Fishing for hard fighting Giant Trevally in Queensland

Fishing tips for Giant Trevally (GT)

When somebody says they just want to go fishing and get punished by something big and strong, the one fish that pops into my head is the Gangster of the ocean, the Giant Trevally.

Because they can PULL!

For years many anglers thought the only way to catch them was with poppers thrown around isolated bommies, but over the years other methods have come to light.

In this blog I’m going to go through a few methods I’ve used to catch Giant Trevally in north Queensland, but these techniques will work equally well elsewhere.


Fishing for Giant Trevally (GTs) on charter with Ryan Moody

Fishing for Giant Trevally (GTs) on charter with Ryan Moody


Casting poppers for GT (Giant Trevally)

Firstly let’s start with the old traditional way casting poppers as I have previously mentioned. Now this method only works at certain times and like many pelagics you need current to get them to come to the surface.

Because they simply love chasing a moving target blooping on the surface.

Although the best time for this is on the larger making tides up to the moons and even then only while the tide is running.

A rocky outcrop or fringing coral ledge scattered with coral bommies is the best location.


Ryan catches a nice Giant Trevally (GT) off Cooktown

Ryan catches a nice Giant Trevally (GT) off Cooktown

Simply work these edges or outcrops using big poppers and a heavy duty spin outfit with a good retrieval rate because they like it fast. However an overhead outfit is useless in this situation as you can’t get the casting distance nor the fast retrieve to get those poppers blooping.

Once you have found a few fish willing to follow, work that area for a while and you should come up with the goods. Sometimes you’ll be stuck with what seems like a never ending bite resulting in very sore arms. But as soon as the tidal run slows towards the change of tides, this style of fishing slows down.

Trolling poppers.

Another method of targeting them on the surface is to find isolated wrecks or structure. Troll those large poppers over it and once again this must be done with tidal flow.

Some beautiful poppers are being made by Dave Killalea's Old Dog Lures which are suited to trolling and casting. I can't wait to give them a try.

Custom made poppers made for GT fishing by Dave Killalea

Custom made poppers made for GT fishing by Dave Killalea

Giant Trevally on the fly

On occasions in areas of less pressure we have seen massive schools in the shallows. They even resemble bommies they are so thick. We witnessed this several times up around Lizard island while fly fishing for them.

In excitement we would troll the fringing reefs with poppers that have no hooks and the client would stand at the ready with his fly rod. We would tease them up to the back of the boat as they were smashing the lures. And then when close enough the angler would drop his fly in front of them. It was not a matter of one taking the fly but which one got to it first.

I can remember on 3 occasions that GTs were so thick climbing over the popper teasers that they would woof it down and shoot out their gill openings. It would then wrap around their head and lasso them. Was amazing to watch let me tell you.

Dropping metal slices to catch Giant Trevally

So what happens when the tidal flow stops or the tides become neap? This is when the fish retreat to the depths and hang around at or near the bottom.

You will still find them in the same vicinity as the outcrops etc., but they will be out on the deeper drop offs.

Another nice GT caught by angler Ben on charter at Hinchinbrook

Another nice GT caught by angler Ben on charter at Hinchinbrook

When they get into this mood the best method to use is dropping metal slices to the bottom and then a very fast retrieve all the way to the surface.

There is something about a small shiny object getting ripped vertically past them that they just can’t seem to ignore. It must ignite a kind of feeding ritual they have inbuilt into them. If you drag the lure horizontally past them they will ignore but vertically just makes them fire up.

Click this link for some Tips on catching mackerel with metal slices.

Using soft vibes and plastics

Using soft vibes and plastics in this manner will also work and we have proven that on several trips. It’s the same as a metal slice just drop the plastic to the bottom and retrieve.

Now let me say that they are only a sport fish as their eating quality is poor and they are very hardy and generally release well.

Giant trevally are prevalent in Queensland waters and can be caught casting lures and popper fishing

Jacko has his arms stretched by this GT off Eva Island Hinchinbrook

Andrew Ettingshausen fishing for GTs at Hinchinbrook

ET with a nice Hinchinbrook GT


Giant Trevally are often caught as by-catch when fishing for fingermark. For tips on fishing for Fingermark (Golden Snapper) check out our previous blog post: Fishing for Fingermark.


GT's can be targeted in the fin fish closure

And we recently had some fun slow pitch jigging for GT's in the fin fish closure. Click here to watch the video. 

Releasing Giant Trevally

The best way to release after a quick photo is by spearing them head first into the ocean to get that rush of fresh oxygen flowing over the gills. This is a requirement for all pelagic species as they are designed for faster and constant swimming as compared to a barra that spends a lot of its time hovering in one spot. When we release fish such as barra we simply put them in the water and hold them in an upright position until they regain their composure.

So in conclusion make sure your tackle is up to the task and you've eaten your Wheaties that morning as a big sesh on the GTs is going to sort out the men from the boys.

Just think of the exercise as your biceps will be bulging before you know it.

Here’s a short video on what you can expect chasing the gangster of the ocean, the Giant Trevally (GT).


If you'd prefer to tangle with something that pulls like a schoolboy yet is a top grade food fish, take a look at our online fishing course Wonky Holes. It's the complete road map to fishing for large mouth nanny-gai and other delicious red fish. Without travelling all the way to the reef.

Click here to check out our free Wonky Holes presentation.

Chasing some Quick Catch lures like in the video? You can find stockists at this link: Quick Catch Lures Retailers

Some of our previous posts that may be of interest include;




Thanks for taking the time to visit. For exclusive tips, some I share only via email, and a chance to win a Ryan Moody Fishing barra charter for two, enter your name and email below to join our fishing community.

And we'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you have a GT story to share or would just like to say G'day.

Cheers Ryan



About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

Facebook comments


  • LEE

    Reply Reply December 21, 2018

    I want to make a reservation for fishing GT. charter full day.
    I will go to cook town alone February 2th to 9th .
    When can I reserve from February 2th to 9th ?

  • Rahman Hidayat

    Reply Reply November 15, 2016

    I would like to ask about the reality of GT escape power after hooked up.
    If the GT is 40lbs, is its escape power is over 40lbs or under?

    Great job Ryan

  • Steve Nay

    Reply Reply September 14, 2016

    Ryan I am coming up to the Hinchinbrook for a week of fishing starting the 23/9/2016. I am staying at Lucinda and will mainly be fishing the channel hoping for some Barra and Jacks OR ANYTHING THAT SWIMS BYE. This will be my 3rd trip and some of the areas that I have fished before and with many of your Barra tips I am hoping for a wonderful week.



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