Pulling ‘em in with plastics
  |  First Published: October 2016

October is a transition month for both offshore and estuary species. After a very mild winter and above average rainfall, we’ll start to see summer species making a mark on the Gold Coast. The Nerang River whiting have been in exceptional numbers, throughout winter and spring. For the best results, live bloodworms and canal wrigglers are the go-to baits for whiting. Fishing from the Council Chambers all the way up to the cotton trees will be worth a look. The run-out tide has been the preferred tide to fish.

October would have to be one of my favourite months to chase flathead, yellowtail and kingfish, which are all on offer this month. It’s a great month to chase metre-plus mulloway in the Seaway in daylight hours. Mulloway tend to respond better to artificial baits, as most of the sea mullet run is over. Working large plastics like the 7” Gulp jerkbaits and Zerek Fish Traps will work extremely well. Most bites will be around the tide change. The north wall of the seaway and the pipeline are great areas to try in October.

Big breeding flathead will be on offer in the deeper parts of the Seaway. Tea-bagging big plastics like the McCarthy 5” paddle-tail and the 6” Gulp Grub will work wonders. If you’re not a lure person, drift live herring to out-fish most plastics on any given day. Work the rock drop-off from the pipeline all the way to the trees on South Stradbroke Island for big girl flathead spots. Many flathead that turn up in the deep water are spawning females over 70cm. These need to be handled carefully and released.

Micro jigging the Seaway will also produce all species from trevally to yellow kingfish, and even the odd mulloway. Storm 30g, Koika and Maria jigs work extremely well. They have two things going for them – one is the sink rate for the fast current in the Seaway, and second is their small profile matches white and frogmouth pilchards. Mangrove jack come very active this month. It’s worth the effort to grab these sought-after estuary sportfish. October has its prevailing northeasterly winds in the afternoons that can shut down a mangrove jack bite. A midday low tide will see most of the action when chasing jacks.

Slow roll 4” ZMan SwimmerZ and DieZels in pearl white under pontoons. Water temperature is very important when chasing jacks. Areas to try are the mid to upper reaches of the Nerang River, and the canal system behind the Casino will be worth a look this month. Places like Cotton Trees, Bundall Bridge, the Council Chambers, the deep hole behind the old Titanium Bar and the rocky shelf in front of the Southport School are good too. Trolling can be very effective this month. Hardbody lures like Killalure River Rats and Atomic Shiner are worth a try in the Nerang River.


The first trickle of the east Australian current moves in this month. With that, the water temperature will begin to rise. Gamefishing is generally good if the bait shows up. Quite a few yellowfin tuna and the odd black marlin have shown up already. Most of the yellowfin tuna have been 40-70kg. A few around 100kg have been caught in the past month, on the wider grounds. Most have fallen to trolled 8-12” skirted lures, but a few have been caught on jigs as well, dropped into schools marked on the sounder. Cubing with pilchards or chopped tuna is another method that has plenty of potential on calm days.

Snapper fishing has been excellent on the 36 and 50 fathoms, northeast of the Seaway. Get out there before the current picks up. The lack of current on the 18 and 24 fathoms has made it tough for fishing for snapper in recent times. The bigger tides around the new moon will be worth a try before the season ends. Float lining pillies in a berley trail will get good numbers of snapper, but live baits on down riggers and soft plastics will catch the bigger models. Jerkbait style plastics at 5 and 7”, in nuclear chicken and white, still work the best on snapper off the Gold Coast.

Last time I went float lining on the 24s, I got bitten off a few times by mackerel. Hopefully this is a good sign that we might have a bumper mackerel season. The Gold Coast has seen good numbers of tailor along our coastline. Anglers have bagged out on tailor by trolling hardbody lures behind the sand bags at Narrowneck. Take care when fishing behind the breakers. The sand pumping jetties have also been fishing well for tailor and the odd mulloway. Try fishing at night on the jetty, with gang pillies under the lights.


Snapper will still be worth a try in October.


It has been great to see so many big healthy flathead, in our local water ways.


Mangrove jacks have started to wake from their winter blues.

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