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Being behind is getting ahead
  |  First Published: July 2014



This year has been unusual as everything seems to be a month behind on the offshore grounds. The water temperatures have been quite high and the mackerel and wahoo have stayed active right into June.

This month should see the current drop and there should be good deep water bottom fishing on the 50 fathom line. Target species this month include kingfish, amberjack, Samson, snapper and pearl perch.

It pays to try a few methods when heading out to the wider reefs. Deep water jigging and live baiting should be quite productive this month and snapper fishing should pick up once the water temperature starts to drop. I like to catch a few live baits on the way out to the wide grounds and start fishing for snapper and pearl perch early. When I’ve got a decent feed we then drop a deep live bait and try for something bigger.

The north east 50 fathom line is a great place to fish this month and the further north you head, the better the fishing seems to get. There are also a few good pinnacles out in 90-100m that hold big pearl perch in July.

In closer, the 36 fathom line should start to produce some nice snapper this month on pilchards, strip baits and soft plastics. The lighter you fish the more bites you seem to get. A fee running ball sinker and 10-15kg leader is the maximum you need for snapper and make sure the sinker can run freely over any knots. I generally hold the sinker in my hands, feed out 10-20m of line and then drop the sinker, which slowly tows the bait down to the bottom. This gives a much more natural presentation of the bait.

For the game fisher, there will still be a few blue and striped marlin out wide on the hundred fathom line but the bite slows down a bit. If the water temperature maintains itself at around 22ºC it is worth a troll, particularly if the birds and dolphins are active in the area. In closer to shore there may still be a few Spaniards and wahoo about if the water stays blue and the temperature stays up. These late season fish are generally good quality over 15kg. Trolling live baits off a downrigger is probably the best method to get connected to big mackerel in July. Cobia are another good option on the close reefs and live tailor, big slimies or large soft plastics are very effective methods.

Fishing the close reefs off Southport at night is another good option this month targeting snapper, mulloway, tailor and teraglin. By anchoring up an hour before sunset and berleying the results usually come just as the sun dips below the horizon.

Over the last 2 years I’ve found my results on mulloway on the offshore grounds have been best on the change of low tide and live tailor have been the most consistent bait as they aren’t attacked by teraglin and the mulloway love them.

ESTUARIES

July is a great month to fish the Broadwater and as the winter westerlies start to blow a lot of fish move out of the rivers into the main body of water between Jumpinpin and the Seaway. The mullet migration triggers a lot of activity at the entrances and large schools of spawning bream are also in good numbers. I spend most of my time in the estuaries targeting flathead and mulloway in July. The number of flathead on the flats and weed beds greatly increases this month and these fish feed up on white pilchards and other bait prior to spawning.

When chasing flathead this month try fishing a few soft vibes, like Jackall Transams and the Samiki Vibalicious. When flathead are focused on white pilchards soft vibes and rattling spot style lures can be very effective. These lures can often out fish soft plastics and more traditional hardbodies by a wide margin. A slow sink and draw retrieve is all that is required.

Trolling should also be very effective this month. Target fish in 1.5-3m of water using pink Lively Lures Micro Mullets. I’ve used a lot of other lures but these are number one in my book. Locally made Pig Lures are also very effective. Work the lure with your rod tip and let it out so it just hits the bottom. You don’t need to troll your lures a long way back. In shallow weedy areas flathead will follow the boat chasing the bait that your motor disturbs. Repeated trolling the same run can have them come up really close to the boat, which is surprising but true. Try trolling a lure only 5-10m behind the motor.

Mulloway will be active in both the Seaway area and around Jumpinpin at night. A live mullet is generally the best bait. During the day soft plastics such as Gulp Jerk Shads produce quite a few fish when fished in the eddies around the entrances and white is usually the best colour. The last of a run-in tide and the first of the run-out is generally the best time to target mulloway on soft plastics.

There should be plenty of big bream around Jumpinpin and the Seaway this month as the fish congregate prior to spawning on the beaches. Small metal blades, soft plastics and traditional bait fishing methods should all be effective. There should also be some big tailor on the run-in tides around the entrances and quite a few nice tailor around 2kg turn up in July.

Overall, this month should see a marked change in seasons as things cool down and we move into the traditional winter fishing pattern. It definitely seems, however, that everything is a month late this year and the seasonal changes have been very slow in coming so far.

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