Silver Trevally

Silver trevally are an easily accessible light tackle fish that respond well to many methods. For that reason, the silver is a very popular sportfish in the southern states.

They make themselves available year round and can be found around inshore shallow reef areas and inside estuaries which is small boat and land based fisho friendly.

They respond well to liberal doses of berley, small soft plastic lures and a wide variety of baits.

What’s not to like?

Power to Weight Ratio

Silver trevally are not your 25 kilogram popper scoffing, shoulder dislocators like those GTs found up north. A 50 centimetre silver trevally would be considered larger than average in Victoria, while places like Norfolk Island can experience silvers to a staggering 15 kilograms.

They fight in typical trevally fashion by turning side on and using their board flanks to their advantage in a tug-o-war all the way to the angler. For this reason, they punch well above their weight and you’ll certainly know you have one on.

Baits

Thankfully, silver trevally will take just about any bait. My personal favourites are raw chicken, pilchard fillets, pippies and almost any regular packet bait after that will get them interested.

I’ve found silvers with bass yabbies, small crabs, shrimp, fish and basically, anything smaller and slower than them in their gut.

Lures

Lures and silvers are an interesting subject since they were long thought of as a non-contender for artificial tossing enthusiasts. They are a relatively timid species and lure captures were rare in Victoria.

Rare that is until soft plastic lures burst onto the scene. Small single or paddle tailed grubs worked slow and deep will gain interest from a silver trevally and this is a hint to their prey size they seek and the depth they hunt.

Many anglers have also had success on long worm and smelt style lures worked slow so it pays to pack a variety of sizes and colours. My favourite coloured soft plastics include crawdad, motor oil, pumpkin and other odd brighter colours such as chartreuse and orange.

I’m sure the Norfolk Island monsters would clamber over larger offerings but we’ll take what we can and they do make an exciting light tackle target for soft plastic enthusiasts.

I know they do take small flies worked slowly near the bottom. Current is my greatest enemy here and where I target silvers there is a bit of flow and weed so sinking fly lines can get difficult. I’ve tried a few times without luck but I’ll get one sooner or later!

Tackle

You know you deserve it so shout yourself a spinning rod and reel suited to around 2-3 kilogram line and you’ll cover most scenarios from flicking soft plastics to leisurely soaking a bait.

Three to four kilogram braided line is more than enough and really excels over monofilament for finesse style soft plastic fishing where you need to feel every nudge and bump while fishing slow and deep.

Tie on a monofilament leader of around the same breaking strain as the main line. Some anglers swear by fluorocarbon but I’ve still caught plenty on plain old two or three kilogram monofilament leader.

I’m guessing that super fussy fish that see a fair few lures where catch and release is regularly practiced might sway the thinking to a less visible leader such as fluorocarbon.

Depending on how many snags are in the area, setting your drag lightly to around about one kilogram isn’t such a bad idea as they have a very soft mouth. Fish from about 35 centimetres and up will easily pull this drag and if you increase it too much, there’s a chance you’ll pull the hook from the fish’s soft mouth.

Experience is the key here and sooner or later you’ll feel the need to put some more hurt on a big silver to keep him from a moored boat or pier pylon, thumb or tweak the drag up and *pop*, you’ll get your lure back fishless.

I don’t really have an answer for that one, other than try to manage larger fish gently where possible and good luck!

They do seem to hug the bottom so lure retrieval needs to be slow and deep. Gently lifting and flicking the rod tip to give the lure a bit of action should see you come up tight on a silver when they are on.

Jig heads need to be as light as manageability dictates. I’ve found that once your jig head needs to be increased to counter tidal flow, then the silvers will have most likely moved on anyway.

Bait Fishing Rigs

If you are fishing shallow waters and casting some distance from your boat, land based possie or jetty, a running sinker rig with about 30 to 40 centimetres of leader is about right.

If you are fishing deep and/or moderate depths with a bit of flow, then the paternoster does best with a similar length leader. If you have a solid berley trail and a thick school at the back of the boat or jetty, then unweighted baits allowed to float out with the berley will absolutely dominate. Keep sinkers as light as possible with regards to holding bottom and castability.

Hooks set in their soft mouth best from about sizes 4 to 1/0 and should be able to hide a small bait ok. Gut hooking fish is rare since they do hit it reasonably well rather than slowly picking or swallowing it whole.

On the Plate

They are a strong flavoured fish without being overpowering. The flesh tends to suffer a bit after freezing so best eaten fresh.

They can dry out so marinades, steaming, foil cooking and shallow frying is better than grilling or cooking too long.

I have heard they make a fine sashimi with wasabi and soy

Locations

Silver trevally love a good reef, jetty, boat harbour and estuary. I’ve even caught small silvers while surf fishing in some of the roughest water on Victoria’s west coast while searching for salmon.

They will school up so if you can keep them near the boat or pier with a steady slick of berley, then you could be in fish a hot session.

I normally use chook pellets mixed with tuna oil in calm waters while in a current, I don’t bother too much. In fact, I have not caught too many in any stiff current so if it does pick up, look for sheltered sections or calmer waters out of the main current and you may find the school.

I’ve seen big schools of silvers appear out of nowhere when laying a berley trail over a reef or even off a jetty. However, if you have them in a berley trail and a hooked fish gets off, it can often spook the school as the once hooked fish flees the scene.

So as a target fish, they cover many options from bait to lure, land, pier and boat. They fight well and do ok when invited back for dinner so well worth seeking out for your next angling adventure.

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