Dust off the big rods
  |  First Published: November 2011

This month the current will start warming up, the water will turn blue and it will be time to dust off that pelagic gear because things will start hotting up!

November is the start of our annual juvenile black marlin season and although numbers may not be as plentiful as later on in the season, there will be still a few to tangle with.

Along with mahi mahi, wahoo and various tuna species the small blacks can be targeted consistently on most local reefs in the Gold Coast and Tweed areas. Kirra Reef, the Gravel Patch and Nine Mile Reef will always hold a few early season pelagics. Trolling lures such as locally made Black Snacks, Pakulas and one of Hawaii’s top lures Pula Kai is a good way to cover ground and work areas thoroughly to try and entice these warm water speedsters.

Keep an eye out for birds, current lines and of course, bait fish. These can be very reliable fish beacons in what can be a very barren ocean.

If you come across a decent school of bait, try trolling or drifting a few livies down into the bait school. For best results try using a few of your baits with a heavy sinker attached to get them down deep, as this may entice a shy fish.

Mackerel will also be showing their faces this month with Mermaid and Palm Beach reefs always being a good start, but get out on the water early to beat those crowds. Sound around for a few minutes to try and find some bait to anchor on.

Once anchored use a light nylon coated multi strand trace of about 8” with a 2/0 or 4/0 suicide hook, and try both half and whole pillies with no weight to give those finicky mackerel plenty to choose from. It’s also a good idea to use plenty of berley, so keep those old pillies because they make fantastic berley.

Snapper should still be around, and can be caught with great success on lightly weighted pilchard baits, live baits and soft plastics. 18 and 24 fathom lines as well as the mud hole are all places that will produce good numbers.

Cobia will still be about right through November and can be taken on most live and dead baits, as well as soft plastics. Fish live baits at varying depths, one on the bottom, one in mid water and one on the surface under a balloon.

The rig I have found best for fishing live baits is a large sinker - an 8oz barrel sinker is best - which I run between a solid ring and a swivel then to about 1m of 80lb trace and then to a large hook about a 10/0 will suit most cobia baits.


There should be plenty of jacks showing their faces in November, as those hot sticky afternoons are prime jack time. All creeks and rivers are great for chasing jacks with the Nerang and Tweed being two of my favourites.

For best results really target those rock walls and outcrops as the jacks like to position themselves hard in on the rocks. These fish can be targeted using a wide variety of lures as well as live and flesh baits. I find bouncing plastics such as Atomic shads and deep diving minnows such as the Ecogear SX60, Lively Lures Mad Mullet and Bomber lures a very effective way of targeting these hard-hitting fish.

There will be a few good flathead around still and those cooler days that aren’t much good for jacks are primetime for flathead and although they may have already spawned there will still be a few decent lizards to be had. Try slowly hopping plastics around drop-offs and weed edges in the main body of the rivers for best results.

When the fish are shut down I’m a big fan of using blades. The Ecogear VX50 blades are about the best of them for flathead fishing.

Whiting will be in full swing this month, and as they are a great table fish they are always a very popular option. These fish are great fun to catch and around the mouth of Currumbin and Tallebudgera creeks there should be plenty of these tasty fish.

When fishing the mouth of creeks and rivers it’s pretty hard to beat a few live yabbies or beach worms as bait. The mid reaches of the Nerang River will hold a few more of those larger whiting with fish around 40cm being more common then you may think. When fishing more up the river, baits like soldier crabs, jelly prawns and blood worms being more the bait of choice. In all applications of whiting fishing a running sinker, a long trace and a size 6 chemically sharpened hook is usually the best way to target them. If you’re keen to try something different, cast small poppers over the sand flats with a light fluorocarbon leader to allow your popper to work most effectively.

Hinze Dam will start to fire this month with plenty of bass and a few saratoga being caught in the early morning and late afternoons on surface lures. As it gets later in the day try 1/2oz and 5/8oz Bassman Spinnerbaits around the points and weed beds. Spinnerbaits are best fished with a slow rolling action. To get the most out of your spinnerbait add a 1/0 Gamakatsu Siwash hook with a small piece of rubber tube to turn those bites into hook-ups.
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