Ingham Large Mouth Nannygai Scotty Hillier

Scotty Hillier Bio

Scotty Hillier

Outdoors Television Presenter

Scotty grew up on the Sunshine Coast before becoming a fisheries inspector and moving to the Far North Queensland town of Ingham, where he befriended local pro fishers and learned the ropes on nannygai and red emperor. He’s been the host of the Queensland outdoors show “Creek To Coast” for 11 years and even had a short stint moonlighting as a fishing guide out of Ingham.

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Scotty’s Ingham Nannygai Fishing Tips

  • Far too many north Queensland anglers leave the ramp and beeline to a distant fishing mark somewhere on the reef, many of them not even turning on the sounder until they are almost there. Quality large mouth nannygai are often found a very long way from reef, sitting on isolated rocks, wonky holes or rubble patches that these anglers scoot straight past without knowing.
  • Having a sounder that works well at speed and staying glued to it for the tiniest anomaly allows the angler to find new nannygai ground whilst travelling at 20-25knots to the reef or whilst trolling for pelagics. When you notice a blip on the sonar whist moving at speed, double back and have a better look, it may be worth dropping some lures on.
  • Water depths from 20-60m are perfect for this species, although they can be found in shallower and deeper water at times too.
  • Often you’ll find that a particular mark will fish well on certain phases of the tide and not so well on other phases. If you find a rock or wonky that’s holding fish but they’re not biting after 20-30 minutes it can pay to go off and try somewhere else, then come back on a different tide. After a while you’ll figure out which marks to fish on which tides.
  • Don’t get sucked into the argument that nannygai are only caught at night. They do tend to school up tighter at night and can be easier to catch, but they are a viable and reliable target right through the day.
  • The period for a few days leading up to a new moon or full moon is always productive in north Queensland for many species, including nannygai. Scotty doesn’t like the last couple of days before the moon, or the day of the moon itself and he reckons that generally the dark moon fishes better than the full. But the fish often prove the theory wrong anyway!
  • Once you’ve found a mark you can either drift, anchor or spotlock over the top of it. It’s important to be right on the mark, as the fish are often tight to small, isolated rocks and the surrounding water can be barren.
  • It doesn’t hurt to add a bit of scent to your soft plastic lures. Scotty finds that once the first fish bites it can often stimulate other fish to start biting – often they will also be 10-15m from the bottom when they’re feeding.

Scotty’s Large Mouth Nannygai Tackle

  • There are often big, powerful red emperor mixed in among the nannygai, so Scotty uses 30-50lb braid, usually favouring the higher end of that range. He prefers 8000-15000 size spin reels with a matching rod and uses 60-80lb fluorocarbon leaders for their abrasion resistance.

Scotty’s Large Mouth Nannygai Lures

  • 7” ZMan soft plastic lures with plenty of scent are a great option – don’t make the mistake of weighting them too heavily, you might only need a couple of ounces of jig head in 40m or so of water. It’s better to have the lure wafting naturally than plummeting down. It’s important to vary the retrieve, sometimes they’ll respond to a plastic that’s gently jigged up and down, other times a more aggressive action and even a fast burn will get the bite. Sometimes a half ounce jig head will be enough, other times if the current is running you’ll need to use a 4oz jig head. When hopping the lure the bite usually comes on the drop.
  • The Nomad Vertrex soft vibe is a great option for large mouth nannygai. Because the areas that are being fished tend to be rubbly and the nanny’s are usually off the bottom you’ll find that snagging of the soft vibes isn’t too much of a problem. Work with small hops, much like the soft plastic.
  • Nomad slow pitch Buffalo jigs or similar are very effective when dropped down on nannygai and can simply be worked with lots of hops and flutters with fish usually hitting the lures as they drop.

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Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

Every time I interview Steve Riley about fishing the Exmouth area I get blown away by the opportunities on offer, but I think this interview could be my favourite so far. Steve spills the beans on five land-based fishing spots that are available to visiting anglers during spring. In the course of the conversation we cover everything from bream and whiting to tuna, reef species and pelagics including monster GT from the beach. What a destination!

1 Comment

  1. zenon kowalewycz

    your tips are very welcome, I was pro fishing in the Gulf many years ago’
    I have recently settled in Forrest Beach and am new to the area and reef fishing.
    Enjoy your Creek to Coast segments,


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