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Golden Winter on the Coast
  |  First Published: June 2011



This winter should produce excellent fishing. The water temperatures on the offshore grounds have been very warm during autumn and there has been plenty of blue marlin action off the NSW coast.

As the water cools many of these big blues will follow the warmer water north, and if the water temperatures on the Continental Shelf hold above 22ºC this month there should be some great action with blue and striped marlin in areas such as the Tweed Canyons, Jims Mountain and the drop-off wide of the northeast pearly grounds out of Southport. There should also be a few wahoo and the odd mahi mahi.

As the water cools most attention will go to chasing snapper and pearl perch. The 50-fathom line, current permitting, is definitely worth fishing this month. Snapper and pearl perch will start to move in on these reefs in numbers and the fishing greatly improves once the first of the winter westerlies begin. Soft plastics, Octa jigs and floatlining with pilchards produce most of the fish. If you can keep things quiet and turn off your sounder after you’ve found the fish it generally improves results.

Jigging for kings and amberjacks is another good option on the 50-fathom line, with 300g knife jigs successful lately, but the fish seem to change their preference from day to day. Some big kingies over 15kg have already begun turning up on the wider grounds and jigs or deeply fished live baits are generally effective.

On the inshore grounds there should still be a few really big Spaniards about if you find late patches of warmer water. Some of the biggest Spaniards of the year turn up in June and trolled tuna, bonito or tailor are generally very effective.

Wahoo should still be around on the Tweed Nine Mile at times and this area can also produce some big kingies in June on live baits, poppers and jigs. There are often a few spotted mackerel on their return run up the coast from NSW in June.

Cobia is another fish well worth chasing this month. The 18-fathom line, Focus Reef, 27-fathom northeast and the Cottons all produce big cobia in June. Most of these fish are caught on deeply fished live baits but they also eat large soft plastics such as 7” Gulp Jerk shads at times. Plenty of berley makes a big difference when chasing cobia.

On the run-out tides there should be plenty of spinning action this month around the seaway where the run out tidewater meets the blue current. Mac tuna and striped tuna have been abundant in this area lately and there has been plenty of bait. A light spin rod with a fast retrieve reel should soon get you in the action, and there may be a few spotty and doggy mackerel as well.

Overall, June should be a really good month this year on the offshore grounds of Southport. The pelagics can be a bit unpredictable but are often big, and the bottom fishing this winter should be excellent after all the rain we had earlier in the year.

RIVERS AND ESTUARIES

As the water cools and the westerlies start to blow a lot of fish start to move towards the entrances of the Gold Coast Seaway and Jumpinpin. Bream, mullet and blackfish start to congregate in big schools around the entrances and this makes for some great fishing.

Last year’s bream run was very slow, but with all the summer rain the fish should be heavy with roe and in excellent condition. Tailor will also start to move in along the beaches and the entrances on the run-in tides.

June is a good month to start targeting big jewies at night. Live mullet fished in the eddies of the Seaway and the deeper sections of Jumpinpin fished on a change of high tide produce most of the bigger fish. The average size of these big mullet eaters is around 15kg, very different to the smaller fish that tend to be caught in daylight hours.

This year has produced a bumper crop of prawns all through the estuaries of the Gold Coast and this has provided plenty of tucker for a wide range of species. Flathead will be a lot more active this month as the water cools down and some quality fish will start to be caught in the central Broadwater, although most will be between 40-50cm long.

We should be in for an excellent flathead season as the estuary is in top condition and all the fish are fat as pigs due to the abundance of food. With prawns on the menu, Gulp Shrimps are definitely worth giving a go this month. If you get a cool clear day with not much wind their should be plenty of high tide flathead action on the top of the flats.

Bream and whiting fishing with poppers is another good option, as the fish are extensively chasing prawns at the moment and small clear poppers and stick baits wound quite quickly over the flats are being attacked with gusto. Whiting are uncharacteristically savage the way they attack these lures.

Wind quite quickly and don’t stop if you are after whiting. Bream seem to respond better if you have the odd pause. Don’t be surprise if flathead attack your poppers as well. This is a fun way to fish and is very productive any time the fish are actively chasing jumping prawns.

Overall June is a very good month on the calendar of Gold Coast anglers. Both the estuaries and offshore grounds have plenty of options and the weather is generally kind. I’m off north for a bit of barra fishing, and it is actually hard to leave here at the moment, as the fishing has been very good.

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