The weather this season has been appalling for offshore fishing, and the pelagic activity has been pretty slow. Strong southeasterly winds and flood run-off has made it hard to get out.
The entrance to the Gold Coast seaway has also been very shallow since the big seas in late December. The main channel out to sea is only 4m deep at low tide.
Small black marlin have been few and far between and it looks like their anticipated run this season has been a non-event. Out wider there has been a bit more action, with quite a few blue marlin showing up on the wide grounds east of the 50-fathom line.
March should be a good month for blue marlin out wide. Earlier in the season, experienced boats were drawing up to six blue marlin hits per day, with a big fish estimated at over 300kg.
Mackerel are also expected to show up in numbers this month, with both spotted and Spanish mackerel appearing on Palm Beach Reef, Mermaid Reef and the coffee rock ledges east of Couran Cove. Spinning in a berley trail, live baiting and slow trolling pilchards, gar and bonito will be effective.
The recent big fresh should definitely help the mackerel fishing once the seas settle down a bit and the water clears. March is a good month to target bigger Spaniards and out wider there should be plenty of wahoo when the current is running. Now is a great time to fish the Nine Mile Reef east of Tweed Heads.
On the inshore grounds, tailor, teraglin and a few squire should also turn up. And quite a few decent snapper have been caught all summer by anglers using soft plastics on the inshore grounds, which is unusual in the warmer waters.
March is the time to anchor up and berley heavily. By fishing live baits and soft plastics it is possible to catch a wide range of species, and everything from a plate-sized squire to a marlin can turn up when conditions are right.
If the weather is good it is often worth making the long run up North Stradbroke to fish for sailfish. These can be caught on the extensive sand patches to the south of Point Lookout. Switch baiting with teasers and a pitched live bait is usually the most effective method. With a little luck, small black marlin may also be encountered in the same area.
The deep reefs are usually hard to fish due to the current, but there will be a few snapper, kingies and pigfish on the 50-fathom line. And pearl perch can be found on the wire weed patches to the north east of the Seaway. Live baiting and jigging is another option.
Lets just hope the weather starts to settle down. For the offshore angler, 2008 so far has been a very frustrating season!
Fishing the Seaway offers plenty of opportunities up river. The recent good fresh has certainly replenished the rivers well, and this month should be very good fishing for whiting, bream, mulloway and the odd mangrove jack. The Seaway should fish well on the run-in tide for both mulloway and mangrove jacks on live baits at the hole on the end of the North wall. There have been plenty of mulloway from 4-10kg being caught, with live slimies and yakkas being the best baits.
The pipeline has also produced some good fish. Jumpinpin is worth a good look, particularly at the bottom of the tide and the first of the run-in. Deeply fished soft plastics are very effective in this area and there will be a few decent flathead around as well.
There has been plenty of bait in the entrances over the past few weeks and the turbulence has definitely stirred up a lot of food. The Seaway has produced a few nice squire to around 45cm on both bait and soft plastics.
March is a good month for mud crabs up the Pimpama River and Coombabah Creek, especially in the weeks of big tides. As the water cools slightly the crabs seem to become more active, and the recent heavy rains have seen plenty of crab movement.
It is also time to get the cast net out as the banana prawn run generally begins this month, and hopefully the recent rains will lead to a good prawn season.
There has recently been very good catches of big whiting in the Nerang River on bloodworms. After the heavy rains, beach worms and yabbies were very effective and a few lure anglers had success on small hardbodies.
As the water cools, flathead should also increase in numbers. The weed beds around Tipplers are worth a look and Crab Island can produce well. Trolling and soft plastics are the best methods to try. In my experience, at this time of year trolling often out-fishes soft plastics. However, pink micro mullets have proven to be a deadly lure for March.
Overall, March is a great month on the Gold Coast for fishers. There are plenty of options and the recent heavy rains should really start to show their beneficial effects this month.Reads: 737