Fish early, anglers are schooling up
  |  First Published: December 2016

It’s a crazy time in the Southeast with school holidays and great weather. This can put pressure on the local estuaries and the close offshore reefs. Early morning trips and night fishing will be the way to score a feed in December. Whiting fishing in the Nerang River has been going nuts – plenty of whiting and a few good elbow slappers over 40cm have been landed recently. The key to whiting is to get a good supply of fresh bait like bloodworms, canal wrigglers, small soldier crabs and the humble yabbies.

The Council Chambers and Cronin Island still fish well in heavy boat traffic, but night runs can produce the bigger whiting. Fishing surface lures for whiting can be very addictive. The Bassday Sugapen and Atomic Hardz K9 Walker have been working well for me. Try the sandbanks behind the Tweed Heads Golf Course – the yabby banks near the Highway Bridge in the Tallebudgera Creek and the Upper Coombabah Creek can fish from the bank as well as from a boat.

Hopping jetties to cast soft and hard bait for jacks can be difficult around the Christmas holidays, due to the amount of boat traffic. Soaking live and dead baits at night seems to be the go at this time of year for mangrove jack. In the Coomera River, look at places like the rock bar opposite Sanctuary Cove and the rock bar next to Santa Barbara and any of the bridges. Try the Nerang River, the rock bar at TSS School, the old Titanium Bar, Council Chambers and the deep hole next to Bundall Bridge.

The Chinderah and the Tumbulgum bridges in the Tweed fish well for mangrove jack this month. Live herring and poddy mullet work well, but a strip of mullet fillet always gets the attention of larger prey. Barramundi will be worth a crack this month. It’s a common occurrence on the Gold Coast that most anglers are tight lipped on areas to catch them.

The causeway in the Coomera River and the floodgates in Boobegan Creek will be worth a try. Try casting soft plastics like the 4” and 6” ZMan SwimmerZ and hardbody lures like the gold Bombers. Plenty of sand crabs are on offer this month and make excellent chewing for Christmas lunch. Reports say that Aldershots and weed patches around the swimming enclosure at Southport have been the best places.


Last year we saw an early run of spotted mackerel in December and the reports up north suggest that we’ll see a welcome early run this year as well. Palm Beach will see the first run before they make their way up to Mermaid Reef. Car park crowds will gather when they’re on, so early morning starts are best. I berley hard and float half pillies with small 3/0 Octopus hooks. It seems to work the best.

Try spinning 25 and 40g slugs through the berley trail while you are waiting for your baits to go off, this technique works well and will often out-fish baits. Expect a few cobia to hold up in the berley trail as well. It’s worth it to have a heavier rod on board just in case.

With the amount of tailor around, I’d expect a few Spanish mackerel to be around as well. Spanish mackerel tend to respond well to hardbody lures early in the season. The Zerek Speed Donkey looks good and can be trolled at high speeds. I can’t wait to give them a swim. Trolling Burleigh Gravel Patch and Diamond Reef will be worth a try – don’t expect good numbers yet, but they’ll come.

Expect a few marlin and mahimahi to be in close this month. Trolling 6” skirted Black Snack lures around the 40m and 50m line from the Seaway to the Jumpinpin Bar will get you a few reel screamers this month.

Hinze Dam

Hinze Dam is worth a mention, because it’s on fire with plenty of good fish around the 50cm mark, mostly coming from the timbers on the Western Arm. Slow rolling ZMan 3” MinnowZ in the baby bass colour has been doing the damage. If you want to pimp your plastic, try the jig spinner from Tackle Tactics, which can be connected straight to your jighead.

A big thanks to the Fishing Monthly team for another great year. To all readers and your families, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe over the Christmas break and I’ll see you next year.

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