News & Blogs - Catching GTs: tip two

Second point and possibly the most important, know your tides!!!! What time they change and how much water is in each change.

Have a look at the area before you go out on the water and fish and try and establish which direction the current will hit the reef on the run in tide and run out and make a game plan. This is where you will look at the information you learnt about where to fish, look at the reef you going to, have a look at the structure then try and paint a picture in your head what the tide and current will be doing there whilst you fishing and try pick the spots to go to, this is to maximise your fishing time in the day and to make sure you at the right place at the right time of the tide. Remember that these currents and where to be at what time not only applies to GTs it applies to all predatory fish, because this is where the bait will be!!!

I have gone selected a random piece of the Barrier Reef that I have never fished before and I’m going to dissect it as if I were to be taking clients there for the first time with a primary goal and that’s to catch as many GT as possible.


So the first thing I do before looking at the map is check the tides.

Wednesday 21 March 2012 we have the following tides, this is what we going to work off.
L 02:59 – 0.68m
H 0929 – 2.96m
L 15:25 – 0.63m
H 21:52 – 2.72m
These are decent tides and will give you a huge variety of area to go to, let’s have a look.

We looking to get out on the water ready to fish at 7am judging by that we will be arriving at the reef on the last 3 hours or so of the run in tide, so I would be going directly to the places where the current hits the reef first and work my way with the current so that I’m in or near a channel as the tide changes. The reason for this is that current will always get pushed through a channel so even when the current flow is slow due to the tide change there will still be water movement and the fish will swim around and find themselves in those areas so they can easily get a feed.

The other alternative on a tide change will be to set yourself up for the run out tide, often you would have to travel a distance to get to the other side of the reef where the current will be hitting and this takes time so doing this over slow periods in the tide both gives you a rest and you don’t waste time when the fishing is hot so this will maximise your day.

As soon as the Run Out tide starts it will be game time so you want to try and already set yourself up with a decent selection of areas top go to when it changes, I will personally always try my best to fish down current so as to set up quiet drifts nice and easy and not have to keep the boat in gear whilst casting at the edge of the reef, a stealthy approach will almost always produce more fish.

This particular area is fairly big and a lot of area to fish but if you plan your day right you should be in with a chance for most of the day.

Wow I’m actually sitting here getting extremely excited and want to go send some lures flying in attack mode!!! this particular part of reef I have chosen has plenty of area to keep you busy and if things went well I would expect to catch anything up to and possibly more than 35 fish in this sort of a spot but when GT fishing any day you have with more than 10 quality fish is a cracker.

So I would be going directly to spot A as the tide would have already come in quite a lot, from there I would move my way down to the edge at B and depending on what the current was like there move closer towards the channel at C and D that is more than enough area for that beginning portion of the run in and I wouldn’t waste too much time if the fishing is slow on a particular spot.
After catching hopefully a few fish for the morning there we would be sitting on a full tide with 2.6m of tide to run out over the top of the reef, at the later part of the tide the reef will be exposed in certain areas so you would want to go to these areas first and those hard barrier edges almost always expose themselves first.

Judging by this map and the colour of those edges that will be happening here, so give yourself a rest and run to the little cut out at point E on the run out tide map that point will receive the first bit of run out available, there should be hopefully a pack of fish there frothing for a feed. After that action I would slowly idle down the edge of the reef spot casting as you go toward the area F you will see there will by this stage be a massive pressure edge and the current would have started pushing over that edge balling bait up along it, these kind of spots can be dynamite in calm conditions and if it’s on its on so brace yourself!!!

Depending how good the fishing was there you would have 2 choices either go to G, H and end up at I if it were good or second choice if F was a little slow then I might be persuaded to go and have a look at something different like the points at J, K and L the tide will be doing completely different things there and it may just be what the fish are looking at for that particular day. You will fish those points a lot quicker and be looking at the middle of the run out tide. The current will slowly start getting pushed in different directions as the reef gets exposed and a place like M could be another gem of an edge with the current hooking through those little channels and out towards N and O. Which themselves will have fish on but by this stage you will be looking for a rest as your arms would have no doubt been stretched something chronic…..

This would be a perfect time on the change of the tide so maybe take a break and chill out for a little while or even better go for a snorkel and explore what the Barrier Reef has to over it’s truly amazing stuff, a swim will sound like a very tempting idea. Make sure you are rested sufficiently cause the tide is about to start pushing and those GTs are going to be very hungry. That main point at Q and R is going to be receiving the fresh run in tide first and will no doubt be a killer and there will be fish lined up ready to rock and roll. I would fish my way down current and stop at P and end up at A and B again for a last cast before it will be time to go home…

You will find that in some days you may only go to 3 maybe 4 spots because the fish are just going crazy and the game is on but when things are a little slow you often do a bit of mileage this map I have dissected is a massive day and I doubt that you would ever be able to do that much fishing for 2 reasons, you will be physically broken and tortured by the fish or they aren’t playing the game.

What I have described here is how to fully use a tide during a day and to exploit it every possibility now you have a half a plan and by this stage will be frothing to get out there and get a couple lures in the water, I know I am after that!!!

4 Responses to “Catching GTs: tip two”

  1. Neville from NZ says:

    Hi Glandville,
    Great to hear from you,will take on board your comments regarding Fiji. I plan to take both a 50 lb and a 100lb outfit this trip.I hear they are catching a few yellow fin with stickbaits , hence the 50 lb outfit.Thought I might try the 100gm Bobarra I bought on the Buggati trip in 2009 with you fellows with an assist hook on the tail as per one of Damon’s rigging demos. Can’t get Yamaga’s over here so picked up a Carpenter BLC 83/40R instead and will team it up with my stella 20000sw for poppers. Looking forward to the Ribbon reef trip so will catch you then.

  2. glanville says:

    Hey Neville,

    sounds good mate, around the Fiji area i would be looking at your standard tackle Ie: 100lb braid and lures around the 130g range that will suffice for most of the fish there, there is a couple of bigger ones there but generally they range for 18-30kg, tackle for the driver out i would be suggesting a Yamaga Blue reef 78/8 rod or something similar, with stella 18000 and 100lb Jerry brown braid, lures and terminals are all available on the boat at competitive prices to your local tackle store and that way you purchase only the right lures for the occasion.

    See you out there mate

  3. Neville from NZ says:

    Hey Glanville

    Really enjoyed tips one and two and looking forward to the other three. We’re off to Fiji in July for a “warm up” and plan to get a few dogtooth, ulua and cubera lures wet amongst the bommies up there. Hopefully, good practice for our Ribbon Reef drive-out with you guys in November this year.

    Plan to use my own gear again in November so would be interested in any suggestions on appropriate tackle to use in this location.

    See you then.

    • Anonymous says:

      I fish the northern GBR a bit (Cooktown)generally the mid reefs but out to the ribs often enough
      We find the variable oceanic current runs harder than the tidal flow.
      Generally speaking a northerly oceanic will be enhanced on the making tide and retarded on the falling tide but essentially flow is always from the north, such that the reversal in your drawings never really happens?
      Sometimes you will get local tidal effects (draining off a reef) but the pressure points are the northern faces

      Whats your call on oceanic vs tidal currents?


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