by Gary Brown
Over the past ten years or so I have had the chance to travel around a fair bit due to my work and holidays, and when I do go away, I will always take at least one outfit and a box full of artificals with me. Places that I have been able to fish have been Exmouth in WA, The islands off Vanuatu, Townsville, Tasmania, Geelong in SA, Mallacoota in Victoria, Racecourse Beach south of Ulladulla, Lake Macquarie, Just to name a few.
I have caught many a porcupinefish while slowly rolling hard bodied lures over the flats
It has been during these travels that I have targeted many different fish species that will give me a good tug on the line or provide me with a feed. Over the years I the main species of fish I have targeted are flathead, snapper and morwong offshore, salmon and tailor off the beach, bream, trevally, luderick and drummer from the stones and in the estuaries I will target, bream, flathead, whiting, mulloway and snapper.
But it has been during these times that I have caught what I would call strange fish species to what I would normally catch.
For instance I was fishing during a bream tournament at Port Stephens with a mate of mine. While we were deep jigging with blades along the edge of the breakwall near the marina in the centre of town. Dave got a huge hit that peeled line off like there was not tomorrow. After a short, but very tense tussle we both expected to see a good size bream come to the net. To our surprise Dave had managed to catch a surgeon fish on a Strike Pro 40mm Vibe.
During a stint up in Townsville during the month of October I had a chance to chase mangrove jacks along the breakwall that is adjacent to the casino in Townsville. I didn’t manage to land any mangrove jacks over the four days I was there, but I did catch a number of hairtail. Yes, hairtail. Fourteen to be correct over three afternoons and all were caught on shallow and deep diving hard bodies.
While up in Townsville I was also using soft plastics chasing pikey bream, trevally and flathead in shallow water with surface lures, and even though I caught plenty of pikey bream, trevally and flathead I got sick of catching barracuda after barracuda. It didn’t matter whether I used a slow, medium or fast retrieve. I even tried changing the places that I was fishing, but to no avail. More barracuda. Oh well they did put up a great fight in shallow water, but I did loose six surface lures.
Using soft plastics and blades off shore chasing snapper, morwong, kingfish and trevally is not a new thing and I have been doing it for a number of years now and over the years I have caught a number of what I call strange fish species. Just recently I was working a gravel patch for snapper and managed to catch a number of parrot fish. I t was not a matter of jagging them they all smashed the lure extremely hard for a small fish.
One of the ways that I prospect for bream over the flats is to slowly troll a couple of hard bodies. When I mean slow, I mean at about one to two knots. The only problem is that when the tide has started to slow down the porcupine fish now have enough speed to catch the lure. This sometimes means that the lure smashed beyond repair.
The photos in this article are not what I would target with artificials, but are some of what I have caught over the years. Maybe you have caught some strange fish on lures. If so send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your strange catches.