All fish great and small
  |  First Published: April 2011

This season has been one of the best in years for mackerel. Plenty of Spaniards and spotties are around on all the reefs between 8 and 24 fathoms, and the good news is that these fish should get even bigger this month as the water cools slightly. The run of mackerel has pushed as far south as Sydney this year, so there are obviously plenty of decent fish riding the south bound current.

Mermaid Reef usually fishes well in April, particularly when southeasterlies push warm clean current in close to the beach. There have been plenty of white pilchards on the inshore reefs lately and this has kept the spotted mackerel on the chew.

April is an excellent month to anchor up and berley with chopped pilchards, and fish live baits, floating pilchards and spin metal lures in the berley trail. This usually produces Spanish and spotted mackerel with the odd cobia turning up as well. I’ve seen the spotties sit directly under my berley bucket at times just waiting for a feed.

This reef also produces small tuna at times and these can be trolled for bigger Spaniards and are a great way to get connected to a trophy fish.

April is generally the best month of the year to chase wahoo, and there have been quite a few around so far this season. Most have been between 8-12kg, although the odd bigger fish has turned up at the Tweed Nine Mile and out wide on the blue marlin grounds. Try high speed trolling with Hex Heads, minnows such as Laser Pro 190 Halcos or trolled tuna. They tend to bite best early morning and on low tide changes, although the bites are often random and persistence definitely pays off.

Quite a few small yellowfin have also been around and will eat the same lures as the wahoo do. The Tweed Nine Mile also holds plenty of mackerel tuna.

Out off the Continental Shelf there should be some good blue marlin this month and most boats fishing the canyons, Jims Mountain and the 70-100 fathom drop-off, have been getting a few bits most trips.

A few medium black marlin and the odd striped marlin will also be around in April. Bycatch so far has been wahoo and mahi mahi with a few rainbow runners also turning up. If you find any floating object out wide at the moment it will generally hold quite a few smaller wahoo so be careful if you value your pretty hundred dollar blue marlin lures!

The snapper closure will be over this month and as the current slows down a bit it is worth fishing the 50 fathom line for pearl perch, squire, amberjack and Samsonfish. The northeast 50s is generally quite productive in April, current permitting. Jigging is another good option.

The 36-fathom line is generally a lot quieter than the 50s at this time of year but will produce a few snapper and pearlies at times. In general, however, it is a better month to target pelagic species offshore. The huge amount of summer rain has really seen the offshore fishing flourish this season and hopefully the action will continue right through into early winter.


The rain has produced a bumper crop of banana prawns and these should still be on this month, and the late season prawns are generally bigger. These can be caught in a cast net in the Logan River, Horizon Shores, near the power lines at Russell Island and around Jacobs Well. The bag limit is one 10L bucket per person.

Sand and mud crabs will also be around and the weed beds in the main basin of the Broadwater usually produce large numbers of quality sand crabs this month. Early morning is best on a run-in tide. These crabs move around a fair bit so if you aren’t getting them in an hour then it pays to move your pots. Most of the muddies, depending on the rain, will be back up the rivers around the feeder creeks and mangroves. The Pimpama River and Coombabah Creek have produced very well for mud crabs this year. Bigger tides generally work best.

April should see the flathead increase in activity as the water cools down a bit. Considering summer is ‘off season’ for flathead on the Gold Coast, it has been surprising how active they have been in water temps up to 26ºC. In April most of the fish will be small, between 30-50cm. Light tackle, small blades and soft plastics should see reasonable catches around Tipplers Passage through to Crab Island in the south. Cloudy days are generally better. Also expect a few bream, trevally and the odd whiting.

Whiting fishing has been good recently especially in the Nerang River. Blood worms have been the best bait over the past month and there are a few elbow slappers amongst them. Coombabah Creek is also worth a look as are the lower reaches of the Pimpama River. A long trace and a reasonable sized sinker are the key to good whiting fishing. Yabbies are a bit hard to get since the recent big freshes but hopefully the yabby flats will regenerate quickly.

Live baiting in the Seaway with pike, herring or slimies is definitely worth a try this month. There are plenty of small jewies about with the odd bigger fish amongst them. Soft plastics are also effective. Most of the jewies are under the minimum size of 75cm at present. There have also been some decent yellowtail kings in the Broadwater and Seaway area at present and they love a struggling live pike.

Overall, April on the Gold coast should see some pretty good fishing this month. The rains have really fertilised the offshore grounds and the estuaries, and there is plenty of bait around. There are plenty of good options to try from blue marlin to whiting and it shouldn’t be too hard to get a feed.

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