As the water cools down and the westerlies start to blow, there is a lot of fish traffic around the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances. Already big schools of sea mullet are starting to move along the beaches and July will see plenty of tailor, bream, luderick and whiting around the entrances.
It has also been a great season so far for 2-4kg GT and, if the big schools of bait hold in the entrances, there should be some good lure spinning with metals, plastics and poppers in the Seaway area.
Good target species include flathead, bream, mulloway and tailor. The flathead should increase in size and number with plenty of action in the central Broadwater. The water at the moment is crystal clear and, while the flathead are generally less than 60cm at this time of year, it is usually possible to average 15-30 fish a session in good conditions.
I like to mix up my lures a bit and use small soft plastics, blades and vibes until I can work out a pattern for a given day. Work the clear sand patches in between the weed beds and concentrate your activity where the pelicans are feeding.
On high tide trolling the flats with small divers such as Lively Lures Micro Mullets and Piggy lures. On calm days this can be very productive, with plenty of bream as a by-catch. There are a lot of smaller flathead around at this time of year but it is generally pretty easy to get a decent feed.
There should be some great fishing for big mulloway this month both on soft plastics and on live baits. Since the minimum size of 75cm legislation came in there have been plenty of 60-70cm fish around and the entrances are the best spots to chase them.
Live mullet fished on the tide changes at night are also very effective around the mouth of Swan Bay and in the Seaway area. A lot of these bigger fish move into the estuary from the close reefs to feed at night. The Tweed walls are another great place to try. Most fish are caught on free swimming mullet with no lead.
Bream are in their spawning season and are schooled up in big numbers in the deep water around the entrances. They can be caught on a wide variety of baits, but deep jigging soft plastics and small vibes can also be deadly. It takes a bit of practice to get a small 1/8oz jighead down to the bottom in current but if you carefully control your drift so your line sinks directly below the boat, good bags are generally pretty easy to achieve. I like Gulp Shrimp and swimming mullet for this type of work.
Crabs are starting to quieten down as the water cools but on calm warm days there are still quite a few sand crabs to catch around the weed beds between Crab Island and Tippler’s Passage. Use fresh fish frames, such as mullet.
The current is generally minimal this month and sea conditions are often good with light westerlies. This is one of the best months of the year to chase snapper.
While the numbers caught off the Gold Coast aren’t what they used to be, there are still plenty of decent size snapper around on the 36 fathom line in July. These respond well to slowly drifted baits such as mullet and tuna strips, pilchards and bonito. Use as minimal lead as possible so your bait slowly wafts down to the bottom. Most of the runs occur between mid water and the bottom.
When you find the fish turn your sounder off, as big snapper in heavily fished areas definitely get wary of the pinging sound coming from the transducer. Soft plastics are another alternative, and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads in white, nuclear chicken and pink are all very effective for this type of work. As with bait fishing, use as light a jighead as you can get away with and most of the fish pick the lure up as it slowly sinks down.
Out on the 50 fathom line there should be some great fishing for kings, amberjack and Samson fish on both jigs and live baits. Fish high pinnacles and hang on, as all of these species fight hard and dirty. We tend to catch our biggest specimens on live baits, and while jigs catch some nice ones, nothing seems to beat a big flapping live bait sent to the bottom.
Pearl perch should also be around in good numbers this month and the best catches are around the 50 fathom line. There are also some good pinnacles out in 60 and 70 fathoms that produce well; this area needs plenty of exploration. If you find a good pinnacle in this depth it generally holds good-sized pearl perch. Pearlies respond to paternoster rigs using squid and pilchards and love small jigs and deeply fished soft plastics.
It may still be worth a troll out wide this month. There have been quite a few blue marlin caught in July over the past few seasons as well as striped marlin, wahoo and yellowfin. Troll a minimum of 24kg on the wide grounds (preferably 37kg) as the late season fish tend to be big with a lot of blues running around the 200kg mark. The activity depends on whether the water temperature out wide holds itself around 22ºC or above. If it is warm enough, the fish will be there. Mix up your lure colours and sizes but make sure at least one of your lures has a lumo type of skirt.
Overall, July is a good month to fish the Gold Coast with plenty of winter options and it is a great time to get a feed of high quality eating fish. Watch out for strong westerlies if heading out wide as the sea conditions off the shelf can whip up to frightening proportions quickly.Reads: 1145