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Fiery little reds to massive marlin
  |  First Published: March 2012



March is always a great month to target the wide range of species in our area. This will be a bit of a transition month where our warm water pelagics are still around in healthy numbers but a range of tasty reefies will start to present themselves as our coastal currents slow.

Our light tackle marlin season so far has been almost nonexistent. Despite this I’m still confident that our usual run of medium class fish (50-150kg) will still show up in the coming month. You will most likely encounter these on the 36 fathom line, Spot X and Deep Trag.

Keep your eyes peeled for any bait schools that may be getting rounded up by predators. Also if you spot any pods of dolphins, this may mean bait isn’t too far away.

Once bait has been located use a bait jig with about a size 4 hook and heavy sinker to drop into the bait school. You’ll find most times it won’t take long for a string of prime live baits such as slimeys, yakkas or small bonito to be hauled aboard. My live bait rigs consist of an 8ft trace of about 150lb with a 9/0 eagle claw circle hook and try using a range of sinker sizes for best results.

Blue marlin have been prolific so far this year and I think the will only get better as we get a bit later in the season. The fish have been averaging around 150kg but there has been quite a few larger fish in the mix. When chasing blues, 50lb tackle is absolute minimal and most of the big boats around are mainly using 130lb tackle these days.

You will catch these fish anywhere outside the 100m line and as usual keep an eye out for flying fish, tuna schools and birds, these indications will show you where the fish are. Try trolling lures ranging from 9-17” I usually troll a spread of lures with various sizes and colours; different lures work on different days.

Mackerel will still be lurking about this month and by trolling hardbodied lures such as Lively Lure blue pillies and Halco Laser Pros around areas such as the Nine Mile and Fidos Reefs. When trolling hardbodies I try to steer clear of wire traces and opt more for heavy monofilament, you might get bitten off occasionally but the mono leader will result in more bites.

If you’re around the Nine Mile this month you’ll find there will be most likely schools of small tuna chopping the surface and eating your trolled and spun lures. By using a twin 9/0 hook rig on 100lb wire you can troll these jelly bean size tuna around and catch some monster wahoo and mackerel. Hook your front hook through the tuna’s top jaw and the back one down near the tail and troll them as slow as possible. A bait like that usually won’t be out there long before something finds it.

March is always a good time to start chasing a few snapper around our close reefs. Anywhere around the 18s or 24s with a nice bit of reef will be a good place to come across a few good reds. By slowly drifting down pillies or strip baits on as lighter sinker as possible is the best way to approach a snapper reef

I use a 3 gang of 5/0 hooks; ganged hooks are useful in case there is a stray mackerel or a few tailor about, then there’s less chance of being bitten off. I also like to use monofilament line instead of braid when snapper fishing, purely because I find that less hooks are pulled during the fight.

INSHORE

There will be plenty of bream and whiting around this month and by fishing the drop-offs around the banks around the mouths are usually the best place to fish this time of year. By pumping a few yabbies and collecting some small soldier crabs you can have yourself a bucket of top bait with minimal effort. For best results try using a size 6 hook, a long trace and a small running ball sinker. At times very slowly winding your bait along the bottom can entice a bite.

As the tide gets a bit higher I’ve had really good success and great fun catching a feed of whiting on poppers. Currumbin Creek is particularly productive with its crystal clean water for this style of fishing and lures like the Nories Zig Zag pencil or Treju are just two of my preferred lures for this style of fishing.

That first push of clean water around the Southport seaway will bring with it big schools of white pilchards. This is a gold mine for the ravenous tailor. There’s plenty to be had this time of year and any small size metal lure will not usually be passed up. Just keep an eye out for any birds working and the tailor schools won’t be far behind.

If you have an electric motor it is a big help, because you can silently follow the tailor schools resulting in bigger numbers of fish caught, but if you don’t have the luxury of an electric, turn off your motor just up wind or up tide of the school and let the elements work to your advantage.

There will still be a few jacks destroying gear this month and by timing the last part of the run-out tide and locating yourself near a good bit of structure you will be in with a shot. Two of my more reliable spots are the council chambers in the Nerang River and the Chinderah rock wall in the Tweed.

Both of these spots provide the facilities for a good long troll run or can be worked thoroughly with cast lures. I like a deep diving yet buoyant lure such as a lively lure mad mullet to cast around spots like this. So that if you feel your lure swim into a snag, simply by pausing the lure it will float back off of the rock, log, shopping trolley or whatever piece of structure may present itself in these areas.

HINZE DAM

Due to the raising of the dam wall and the large amounts of rainfall we’ve experienced in the last couple of months, Hinze will look very different from what most of us are used to. Though the same principles will apply. You will get most numbers at this time of year off the points and you will start seeing numbers holding up in the deeper sections of the dam.

I find at this time of year slowly rolling plastics like Ecogear Grass Minnows or VX50 blades along the bottom or hopping masks down deep being far more productive. But spot selection can be crucial for these, at times, fickle fish.

Deep points or bends in the main part of the dam are good places to start but sounding around the old river bed searching for schools of fish can be a good way of locating a good haul of usually better quality bass.

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