Awesome time on the Gold Coast
  |  First Published: September 2013

September is an awesome month to fish on the Gold Coast. The weather is often perfect, with light westerly winds in the morning and dropping out throughout the day. So why not take advantage of this time of year and get out there!

September is a great month to chase big cobia on our offshore reefs. I find the best way to target big cobia is on live baits. Cobia will show up just about anywhere, but I find that the best places to target them are on the closer reefs. I like the 18, 20 and 24 fathom lines but I’ve also had good success at point reef and also Palm Beach reef at this time of year. I like to anchor up when fishing for cobia and whilst I’m anchored ill fish 3 or 4 baits at varying depths. I really don’t think that there is much of a secret as to what live bait is best as I find they will eat just about anything. Live slimy mackerel or tailor are always hard to go past, but at times when live bait is hard to come by, anything is worth a shot.

My standard rig is a relatively large sinker down to a swivel and then a trace around 1.2m long and about 80lb. I vary my hook sizes but two 8/0 Gamakatsu live bait hooks snelled together will cover most large live baits. Note that you are best to fish a bigger sinker with bigger baits, as it will help stop them from swimming around other lines. This can end in disaster! It’s best to fish a bit heavier line for cobia. I like lines heavier than 30lb just because if you happen to get a really big one on, there’s less chance you will have to pull anchor.

There are usually a few big late season snapper around this month and I don’t think there’s a better way to catch a big knobby snapper than slowly floating down a pilchard. This technique, known as float lining can be one of the most exciting ways to fish. There’s nothing quite like getting a run from a big snapper first thing in the morning! Float lining is pretty simple. I fish a set of 2, 6/0 hooks ganged together with a sinker as small sinker as you can get away with. Somewhere around 3/8 - 3/4oz is preferred. The one main secret to this style of fishing is to use a glow sinker. McCubbin Glow Sinkers are the original and still the best in my opinion. You will find these fish on the 24 and 36 fathom lines all around the gold coast.

The bottom fishing on the 50 fathom line is often still on the cards as long as the current isn’t running too hard. I’ll often fish a floater similar to when you are fishing for snapper, the only change I’ll make is to step the sinker size up a bit. Though a floater is good, a simple paternoster rig is often better so that is worth a shot as well. Best baits are half pillies, squid and flesh baits.


September for me is the start of prime flathead time; this is due to their annual breeding migration. They will move out towards the mouths of the rivers and into deeper bodies of water. The best way to target big flatties laid up in deep water is with big soft plastics or heavy, lipless crankbaits. As far as plastics go, everyone has their favourites and that’s an opinion you end up gaining over time. But if I had to choose any I’d start with a few like DOA 5.5” Jerk Minnows, Gulp Curltails and a newer one I have been catching a lot of fish on lately is a South African made McCarthy. Jigheads will be varied according to the tidal flow but somewhere between 1/2-1oz will cover most applications. Lipless crankbaits are good at times and the one I have been using lately and having good results on is a Flat Shad brought out by Sébile. The gear I use is a moderately heavy threadline outfit of around 20lb with a fluorocarbon leader around 20lb as well.

Trevally will be showing up in the rivers around Bundall Bridge. These are mainly big eye trevs with an odd GT mixed in. Top water lures and suspending jerkbaits always do the damage for me. I like the run out tide at night and with the aid of an electric motor you can cruise around the lights keeping an eye out for schooling fish.

Tailor will be caught around the Tweed Bar at the start of the run in tide. Trolling, casting shallow diving minnows and anchoring up and fishing pillies are great ways to catch them. Look for any birds diving as you may be able to pick a few up casting metal slugs amongst the birds. Have a range of different size lures handy as you will often need to match the hatch by casting the same or similar sized lure as the bait they are feeding on.

Hinze dam

Hinze Dam will be starting to produce a few more fish off of the edges. By casting spinnerbaits and slow rolling paddle-tailed soft plastics around the points and weed edges you will more than likely come across a few bass and the odd saratoga. As the days start getting a bit longer you will start getting more bass on surface lures at first and last light. This can be one of the most exciting ways to fish!

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