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Marching into settled weather
  |  First Published: March 2011



March should hopefully see things start to settle down a bit.

The masses of floodwater have formed a blanket of dirty ocean all along the Queensland coast. I went out in early February and trolled out until I finally hit the blue water in 105m, roughly 34km wide of the Seaway. I have never before had to go that far to find decent quality water. Hopefully by March things will have settled and we will return to more normal conditions, unless another flood event or cyclone intervenes.

March is a good month for pelagics, and should be pretty good for blue marlin. This season has seen reasonable numbers of blue marlin on the wide grounds but virtually no black marlin at all on the closer grounds. The dirty water has made conditions difficult.

Out wide the Tweed Canyons are worth trolling for blue marlin, as are Jim’s Mountain, the Riviera Grounds and the 120 fathom line at 60 degrees north of the Seaway. There has also been some massive mahi mahi around this year with a few more than 20kg being weighed, best of all, these should still be around in March.

There have already been quite a few blues over 250kg encountered (average fish is around 130kg) and March is one of the best months for really big blue marlin.

Closer inshore there have been plenty of Spanish and spotted mackerel around on both Palm Beach Reef and Mermaid Reef, despite the dirty water. I’ve never caught spotties in water quite that filthy before and was surprised they could find the baits and lures.

Hopefully, with cleaner water this month the mackerel should be easier to catch. Try trolling baits for bigger Spanish mackerel and pilchards for the spotties. Anchoring and berleying is also quite effective at times. Small floated sections of pilchard on a single hook and light wire are deadly on spotted mackerel.

Wahoo should be very active this month, particularly if the blue water pushes close inshore. High speed trolling is generally the most effective method in March, although slowly trolled live tuna is another method that is hard to beat.

The Tweed Nine Mile is the number one wahoo spot in the area but is highly dependent on having a fast running current to give the best results. Quite a few wahoo have also turned up on the wider grounds around 300m as by-catch while blue marlin fishing. It is worth putting out a high speed bibles or Halco Laser Pros in the long corner position. It could save you a lot of money on skirt replacement by keeping the toothy critters amused.

For the bottom fishers March can be a tough month as the current runs hard. Remember there is a six week closed season for snapper, pearl perch and teraglin for all of this month.

BROADWATER AND GOLD COAST RIVERS

The recent large freshes have moved most of the fishing activity towards the river mouths and the Seaway and Jumpinpin Bar. There are plenty of small jewies under legal size in both entrances at the moment and these are responding well to small soft plastics fished close to the bottom. White jerkshads around 5” are working very well, and even in dirty water the jewies have no trouble finding the lure. A few larger fish to 90cm have also been picked up by the same methods.

Hopefully this month will see the water clear up a bit and the estuary fishing improve. On the whole it has been very quiet over the last month, and most anglers have concentrated on crabbing. The Coomera, Pimpama and Coombabah Creek have been crabbing extremely well this year and the crabs should continue this month.

When a fresh arrives, concentrate your efforts on the deeper sections of the channels. When the first big tides after a fresh come and the salty water pushes upstream, work the feeder channels adjacent to the mudflats. Remember to have both your pots and floats marked with your name and address, and the bag limit on mud crabs is ten per person with a minimal size of 15cm and all females must be returned.

Flathead should be around this month, and the flats around Jumpinpin usually produce quite a few smaller fish this month on small soft plastics and blades. The flathead fishing has been surprisingly good all through summer with plenty of good fish caught right through the hot weather, which is most unusual.

The small chartreuse 1/8oz TT blade has been a good performer for me and catches plenty of big fish as well as small ones. It is a great lure in tannin or dirty water.

Whiting fishing has been tough after all the rain, mainly because it has been difficult to get bait. Coombabah Creek, the Nerang and Pimpama have all produced at times with yabbies being effective when the water is dirty. There have also been quite a few grunter bream encountered in the Nerang. Providing the conditions settle down, this month should see better fishing as the water clears and the flats and weed beds stabilise a bit.

There should still be a few jacks around this month, and despite the dirty water quite a few good ones have been caught around the bridges, rock bars and canal entrances in the Nerang and the south arm of the Coomera. A few trevally will also be caught in the same places, with a lot of big eye trevally being caught at night.

Overall, if the weather patterns settle down a bit and it stays dry, this month might be a ripper both offshore and in the estuaries of the Gold Coast.

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