The Gold mack attack
  |  First Published: May 2014

This season has been very good for Spanish and spotted mackerel. The close reefs off Southport, the blocks just north of the Seaway and Mermaid and Palm Beach Reef have all produced a bumper crop of mackerel. This month should see the run continue with some bigger 15-20kg Spaniards starting to increase in numbers on the 24 fathom line.

It pays to have a number of tactics at your disposal when mackerel fishing. Some days the fish have been in the surface layers and trolling minnows and skirted lures have been effective. There are big schools of small mackerel tuna around at the moment and the mackerel stalk these schools and tend to swim just under them.

If trolling lures isn’t working try spinning metal lures such as Spanyid Snipers. Let the lure sink to the bottom, give six fast cranks, pause, and then wind fast. Most of the hits come just after the pause. Most of the mackerel are between 5-10kg and hit metal lures with gusto. I’ve found I get a lot more bites if I don’t use wire, but I do get a few bite-offs. I’ve found that by using triple split rings on the back of the lure and a single hook, such as a Decoy I get solid hook ups and reduce bite-offs by having the hook a bit further back on the lure.

If spinning isn’t working and the fish are visible on the sounder trolling deep baits off a downrigger is often successful. Live baiting is another good option. Slow trolled small live tuna often account for the bigger fish.

May is a good month to target wahoo. The best spot in the region is the Tweed Nine Mile Reef located south east of the Tweed Bar. Trolling fast lures such as Hex Heads can be very effective. If small tuna are around a slowly trolled live tuna is perhaps the most deadly method you can use, and accounts for plenty of really big wahoo over 25kg most seasons, although sharks can be a problem. Wahoo are also found on the 24 and 36 fathom line off Southport and often turn up while targeting Spanish mackerel.

The current should slow down a bit this month, and the inshore billfish action drops off a bit. If the big schools of slimies are still on Deep Trag and Spot X it is worth trying for a black marlin and as the water cools a little a few striped marlin start to show up. Out wider May is an excellent month to chase blue marlin on the 100 fathom line. This year quite a few decent blue marlin have turned up in as close as 80m, and anywhere on the drop-off to the continental shelf is worth trying if there are birds and bait in the vicinity.

Bottom fishing should improve this month as the water cools and the current slows. The 50 fathom line should start to produce a few nice pearl perch, which will be a welcome break after eating so many mackerel! There should also be a few snapper, teraglin, kings and amberjacks.

The northeast 50 Fathom Reef is worth a look this month. The inshore run of snapper doesn’t usually start until June but there will still be a few nice fish on the 36 fathom line.

Close inshore it is worth chasing mulloway at night on live bait.


The westerly winds should start to blow this month and this triggers a change in season and winter spawning species such as bream, luderick, mulloway and mullet start to migrate towards the river mouths. It is a good month to live bait or jig plastics around the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances chasing mulloway and flathead.

There have been quite consistent catches of flathead in the Seaway for the past month and these should increase in number as the water cools down a bit.

Mangrove jack quieten down a bit in May. It has been an excellent jack season and as the water cools quite a few bigger fish start to show on the north wall of the Seaway. These are best targeted with small live baits fished around the edges of the rock walls. Bust offs are very common at this time of year. This method also produces trevally, tailor and mulloway and is a fun way to fish. Small mullet, herrings, yakkas and slimies are the gun baits to use.

Casting blades, soft plastics and vibes will produce reasonable members of flathead on the flats between Crab Island north to the Bedrooms. This whole area has cleaned up a lot since recent rains and should fish well. This area also fishes well for whiting on both baits and surface lures. I’ve recently done well on small stick baits, such as the Bassday Sugarpen and the Luckycraft Sammy. Some of these whiting have been over 35cm with my PB on a lure going 41cm. Coombabah Creek is a good spot to chase both whiting and flathead at this time of year.

May is a reasonable month for mud and sand crabs but the numbers drop off towards the end of the month. The weed beds in the Broadwater are worth a look and the sand crabs generally outnumber the muddies. Mackerel heads and frames make great crab bait so don’t throw them away. The banana prawn run in the southern end of Moreton Bay will slow down this month but the squid should increase in numbers as the westerlies start to blow and the water clears.

Overall, May is a great month to fish the Gold Coast with a good mix of winter and summer species. The weather is generally kind and from the offshore grounds to the shallow estuary flats there are some excellent fishing options available on most days.

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