The winter westerlies have begun to kick in and the water on the offshore grounds is starting to cool as the current drops. This is a great month on the wider grounds off the Gold coast and the prime target species this month are snapper, pearl perch, cobia, samsonfish and mulloway.
On the gamefishing front, things will probably slow down a little and as the water temperature drops there may be a few more striped marlin starting to appear out wide. A few blue marlin may still be about if the water stays over 22°C.
There is a good chance of yellowfin tuna showing off the Gold Coast and Tweed Canyons this month. If conditions are good it’s definitely worth a troll out wide for these tasty speedsters. Put the lures in on the 50 fathom line and work the contour out to about 150 fathoms; this area commonly holds bait in the winter.
As the current drops and the water cools, it becomes a great month for bottom fishing the 36 and 50 fathom lines. Paternoster rigs work well on the 50 fathom reef for pearl perch and snapper, but to catch big snapper float lining bait such as pilchards or tuna strips is generally far more effective.
Adjust your lead to match the current, but fish as light as possible and make sure the sinker is free running on the line so the bait slowly wafts down into the depths. A lot of big snapper over 6kg will be caught this month on the 36 fathom line. The key is to get up early and fish tidal changes. Dawn and dusk will generally see the most bites, although a low tide change in the mid afternoon can also be a prime time.
Fishing deep live baits is another effective method for kingfish, samsonfish and amberjack. The bigger the livie, the larger and angrier the creature that eats it is! There are some huge, almost uncatchable amberjacks on the high pinnacles of the northeast 50 fathom reef that will pull you to your knees.
On the closer reefs most of the action will be early morning or at night. July is a good month to target cobia on the inshore reefs and some big ones over 40kg have already been encountered this season. Live slimies, tailor, teraglin or bonito are all effective and a bit of berley also helps. You can also expect to encounter mac tuna, sharks and snapper.
There may still be the odd winter Spanish mack around, but by this time of year they’ve generally moved north. There should be some nice mulloway and big snapper around at night on the close grounds.
When the westerlies blow it brings a lot of fish in close to the back of the surf line, which triggers the spawning runs of bream, mullet, luderick and tailor start to move up the coast. Spinning in the back of the surf line can produce some nice tailor. I have also heard a few unconfirmed reports of Australian salmon being around but it seems unlikely they will be in the same quantities as last year.
The estuaries are in excellent condition at the moment and are stacked with life, and there’s been outstanding catches of flathead, bream and school mulloway. Most of the jewies have been under the legal size of 75cm but there are definitely plenty of 50-70cm jewies about and they are being caught in numbers on soft plastics and live bait.
Flathead fishing should be good this month with plenty of fish in the 40-60cm bracket to be caught, plus the odd thumper. Numbers should be good with catches of between 20 and 40 fish per session being common.
So far this season the fish seem to prefer soft plastics over hardbodied lures. So far my best lure has been the Gulp Swimming Mullet and the Gulp Minnow. We’ve also caught a few on blades and a few trolling as well.
The fish should be in good condition this month and a few bigger fish should start to appear around the deeper sections towards the end of the month. I think it will be a good flathead season this year as there has been plenty of rain and the estuary is in very good condition.
July is the best month of the year to target big mulloway at night. Lures, live bait and big strip baits all produce at times. Fish high tide changes in eddies around both Jumpinpin and the Seaway entrances. The average jewie at night is around 13-15kg and a lot of these fish hunt the mid water and surface layers at night chasing mullet.
Try and fish evenings with a high tide around 7pm until midnight. Most of the action happens when the tidal flow slows. If the mullet are active on the surface there will usually be a few big jewies around.
Bream will be spawning this month and big schools will be congregating on the beaches and around the entrances. Some big fish over a kilo will be about, and the best way to sort out the big ones from the small fish is to use small live bait like a herring fished close to the bottom. Soft plastics and blades are also deadly.
Overall, July is a great month to target winter species and the cold conditions and westerlies really activate a lot of fish movement, so it’s an easy month to get plenty of action both in the estuaries and offshore. The good weather in the days generally makes for pleasant fishing.Reads: 1408