May will see out the last of the warm currents and most of the migratory pelagic will start to disperse towards the end of the month. Nevertheless, you will still find a few wahoo and the odd Spaniard kicking about.
There are several ways to catch these speedsters; trolling high speed minnows such as Laser Pro 190s in the 2m bib would have to be a favourite. They will be patrolling anywhere along the 30-50m line south of the Gold Coast Seaway. Areas like the Nine Mile, Gravel Patch and Fidos Reef you may find a few a bit more concentrated. Mixed in will be 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 two 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 nice snapper around. If you can put up with a bit of left over current you may find good numbers around the 24 and 26 fathom reefs.
There’s plenty of ways to catch snapper on the close reefs and soft plastics would definitely have to be one the best. You have to suit your jighead to the conditions and, obviously, the depth in which you may be fishing. In shallower areas you can 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 and will use 5/8oz or heavier; in deep water I find that most bites will come as the lure descends, so I’ll use a fairly light jighead, as light as 1/4oz at times.
There are numerous soft plastic tails to use. I’m a big fan of Bass Assassins in the 7”, but Gulps, Guzzler and Squidgy soft plastics all work just fine.
There will also be a few tasty reefies, such as pearl perch, parrot fish, rosy jobfish 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 is a good place to start floatlining baits and the humble paternoster rig are probably the best way to catch deep reefies.
I’ve also had good success with soft plastics that glow in the dark, this 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. Pillies are always hard to beat but fresh squid and flesh baits are at times the winning tempters. Remember using fresh bait is very important.
The school mulloway will be around in numbers and should be increasing in size as the season goes on. Any deep holes or entrances will hold them and they can be caught using a variety of methods.
Live bait is always popular and, for schoolies, herring is always a good option. As you start to chase bigger mulloway baits like mullet and pike are probably 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. And for bigger baits such as mullet 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 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 is the best method. You can also spin with metal lures back into your berley trail, which is a pretty successful way to catch a few.
The winter run of bream should be around in force; these things are becoming a very popular target species by recreational and keen tournament angers. Casting small hardbodied minnows around pontoons and rock walls will always produce a few decent fish, as will lightly weighted soft plastic hopped slowly and subtly along the bottom for those that are bit more timid.
A few school-sized flathead should start to show up and, at this time of year, you will probably have the 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 and I would stay away from anything larger.
The Hinze Dam should be producing good numbers of bass, and their size should be improving as we roll into winter.
Early morning, fish the points and edges with poppers, spinnerbaits and weedless paddle-tailed soft plastics. Later in the day use grass minnows on a 1/4oz jighead and lipless crankbaits around bait schools and in the old river beds.Reads: 1074