Warming Activity
  |  First Published: November 2010

This month is a period of transition in the estuaries and rivers.

The water temperature should increase to around 22ºC, which will increase the activity in sand crab and whiting. Summer species such as mangrove jacks are also very active, particularly if we start to get a number of late afternoon storms.

By November most of the flathead have spawned and are starting to move back up the rivers. Try to work the first of the run-in tides in areas such as Tipplers Passage, the mouth of Whalleys Gutter, Crab Island and the bottom end of Short Island. After spawning most of the fish feed actively and they tend to move away from the deeper sections around the river mouths up onto the flats.

I’ve found working feeder channels for flathead to be very reliable as the tide pushes in. I like to fish a mixture of lures including TT Blades, Gulp Swimming Minnows and Shaky Shads and the new Jigging Minnow, which has proved to be a very reliable performer. There will still be a few big fish in the deeper water that can be targeted with 3/4oz-2oz jigheads and big shad tails or curly tails.

November is a very good month to chase mulloway on soft plastics around Jumpinpin; 7” jerk shads in white are my favourite lure for jewies. This season there have been a lot of smaller fish under the 75cm legal limit around, but a few over the metre mark have turned up when the conditions are right.

In the Seaway drifting live baits is reliable for mulloway, flathead and trevally. Tarpon are sometimes schooled up around the north wall of the Seaway and respond to flies and small jigs. Tailer also turn up this month but are mostly smaller choppers.

Trolling and casting soft plastics up the Nerang and Coomera rivers is a good way to target mangrove jacks. With good winter rains it should be a good jack season this year. The old reliable method of trolling deep hardbodies, such as the Mann’s Stretch 20, is a method definitely worth resurrecting.

The more recent developments in the Broadwater have been distinctly to the mangrove jacks liking, we are finding new spots all the time. Sovereign Islands is a good example with rock walls, canal mouths, bridges and marinas all making ideal habitat for these great fish.

Whiting should be around in good numbers and tend to move into the shallows a lot more. The Nerang has fished well for whiting all season and has produced excellent catches throughout the early part of spring. Good bait is the key to success and small soldier crabs, wriggler worms, bloodworms and even yabbies have produced excellent catches of fish up to over 40cm in length.

Another species worth chasing in November is sand crabs. As the water temperature increases the Aldershots and weed beds around Crab Island start to produce plenty of tasty sand crabs and I find flathead and whiting frames to be amongst the best baits.


November on the offshore grounds is quite a difficult month to fish. The current is hard to predict but later in the month we usually see the first tongues of blue water from the East Australian Current start to push into Gold Coast waters.

Traditionally cobia and spotted mackerel start to arrive on Palm Beach Reef in late November. The cobia usually arrive first, but off the Tweed Coast in areas such as Nine Mile Reef and the reef off Snapper Rocks (now mostly covered by sand) the cobia arrive at the same time.

If the water is blue and the current is running, mahi mahi usually turn up. And in some years small wahoo have also made a show.

Reports from the northern grounds seem to indicate that the annual run of small black marlin has once again been a bit of a fizzer, with few fish if any showing up on the Central Queensland coast in spring. This usually means lean pickings for the Gold Coast in summer, but over the past few seasons the marlin fishery has been dominated by medium sized black marlin from 50-100kg. A number of these fish have already turned up off the Sunshine Coast in September so it may definitely be worth going for an early season troll, particularly if the water temperature starts to rise. A few nice striped marlin have also turned up on the wide grounds along with mahi mahi and some big blacks to 150kg .

Bottom fishing is hard to predict this month due to the current. In general the snapper have all finished by November, but there are often still a few to be caught on the 42-fathom grounds east of Surfers Paradise.

On the 50 fathom line there should be a few amberjack and samsonfish, pearlies and pigfish. The more northern grounds around 27-43 are worth a look. If the current picks up try jigging, as it is often effective even when it is impossible to get a bait down to the bottom.

On the inshore reefs the fishing is also hard to predict, and is often quiet throughout November. A few mulloway, tailer and trag can turn up with the odd big cobia. It pays to get out early and use live baits and berley.

Off the Tweed Coast the fishing is generally more productive than the Gold Coast this month, and fishing just south of the border is often worth the trip.

Overall November is a tricky month to predict. The best estuary target is definitely mangrove jack, but offshore it will require a bit of extra effort to get anything decent.

A few early season trolling trips to get the cobwebs out of the system are definitely worth a look this month, and there is nearly always a decent mahi mahi or two for the persistent troller.

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