Most anglers have had a bout of cabin fever over the past couple of months so hopefully the crazy wild weather will turn around in April. The target species in April will be varied, and will include blue and striped marlin on the wider grounds and wahoo, Spanish and spotted mackerel on the closer reefs.
With the water temperature dropping, the bottom fishing will start to improve this month. It’s been a tough year so far for anglers targeting Spanish mackerel on the Gold Coast, and most of the numbers have been caught down on the New South Wales coastline. The good news is there are large numbers still around the Sunshine Coast, so hopefully these speedsters will show up off the Gold Coast.
With mackerel numbers not as numerous as in previous years, the best way to get at them is to slow troll big dead baits like tailor, pike, bonito and saury. Mackerel will find it hard to resist these temptations over a hardbody lure. Slow trolling big baits around the Tweed Nine Mile has worked well with consistent numbers of Spanish and wahoo up to the 20kg mark. Another great spot to have a look is Diamond Reef off Southport.
April is a better month to chase big spotted mackerel, especially on Mermaid Reef. Half cut pilchards floatlining down in the berley trail is the number one producer of large spotted mackerel. Berley is a key factor to keep spotted mackerel close to your boat. I would use between 3-5kg of berley in a morning fish. With the water temperature dropping a fraction, this can fire up the snapper on the close reefs of the 24 and 26 fathom off Southport. Down south, places like the Fidos, and the Mud Hole are great spots to have a go at these tasty table fish. Floatline pilchards and slimy mackerel rigged on a set of gang hooks like Mustad 7766 or SL 12.
For the larger trailer boats and game boats, blue marlin have been stripping line on the outer grounds. Trolling 8-16” skirts from the 70-fathom line, as far out to the 400-fathom line will see some blue marlin and the odd big yellowfin tuna action. Always keep a keen eye out for working birds, current lines and bait as you troll.
With not much rain, the river systems are fairly clean and most of the fish have dispersed evenly throughout. April would have to be one of the better months to chase mangrove jack as they get super aggressive and like to put a lot of condition on before the winter months. Any offering, from small lures to big barra lures will work this month. Try casting surface lures in low light times. Banging big lures trolled deep on a rock bar, like the Atomic Hardz Shiner, Jonesy Lures and Tilsan Barra will work well this month. Deep bends in the Nerang River are great places to look, like the Bundall Bridge, the Cotton Trees, the Council Chambers and the deep hole behind the old Titanium Bar. To cut costs, always carry a tackle back to get your lure back if snagged.
The whiting fishing has been excellent so far and this will continue in April. The Nerang River still produces large numbers of whiting, especially around the full moon and new moon. Fishing bloodworms and canal wrigglers will do the damage. Trevally will make an appearance in the seaway with schools of both big eye and giant trevally hanging around the pipeline waiting for white pilchards schools to be pushed in on the big high tides. Most of the feeding frenzy happens around the high tide. Casting 25-40g slugs will do the trick.
Big yellowtail kingfish like to get into the fray, so it pays to go a bit heavier on tackle. The beach fishing has been excellent for a number of species like whiting, bream, dart, tarwhine and the odd flathead. I like to fish the shallow gutters at low tide with a 10ft surf rod and a running ball sinker with a size 6 whiting hook. The best baits are from the environment that you are fishing in, so beach worms and pipis are the gun baits.
Any fish from the surf are clean and taste great. Some excellent gutters to look for are from Main Beach all the way up to The Spit.
Overall, April is going to be a busy month of fishing off the Gold Coast. Expect big spotted mackerel on Mermaid Reef to keep anglers’ happy and plenty of prawns and crabs on the move. How good is the Gold Coast?Reads: 855