August is a great month for fishing around the whole of South East Queensland; you can catch a huge variety from flathead to cobia. But for me, August means one thing – chasing mulloway!
Mulloway, silver jew or just jewies, are probably one of the most sought after fish. The prize of catching a big mulloway is like catching a metre barra or a big snapper, and I think there is nothing more rewarding than landing a big one.
Jew are everywhere but are not particularly easy to catch. I fish for them a lot offshore and people don’t realise how many of them are there. A lot of fishos in the area will be fishing the offshore reefs with pillies or squid and may catch an odd one but to really target them effectively you need to use live bait.
Mulloway are not particularly fussy when it comes to which live bait you are using I have caught them on just about everything. I generally like yakkas the best, but at times you will have trouble with trag jew, which isn’t that bad as trag are also good on the table. But when this happens I try to stick with a slightly bigger bait, perhaps a slimy mackerel or a tailor. I mainly use just a running ball sink down to a swivel and a leader of around 1m and a double hook rig, hooks around 6/0 are generally fine.
Any of the offshore reefs will hold jew, but the 18, 20 and 24 fathom reefs off Surfers, as well as the Mud Hole and Fidos, are all really good spots. Use a bit of berley and fish just on dark or first light and you should be in with a shot.
Snapper will still be biting, by using lightly weighted baits or soft plastics you will be in with a show. For bait fishing I use a set of ganged hooks with a small running ball sinker and about 20lb mainline. Let your bait waft slowly down to the bottom as the big snapper will be sitting well off the bottom. I use sinkers anywhere up to 4oz depending on depth and current but for most of the shallower reefs it would be rare to use more than 1oz or so.
When fishing plastics I use jigheads weighted the same as my sinker. As most of your bites will come as the lure is descending, you want it to be presented naturally. When choosing what plastic to use I try to stick with lures from around 5-7”.
If the weather is nice you may be keen to head a little bit wider from the coast. The 42 and 50 fathom line are the perfect places to target reef species like pearl perch, pig fish and morwong, as well as numerous other ooglies that like it out there.
When fishing these deep reefs I prefer to use a paternoster or dropper rig. This is because these fish mainly live close to the bottom so your bait spends more time in the bite zone.
Jigging metal knife style jigs is a good way to get your arms stretched by some hard fighting fish. Kingfish, Samson, amberjack and bonito are all target species while jigging. These fish will live anywhere that there is reef, so it’s worth giving it a go next time you’re out. Jigs from 200-400g will cover most bases, and by jigging and winding at a fairly vigorous pace, you will spark the attention of a passing predator.
The wider grounds will be holding a few big yellowfin in August. Try trolling skirted trolling lures from 7-12” on 50-80lb gear for best results. These fish can be very fussy at times so using a variety of sizes and colours is a must when choosing a spread of lures.
The big breeding flathead will be starting to show up in numbers as well as plenty of smaller specimens. Casting to the weed edges and drop-offs around sand banks will see good numbers caught. Using small soft plastics 3-5” will be best in these areas and jigheads generally around 1/4-3/8oz in most circumstances.
Trolling can also be very effective when chasing flathead around sandbanks, try to stick with depths around 4-8ft and troll as slow as possible. I use Lively Lures Micro Mullets almost exclusively and pink would have to be the most commonly used colour.
Around the weed beds you will also find good numbers of garfish. If they are around, by using a bit of bread for berley you should soon have a school of them feeding behind the boat. I use a small pencil float weighted down with a couple of split shots and a size 10 long shank hook. I find small pieces of prawn or yabby best for bait.
Tailor, trevally and a few Australian salmon will be readily available around the Southport Seaway and, if you can, time a run-in tide around dawn or dusk and it won’t take you long to come across some action. Casting surface lures and metal slugs around 20-40g is generally best, although a live herring or poddy mullet will do the trick as well.Reads: 999