Nice coral trout caught jigging for reef fish

Slow-pitch Jigging for reef fish

We got smashed jigging for reef fish off Cooktown on our last trip.

Now that we live in Cairns, Cooktown is only a few hours up the road and the reef is so close.

On this trip we took my old mate Ruffy and his partner Chris. Both are super keen anglers.


On her first time jigging for reef fish, Chris got smashed.

The trip didn’t start so well. We were chased off the water on the first day by a big storm.

Thankfully the weather improved and the fishing was cracking hot the next day!


Cooktown weather

The first day we were chased off the water by a big storm.

Slow pitch jigging for reef fish

Day two: Double hookup from the get go jigging for reef fish in Cooktown.

We had so much fun because Ruffy and I go way back and have been friends since Townsville.

Even better since his wife Chris outfished him about 5 fish to 1 haha.

We made a video of the day which you can watch below.



Jigging is not just for offshore fish, it's for inshore fish as well.

That's when we picked up the Pennant fish or Diamond Trevally.

The two best fish of the day were caught by Chris.

Both put up a massive fight and she was left convinced that jigging for reef fish was a very productive method.


Massiv GT caught jigging for reef fish

Fish of the day was caught by Chris

Pennant fish or Diamond Trevally

Unusual catch - Pennant fish or Diamond Trevally - picked up once we moved inshore.

Fishing on structure.

The key to a successful fishing tip is to find your own spots because they often hold the most fish!

I rarely fish the same spot twice, and find that discovering new ground is half the fun.

Jigging for reef fish is preferably done on open ground away from heavy structure.

Although you can fish tight to structure but be prepared to lose some gear!

It's just my personal preference, probably because from years as a charter guide where losing gear is felt on your business bottom line.

So I prefer to jig on fish that are not so close to structure.

Learn your fish finder!

A good understanding of your fish finder is imperative. Hence I created my Sounder Skills courses to help angler find great spots holding trophy fish.

Sometimes the best ground is not so obvious because it looks average on your fish finder.

So let me show you where (and how) to look in my introductory course Sounder Skills 1.

If you don't learn anything let me know and I'll give you your money back.



Gear Used Jigging for Reef Fish


GARMIN 8412 and GT51 transducer. (find out why >>here)


You don't need to have the most expensive equipment because the drags on some of the new reels are more than adequate.

Rod: Quantum Smoke Inshore 621BC

Reel: Quantum Reliance PT

Lures: Various - the best ones we will stock in our shop from October 2021

Line: 30lb Rovex braid with 60lb Ande mono leader.

Knots used.

Wind on leader system

Perfection loop to attach lures.


I hope you enjoyed the video of our day jigging for reef fish.

Of course the best way to get onto good fish is to learn to really use your fish finder.

We have two courses, Sounder Skills 1 and 2 and you can find more info on them here >> Sounder/Fish Finder courses.

In addition, here are a few more free resources you may find helpful and entertaining.



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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.

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1 Comment

  • Chris

    Reply Reply April 23, 2021

    Great vid. Don’t know how you get Cooktown without the wind. Every time we get there it’s 30 knots – enough to blow our fish and chips off the table 🙂
    Thanks for the vids. Just hyping me up

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