As the water cools significantly this month it triggers the main spawning run of snapper on all the offshore grounds, with a lot of big fish moving in on the 24 and 36 fathom reefs. Most of the spawning males will be brick red in colour and quite distinctly dark fish.
After all the early season rains it should be quite a good season because of the abundance of food and baitfish on the close reefs. The secret to catching snapper is to get out early and specifically target them well before sun up. Generally, particularly on the close in reefs, most of the good snapper fishing is over by 7am. The bite often goes on for longer on the wider reefs, particularly if there is a bit of current.
Floating pilchards, soft plastics such as gulp jerk shads and Octa jigs all work well. There should be plenty of just legal snapper around, but if you want bigger fish, use big baits. Whole mullet, big strip baits and live or dead slimies often sort the big snapper from the pups.
Out on the 50-fathom line there will be good numbers of pearl perch, snapper and quite a few kingies and amberjacks. The current is generally down this month and working the area on a calm sea is generally an easy way to get a feed.
Jigging soft plastics, metals and fishing deep livies, or just fishing a paternoster rig all work well. July is a good month to target really big Samson fish and amberjacks on big livies. Half kilo silver trevally, tailer, bonito or tarwhine all work well. As long as it is alive and flapping these fish will crunch it.
Closer to shore, this is a good month to target cobia and mulloway on the inner reefs. Most of the jewies will be caught at night using live baits, and the cobia will take live baits early in the morning.
There are some excellent pinnacles on the 18-fathom line that can be very productive. Areas with ledges work best for jewies. As it gets cold at night, these areas fish even better and look for tide changes between 7-9 pm work best. Take is steady with the jewies because if you hook one and lose it often spooks the school.
For the game fisherman July still has blue marlin on the menu, and some years produce a good run of striped marlin on areas such as the Cotton Reef and the 36 and 50 fathom line. We haven’t had a good season on striped marlin for a few years but there is certainly plenty of bait.
It is definitely worth a days trolling this month if the water is blue and there are gannets and slimy mackerel about. The marlin won’t be far away. There may also be the odd late season Wahoo and dolphin fish about as well, but most of the pelagics move north as the water cools.
This month is usually the coldest of the year, and a lot of fish are spawning. Bream, mulloway, flathead and tailor should all be around in good numbers. The seaway and Jumpinpin should be stacked with fish this month as the spawning aggregations move into the entrances.
Night time is when the big mulloway come to play, and this is the month to chase. There is a good chance for a 20kg jewie, and a lot more are caught than most anglers know about. Fishing big livies at night on tide changes should produce a bite. If it is cold, windy and raining, all the better. The only sure thing is that if you don’t go, you won’t catch! It takes a bit of persistence until you get a pattern worked out, but if you put in the time you should get rewarded. Patience could see you land a jewie up to 110cm.
Flathead increase in numbers as the water cools, and by this stage they’re starting to move from the rivers downstream in preparation for the spring spawning season. The odd big fish will turn up but it is prime time for lots of 40-60cm specimens, which make great tucker.
Experiment with your lure styles this month; mix up hard bodies, blades and plastics and vary your colours if you aren’t getting bites. The bigger tides often work better in July. There isn’t too much flathead action in the entrances as yet but the central Broadwater is an ideal spot to try, especially up on the many flats and draining channels.
Bream will be schooled up in huge numbers in the Seaway and at Jumpinpin. Small blades can be deadly on the mud ledges around Swan Bay entrance, and don’t be surprised if a stray jewie scoffs your blade. Live herrings are another good method to target the really big bream.
After last winter’s poor bream spawn, it seems that this seasons bream run should more than compensate. The fish are all in excellent condition making an ideal spawning situation. There have also been plenty of white pilchards throughout the estuary, which tends to make the bream more lure responsive.
Tailor should start to move into the Broadwater this month and are easy to target on a run in tide with small metal lures. Just look for the seagulls, motor up slowly and cast metal lures such as small Raiders, Lazers and Snipers. Most of these fish will be around 600 grams.
July is also a great month to chase big yellowtail kings in the Seaway. Jigs, live tailor and live pike are all very effective when dropped next to the channel markers on a run in tide in clean water.
This month should be a cracker for anglers on the Gold Coast. If the weather holds I think we should have a great season for snapper, mulloway, flathead and bream, as the whole area is in prime condition with plenty of bait.Reads: 1211