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Spring shine through dirty water
  |  First Published: October 2012



Warmer weather, northwesterly winds and a dry winter can make for difficult fishing.

Flathead were active throughout the winter months but have shut down a bit in recent weeks due to the dirty water created by the northerlies.

This month sees the Gold Coast Sportfishing Club run the famous Flathead Classic on the 4-6 October. Plenty of teams have been out on the water practising and some decent fish have been caught.

This month the big fish move to the deeper water to spawn. Around Jumpinpin, the Seaway and in the deeper channels there will be plenty of flathead over 80cm on deep jigged plastics, deep trolling and on live bait.

A good tactic to try when the water is a bit dirty is to troll long stretches so you cover plenty of water. The Lively Lures Micro Mullet is a great trolling lure in depths up to 3m. Other popular lures are Piggy Lures, Tilsans and Halcos.

October sees a change in the feeding habits of the local mulloway population. The winter mullet run is now pretty much over, but the jewies are still about and move to the deeper entrances. It is a good time to target them on soft plastics and live pike, tailor or slimies.

Since the minimum size of 75cm came in, we are starting to see a lot more mulloway in the estuaries. I noticed a decrease in their average size this winter but an increased number of the fish we caught on live mullet at night. These fish in the past averaged about 110cm and we caught roughly one every second trip. This season the average was a fair bit better, but our fish ranged from 87-128cm, averaging around 100cm.

Normally we don’t get the smaller fish at night. It seems enough of the fish have now survived past the 75cm limit and are capable of taking on a big live mullet, and more adult fish are being recruited. If this is true I’d expect some great mulloway fishing over the next few years.

I’ve fished for mulloway in the same spots for over 25 years and it is fascinating to see the fish sizes; for two decades they have been very consistent but now have dropped a bit. We caught just as many big fish as previously but the 87cm to 1m fish were additional to our previous catch rate. They are fast growing fish.

Mangrove jack are another good target species this month. Storms, humidity and hot winds make for good evening jack fishing, and already some great fish have been caught by the local mangrove jack whisperers around the canals, bridges and rock bars.

Trolling is a bit of a forgotten method that can be deadly when you troll into the tide and bang your lures into the rocks below. Have plenty of spares and go hard early when you get a bite, as you can get stitched up in the wink of an eye.

OFFSHORE

This is very much a transition month on the offshore grounds with some interesting options.

Since the ocean has warmed up a little, it is hard to predict the movement of migrating pelagic species. There has been a lot of encouraging news of plenty of small black marlin on the Central Queensland Coast. These fish traditionally arrive in December but we haven’t had a good season on little black marlin for over three years.

This month is probably a bit early to target marlin on the inshore grounds, but there should be a few mahi mahi starting to turn up when the current warms to around 24ºC. It is also a good month to get all the gear ready for summer.

Out on the 50 fathom line, current will dictate the bottom fishing. Snapper numbers drop off this month but there should still be a few decent nobbies around on the pinnacles in 50 fathoms, as well as pearl perch, pig fish, teraglin, amberjack, Samson and Venus tuskfish.

Deep water live baiting on the 50 fathom line can get you connected to some big horrible monsters. If you want to see how hard a big amberjack pulls, drop a big live bait on the pinnacles in 50 fathoms east of Jumpinpin. There’s a spot up there that can really fire in October but there are a lot more bust ups than happy smiling faces posing for photos.

In closer to shore and along the 18 fathom line off Southport, there is often a school run of cobia. There have been plenty of big specimens caught throughout late winter and early spring, and quite a few have been over 30kg.

Mermaid and Palm Beach Reef are also worth a look for cobia.

Use berley with chopped pilchards and a mix of live baits, soft plastics and floating dead baits. And expect to tangle with plenty of big mackerel tuna if you fish by this method.

Heavy tackle game fishing can be a bit hit and miss this month. There should be a few striped marlin, blue marlin, yellowfin and an increasing number of mahi mahi and wahoo as the water warms up. On a good day October can really fire up. Last season a lot of the really big blue marlin turned up in November, so an exploratory trip is definitely worthwhile.

Overall, October is a good month to target flathead in the estuaries and have a bit of a prospect offshore. We could be in for some great marlin fishing in coming months so dust of those lures and get ready for the little blacks to arrive.

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