Even more exciting was the fact that if I let the lure sink well under the passing school (assuming it wasn’t eaten on the drop), then commenced a slower lift-drop-lift retrieve in mid-water or down near the sea bed, I began connecting with all manner of bonus prizes, including the likes of big trevally, cobia, Spanish mackerel, fingermark (golden snapper), various cod and even some significantly larger tuna than the ‘schoolies’ typically associated with all that frantic surface feeding activity. Down south in kingfish waters we can add snapper to that mix.
In fact, transplanting all of these tactics to cooler southern waters has produced equally impressive results. Not that this should have surprised me. Switched-on sport fishers had been making the move to rubber on fickle schools of Australian salmon and yellowtail kingfish, in particular, for over a decade. Often, when nothing else (even cunning little fly patterns) will pull a bite from these single-minded fish, a lightly-weighted or completely un-weighted soft stick bait such as a Squidgies Flick Bait or Whip Bait tweaked erratically or even fished ‘dead stick’ in front of their noses will do the trick.
At other times, the same styles of soft jerk bait fished un-weighted on or near the surface with a fairly brisk, jerky retrieve was the next best thing to a live squid for unlocking the jaws of hard-pressured urban kingfish in heavily-fished locations such as Sydney’s Broken Bay, Harbour, Botany Bay and Port Hacking.
In retrospect, none of this should have been too surprising. Quality plastics fished intelligently work for exactly the same reasons on pelagics as they do on nearly every other critter that swims—because they look edible, behave naturally, taste and smell right and feel like food when a predator grabs them. It’s what our American friends would call a ‘no-brainer’. It should work… and it does!