Scott’s Species – bludger trevally, the north coast party gate crashers

Carangoides gymnosthesus

Eating: 2 stars

ID: Elongated body with brown/golden spots. Pointed head.

Bludger trevally aren’t something you generally expect to catch. They are more an occasional capture bobbing up while chasing other species.

However, when they do show up they usually are like the most out-of-control party gate crashers – bringing a heap of enthusiastic friends and causing chaos!

Bludgers often show up in huge schools. I remember veteran Pilbara fisherman Darry Hitchen telling me once that bludgers were the only fish he had seen that would create such water movement the water level seemed to rise around them.

A pack of bludger trevally chasing down a popper

I actually did experience this phenomena at the Mackerel Islands not long after he told me the story. Michael Sammut, Steve Hart and I were at Penguin Bank and it was going off, with surface explosions everywhere. The sharks were bad though, so we decided to take the hooks off poppers and get some video and photos of surface hits. We had been doing this for a while when all of the sudden a huge school of bludgers showed up behind the boat. They just followed us for about 30 minutes and every lure we cast saw dozens of them chasing it down. We got some spectacular footage and shots of the horde and it was great fun as they followed lures right to the rod tip time and again. I could see exactly what Darryl meant, with the pack of fish chasing the lure each time actually pushing up the water above their backs.

An underwater view of a school of bludgers at the Mackerel Islands.

It was incredible to witness. Bludgers are easily mistaken for goldspot trevally, especially with their spots on the flanks, but they have a more elongated body and more pointed nose. Their eye is also closer to the level of their mouth. They are more streamlined than most of their trevally cousins, so don’t have quite the pulling power of the other species, but are certainly a willing lure and bait taker and can be a lot of fun to catch.

We have caught most of ours on stickbaits in the 8-14cm range, but they are also quite partial to metal jigs in slightly deeper water. Most of the bludgers I have caught have been relatively small, in the 2-3kg range, but they do grow to almost a metre in length and 11 kilos.

They are largely an inshore species found near structures such as reefs and island, where they hunt fish, prawns and crabs, and we’ve encountered them generally in water from a couple of metres to around 30m. Bludgers are usually found from Shark Bay north.

Continue Reading

July 02, 2024

Check out the stunning marine life brimming around the artificial reefs off Mandurah and Perth!

Check this out, metro fishers – large schools of fish being spotted on our Perth “Fish Towers” and Mandurah artificial reefs picked up by our latest scientific monitoring using baited underwater cameras…

Read More

June 26, 2024

King of the Reef crown and $15k up for grabs in Exmouth Fishing for Science comp!

To celebrate the spectacular fishing on offer at Exmouth’s King Reef, Recfishwest is teaming up with Woodside Energy and the Exmouth Game Fishing Club to deliver the ’King of the Reef’ Fishing for Science…

Read More

June 18, 2024

Senior Police Sergeant says fishing safety angel ring saved man’s life at Quobba

A Carnarvon senior police officer at the centre of a risky rescue of a fisher washed off the rocks on our Mid-West coastline said the man would not be alive had he not been kept afloat by an angel ring –…

Read More

June 07, 2024

Gascoyne’s spectacular fishing on full display at Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition!

Hundreds of local community members and more than 250 fishers flocked to Carnarvon to experience the highly anticipated Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition.  Since its inception in 1992, Carnar-Fin has become an annual…

Read More

May 31, 2024

Get your marine park submissions in by June 16 to defend access to our cherished fishing spots

Recfishwest is urging ALL FISHERS who care about protecting access to cherished fishing spots to make a South Coast Marine Parks submission before the June 16 deadline. Whether you live and fish on the South Coast…

Read More

May 30, 2024

Fishing families flock to Denham for 2024 Shark Bay Fiesta!

For the 29th year running, the coastal town of Denham swelled in size for the hugely popular Shark Bay Fiesta that celebrates the fantastic fishing on offer in the Gascoyne region.   Recfishwest joined the Denham…

Read More