September is Snapper Time
  |  First Published: September 2011

September is the first month of spring and with it, comes some very fertile fishing on the gold coast both in and offshore.

In September the snapper should be biting like crazy. Snapper are one of Australia’s most popular sport fish, so what a great time to get out there and chase a few.

You will find these rod benders on almost all of the southern gold coast offshore reefs but I think the 36 fathom lines off surfers and tweed, the mud hole and fidos reef are the pick of the bunch.

Lightly weighted whole pilchards fished slowly down to the bottom, with a small McCubbin glow sinker is probably my favourite way to catch snapper but soft plastics weighted accordingly to depth and current is also more than effective at times.

For fishing baits I much prefer monofilament fishing line. Snapper have very hard mouths you need to have a fair bit of stretch otherwise there is a chance you could pull hooks. However I’ve had far better success with soft plastics using braid, which is probably due to you being able to work the lure better and feel bites a lot easier. With both braid and mono lines I like around 20-30lb breaking strain.

Cobia should be causing a ruckus on our local grounds, and these heavyweight fighters are not only great sport but a fantastic table fish. Cobia are best targeted with big live baits and they aren’t too picky when it comes to species; tarwhine, tailor, yellow tail, slimeys or anything up to 1kg will look appetising to a big cobia.

Its time to dust off the heavy gear when cobia fishing, though you will land even the biggest cobias on fairly light line. These fish are much more manageable on around 15-24kg line. Run an 80lb leader about 1m in length with 1-2 7/0-9/0 hooks depending on the live bait that is on offer.

A little bit wider off of the coast at the 42 and 50 fathom lines you will hopefully encounter good number of pearl perch, pig fish and morwong. The most effective way to target these bottom dwellers is with a paternoster rig with 2-3 droppers. I prefer either a gang of 2x 5/0 or a single 6/0 circle hook on my droppers with a glow in the dark bead just above the hook.

Probably the most commonly made mistake when fishing for these fish is using baits that are too big; half pilchards and flesh or squid baits of similar size are more than big enough. You will catch far more fish, when fishing with slightly smaller bait.

When fishing this deep I think that braid is the only way to go; you will feel the bites through the line far easier and this will result in a lot more fish in the boat.


The flathead should be in plague proportions during September. I think soft plastics would have to be the most effective and most enjoyable way to target big lizards. I like to use a soft plastic tail of around 3-4”, such as an Ecogear 3-3/4” BTS or 4” DOA, because I think this is the most versatile size. Using this size plastic will catch flathead of all sizes from little wigglers to shovel headed monsters.

As far as jig heads, most of your flathead fishing can be done with heads around 1/4-3/8oz and a 4/0 hook. Again these sizes are the most versatile which means any flatty will have a go. Flathead are an ambush predator so by fishing areas like drains or drop offs at the last of the run out tide you will have a good chance of finding hungry lizard in a feeding frenzy.

Big winter bream should be well and truly on offer throughout September. These fish can be caught using countless methods. Lure fishing for bream has taken Australia by storm and this month is a perfect time of year to give it a go.

Try casting lightly weighted soft plastics and hard bodied lures around pontoons or moored boats; this will provide you a chance of crossing paths with a few bream. Also try deeper sections such as the Southport seaway or the tweed bar with plastics rigged on 1/16oz jig heads.

The newest bream plastic on the market is the Ecogear aqua bream prawn. I’ve been using this lure for the past few months and I’m yet to fault it. Bream just love the taste of this thing! To catch bream consistently you have to go for a stealthy approach; light line and leader works best. Lines anywhere from 2-6lb are best for bream and for leader try to use 6lb or lighter for most applications.

There will still be a few nice tailor getting about this month and when these things are schooled up they can be ravenous. Tailor are mostly found in the estuaries following the first push of clean water on the run in tide. They can be caught casting or trolling metal or hard bodied lures. I find if schools of tailor aren’t visibly apparent, try trolling a couple of deep diving minnows around the bars and entrances, because chances are they are still there but perhaps a bit deeper than usual.

On the beaches there will be a good number of tailor and some thumper bream. Try fresh sand worms for the bream and pilchards for the tailor. Just a standard running ball sinker down to a leader of around 1m in length. I use about 40lb for tailor and 10-12lb leader for bream.

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