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Offshore opens up to anglers
  |  First Published: June 2013



As things start to cool down and the days become shorter there will be plenty of new species to target. You will find that the offshore reefs will become easier to fish as the current starts to slow and the sea will get calmer.

OFFSHORE

This month there will still be a few blue marlin showing their faces wide off the coast, for the anglers that are willing to put in the time. These fish are a real thrill to catch and any gear that is not up to scratch will soon succumb to an explosive fate.

Due to the expansive area in which to chase blue marlin, lures are usually the most effective option; mainly because you can cover more ground. Blue marlin will eat a wide range of lures, and all will work on its given day but if you stick to quality lures such as Meridian, Pula Kai or Black Bart lures you will rarely miss out on a bite when the fish are around.

I run a wind on leader of around 15ft and anywhere from 250-400lb with an attached 8ft leader in front of the lure. Keep you lure leader at 400lb or heavier as you never know when that big one will jump on. Two hooks is the best option, although I’ve had success on singles, but hook ups are more consistent with blues on two hooks. For slice head lures, try to keep your hooks at 180º and for cup-faced lures your hooks should be run at 60º.

The 42 and 50 fathom reefs will be starting to fish well this month with the pearl perch, king snapper and parrot fish starting to come on the chew more and more. A paternoster rig with 2 or 3 droppers is a really good way to target reefies and by using multiple droppers you can use various baits and bait sizes at the same time. With this rig, leader of around 60lb is more than suitable and vary your hook sizes to match the bait; pillies, squid and most flesh baits will usually entice a bite.

On the closer reefs, such as the 18 and 24 fathom reefs, float lining baits, such as pilchards, is the better way to get a good class of fish. Fish such as snapper, cobia and mulloway can be regularly expected in these areas.

When float lining I use ganged 7766 Mustad 5/0 hooks. I like the gangs because if there are a few tailor or mackerel in the area you are far less likely to be bitten off.

When fishing the offshore reefs don’t hesitate to use live bait. This will often provoke a quality fish into biting. A simple rig to use for live baiting would be a fairly large sinker down to a swivel with a trace of around 1m and then either a snelled double hook rig or a large single hook, depending on the size of the live bait. This is like a really big whiting rig.

Make sure that your sinker is heavy enough, something around 8oz is good, this is because a lighter sinker may allow your live bait to swim around and tangle other lines.

THE SURF

If you’re keen to get your toes wet then this month, beach fishing is for you. There should be plenty of tailor and maybe a few mulloway lurking in the surf gutters around the pumping jetties of Southport and the Tweed, Narrow Neck and around Burleigh headland.

Fishing in the surf is a bit of an art, but the best trick is to use the correct sinker shape and weight. I prefer the ‘flying saucer’ shape as it will be less likely to roll and you may even be able to get away with slightly lighter weight.

Tailor are a sucker for a pilchard. Casting metal lures of around 50-80g can be an effective and hassle free way of fishing for them.

INSHORE

Tailor will also be on offer inshore this month. Chase the first push of clean water on a run-in tide and if there are tailor present it won’t take you long to find them. You can also try anchoring on dusk and into the early evening on the run-in tide again, using berley and pilchards for bait. Try to use a fairly light weight as you want the bait to waft around a bit.

Places like Crab Island or the southern drop off behind the hospital in the Tweed are top spots for this type of tailor fishing but anywhere closer to the mouths is worth a try.

There will be a few school flathead around, and you may find better numbers up river a bit from their normal locations as it is still early in the season. Places like the Cotton Trees and around Carrara Stadium in the Nerang and around Chinderah in the Tweed will be where you will be most likely to find the masses. Try using lures that are a bit smaller profile than what you may be used to using. Blades will work well, but if plastics are more your style 2-3” tails will be best. Don’t be fooled, a big lizard will still eat a little lure.

Bream should be around in full force and these fish can be caught on a wide variety of baits and lures. As far as baits go, yabbies are probably the best general bait for all sizes but if you want to target a bigger class of fish, mullet gut and flesh baits such as gar, mullet or tuna are more suitable.

A simple running sinker rig will suit most bream applications but if your fishing in a really snaggy area just run your sinker right down on top if the hook. By doing this, when snagged with this rig, give the line a few short jerks, the sinker will have a tendency to bounce the hook off of the snag. You will find good numbers of bream around the Piggery and Chinderah as well as the drop-off on the northern side of the channel in the mouth of the Tallebudgera Creek.

A feed of winter whiting will be available for those who are keen to give them a go. Use live yabbies or sand worms on top of the sand banks at the top of the tide around the mouth of Currumbin and Tallebudgera creeks, and around the piggery in the Tweed. I’d be surprised if you will go short of a feed.

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