Flats GTs

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Dave Bailey
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Flats GTs

Post by Dave Bailey » Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:40 pm

Thinking about good GTs on the flats, specifically enticing a strike.

Just wondering how many people have had one follow the fly for any length of time and still had the fish eat? I’m talking about fish of say 10kg plus - not small ones.

I haven’t hooked nearly enough big GTs, but all of the ones I have hooked on the flats have hit the fly almost immediately after they have seen it. The ones that have initially just followed the fly have never ended up eating it.

What are others experiences?

Simon Gilbert
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Simon Gilbert » Wed Feb 10, 2021 9:52 pm

Many times had big GTs follow a medium sized fly just looking and then someone throw a BIG fly near/ next to smaller fly for then a quick spectacular eat. Rairly hookup - even a 8/0 has a hard time finding a piece of mouth when you could easily chuck a 10 litre bucket down the mouth. Then if it does hookup, almost always finds something to do you on - even at long range. Helps if skipper is good at getting boat between fish and reef.
Also often thrown medium flies for no interest and then throw a chook and get quick eat.
Convinced that big flies are the answer - at least when turtles are hatching in summer.

Dave Bailey
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Dave Bailey » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:08 pm

Thanks Simon. I tend not to use really big flies, so that might be an issue for me.

Sounds like even with big flies they either smash it straight away or don’t eat?

Simon Gilbert
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Simon Gilbert » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:32 pm

Dave I must admit it's been a long time since I did more than a small amount of this. Over about 3 trips we were targeting GTs on a flat almost every day ranging from about 10kg to probably over 70kg (based on a weighed one at 46kg) or bigger. By my memory was if the fly was big enough - it would eat. But if small, they could follow for a while or totally ignore it. So at what size did it become a big fly??? All I know is that the flies we ended up using were huge. Probably 20 or more hackles (webbing and all). Probably over 200mm long. Always thought that the size of the fly was directly proportional to amounts of strikes. Also number of hook-ups directly proportional to hook size.

Had very small experience in those days and even smaller casting ability than I do now (and as you know - that's not much!!). We were only fishing max 8kg line with 300mm shock tippet. So we lost all the big ones - the ones we stayed connected to always got to small amounts of rock (a few inches high) or at LONG distance to the edge of the flat.

Would love to try again at this time of the year (January) with better casting ability, electric motors, floating/intermediate lines, fly tying material suitable for huge flies and BIG hooks that are small enough gauge to set on say 15kg line. Assuming the fish are still there!! Never tried a fly that directly duplicated a baby turtle - I think that would work a treat.

Also should say that this experience is really in one area, at one time of the year. Could be totally different elsewhere.

Good luck. You'll need it together with good gear AND good skills. It's also a numbers game - sooner or later a huge one will make a mistake.

Simon Gilbert
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Simon Gilbert » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:45 pm

Just thought of another piece of evidence for large flies...

I've done LOTS of spin rod popper fishing for GTs. Admittedly most of this is nearer deeper water as a popper across shallow flats will often spook GTs - but water less than say 2 metres is common. Have proven time and time again that big poppers are better than smaller. MANY times two of us are fishing different sized poppers and a fish will start chasing a smaller popper but will veer off (often quite a distance) to hit a bigger popper. Sometimes I had them swimming a couple of inches under the smaller one (almost pushing it aside) to get the bigger one. Many times a half hearted chase for small popper then a crashing strike to the bigger one. I'm talking about the difference between a 30mm diam 150mm long popper to a 45mm diam 200/250mm long popper. BTW - I've never seen a situation where colour makes a difference.

Now days when I just want some fun in an area where we would almost certainly lose a flyline I will use the biggest popper I can physically cast a long distance (for a period of time).

Again MUCH better hook up rate with really big hooks. If you think about the size of a mouth on even a medium sized GT, getting a hook to connect is difficult with the mouth that is big enough to throw a 10 litre bucket down without touching the sides . Small hooks don't stand much of a chance. But as said before...if luck is with you, success will follow. I don't have much of this luck!!

Mike Andrew
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Mike Andrew » Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:39 am

Some interesting observations Simon.
Thanks for sharing.
Coincidentally , during the during the last lockdown I spent some time
watching videos of flats GT on fly.
Some of the high speed crash and go takes were spectacular.

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DNYE
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by DNYE » Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:02 pm

I had a similar experience throwing poppers and stick baits in the cook islands, the lure I had the most success with was comically big at around 300mm and was a black cup faced popper. I was exhausted after throwing for about an hour it and had to keep changing back to smaller lures which seemed to be ignored in comparison to the big black beauty. I ended up selling it to a local who wouldn't take no for an answer. I need to pick up another one!

There is a video somewhere of some blokes fly fishing at Farquhar attol who used a thong with some feathers tied on it as a fly and got an epic take with the fish thinking it was a bird. Freaking awesome.

Cant wait to get a monster Geet on the fly, my PB on fly would only be a little 45cm marauder.

Diarmuid O Laoghaire
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Diarmuid O Laoghaire » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:05 pm

I remember speaking to Dan about the GT's. He said he noticed that he got a lot more land based hook up's if he cast out to intercept the fish, then waited until he thought the GT was in range to see the fly before doing one big long fast strip followed by normal smaller strips. Dan's logic was that the big strip got the attention of the GT and made it look like it was trying to evade them while the normal smaller strips looked more like its normal swim pattern and gave the GT more confidence to scoff it. Bait fish arnt constantly moving at light speed so this type of retrieve might hold something to his success with the landbased GT's. I guess if the GT wasnt taking the fly with the smaller strips then another long fast one followed by the smaller one's may trigger the eat.

Dee :)

Tony Ong
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Re: Flats GTs

Post by Tony Ong » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:19 am

Lots of different experiences and ideas there. Every fish that I have seen hooked has had no hesitation in smashing the fly. We've hooked GT's with everything from prawn and crab flies, to the largest profile flies. Large flies get the most aggressive eats. Prawn and crab flies have a really delicate dip. Every fish that we have hooked haven't been aware that we were on the flat before they hit the fly. If the fish was aware of us (by their body language, ie moving away from boat/angler), we never got an eat. I tend to not lead the fish by too far. GT's will amble along a flat, and will almost never swim in a straight line. I try to land the cast far enough in front of the fish so that the fly has time to sink to the same level as the fish. One particular fish, I lined the fish. It spooked, but turned around and ate the profile fly.
We've come across mixed school of fish where there are big GT's, Golden Trevally, Cobia, Queenfish. Every single time, the Golden Trevally and Queenfish are fastest to the fly. Gt's and Cobia react a little slower. Best to get your fishing buddy to cast first in this situation, to get rid of the Goldens and Queenies. :P
I can relate to your experience losing fish on light tippets Simon. Been stubborn and trying for years to get a big GT on 10kg tippet. Lost every fish that I hooked. Finally relented and went to straight 70 pound. Managed to land 3 fish over the meter mark in quick succession. Of those, two out of the three fish would have been easy to land on 10kg tippet, as there was no structure to be seen for miles. Can you post a pic of some of the flies with a measure next to them please Simon. I remember you showing me some of those flies years ago. Would be $20 worth of feathers these days. :o

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