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Giant Herring elops machnata
aka: Ladyfish, GH, Springer

 Photo: © Jono Shales

They're oddly named for a relatively lightweight elongated fish, but Giant Herring punch well above their weight, going frantically ballistic when hooked.

Both their speed and air-time are astonishing and the initial blistering runs really are something else. A large GH will have you into the backing in no time at all and when they take to the air


Generally a species of the warm tropics but will venture southwards during warmer periods past Sydney to Jervis Bay on the east coast and in Perth's Swan River in the West.

Most specimens are under 4kg, but trophy ones can attain lengths of up to 1.5 metres and up to 12kg. Giant Herring have sharp gill rakers and make quick work of leaders if the hook-set is in the wrong place.


Tackle and methods for Giant Herring

What tackle to use
6 to 9wt outfits, preferably LA reels with very smooth drag and plenty of backing when chasing larger fish. They have hard abrasive mouths that warrant the use of bite tippets.

What flies to use
Poppers; gurglers; crease flies; surf candies; deceivers; prawn imitations

Fishing strategy
The Giant Herring seem to turn up unexpectedly and not usually in numbers, but that really depends where you are.

Focus your efforts in tropical waters and warm water periods in sub-tropical zones. Fish tidal estuaries, bays and lagoons. Good spots will have deeper channels adjacent to shallow warm areas holding baitfish and prawns.

Bouncing retrieves to imitate prawn action while using sub-surface flies. With poppers, gurglers and creaseflies and other surface flies, a fast and jerky retrieve is usually most effective.

Target Giant Herring in the following locations:

Target Giant Herring with the following guides:

Carpentaria Seafaris

Exmouth Fly Fishing

Fish Philliskirk

Mark Bargenquast

Melville Island Lodge

One Tree Beach

Wilderness Island
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