Winter species on their way
  |  First Published: May 2016

The Gold Coast has finally seen a great run of weather, with plenty of fishing action both offshore and in the estuaries. May is one of the better months to fish on the Gold Coast, with the water temperature still warm enough for good pelagic fishing.

May will kick off the start of the first run of winter species along the Coast. The southerly winds have really turned on the mackerel along the inshore reefs. Big numbers of spotty mackerel have shown up on local reefs such as Mermaid, Palm Beach and the Gravel Patch off Burleigh. Anchor up on sunrise and floatline half cut pilchards in a berley trail for some great success. This is a very easy way to get your bag limit before work! If you don’t like crowds, spin 40g metal on the dirty water line behind the Jumpinpin Bar on a run-out tide to catch spotty mackerel around the 1m mark.

Spanish mackerel have not been around in the same numbers as their little brothers, but what they lack in quantity, they’ve made up for in quality. We’ve seen some excellent condition, with most fish weighing in around the 10-14kg mark with a rogue fish around the 20kg mark. Troll live yakkas, or a legal tailor on downriggers or snapper leads to get yourself one of these great fish.

Last month, the Gold Coast Sports Fishing Club hosted its first mackerel competition. Our team trolled a combination of live and dead baits at certain water depths that we marked on the sounder. We caught four Spanish mackerel up to 13kg, all of which fell to live yakkas, so when heading out take the time and cover all your bait options.

The Spanish mack have been erratic, and difficult to locate in the last month, so it may take some time to find them. Places like Diamond reef off Southport, Focus Reef, and Burleigh have had the numbers in recent times.

Another speedster I like to chase in May is wahoo. Trolling Hex Heads in purple at speed will work well this month. Places like the Tweed Nine Mile, the Mud Hole and the 80m line off the Q1 building were effective in April. This method really turns them on, but the downside is that you will burn dollars worth of fuel! Try slow trolling large dead bait like bonito, tailor and large slimies. The current should slow down this month, and the first blow of westerlies should flatten out the seas and make excellent conditions. The 30 fathom line off the Tweed and the 36 fathom are producing good numbers of snapper, tuskfish, pearlies and the odd kingfish or amberjack. The humble two hook paternoster rig will be the way to go if the current is still running out wide, however, floatlining will produce better fish.


As the days start to get shorter and the westerly winds begin to roll in, the run of winter species like tailor, bream, luderick and mullet will follow. This attracts predatory fish like mulloway and yellowtail kingfish that follow these schools of fish into our estuary systems. The Seaway usually fishes very well in May with large schools of trevally and mulloway able to be targeted around the pipeline on the slack tides. The ever reliable 7” Gulp Jerk Shads in white will still be the number one plastic for mulloway fishing in the Seaway. When fishing with plastics for mulloway l like a rod tip retrieve with a long pause in between each lift. Micro-jigging small jigs around the 30g mark is also a deadly technique in the Seaway, as most fish love a small lure offering.

Plenty of yellowfin bream will be on offer, as they like to feed hard before their spawning run. Fish at night around the full moon and use flesh baits like herring, gar and mullet around the Tweed Bar and the Seaway to find better quality bream. If you like to fish with lures try using the Berkley Gulp 2” Prawn and Cranka Crabs around the many channel markers from the Gold Coast seaway to Marina Mirage.

In the last couple of months I have been doing a lot more lure fishing for mangrove jacks from the bank and have had good results. I concentrate on fishing drains that feed from man-made drains and lakes from the Carrara area to the northern end of the Coast. Fishing early morning and late afternoons using poppers like Lucky Craft G Splash and Yo Zuri 3D Minnows have had a lot of success lately. Most of the bigger jacks end up in the seaway before they disperse offshore. Mangrove jacks love to school at the north wall of the Seaway on the bottom of the tide, and when it starts to run-in they disperse to caves until it stops running. Using live pike, herring and slimy mackerel will get you more bites then any lure presentation.


May is a good month to chase a few tailor along our beaches. This time last year saw plenty of chopper tailor, with the odd green back mixed in. Pilchards and gar work well on gang hooks. Narrow neck sand bags, 19th Avenue and the sand pumping jetty are worth a look this month.

Overall, May is very much a transitional month on the Gold Coast, with cold nights, less traffic on the waterways, and large amounts of spawning fish.

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