Last Summer Chance
  |  First Published: May 2011

May will see out the last of the warm currents and most of the migratory pelagics will start to disperse towards the end of the month. Nevertheless, you will still find a few wahoo and the odd Spaniard kicking about during May.

There are several ways to catch these speedsters, but trolling high speed minnows such as Laser Pro 190’s in the 2m bib would have to be a favourite. These fish will be patrolling anywhere along the 30-50m line south of the Gold Coast Seaway; you may find them a bit more concentrated in areas like the Nine Mile, Gravel Patch and Fidos Reef. Expect to find a few yellowfin and the odd marlin mixed in.

When trolling these areas, especially the Nine Mile, keep your eyes peeled for any small tuna schools. The wahoo will be following these schools like magnets and, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, trolling baby tuna around on two 10/0 hooks and a bit of 135lb wire can entice even the most timid fish to bite.

This month there will also be some nice snapper around. Even though there may still be a bit of left over current, if you can put up with that you will find good numbers around the 24 and 26 fathom reefs.

There’s plenty of ways to catch snapper on the close reefs and soft plastics would definitely have to be one the best. You have to suit your jighead to the conditions and obviously the depth in which you are fishing. In shallower areas also use different retrieves. For example, when I’m fishing in depths shallower than 30m I will try to keep my lure in regular contact with the bottom, I’ll use a 5/8oz or heavier. However, in deep water I find that most bites come as the lure descends so I’ll use a fairly light jighead, sometimes as light as 1/4oz.

There are also numerous tails to use, I’m a big fan of Bass Assassins in the 7”, but Gulps, Guzzlerz and Squidgy soft plastics all work just fine.

There will be a few tasty reefies such as pearl perch, parrotfish, rosy jobfish and many more on offer but you may have to travel a little bit further afield. The 36 and 42 fathom reefs northeast of the Tweed bar are good places to start float lining baits, and the humble paternoster rig is probably the best way to catch deep reefies. I’ve also had good success with soft plastics that glow in the dark; this seems to attract their attention on days when the fish may be a bit shut down.

You can use a variety of baits using these methods, pillies are always hard to beat but fresh squid and flesh baits are at times better. Remember using fresh bait is the key.


The school jew will be around in numbers and should be ever increasing in size as the season goes on. Any deep holes or entrances will hold jew and can be caught using a variety of methods. Live bait is always popular, and herring is always a good option for schoolies. As you start to chase bigger jew, baits like mullet and pike are a bit more suitable.

Match your hook size to your bait, for herring I would use a single 5/0, and pin the herring through the nose as it will tend to live a bit longer. For bigger baits such as mullet or pike I tend to use two hooks; a 6/0 will usually do the trick.

The tailor will also be around in numbers and the first push of clean water on a run-in tide is the best time to catch them. They tend to school up during the day but usually at night they will be in bigger numbers. By setting out a berley trail on the edge of a sand bank somewhere near the mouth, particularly around Crab Island in the Southport broadwater, on an early evening run-in tide and fish lightly weighted pilchards on ganged hooks would be the best method. You can also spin with metal lures back into your berley trail, this is also a pretty successful way to catch a few.

The winter run of bream should be around in force; these things are becoming a very popular target species by recreational and keen tournament angers. By casting small hardbodied minnows, such as Ecogear SX40, VX35 and VX40 around pontoons and rock walls will always produce a few nice fish. But a lightly weighted soft plastic hopped slowly and subtly along the bottom can at times produce fish if they are a bit more timid.

A few school sized flathead should start to show up and at this time of year you will probably have the best success further up the rivers. The fish will generally be of a smaller class so try to down scale the size of the lures that you use. Anything around 3” is fine but I would probably stay away from anything larger.


The Hinze dam should be producing good catches, which will improve as we roll into winter.

Early morning, fish the points and edges with popper, spinnerbaits and weedless paddle-tailed soft plastics like Ecogear grass minnows. These lures have an excellent body roll and, when rigged weedless, can be fished right in the tightest locations. This can be a real winner when the fish shut down.

Later in the day use grass minnows on a 1/4oz jighead and lipless crankbaits around bait schools and in the old river beds.

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