The human race is generally a bit, dare it be said, ‘uneducated’ with regards to the ocean and all that she holds. Leisure Boating will look at different ocean species every month with the aim of giving our readers a closer look at the wide range of life forms that lurk below.
Garrick are easily distinguished by their concave bellies, large tails and sharp snouts. As mentioned it has a scale-less, almost leathery appearance but it does in fact have minute embedded scales. Its back is dusky brown/ green in colour while the lower half and belly are primarily white. The fi n lobes may be black or dusky tipped and there is a prominent lobe at the beginning of the long second dorsal and anal fi ns, a characteristic typical of many species of the jack and trevally family. Unlike many members of the family, however, Garrick has short pectoral fins and no scutes. The average recorded sizes of caught fish are usually between two and five kilograms in estuaries and between five and 10 kilograms at sea. However, the current IGFA all tackle record for Garrick is an impressive 27,78 kg (61,25 lbs)!
Garrick can usually be found behind the surf backline along sandy beaches where they often hunt for smaller fish such as shad, mullets, karanteen and bluefish on the surface. It has been known to hunt in schools, trapping a shoal of baitfish in a gully and systematically picking them off. They are also frequently found in deeper water (50 m max) off rocky headlands and in the estuaries of tidal rivers.
Garrick is a recreational species only, and a premier gamefish targeted by shore anglers, boat anglers and spearfishermen alike. As Garrick are always hunting smaller fish, if you can figure out where the baitfish are, you’re halfway there! They prefer hunting in the surf zone which means one has to patrol the backline area for the best chance of success. When angling from the shore, one should look to cast into deep channels or holes in the surf zone, preferably near a sandbank churning up the water as Garrick seem to love white water.
It is recommended to hunt for Garrick on fairly light tackle as the fight will be more enjoyable and memorable. As they are seen as ‘clean’ fighters – meaning they tend to stay near the surface and will very seldom seek shelter among rocks or other structures – one doesn’t need heavy or excessive tackle. It is of course entirely up to the angler, but with an 8’ rod and about 20 lb braid, you’d be able to cast a fair distance and you’ll be in for an exhilarating fight!
In terms of what to put on the end of your hook, pretty much anything goes – as long as it looks lively. Lures or live bait works well for Garrick. Should you prefer lure fishing, it’s recommended that you opt for a surface lure that runs on top or just below the surface, mimicking fleeing prey. Poppers, spinners, plugs or spoons should do the trick and even salt flies for the avid fly fishermen.
Lures work fairly well but live bait seems to get the best results when it comes to Garrick. Trolling at very low speeds with Mullet or Shad – or indeed any other live bait that you can get your hands on – should attract Garrick and often one would see the fish chasing and striking the bait with a screaming reel as result!