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Catching crackers in the cold
  |  First Published: July 2016



With little to no rain and a sudden drop in water temperature, all the estuaries and rivers have been crystal clear. This, aided by the offshore winds, has really cleaned and flattened out the surf, making fishing conditions excellent to fish. The Gold Coast is need of good rain to improve the fishing for both estuary and offshore.

Plenty of flathead are on offer this month. Most are around the 40-65cm mark with the odd big girl being caught. With the water temperature around the 17°C mark, flathead fishing is at its best around the midday lows. I recommend casting 3-4” soft plastics and trolling hardbody lures like Micro Mullets and Pig Lures in pink. Working the areas around the Aldershots, the Neverfails and the shortcut between Crab and little Crab islands will produce cricket score catches. Dropping your leader to around 10lb in clear water will improve your catch rates this month as well.

Bream have been in excellent numbers and are eating everything in sight including big pike, with most of the bigger bream being caught around the bar entrances. Deepwater plastics will work well this month for bream. The coffee rock ledge that runs from the east side of Wave Break Island up to the old deep hole is a stand-out location. We can also expect plenty of school size mulloway as a bycatch in this location. I have found that Berkley PowerBaits and Gulps rigged on a 1/8oz TT jighead work well in this spot.

Luderick fishing is a lost art for the current generation of anglers, but the older ones still love it. You can often tell if the luderick are running by the old timers wearing flannel shirts standing shoulder to shoulder with their whippy rods, staring at their floats watching for any indication of a bite. The hot spots will be the Boyds Bay Bridge and behind Twin Towns, and further north the Seaway tower and both the north and south walls of Wave Break. Cabbage and black cane weed work well in the Tweed area, and green weed works well in the Broadwater and rivers. Green weed can be picked up from the drains at the Crab Farm near Helensvale.

Mulloway fishing at night will worth a look this month as big schools of mullet start to enter the Seaway and Tweed bars. The mulloway will start to follow these mullet schools into the estuaries and start to feed on them at night time. Weeknights that are fished around the top of the tide that leads up to the full moon usually fish very well.

The clean water has seen excellent numbers of tiger squid caught over the last couple of weeks. Greater numbers of squid have been caught at night, and I recommend starting at the Grand Hotel and Bayview Harbour on a high tide. Squid are drawn to lights, so putting some overhanging lights on your boat will improve your catch while drifting over the weed beds around Wave Break Island.

BEACH FISHING

The whitebait schools have been thick along the coastline, which has pushed good numbers of tailor along our beaches. The bigger greenback tailor have been caught in low light periods. Pilchards and gar have been the pick of baits, but 40g metal lures have had a lot of success on both the Seaway and Tweed Bars. The sand bags at Narrow Neck is a great location to target tailor before and after work. You can hope out of your car and within minutes be spinning for tailor.

OUTSIDE

A lot of anglers had a ball with both mac tuna and longtail tuna in June, so hopefully the whitebait schools will stay around and keep the tuna here throughout July. Finding the tuna isn’t hard – just keep an eye on diving birds. There have been good numbers of both bait and tuna near the artificial blocks off South Stradbroke Island, so that can be a good place to start.

Casting 20g and 40g slugs into feeding tuna always gets the heart racing, but be aware that the sharks love to take a tuna just metres away from a boat after a long fight. For that reason, a 6-10kg spin stick with a 4000-5000 spin reel with 20lb main line is preferred.

There have been good numbers of mulloway on these blocks as well. Dropping live baits and artificial baits like 7” jerkshads and the Koika jigs from Gomoku has been working extremely well.

The cobia have been giving anglers nightmares on the local reefs, with some horses around the 30kg mark. Big baits like tailor, slimy mackerel and tuna work well on the bottom, and drifting a pilchard in a berley trail is also a great recipe for tangling with a monster. The pinnacles off the Seaway, Focus reef, Casino Reef and Palm Beach reef will be worth a look this month.

July is probably the best month to fish for snapper. Try fishing with plastics at the Mud Hole and Fido Reef off the Tweed. Big 7” white jerkshads from Berkley and Z-Man on light jigheads work extremely well in these areas. There’s also heaps of bycatch around, including cobia, big sweetlip and even the odd rogue giant trevally. The 18, 24 and the 36 off the Seaway will hold plenty of snapper this month. I like to get out early and get to my spot just before the sun gets up, start a berley trail and fish with baits for a couple of hours. When the sun gets high you can try casting plastics while drifting over the same area that you have set your berley trail.

Overall, July can be hard month to get out of bed early, but it’s worth it chasing snapper, jew and cobia. There are also plenty of bread and butter species on offer like flathead, bream and an entrée of calamari. How good is the Gold Coast?

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