Mixing it up on the troll
  |  First Published: June 2014

The water temperature has remained high throughout autumn and as things slowly cool and the East Australian Current slows down, there should be some great fishing off the Gold Coast. There will be a mix of winter and summer fishing for both pelagic and bottom fish.

This season has been an excellent one for mackerel fishing on the close reefs off Southport, and as the water cools the fish should be fewer but bigger. Already in May, quite a few bigger mackerel from 15-20kg are starting to show up. This month it is worth targeting these bigger fish.

Most of the mackerel have been holding close to the bottom where they feed on yakkas, grinners and other bottom dwelling baitfish. For this reason trolling live or dead baits from a downrigger or spinning deep lures has been effective. I generally sound out my favourite mackerel pinnacles and locate the fish. They show as distinctive lines generally stacked vertically above a pinnacle. By casting lures, like 60-70g Spanyid Snipers and using a high speed reel it has been pretty easy to get a feed, although on mono the bite offs can be common. However, using wire greatly reduces the number of strikes. I modify my metal lures by using triple or even 4 split rings at the back and an inline single hook to be very effective and most days this reduces the number of bite offs.

On the wider grounds there should still be good numbers of blue marlin this month on the 200m line and increased numbers of striped marlin as well. Stand up 80lb outfits are the best weapon against big blues. Lately we have done well on blue and silver skirts, which are a good imitation of flying fish.

There should be quite a few wahoo around this month on the Tweed Nine Mile if the current is running. It has been a fairly slow season for wahoo so far but the big numbers of Spaniards have made up for it. Try trolling high speed weighted skirts, such as Hex Heads or trolling small live tuna around the drop-off at the southern face of the Nine Mile Reef. The Mud Hole, a few miles to the north, is also worth a look in June. Some really good 30kg wahoo are generally caught this month.

As the current slows the snapper fishing on the 36 fathom line should start to improve and pearl perch should also be in good numbers out on the 50 fathom line. There are also some good pearl perch spots out around 95m that commonly produce bigger fish. Pearlies love small jigs and big soft plastics as well as the usual squid and pilchards menu and fish of over 2kg should be common.

On the closer reefs live baiting for mulloway and cobia is worth a look. The mulloway bite is generally at dawn or after sunset and reefy ledges with overhangs or shallow wrecks produce the most fish. If you can get live slimies you are generally in with a good chance. Cobia respond to heavy berleying and generally the big fish over 25kg start to show as the mackerel begin to thin out a bit.


As things cool down there is a lot of fish movement in the estuaries. Mullet start to school up around the entrances and bream move to deeper water in preparation for spawning. This attracts big mulloway, sharks, big tailor and kingfish into the estuary mouths.

Deep jigging using soft plastics can be very effective during the day and live baiting using mullet, pike, slimies or yellowtail is also productive. At night a live tiger mullet fished in the current eddies is very effective for the bigger mulloway.

There should be some good spinning for tailor and trevally in the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances and metals, poppers, stickbaits and soft plastics are all producing. The wash at the end of the north wall of the Seaway is a great place to spin early in the morning on a run-in tide and sometimes produces quite a few Queensland school mackerel as well as tailor, trevally, tarpon and the odd mackerel tuna. Large schools of white pilchards and frog mouthed pillies sometimes show up in June and attract a lot of predators.

Flathead fishing should improve greatly this month as the water cools. Clear water up on the flats seas a lot of fish in the shallows, and trolling small lures like Lively Lures Micro Mullets in pink or Pig Lures can be deadly. Soft plastics, vibes and blades are also deadly on lizards in June.

The central Broadwater from Crab Island through to the area north of Tipplers Passage is generally reliable and productive. If the morning is cold they often don’t bite well until after about 8.30am, so for flathead fishing ‘office hours’ works best. Most of the fish will be in the 40-60cm range with the odd bigger one and plenty of small fish as well.

Bream fishing will improve greatly this month in the Seaway as the adult fish school up prior to spawning. Deep soft plastics, blades and small vibes are all effective. They are also the commonest by-catch when flathead fishing. Surface lures are another good option on the high tide flats. I like Lucky Craft Sammys for bream and they also catch whiting, tailor, pike and flathead. It is a fun way to fish early in the morning before the flathead wake up.

Overall, June is a very good month to fish the Gold coast. It has been quite a good year so far in both the estuaries and offshore with plenty of crabs, prawns, loads of mackerel and good numbers of blue marlin. This month should be chilly but still have some great fishing. Tight lines.

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