position the boat on a small patch of fish in 30m of water. In the same amount of time spent anchoring and re-anchoring to position the boat correctly you can do multiple drifts and have an eski of fish! But this was a large patch of fish and shouldn't been too hard to get on top off.

I didn't manage to anchor on the patch I wanted, but there were fish under us anyway. For the next couple of hours we continued to catch Nannygai in the 40-45cm range, plenty of Trevalley and a couple of small Cobia. All the smaller Nannygai went back as we had plenty of bigger fish for a feed. In all we ended up with 7 good Nannies and 1 Cobe in the eski. Plastics matched the bait easily (maybe even did a little better). But I went through 3 packets of Gulps and 1 Packed to Prongs. So its not a cheap as Pillies.

Before leaving we did a few more drifts to use up bait. And despite the fast run from the now picking up tide, we managed a couple more big runs and bust offs. But plenty of fish already to fillet, so off home we headed.


When I get a bit more experience under my belt I will write a full article on working plastics in deep water for bottom fish. But until then here is what I have been finding works for me, and it varies depending on the plastic. The 7in Gulp Jerk Shads I am rigging on a 1/2oz Nitro jig head in a 3/0 size. There are stronger jigs out there, but for the price these are pretty good. I'm yet to straighten one on 30lb, even pushed to breaking point. I am using 60lb Jinki leader material about 1.5m in length. Start a drift up-current of the school of fish and drop the jig directly to the bottom. Now the usual way to work the jerk shads has been to give two or three sharp jerks of the rod and then letting the plastic to sink again before repeating. This is good for fish like Trevalley and Mackerel, but I have found a different technique for the Nannygai. I 'shake' the rod tip erratically while raising the rod. Then with the plastic off the bottom its allowed to sink again before repeating. The 'shaking' of the plastic seems to be more attractive to the slower bottom fish than the fast sharp jerks. The fish seem to be attracted to the shaking of the lure and then take it when it stops and sinks again. The first you know there is a fish attached is when you go to lift the rod again and it loads up! Set the hooks and your on. You can also put a few turns onto the reel each time to get the bait 3-5m up off the seafloor before opening the bail and letting it sink again. Mix it up for the best results.

The 4in Prongs have been a real winner with these fish. I again am rigging them on the same 1/2oz 3/0 Nitro head. Its not a bad combination, but a 2/0 may fit the plastic better? With this one I again send it to the bottom. But this requires far less work from the rod tip to evoke some action! Just some short rises and drops is all thats required. Again, work it up to about 5m off the bottom before letting it sink.

I have tried the Lucanus Jigs from Shimano before and found them to be excellent for all manner of fish. So I wanted to give this style of lure a go on the Nannygai too. I tried the 55g Crystal Ball from SureCatch. These are a far cheaper option than the Lucanus, but as it turned out not worth the packaging they came in! I lost one very nice Nannygai when the hooks pulled off the Dacron cord under pressure about 3/4 of the way up! This should not happen fishing only 30lb. I have since repleced the hooks with a set available from gamakatsu. Technique is really simple. Let it sink, then just slowly raise and lower the jig off the bottom. Being rather heavy, these are a good option when drift is quite fast. But get a good quality jig or change the hooks.

The big advantage of any of these artificials over bait is that you can keep it on the bottom until you have a fish! There is no loosing you bait to pickers. This is very useful in a drift fishing scenario where you may only get one drop with bait before you have to re-position the boat! Loose that bait and the drift is wasted. With the plastic it doesn't matter if you get a hit and miss the fish, you just keep working it. Remember, all the plastics and jig heads you require, along with some top advice, is available from ProTackle Townsville.