Flat out with flatties and jacks
  |  First Published: December 2016

December is set to be an eventful month. It’ll kick off with some hot weather and a hot bite in the canals. For me, the two main species to target this month are jacks and flathead. In saying that, many other species won’t be far behind them – GTs, big-eye trevally, bream, whiting and more.

Harrison Branch, who fishes the Northern Gold Coast, regularly tells me the flathead are going off with the recent rush of prawns. His best session was 32 flathead in four hours, using ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ and 3” MinnowZ in calico candy. Mangrove lined banks and natural structure will be your best bets. That doesn’t rule out sand banks, drops offs, rock and retaining walls. Deep holes are another perfect spot, preferably two hours after high tide and on dusk.

Mud crabs have been caught in great numbers of late. Keep your style simple by using mullet, chicken or fish as bait. The usual mangrove lined banks will always be a go to. Sometimes the darker, warmer water can improve your chances. Remember to measure your crabs, as the QLD Fisheries regulations for mud crabs is a minimum size of 15cm across the widest point of the carapace. Big fines apply for having undersize or female crabs in your possession.

Bull sharks will start ruling the canals soon, so be careful not to fall in. Bull sharks are known for stealing your fish, hanging around schools of bait, smashing anything dead, spiralling out of the water at random and almost beaching themselves in attempt to feed on prawns or any bait in the area.

The weather will continue getting warmer and as a result we’ll see higher chances of afternoon thunderstorms. As we’ve already had a few of those, it gets the heart pumping when we see a possible late thunderstorm and the day temperature at 30°C – bring on the jacks!

One structure in particular is producing well lately, especially with bait – bridge pylons. Fishing at night on the run out tide works, and works even better on a full moon. Pilchards, white bait and mullet strips fish well. If you can get yourself live bait, you’ll have an even greater chance of hooking up. Keep your bait around 0.5-2m from the pylons. Try and find bridges with a lot of lights shining into the water, as bait will be attracted to it. If you aren’t catching any fish at that bridge, move and find another one in the area.

In conclusion, December will be a magnificent month for fishing and for an expensive power bill, due to the air-conditioner. In saying that, bring on the hot weather. This year is set to finish off with a bang and fishing the Gold Coast Canals is worth looking forward to! Bring on 2017!

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