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Coastal cobia on offer
  |  First Published: October 2015



In October 2014 huge schools of yellowfin ranging from 30-60kg showed up out wide on the 500-1000m line off the Gold Coast and it seems highly likely that this exciting trend will repeat itself this year.

Offshore

Already there is a lot of bait out wide with big schools of sauries and pilchards out on the continental shelf. The water temperature in October is generally between 20-22degrees and this cooler water provides ideal conditions for both tuna and striped marlin with the chance of catching a big blue marlin as well. Most of the action takes place on the deeper grounds wider of the shelf. Jim’s Mountain is a good place to start. Trolling large skirted lures on 37kg tackle is the most common method. If the lures don’t get strikes, cubing and berleying with pilchards or drifting live baits and jigging can get bites.

Closer to shore on the edge of the shelf there should be good numbers of pearl perch, amberjacks, and kingfish. By October most of the snapper have spawned and the number of captures will fall this month. This is a great time to work the high pinnacles on the 50 fathom line with live baits and jigs as some of the biggest amberjacks and kings caught off the Gold Coast will turn up this month.

Most of the action takes place at dawn and dusk into the night on the 18 and 24 fathom line. Recent times have seen one of the best ever seasons for catching mulloway on the offshore reefs, with plenty of good fish between 10-15kg caught on live baits. The artificial reefs just north of the Seaway to 23m are producing well, although it is often hard getting the fish out of the structure and bust offs are common. Live slimies and live tailor are the best baits. Berley definitely helps get the mulloway sniffing about and in many spots nearly all the bites happen after sunset.

October is also a good month to chase cobia on the southern reefs of the Gold Coast. Good cobia often make a good inshore run on Palm Beach Reef, Mermaid Reef and around the desalination plant off Tugun. Anchoring up and using plenty of berley is the key. Large live baits like tailor, bonito, big slimies, and tarwhine all work effectively to catch cobia. If there is a bit of inshore current the fishing is often much more productive. Some of these cobia are over 30 kilos and put up an amazing fight on light tackle. There are also plenty of big mackerel tuna throughout October on the inshore reefs and a few big yellowtail kingfish.

GOLD COAST RIVERS AND ESTUARIES

This month will see improvement in deep water flathead fishing as the big females move to the spawning beds. Now is the time to target mulloway on soft plastics in the Seaway and around Jumpinpin. Most of the fish can be found using a deep jigging technique with soft vibes, large soft plastics, and metal vibes. The last hour of the run in tide is generally the most productive period as mulloway are often more active while the tide changes and the flow is minimal. Over the years I have found large Gulp tails fished on a 1-2ounce jig head very reliable. The jerk shad is effective on mulloway and the large curly tail Gulp or the Nemesis are very effective for catching big flathead.

October is a great month to get serious about catching mangrove jacks. The floating pontoons of both the Nerang and Coomera River systems produce most of the fish who seem to have adapted to the pontoons well as it gives them an ‘all tide’ ambush spot with plenty of food. Cast 4" plastics or hard-bodies parallel and behind the pontoons works well. Concentrate your casting at the area the current is flowing into. Big mangrove jacks are commonly found to hold station alongside the pontoons just under the leading edge. The run out tide is generally the best and a lot of fish are caught in daylight hours. In the early morning or at night poppers are often the most effective lure. A lot of jacks over 50cm will be caught this month, and most anglers release them.

Small jelly prawns increase in numbers this month due to warming water. This attracts a lot of interest from schooling whiting and it is a good month to chase whiting on poppers. I like the Bassday Sugar Pen for whiting. The secret is to wind fast. If you haven’t tried this type of fishing you will be amazed how savage a humble whiting can be! I use 2lb braid, mono 6lb leader (nylon floats and is better than fluorocarbon for small poppers) and a light threadline outfit. Work water depths less than a metre and look for skittering prawns and yabby holes. Cast as far as you can and retrieve quickly with a skittering pattern so the lure spits water ahead of it.

Flathead Classic

The Flathead Classic will be run over the first few days of October. It has been an excellent season so far with hundreds of 40-60cm fish turning up all over the flats and channels between Jumpinpin and the Seaway. Catches of 20-40 fish per session have been the norm this season, and both trolling and lure casting have been equally effective. The Flathead Classic is now one of the largest fishing tournaments in the country with up to 500 anglers competing in this iconic event.

Overall, October produces good fishing on the Gold Coast with plenty of options. To all the competitors in the Flathead Classic, I wish you a great tournament.

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