Jumping Jacks!
  |  First Published: November 2015

This year the water has been extremely warm. A few days of hot north westerlies saw the water temperature rise to 23°C which changed the fishing greatly. Mangrove jacks became hungry and as the cool water over the flats warmed up the flathead fishing slowed down. This month will see some good fishing in the estuaries with some great target species emerging such as; flathead, mangrove jack, mulloway, and whiting. The entrances of Jumpinpin and the Southport Seaway should have some pretty good fishing this month with big flathead and mulloway in reasonable numbers in the deep water.

The Coomera River and the upper reaches of the Nerang River are good places to try your luck for mangrove jack. With such a dry spring, a lot of the bait has pushed upriver and some of the best spots are the most upstream canals. Floating pontoons give jacks an ‘all tide’ hunting location and they usually place themselves just under the edge of the pontoon where the current is pushing into. Accurate casting so your lure runs close to the edge of the pontoon is generally effective. A fast retrieve tends to work the best. I use a ½oz jig head and a 4” shad tail most of the time. On my other rod I rig a medium running hardbodied lure that runs at about 1-1.5m on the cast. Z Mann swimmers are a very popular soft plastic for jacks and suitable hardbodies include bombers, lucky craft pointers, Sebile coolie minnows, and jackal squirrels. Bust offs are very common as the lure is close to cover , making the soft plastic option the cheaper of the two.

November is the last month of the year for good flathead fishing. Most of the fish have spawned and are feeding heavily at this time. The fish are often holding in the entrances as the flats become less productive. Try working depths between 3-6m by either trolling deep lures or using soft plastics and soft vibes. There are still quite a few nice fish over 70cm long around.

The entrances can produce some great mulloway fishing on deep live baits and soft plastics in November. White Gulps are an effectiveway to chase mulloway and live pike are probably the best live bait to use. Even really big pike will catch 80cm mulloway but you’ll need to rig them on 2 hooks. Pike can be quite easily caught on small silver hard bodies, white soft plastics, or flies over the many weed beds near the entrances – if the water is clean. Live squid are another excellent live bait to try.

Whiting fishing with poppers is another fun method to try this month. I like the Bassday Sugar Pen. Work water between 15cm and a metre deep over the flats in known whiting areas and wind fast. If you see a fish following do not slow down the retrieve. If you can make the lure ‘spit’ on the retrieve it is a good imitation of a prawn and gets a lot of bites. Another good option this month is crabbing. As the water warms mud crabs become more active and there have been reports of good numbers of sand crabs in the Broadwater throughout winter and early spring.


November can be a fickle month, but with water temperatures on the wider grounds in early October reaching 24°C, quite a few nice blue marlin as well as some massive dolphin fish were caught through September and October. Traditionally this water turns up in late November, so I am predicting a good run of blue marlin and a few striped marlin alongside those catches. I like to set my lure spread on the hundred metre line and head east. In general I find the contour between 250-350m to be the most productive zone. This represents the slope of the continental shelf and usually holds plenty of bait. I troll 5, 37kg stand up outfits and the blue marlin we catch are generally in the 140kg range, with a few considerably bigger than that. It is the most exciting fishing from a trailer boat you can have. The take-off is awesome!

On the 50-fathom line, current can start to be a problem this month as the East Australian Current starts to run hard. There are still a few pearl perch, samsonfish, and amberjacks around. Snapper numbers drop off but there should still be good numbers of teraglin around on the northern reefs such as Sullies Reef. A few mulloway will also turn up on the offshore reefs on live baits. Early evening into the night is generally the best time to chase them, and live slimy mackerel and pike are the best baits. I find we just don’t catch many on live yellowtail. Tailor are another good bait.

Snapper thin out a lot this month as the water warms up. A reasonable snapper season for most boats with some great fish up to 10kg turned up on the close reefs off Southport and on the 36 fathom line. This month there should be a few squire for the persistent angler but this will be unreliable fishing.

Palm Beach Reef should see a few cobia and mac tuna turn up and there is also the chance of an early season spotted or doggy mackerel. Anchoring and berleying is usually the best method. Some big cobia over 20kg will arrive in November on Palm Beach and Mermaid reefs. The desalination plant off Tugun is also a good area to try.

Overall, November has plenty of opportunities for Gold Coast anglers. This year has seen unusually high water temperatures and a lot of the summer pelagics may start earlier. There may also be a few small black marlin and wahoo on the close reefs.

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