May will see out the last of our warm currents and most of our migratory pelagic fish will start to disperse towards the end of the month.
You will still find a few wahoo and the odd Spaniard kicking about during May. There are several ways to catch these speedsters but trolling high speed minnows such as Laser Pro 190s in the 2m bib is my favourite. Anywhere along the 30-50m line south of the Gold Coast Seaway these fish will be patrolling, and areas like the Nine Mile, Gravel Patch and Fidos Reef you may find a few a little more concentrated. Mixed in with the mackerel you may find a few yellowfin and the odd marlin.
When trolling these areas, especially the Nine Mile keep your eyes peeled for any small tuna schools. The wahoo will be following these schools like magnets and if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, trolling these baby tuna around on 2 x 10/0 hooks and a bit of 135lb wire can entice even the most timid fish to bite.
This month there will be a few snapper around though there still may be a bit of left over current. If you can put up with that I think you may find good numbers of snapper will be around particularly on the 24 and 26 fathom reefs. There are plenty of ways to catch snapper on the close reefs and soft plastics is one the better methods. I find that you have to suit your jighead to the conditions and the depth in which you may be fishing. In shallower areas you may also use different retrieves. For example when I’m fishing in depths shallower than 30m I will try to keep my lure in regular contact with the bottom, but in deeper water I find that most bites will come as the lure descends. So in deeper environments I’ll use a fairly light jighead, at times as light as 1/4oz. In shallower waters I’m using 5/8oz and heavier. There are numerous tails to use, but I’m a big fan of Bass Assassins in the 7”, but Gulps, Guzzler and Squidgy soft plastics all work just fine.
There will be a few tasty reefies such as pearl perch, parrot fish, rosy job fish and many more on offer but you may have to travel a little bit further afield. The 36s and 42s northeast of the Tweed bar are good places to start float lining baits and the humble paternoster rig is a good way to catch deep reefies. I’ve also had good success with soft plastics that glow in the dark. This colour seems to attract their attention on days when the fish may be a bit shut down. You can use a variety of baits using these methods, but I think pillies are always hard to beat. Squid and flesh baits are at times very good and remember using fresh bait is very important.
The school jew will be around in numbers this month and should be ever increasing in size as the season goes on. Any deep holes or entrances will hold jew and they can be caught using a variety of methods. Live bait is always popular and I think for schoolies, herring is always a good option. As you start to chase bigger jew, baits like mullet, tailor and pike are a bit more suitable. Match your hook size to your bait. For herring I would use a single 5/0 and pin the herring through the nose as it will tend to live a bit longer. However, for bigger baits such as mullet, tailor or pike I tend to use two hooks and somewhere around a 6/0 will usually do the trick.
The tailor will also be around in numbers in May and the first push of clean water on a run in tide is the best time to catch them. You may find that they are schooled up during the day but usually at night they will be in bigger numbers. By setting out a berley trail on the edge of a sand bank somewhere near the mouth particularly around Crab Island in the Southport Broadwater, on an early evening run in tide and fish lightly weighted pilchards on ganged hooks would be the best method, but you may also find spinning with metal lures back into your berley trail a pretty successful way to catch a few.
The winter run of bream should be around in force; these fish are becoming a very popular target species by recreational and keen tournament angers. By casting small hard bodied minnows, such as Ecogear SX40s, VX35 and VX40s around pontoons and rock walls will always produce a few nice fish. But a lightly weighted soft plastic hopped slowly and subtly along the bottom can at times produce fish if they are a bit more timid.
A few school sized flathead should start to show up and at this time of year you will probably have your best success further up the rivers. The fish will generally be of a smaller class so try to down scale the size of the lures that you use. Anything around 3” is fine but I would probably stay away from anything larger.
The expanded Hinze Dam should be producing good numbers and size should be improving as we roll into winter. Early morning, fish the points and edges with poppers, spinner baits and weedless paddle tailed soft plastics like Ecogear grass minnows. These lures have an excellent body roll and, when rigged weedless can be fished right in the tightest locations and when the fish are shut down this can be a real winner. Later in the day use grass minnows on a ¼ ounce jig head and lipless crank baits around bait schools and in the old river beds.Reads: 687