Fish behind schedule
  |  First Published: October 2010

This year everything seems to be running a month late.

The snapper began to show in numbers in late July, cobia arrived in August and the offshore currents has remained unseasonably warm with water temperatures up to 24º off the continental shelf in August.

For these reasons we may see October provide what in a normal year would be traditionally a winter type of fishing on the offshore reefs.

October is often a relatively poor month to fish offshore on the Gold Coast, as it is between seasons. Usually most of the winter species have moved on but the summer pelagics are yet to arrive.

This year may well be different. On the 50 fathom line there should still be good fishing for pearl perch, amberjacks, yellowtail kings and samsonfish, and it has been an excellent year for delectable pigfish.

The prevailing current is usually the main factor that controls fishing the deeper reefs. Jigging with heavy metal jigs can be very good this month, especially on the northern end of the 50 fathom reef.

Most seasons the 36 fathom line still produces a few snapper in October but the fishing drops off as the weather warms up. This year should still produce some good snapper and the late winter spawning run may carry over to this month.

A few teraglin, mulloway and parrotfish will also be caught on the 36 fathom line.

In closer to the Seaway the 18 and 24 fathom reefs will produce snapper, teraglin and tailor this month but in general it slows down a bit.

There are often quite a few cobia in October, particularly on Mermaid and Palm Beach reefs and the Nine Mile east of Tweed.

Getting a good pinnacle to yourself and being on the water before sunrise are often the keys to success, and use plenty of berley for best results.

For the game fishers trolling out wide will produce a few striped marlin and the odd bigger blue marlin.

On the 50 fathom line there have been quite a few very solid black marlin to 150kg caught at places like Spot X throughout the past few months. If the slimy mackerel and pilchard schools remain, the marlin will probably stick around as well

Occasional decent yellowfin also turn up in October on the wider grounds and most are a by-catch from marlin trolling.

The area around the desalination plant is also worth a look this month to target small to medium sized cobia. This relatively new spot is hot and cold, but it does at times hold plenty of these migrating fish.

Live bait, berley and floating pilchards all work well. If you have no success it isn’t too far to then try Tweed or Palm Beach Reef. When the cobia are on at this spot you will always see boats present.

Another good spot to try at night is the drop-off just to the north of the Seaway. At times this holds plenty of mulloway, tailor and sharks and is a natural holding spot for bait. Only fish this spot in minimal swell.

Rivers and Estuaries

It has been a very reasonable flathead season so far, but at the end of August the fish still hadn’t moved into the deeper water and most of the roe in females seemed to be immature. Once again, things seem to be running later than usual.

The shallow grounds in the middle sections of the estuary from Crab Island to Tippler’s Passage have fished really well when the water is clean, and fish up to around 80cm have been reasonably common. Try the new Sebile lures; the Flat Shad and Magic Swimmer have great flathead potential.

The fish have been under a lot of pressure by anglers practicing for the upcoming Gold Coast Flathead Classic so it definitely pays to try something different.

Trolling, which seems a bit old school to some, has been equally as effective as casting on a lot of days. Most of the flathead about have probably seen hundreds of soft plastics but they aren’t as wary of trolled hardbodied lures that were used to fish for their grandparents!

This is an excellent month to target mulloway on soft plastics in the deeper sections of the estuary, around the Seaway and Jumpinpin.

There have been some very good sized jewies caught lately both on live mullet and soft plastics, with fish more than 1m a common catch.

Try Gulp 7” Jerkshads or Atomic Guzzlers. White is a very reliable colour. The less boat traffic, the more bites you will get. A few decent jewies also turn up as by-catch when targeting flathead.

October is also a great month to target mangrove jacks in the Nerang and Coomera rivers. As conditions warm up and we start to get afternoon storms the jacks get active.

Trolling deep running hardbodies, soft plastics or poppers, jerk baits and shallow running minnows all work well. I think the new Sebile lures look like excellent tucker for jacks and will certainly be giving them some water time soon chasing the red fanged beauties.

Whiting have been fishing really well all winter in the deeper sections of the Nerang River and also Coombabah Creek.

This month they will probably become a bit more active as things warm up, but it is definitely worth a session with soldier crabs or wrigglers. There have been plenty of elbow slappers about with fish over 40cm turning up all through winter.

Overall, October is a month where the angler is between seasons. The flathead should still be in good numbers and I’d put fishing soft plastics for jewies at the top of my options as well. A troll out on the 50 fathom line might be worth a day or twos effort if the bait stays plentiful.

To all competitors in the Flathead Classic I wish a safe and productive competition. Tight lines.

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