Gearing up for Classic catches
  |  First Published: September 2015

Spring is finally here after a brisk winter. September is a better month to target big amberjack, kingfish and samsonfish off the Gold Coast. Jigging and live baiting on the pinnacles out on the 50-fathom line and the deep reefs off the Tweed are a great place to start looking for these hard-pulling deep thugs.

When the first of the current starts to kick in it seems to fire up the quality snapper and pearl perch on the 36, 42 and 50 fathom lines. Float lining accounts for nearly all the bigger snapper these days. Carefully weighted flesh bait like pilchards, tuna, slimies and yakkas are the go. If the current is running hard, use a paternoster rig with two droppers. I prefer either a gang of two 5/0s or a single 6/0 circle hook on my droppers, with a lumo bead just above the hook.

The current on the 24-fathom line off the coast has been pretty much non-existent, making fishing a bit tough on some days. Anchoring up and float lining pillies in a berley trail on a tide change early in the morning has been the key for lots of pan-size snapper. So far this season the cobia and mulloway have been in fantastic numbers on the 18 and 20 fathom line off Southport. Anchoring and berleying while fishing live baits like tailor at various depths is the best way to reliably catch a cobia. Berley will often bring schools of cobia and it’s not uncommon to have a double or triple hook-up after a period of inactivity. Cobia are one of the most stubborn fighting fish you will ever hook.

Mulloway have also been in good numbers on the local reefs. Fishing live baits like tailor, pike and yakkas are your best bet. Fishing on dusk and into the night has accounted for the most jew but day time jew require a different touch, as jew love to hide in the caves, crevasses and swim around rock pinnacles during the day. To get a bite you virtually have to drop your baits on their heads. Another popular technique is to use your electric motor and sit on top of them and drop soft plastic, soft and hard vibes and micro jigs.


This month the main target species is flathead, as anglers prepare for the upcoming Flathead Classic held from 30 September to 3 October. Already there are a lot of boats out there practicing for the big event. So far this season we’ve experienced the best flathead bite that I have seen in years; on my last four flathead trips I caught over 150 flathead, and most of them were taken in shallow water using soft plastics like Berkley Gulps in 4” chartreuse minnow and the 4” Swimming Mullet in green prawn. Trolling hardbody lures like Pig lures, Micro Mullets and Zerek Tango Shads is also a very effective option if the plastics aren’t catching much.

Big female flathead are due to head to the deep river mouths for their annual spawning run. Tea bagging big plastics along rock ledges, coffee rock and fallen timber are the best places to look for flathead. Try using the 5” McCarthy in the paddle tail and the 6” grub. These are effective lures in the deep.

There should be plenty of mulloway, trevally, bream and even a few mangrove jacks starting to show as it starts to get warmer. As the sea mullet run starts to thin out, I find that mulloway tend to bite better on soft plastics in September using big 7” Berkley Gulp Jerk Shads in pearl white and pink shine are one of the better plastics to use for these fish.

The first bit of warm weather really fires up the mangrove jacks in our estuaries. Slow rolling 4” Z-Man DiezelZ in pearl is a good option, as they’ve been dynamite lately. I still like to glue my plastic onto my jighead, as this will stop a jack pulling your plastic over the point of your hook.

That’s my round-up for this month. I wish all competitors the best and tight lines during the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Flathead Classic.

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