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Reef Fishing for Coral Trout
When you get into the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean realm, if you have the chance to get out and do any remote reef fishing, you will be forever changed. There is just a magical feeling about the edginess and raw nature to how the ocean punishes the reef. This primordial power play is what stimulates the growth of really powerful fish. Even in smaller packages, the fish have different level ferocity in the way they smash a lure and insane drag pulling power. Their caudal region or tail fin structure is exaggerated. It is thick and wide, appearing as though they have been working out on steroids. This is where the power comes from. A mainstay species on the reef is the coral trout. And, damn if they not come in such a wide variety of colors. You have the passionfruit trout, roving coral trout, vermicular coral trout and the bluespotted coral trout. All coated with an amazing melange of colors. Not only do they look cool, they are good as F to eat.
For In The Spread, I traveled to Western Australia to fish the Rowley Shoals to fish with Reel Teaser Fishing Adventures. I had heard about RS from my good friend Roddy Hays, who told me the fishing there was virgin and unspoiled. The Rowley Shoals is a group of huge atolls that sit on top of the continental shelf in the eastern Indian Ocean. The atolls are twenty miles by ten miles. We are talking about giant oval shaped coral reefs that comes up to the surface from over a thousand feet. Yeah, giant mountains in the sea. Reel Teaser Fishing Adventures is the only operation I would fish with, in this part of the world. Their experience targeting billfish, reef fishing and running backcountry excursions make them an excellent choice for the download on how to fish the Rowley Shoals. I always prefer to go with fishermen that have a breadth of experience. When you target baramundi in creeks, fish and win sailfish tournaments over and over again, are equally adept with spinning and conventional tackle, battle giant reef donkeys on heavy gear and then finesse ultra light tackle, you have more to offer. Your perspective is varied and rich. The Reel Teaser guys are some of the best fishing instructors. It was a treat to fish with them. I hope you enjoy their quick intellect.
With coral trout being so widely distributed in the Indo/Pacific waters, we wanted to spend some time targeting them and share with you some best practices and proven reef fishing techniques for this gamefish. This In The Spread fishing video features Chris Rushford and the sage Ross Newton heading out to explore Clerke Reef. It is all catch and release where we were, so every fish swam away.
The coral trout fishing experience on the atolls is, in part, defined by getting inside or on top of the atoll to fish “bommies” or coral heads that are the strong hold of the coral trout. At high tide you can cross the reef and at low tide the reef will be exposed, preventing you from taking a dinghy to the fishing grounds. Once you are in, you have a limited time to fish the bommies before the tide moves out. So, you are fishing an incoming tide. Not always the best, but this is the window and you take it. Don't get me wrong, there are loads of coral trout and some big ones.
Chris Rushford is wise beyond his years, when it comes to fishing. He does a lot of it and has had the benefit of fishing with the very accomplished Ross Newton. Learning from the one of the best is a difference maker. He his poised and articulate with his instruction. What Chris is going to do is systematically fish these secluded reefs and share with you everything he experiences. You will learn about covering ground, lures and tackle, how to vary your presentations to dial in a pattern, what to cast to and whole heap of savvy insights on coral trout fishing.
You may fish this area of the world or you may not, it doesn't matter. If you are into reef fishing, there will be something that you can take away and add to your own fishing arsenal. When outstanding fishermen talk about how they achieve success, it is always a good thing to listen. The species where you fish may be different, but the lessons you can learn about the tactics and tackle may be applicable to your fishery. Shit, or maybe you travel to a place where this is the game and you know just a little more. After all, knowledge gives you confidence and that will help when the battle ensues.
As Chris will lay out, a key to fishing this reef structure is to keep moving, covering ground. When you sit too long fish spook off. With tidal movements you have flowage and use that to set up a drift, but in the absence of flow, use your motor to move. Shut down and work an area for a few minutes, move to the next. You get exposure to a lot more fish this way. Casting to fish that have seen your boat or lure means more chances of fish coming out of hiding to hammer your lure.
Poppers are always a great way to start out. If there is more than one guy casting, have one guy go with the popper and the other angler with a stick bait. What you will see with Chris and Ross is that have go to lure sizes and color combos. Halco tackle is a preference of theirs. Halco lures are purpose built with a keen eye for handling strong fish. With each working a different presentation, they both have success. See what lures they like and how to work those lures through a range of performance characteristics. There is a real art to being about the exploit every bit of swimming motion out of a stick bait or popper. They are not just cast and reel back. I mean, you can catch some fish like that, but there will be times when you need a little more swagger in your dagger. You will see some very skilled anglers at work. Chris goes into great detail on the mechanics of his cadence and the manipulation of the fishing rod. Speed or lack thereof is important. You will learn how to use both.
You will notice that Chris and Ross are both over gunned. Why fish stout outfits when coral trout fishing? Well, there is always the ever present thrill of having a reef donkey rise up and annihilate your lure. There are some big fish out there and you have to be ready. You will learn about the fishing rod and fishing reel combo they use, along with what each reel is spooled with.
Most of this coral trout fishing video is tactical in nature. Sure, there is plenty of discussion on lures and tackle, but understanding how to work the reef is the big take away. If you are interested in how to fish for coral trout on this type of reef or are just looking for a few kernels of knowledge that can be added to your own program, elsewhere, there is plenty to chew on. This really is not that complicated, but knowing a few key fishing techniques can be the difference maker. Learn from the best and fish smarter.
Fish with Reel Teaser Fishing Adventures: https://www.reelteaserfishingadventures.com/
Total time: 35:38