Stormy Fish Activity
  |  First Published: November 2011

As the month progresses the water temperature increases and we should start to see a bit of pelagic action.

It has yet again been a strange winter season; a lot of fish have turned up late and water temperatures have been quite erratic. This month should see the first real push of the East Australian Current, and this usually means that reasonable numbers of mahi mahi start to show off the Gold Coast in November, with the odd wahoo and the chance of an early season marlin or sailfish. At times a few early season spotted mackerel also show at Palm Beach Reef.

The inshore reefs around Palm Beach, Mermaid Reef and the desalination plant off Tugun are worth a look for cobia this month. This inshore spring run generally averages around 8-15kg with the odd bigger fish and the cobia often arrive about two weeks before the first mackerel. Anchoring up, berleying and fishing floating pilchards and live baits are generally the way to go. At times the cobia can turn up in quite big schools and make excellent sport on light tackle.

On the 36 and 50 fathom lines the presence or absence of current generally dictates the fishing. The snapper run has been quite late this year, and even in November there will still be some good-sized snapper on both the 36 fathom line, as well as a few smaller fish plus pearl perch on the 50 fathom line.

Float lining is generally the best method, although deep fished soft plastics also work well at times. Out on the 50 fathom line it is often easier to fish a paternoster rig on braid to get past the current. As the water warms, rosy jobfish and pigfish also become more common. Both these species are great eating.

If the water is blue and warm it is usually a good idea to troll targeting mahi mahi. A mixed spread of lures is often the best option. I like to run a mix of skirts and minnows in November. The most common fish we catch is usually a mahi mahi between 6-10kg, as well as striped tuna, mac tuna, small wahoo and small black marlin. Each season is very different.

Reports from up north indicate that the small marlin are currently few and far between in most places, and are erratic at best, but it does seem better than the reports we had at a similar time in 2010.

I like to put the lures out on the 20 fathom line when the water looks good and work my way around chasing bait and birds, trying to stay over reef rather than sand as much as is possible. Lures between 6-10” fished on 10-15kg tackle are usually about right, with a Halco Laser Pro 190 positioned on the ‘long corner’ targeting wahoo.

November can be a bit hit and miss, but it is a good month to sort out all the gremlins and get your boat in the zone before the season starts in earnest.


November is storm season, and this generally brings a lot of fish activity, especially as far as mangrove jacks and trevally are concerned. It is a great month to fish at night with poppers, minnows and live baits. A low tide at about 8o’clock on a humid night is usually the best conditions.

Jacks are where you find them, and most anglers are very tight lipped when it comes to good spots. The key factors to look for are current, rocks and oysters. Any area where there are back eddies and rocky holes in current where baitfish are present will produce jacks. They are very adaptable to manmade structures; marinas, bridges, canal mouths and rock walls all produce plenty of jacks. At night they tend to roam away from structure and use the cover of darkness to hunt for food in the open, which can, at times, make them much easier to land.

As far as poppers go, I like the Storm Chug Bug for my local jacks. It seems to have just the right popping action and this has been a very reliable lure for me.

Flathead will be tapering off a bit this month as the water warms, but this season has seen quite a late spawn and the big fish will probably be around the Jumpinpin Bar and the Seaway well into November. Deep jigged soft plastics are generally effective, although the big fish seem to get plenty of exposure to plastics and the success seems to get a bit less each year as the fish see more and more lures.

There have been some excellent jewies around lately in the deep water and plenty of great ones up to 117cm were caught in the recent Flathead Classic.

November is one go the best months of the year to chase jewies on soft plastics. The go to lure for these fish are 7” white Gulp Jerk Shads. Vary the jighead size according to current, but in generally use as light a jighead as you can that still gets to the bottom quickly.

On the flats this month there will still be plenty of 40-60cm flathead, bream and whiting. It can be a good month to chase the fish up onto the flats using small poppers targeting whiting and bream. Flathead will also hit poppers, especially on cloudy days with a bit of wind. It is a very visual way to fish, and whiting in particular can be surprisingly savage on the surface lures.

Overall November is a great month to fish the Gold Coast and is probably one of the best months of the year to chase mangrove jacks and mahi mahi.

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