This week is all about Large-mouth Nannygai.  There are two types commonly caught in Queensland waters – the Large-mouth, and the Small-mouth Nannygai.  The Small-mouth don’t reach the enormous size of the Large-mouth (over 1-meter 15kgs+) and don’t have as good eating quality.  Large-mouth are the obvious target by anglers and must be one of the best eating reef species with perfect white, soft flesh once cooked.  Another great attribute of these fish is their fighting capability.  When you hook a fish over 80cm be prepared, because these fish fight like crazy and will put every part of your fishing outfit to the test not to mention your physical capability. 

Large-mouth are generally found in numbers in deeper waters above 20 meters from rubble country in the middle of nowhere to ledges, wrecks, gutters and drop offs.  The other places these fish seem to be drawn like magnets to are wonky holes.  Wonky holes is an Australian term for a submarine groundwater discharge or a freshwater spring flowing from the seabed.  Modern state of the art side scan capabilities on high end sonars these days are making it easier to locate wonky holes hence all the chat about wonky holes on Australian fishing forums.

Once wonky holes are located, quite often the schools of Nannygai can be found on a 2D sonar hanging a few meters off the bottom and will rise further with the use of burly.

There’s plenty of mad lure fisherman out there having success catching this species on blades, jigs, vibes, and plastics, but for me bait fishing wins hands down.  Baits such as pilchards, squid, prawns, or an oily fish bait like School Mackerel work the best for me.

Large-mouth Nannygai have soft lips, so it pays to let the fish fully engulf your bait before striking. Lip hooked fish tend to tear so constant pressure is a must.

Nannygais suffer terribly from barotrauma and have one of the worst mortality rates around, so it pays to utilize a release weight or be skilled in the release of built-up gasses if you intend releasing fish. 

One of the most successful anglers in my ALLSTARS INSALT online fishing competition has been Luke Bolton from Mourilyan Harbour, Cassowary Coast Region, Queensland – taking away $1200.00 cash for the months of January to April.

I caught up with Luke for a chat so he could share his tips for success.

What’s your attraction to Nannygai?

They fight hard, and I don’t have to travel too far from home to catch a prize-winning fish.

What type of country do you fish?

Anywhere from 25 to 90 meters of water where I fish wonky holes, ledges, and wrecks.

What type of electronics?

Hummingbird – Helix Gen3 series.  An awesome unit.

What tides / moon phase / season do you prefer?

None of that bothers me if the weather is good.  It’s great fishing up here and the beauty of this ALLSTARS online competition is I can fish any time I like.

Are you a bait or a lure fisherman?

I do a bit of both, but I like to put in the hard yards to source live baits.

What’s your favourite bait / lure?

My favourite live bait is Yakkas, and my favourite lure is a vibe by “Quickcatch Lures” in the 150mm size.  They are Townsville based and an awesome product.

What’s the largest Nannygai you’ve caught?


What outfit do you use to catch these beasts?

I use a Stella 5000 with a PE3 (55lb) rod.

What advice can you give to anglers wanting to target Nannygai?

If you find a spot with Nannygai don’t overfish it, catch a couple, and move on.  Look after your spots and don’t share them.  I release most of my fish after venting the swim bladder of the built up air.  When you learn how to do this properly they swim away for another day.  You can learn how to effectively vent a fish by watching YouTube videos.

Hopefully this article inspires you to get on the water and give Nannygai fishing a crack.  ALLSTARS has months of competition still to occur and stories to share.  I have decades of fishing tips and will interview many more successful commercial and recreational anglers to share their suggestions too.

As much as I like to write about fishing, I’d also like to hear from you.  So please email me at to share your fishing trips, fishing tips, fishing stories and photos.

A day on the water is better than a day at work.

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