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Mulloway madness kicks into gear
  |  First Published: June 2016



The water temperature on the wider grounds should drop this month, but it is still up to 26°C on the wide grounds. This month is a good one to troll the wide grounds beyond the continental shelf, as the current tends to eddy a lot and slow down.

Out wide

I think there should be some great blue marlin fishing on the edges of the eddies and temperature breaks. There will be a lot of fish moving north as the NSW waters cool.

A good tactic this month is to work the area between 200-400m in depth on the continental slope. Troll big lures on 37kg tackle, be patient, and if you put in the time a big blue marlin won’t be too far away. This season has been erratic early, but should improve late in the season.

As well as blue marlin there should be a few striped marlin and wahoo on these grounds. The weather patterns are generally quite favourable for working the wide grounds with light winds and clear skies. Work hard in the hour around tide changes and if you find bait and birds, stick with the spot, as it may take a few persistent hours to get a fish up into your spread.

In closer

In closer to shore the cooling water will see increasing numbers of snapper, pearl perch and amberjack on the 36 and 50 fathom line. If you make the effort to catch live bait on the way out, it is generally a good investment. There are a lot of 30cm juvenile snapper and pearl perch around, which reflects fishing pressure, but as winter sets in the fish should improve in size.

Soft plastics and micro-jigging are also very effective methods in June. They tend to work best when there is only a trickle of current. The reefs to the north east of the Seaway often fish best in June.

The close reefs off Southport will still produce some big mackerel this month, and the biggest Spanish mackerel are often caught in June. Slow trolled large live baits such as tailor can be deadly when fished off a downrigger. Keep the wire to a minimum.

If the water is warm in close and the current is running, it is also worth targeting wahoo on the Tweed Nine Mile reef. Trolling small live tuna can be deadly, and high speed trolling weighted skirts such as the famous Hex Head range can also be effective. The odd monster wahoo over 30kg commonly turn up in June.

Mulloway are another good target species on the inshore reefs, and the last two seasons have been great for mulloway on the reefs close to the Seaway. Live baits fished close to the bottom from dusk into the night are generally effective, but when the fish are active they can be caught on pilchards, tailor fillets, soft vibes and soft plastics. Most of these mulloway are between 100-115cm long and are great eating.

RIVERS AND ESTUARIES

The estuaries cool down considerably this month as the westerlies start to blow and there is a lot of fish movement around the Seaway and Jumpinpin as the mullet start to school up prior to running along the beaches to spawn. This attracts a lot of predators. June is the first month of the year where we start to target big mulloway in the Seaway at night.

The key to success is cast netting a good supply of tiger mullet and fishing them around the rock walls and eddies. When the current runs hard, I often use a sinker and a long trace and hold the bait close to the bottom. I use two 8/0 octopus hooks on 15-20kg leader. When the current slows I fish the bait free swimming in the areas where the mullet schools are visible. At this time mulloway commonly feed on the surface and most of the fish we catch bite on slack water.

The nighttime mulloway are generally good fish, with quite a few over 120cm in length. It takes a bit of practice, but once you find a pattern and catch a few, the method will reward you season after season.

Flathead fishing improves this month as the water cools. There should be good numbers of 40-60cm fish on the flats between Crab Island and Tipplers Passage, with the odd bigger fish. Soft vibes, plastics, blades and trolling all work well.

The most reliable trolling lures I have used are the famous lively Lures Micro Mullet, the Zerak Tango Shad and the locally made Pig Lures. The water quality is generally very good in June and the fish are active. Most of our flathead sessions produce around 20-30 fish in June. The by-catch includes bream, flounder and pike. Keep all the pike you catch, they are great troll baits for mackerel and snapper love them.

In the deeper water, fishing soft plastics, bigger vibes and live baits should produce school mulloway, a few flathead and tailor. The run-in tide and the first hour of the run-out are generally the best times to fish the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances in June. If a cold westerly blows, the fish can shut down a bit, especially early in the morning.

The occasional really big mulloway turns up on live baits during the day. The best live baits are squid and yellowtail pike. Fish seem to really be able to find a live pike easily, even in dirty water. Bull sharks can be a big problem and it is not unusual to have your mulloway chewed up, leaving you with just a head.

Overall, the start of winter is a great time to fish the Gold Coast. As conditions cool, there are plenty of opportunities, and clear skies and calm conditions are generally the norm. From blue marlin to flathead, there are plenty of options.

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