Lead into a great season
  |  First Published: November 2012

November is going to be the lead up to what looks like an awesome summer.

Northern Queensland has had the best juvenile black marlin season for some years, this almost certainly means that our season will follow suit. Providing that we have some decent weather and good amounts of baitfish, the marlin season will be one to remember!

Towards the end of the month will be the best time to target these fish as the season will just be starting. You can target baby black marlin in numerous ways but I’d say this early in the season lure fishing will be the way to go.

For best results use 5-8” lures rigged on light gauge hooks. Any marlin lure will work on its day and even the most ordinary lure, if left out long enough, will eventually get results. However, Pakula, Pula Kai and Black Snack are my big three types and you will very seldom see my lure spread not consisting mostly of these brands.

When out on the water keep your eyes peeled at all times, looking for things like diving birds, baitfish schools floating objects and current lines, all of these things can have fish present.

When looking for marlin try the 50m line as it will usually produce a few fish early in the season. Kirra Reef and the gravel patch will also be a good place to have a look.

Mackerel will be starting to show up around Mermaid and Palm Beach reefs. Floating pillies has always produced well for me around these places. I use fairly light lines about 8-12lb with a 20lb fluorocarbon leader down to a light wire trace and a 2/0 hook. I like nylon-coated multi strand wire as it’s a lot softer, but single strand is also really good. I try to mix it up with different size baits, as they may bite differently day to day.

When anchoring on the reef, position yourself on any bait schools or pinnacles but be considerate of other boats. These fish roam the reef so by using berley you will bring the fish to you, and give other boats a wider berth.

Snapper will still be getting caught in November. I love using lightly weighted pillies for snapper, a technique known as float lining. I use a two gang of 6/0 hooks with a whole pillie. The trick with this technique is to use as light weight as possible, so don’t be afraid to try changing your sinker size throughout your fishing session.

I use fairly light line, about 20lb, if fine for most occasions. I generally use monofilament line for snapper as I feel you pull far less hooks, but if you were to use braided line you can try a really long shock tippet of around 4m which will definitely help.

This time of year I have done really well fishing on the 42 fathom line off of the southern Gold Coast, but the current can at times make fishing a little bit more difficult.


November is prime jack season! These fish are becoming more and more popular on the Gold Coast and it’s not hard to see why. They are as hard fighting as fish come in the estuary and will gladly relieve you of your new favourite lure. They are definitely up there with the most rewarding to catch.

You will more often then not find jacks really tight against cover, such as rock bars and pontoons so a locked drag is a must. I usually use 20-30lb braided line and a 40lb leader and cast both soft plastics and hardbodied lures.

The new Nories spoon tail soft plastics are absolute dynamite on jacks, as are the Z-Man Swimmerz in 4”, but like any fishing it’s good to mix it up with different lures.

You will find jacks around any structure and even the very best jack fisher will tell you that there are no real secret spots, its more about when and how you fish an area. Keeping your lure really close to cover is a must and mix up your retrieves regularly.

There will still be plenty of big flathead around this month and there should be plenty of big breeders around the mouths. Try using big soft plastics, anything 5-7” with a moderately heavy jighead. I use 20lb braided line and a 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I use this slightly heavier line to ensure I get a good hook set – these big fish have a very hard mouth so heavier line is needed to get good penetration.

Remember flathead are protected over 75cm, these big girls are breeding fish so be sure to release them immediately.

Whiting will be around in good numbers and are fairly easily targeted this time of year. Bigger fish will be caught further up the rivers; the Nerang Rriver around the Council Chambers is my favourite place but the piggery in the Tweed also holds good numbers.

I use about a 6lb mainline with a simple running ball sinker down to a swivel with an 8-10lb trace and a size 4 or 6 hook. Yabbies or worms are really good for whiting but I really like small black soldier crabs for bait, I have caught more big whiting on them than anything else.

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