This year has seen the water temperatures hold at near summer levels right into July. We have been catching blue marlin all through winter so far and on the inshore grounds there are still a few Spanish mackerel. The snapper have been slow to start and the water has often been 23°C, which is way too warm for snapper to spawn. This month the water should cool down at last and we should see a return to normal winter fishing patterns.
August usually sees a pattern of moderate to strong north westerly winds alternating with quite calm conditions. Current is general minimal on the wider grounds and deep water bottom fishing is generally good. Target species this month include snapper, pearl perch, kingfish, mulloway and teraglin. For the game fisher there should be a few striped marlin and yellowfin tuna on the continental shelf with the chance of a big blue marlin if the water stays above 22°C. It is hard to predict what will happen as the tongues of warm current moving south never seem to end!
Snapper should be in good numbers this month on the 36 fathom line. The northern end of the reef east of Jumpinpin is often the most productive area in latitudes between 27° 40’ and 27° 45’. Soft plastics and slowly drifted weighted pilchards are generally very effective. I try to get to my good snapper marks just on dawn and fish until about 8am before heading out to the 50 fathom line to chase pearl perch and samsonfish. This month is a good month to stock up on prime eating fish and some of the biggest snapper are caught in August.
Closer to shore there should be snapper, mulloway, tailor and teraglin. The 18, 20 and 24 fathom reefs are all worth a fish this month. In early June the mackerel were still biting off snapper fisher’s floating pilchards and there may still be a few around in August. Fishing the close reefs can be very productive at night with berley, live baits and pilchards. I find I catch nearly all my mulloway on the close reefs after sunset as they seem to leave their caves and move around in the open to feed. Most of these fish are between 9kg and 15kg. Remember the bag limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size limit is 75cm.
Cobia are another species worth targeting this month. The 20 fathom line east of Surfers Paradise often holds plenty of big yakkas and slimies as well as big schools of tailor and the cobia feed hard on these reefs. Big livebaits produce plenty of good cobia at this time of year and these adult fish average around 20kg. Most of the action takes place around the change of tide. Big mackerel tuna are a common by-catch but have become scarcer in recent years. When cobia fishing it helps if you berley heavily with large chunks of fish or chopped pilchards. They are a greedy species with a mouth like a bucket.
August is a great month in the estuaries with a lot of fish movement with the prevailing westerly winds. Mullet, bream and luderick are all in their spawning runs and there are a lot of big schools of fish around the entrances as many fish start to move along the beaches. Flathead also increase in size and numbers throughout the Broadwater and feed aggressively prior to the spring spawning season. It is also a good month to target mulloway in the Seaway and around Jumpinpin.
When the water is clear and clean the central Broadwater from Crab Island in the south, then north to Tipplers Passage is a great area to fish this month with soft plastics, prawn copies, blades and vibration baits for small to medium flathead. While a few big fish over 70cm start to show up in catches, the majority are 40-60cm long. These fish are great eating and fun to catch on light braid. As a general rule the bottom half of the tide cycle is the most productive, but with practice you will catch fish over all parts of the tide cycle once you work out the channels and sand holes. Work the edges of the mangroves on high tide and the draining channels on the fall and first of the run in tide. Sometimes this month sees strong warm north westerlies blow. This brings on an algal bloom and creates a lot of mid water weed that fouls lures regularly and makes fishing hard. In these conditions look for the patches of clean water and the small lagoons where the current is minimal. Flathead fishing can be tough in north westerly winds.
Mulloway will be active on the top of the tide at night although the season has been slow to start, probably due to the late onset of cold weather. Live mullet, pike or tailer make the best baits. Fish these in the eddies. When the current is running hard use a sinker, but take the lead off as the water push slows down. Most of the mulloway caught at night are good fish over a metre long and are well worth the effort. Fish light leader around 15 kilo breaking strain if the water is clear and be quiet and patient.
The run in tide often sees good schools of tailer move into the estuary and spinning with metal lures is often very productive. There may also be Australian Salmon around as well. These usually more southern species have arrived on the Gold Coast intermittently over the last 5 years and they generally show themselves in late winter.
Overall, August is quite a good month to fish the Gold Coast with plenty of variety on offer. There are already plenty of boats out there practicing for the 2014 Flathead Classic and it looks like being a pretty good flathead season if early reports are anything to go by.Reads: 1010