Surprises in store for summer
  |  First Published: November 2013

It is hard to predict what will unfold on the blue water as it has been an unusual season so far. The water temperature out wide is already over 22ºC and blue marlin have been caught all through winter and early spring.

November usually sees the start of the push of the East Australian Current. In 2012 quite a few small black marlin turned up very early, and while the run of juvenile blacks up north in winter has been patchy, most of the fish have been a bit bigger, averaging 20-30kg. By the time they turn up of the Gold Coast they’ve generally added another 10kg to that weight. I think there will be a few blacks caught trolling in close this month as well as mahi mahi and small wahoo.

There has been quite a bit of bait around on the 24 and 36 fathom line and hopefully this will hold the fish for a while as they migrate south on the current.

As the current picks up the bottom fishing generally slows down a bit and while there will be a few snapper and pearl perch on the 36, 42 and 50 fathom line the fishing will drop-off during the month as the water warms up.

There have been a lot of rosy job fish on the 50 fathom line over the past month and these are a species that can be caught into the warmer months. Dropping hook size to 2/0 and using prawns and squid as bait is a good way to chase this species. They are also partial to small soft plastics.

In closer to shore Palm Beach is worth a look and November can be a very good month to chase cobia, with the chance of a few spotty mackerel and Queensland school mackerel. Live baiting while berleying and fishing pilchards can be effective. Spanish mackerel rarely show up in November. If the current is running over the reef the fishing is better. It is also a good time to stock up on bonito and small tuna for troll baits for the coming season.

Fishing at night on the close reefs off Southport and Surfers will produce a few mulloway, teraglin and snapper. The mulloway season on the offshore grounds generally outlasts the estuary night run by a few months as the mullet numbers in the estuary drop off. Live slimies fished on deep rigs are very effective, and using circle hooks can increase your success rate. In general you won’t get many mulloway in November before sunset.

Out on the wide grounds the blue marlin should be in full swing this month, and already, in the last few months (traditionally the quietest on the calendar for blues) plenty have been caught. Put your lures in on the 50 fathom line and keep heading east. I like to troll in depths 150-250m. Blue marlin from small boats are extremely challenging fish to catch, and the prospects are very good this month.


The water quality through early spring has been very poor. Constant hot north westerlies have made the flathead fishing quite tough, and in brown sludgy water full of weeds it has been tough to get good numbers of fish. The deep water near the entrances has also been particularly slow. This month is generally the last month I target flathead, and most of my fishing is concentrated around the estuary mouths in the cleaner water on the run-in tide. Deep jigged plastics are generally quite effective, as are blades and vibes. If it is really hot work the deeper channels as the fish don’t stay up on the flats for long.

November is a great month to target jacks on the Gold Coast. Mick Horne is the local mangrove jack guru, and he’s been getting some great fish as conditions warm up. Most of his fish are caught on soft plastic Z-Mann 4” Swimmerz. He’s a cracker of an angler and I greatly admire his dedication and passion for these great fish. There was a ripper of 62cm on his Facebook page recently.

I like to fish for jacks either at dawn or dusk and into the night. Both casting and trolling are effective. The biggest boom in jack habitat over the past decade has been the plethora of floating pontoons. These provide jacks with perfect ambush platforms regardless of the tide, and they sit just under the pontoon facing into the current waiting for baitfish. Jacks are like ibis: they adapt to the habitat we provide for them, and are in increasing numbers. They aren’t an easy fish to master and you lose quite a few lures along the way. As well as pontoons, try rock bars bridges and the corners of canals. The hit is quite amazing, like a bass on steroids.

Whiting will be in good numbers in the Nerang and Pimpama rivers this month and these areas should fish well on the run-in tide on Wriggler worms, yabbies and small soldier crabs or shrimp. The Nerang also fishes well at night. Quite a few good fish over 40cm will be caught this month.

Jumpinpin sometimes fishes well for mulloway on soft plastics in November. Work the deep channels around the entrances using lures such as 7” white Gulp Jerk Shads. On the run-in work the edges of the ledges and the back eddies and as the water slows fish the deep snags. Quite a few over a metre will turn up this month, but a lot will be under the minimum legal size of 75cm.

Overall, November marks a month of transition for fishos on the Gold Coast. It is worth getting a few exploratory trolling trips planned in case the marlin arrive, and if you’ve only got a few hours to spare try for a jack in the evening. There are plenty of good options.

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