Get your tarp-on!
  |  First Published: December 2015

With school holidays starting this month, the Gold Coast waterways will be just as busy as the M1! This will make fishing hard at times in the estuary and rivers. Early starts and late afternoon fishing trips that can be fished into the night are the key to getting a good feed this month.

December will see a few thunderstorms kicking in making this a great month to chase mangrove jacks. The Nerang River has a healthy population of jacks that can be fished from Marina Mirage all the way up to the Highway Bridge and the Bond University floodgates. Between these points there are many bridge pylons, jetties, rock bars, and natural structures that can be fished. Try to mix up lures and techniques, from slow rolling plastics and hardbody lures under people’s jetties, to trolling hardbodies and even live baiting rock bars at night time. I like fishing a run out tide when chasing jacks as water clarity plays a big factor in the successful capture of this species. As the water is a bit dirtier, December is a great month for whiting.

There should be plenty of big whiting in the Nerang River. Boodworms and canal wrigglers are the pick of baits. Yabbies and soldier crabs are also effective. Fish a long trace of 6lb mono and work the sandbanks in front of the Council Chambers all the way up to the power lines. If you don’t have a fish in 10-15 minutes – move to the next spot. Early morning and night time are top times to find the fish. Lake Wonderland has had a great run of Tarpon. Fly fisherman have had a ball and Tarpon up to 70cm have been caught on a regular basis. I like bright coloured flies for these beauties. Clousers, white deceivers and crazy Charlies work well on Tarpon – as well as a well-presented soft plastic, like the Keitech Easy Shiner range, especially in the crystal shad colour.

Tarpon mouths have a coarse sandpaper texture and are hard as cement, so sharp hooks and tough fluorocarbon leader is a must. With not much rain in the past couple of months, the sand crabs have been thick in most parts of the Broadwater but crabbing has been excellent around weed patches and in the main channel in front of the swimming enclosure at Southport. I still like mullet for bait and remember to check your pots every hour. Make sure that your float and crab pot is properly marked. If you’re not quite sure, go to www.daf.qld.gov.au for all the rules and regulations.


Mackerel should start to filter along the east coast this month and most anglers are keen to hear their reel scream and take a feed home. When mackerel finally arrive early in the season they respond well to hardbody lures that are trolled around the 7-9 knot. Halco Laser Pros in 190 and the Rapala X Raps are my pick as they can be trolled quite quickly and are very hardy. When trolling I like to troll five rods, rigged with two deep diving hardbodies in close, two Laser Pros on the corners and a pink skirt in the shot gun position about 100m behind the boat. Trolling the 24-fathom reef and Burleigh Gravel Patch can be very fruitful this month.

It will always pay to keep an eye on birds and your sounder to find bait and consequently, bigger species such as mackerel, deep in the water column. I always have a spin rod with a metal slug on it just in case you see a bust up on surface or see mackerel on your sounder. Spotted Mackerel will still start to gather in large schools at Mermaid and Palm Beach reefs and if you’re willing to face the crowds they can be a lot of fun. Use plenty of berley, short fine wire traces with 3/0 to 4/0 hooks rigged with half pilchards for best results. With good reports in November on the close reefs and (hopefully) if the northerly winds stay away, the marlin and mahimahi will be running strong this month.

Trolling 6” skirted Black Snack lures around the 40m and 50m line from the Seaway to the Jumpinpin Bar will get you a few reel screamers this month. Before your next trip give your boat a check over and also check your safety equipment is in date.

I’d like to say thank you to the Fishing Monthly Group for the warm welcome to their Magazine and to all the readers and their families – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stay safe and I will see you all next year.

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