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Cabin fever abates for offshore
  |  First Published: June 2013



This month should see a big change in weather and sea conditions as the current and water temperatures drop. After a strange summer and autumn characterised by plenty of bad weather, floods and unrelenting strong southeasterlies a lot of Gold Coast offshore anglers have a bad case of cabin fever and are itching to get out as fishable days have been few. This month should see westerlies, clear calm warm days and a slowing of the strong current on the wider grounds off the Gold Coast.

For the game fishers, June is still a pretty good month to troll out wide. There are generally still a few blue marlin around and as the water cools it is common to see a lot more striped marlin and yellowfin tuna out on the wide grounds and a few big wahoo. If conditions are good it is still well worth a troll. Closer inshore the 50 fathom line still holds a few medium black marlin and wahoo but this is very dependent on available bait.

On the inshore reefs, June is the last month of the year to chase Spanish mackerel and wahoo and, while the numbers of fish drop off, the quality is generally very good and the biggest mackerel and wahoo of the year are often caught at this time.

The Tweed Nine Mile is a good spot to chase them providing the water is blue and there is a bit of current running. Fast Trolling Hex Heads is my favourite method this month. Mackerel tuna are a very common by-catch.

As the pelagic game fish drop off in numbers, the bottom fishing improves and there is generally pretty good fishing on the 24 and 36 fathom line for species such as snapper and pearl perch. The big pinnacles and wire weed reefs up on the 50 fathom line north east of the Seaway can also provide great fishing this month.

It is always worthwhile getting a stack of live bait before heading wide. Yellowtail and slimy mackerel tend to catch the bigger pearl perch and snapper and there should be plenty of kingfish, amberjack and samsonfish as well. It pays to mix up your methods when fishing the 50 fathom line. A deep fished paternoster rig with bait is a very standard method, but also try jigging weighted plastics and metals, live baiting and float lining strip baits and pilchards. Results vary from day to day but you will generally find one of these particular methods successful. Some really nice big snapper turn up on the 50 fathom line in June.

On the close reefs this month is a good one to chase mulloway and cobia. The winter cobia run varies greatly from year to year and it is hard to predict where or when they will turn up, but a lot of 30-40kg cobia are caught in June. These fish love berley, big live baits and soft plastics, like the Gulp 7” Jerk shad.

If I am targeting cobia I generally set my baits at different levels. I like a big live bait, such as a tailor, big slimy or tarwhine set on the bottom, mid water and on the surface.

In June, there are still a few mackerel about so it pays to fish the surface bait with a short wire trace. Mulloway respond to deep live baits and plastics and the best fishing on the offshore reefs is generally at night.

ESTUARIES AND RIVERS

With cooler weather and calm conditions the fishing in the estuaries improves and a lot of breeding fish move towards the river entrances. The constant rain throughout autumn and summer should see the estuary in excellent condition and there are often big schools of white pilchards around this month.

June is a great time to fish soft plastics and small blades in the main body of the Broadwater. Flathead have been quite good throughout autumn and should increase in their activity as the water cools. Most of the fish are between 40-60cm so light leaders around 6kg give the best results. Small Gulps, small Zerak Prawns, Z-Mann Swimmerz and Squidgies all work well. Vary your retrieve styles and change lure patterns regularly if you aren’t getting bites. The fish often take a while to get on the bite if the mornings are cold and sometimes they only seem to wake up at around 8 o’clock. Small blades are also very effective this month on flathead.

Around the Tippler’s Passage area there have been quite a few relatively large flounder, which is most unusual and these fish love small silver blades. They make great eating.

Tailor should be common on the run-in tides in the Seaway and around Jumpinpin when the white pilchards are about. They are generally pretty easy to find by looking for the birds. The 30g metals such as Lasers and Raiders are generally effective.

A lot of anglers are using in line single hooks with their metal lures with good results. This causes a lot less damage to the mouths of small fish destined for release. While most of the tailor will be choppers around 40cm, quite a few bigger fish turn up at times, particularly at the end of the north wall of the Seaway.

With all the mullet activity around the Seaway and Jumpinpin it is a good time to chase big mulloway at night. Look for a high tide between 6-10pm and fish live mullet in the channels and back eddies as a free swimming bait. Most of the bites come as the run-in tide slows down or on the first of the run-out.

At night, the mulloway are generally good fish over a metre long and, with all the rain earlier in the year, it should be a good season for this species. Every June a few monster fish over 25kg turn up in the entrances. You need to be patient but they are well worth the effort.

1

Aykut giving a mulloway a bit of a cuddle. Mulloway respond to deep live baits and plastics and the best fishing on the offshore reefs is generally at night.

2

It is always worthwhile getting a stack of live bait before heading wide. Yellowtail and slimy mackerel tend to catch the bigger pearl perch and snapper.

3

Angus Williams with a lovely bream.

4

Flathead have been quite good recently and should increase in their activity as the water cools.

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