Plenty of bait and productive fishing
  |  First Published: March 2017

The summer heat will push well into the Autumn months. This is good news for anglers who target mangrove jack in our local waterways. There has been plenty of bait in the estuary system of late with white and frogmouth pilchards in the Seaway on the last of the run-in and herring and prawns in the upper reaches of the estuary system.

Jacks start to put on a lot of condition this month and feed heavily on herring schools. Herring like to school up around bridge pylons and on the edges of marinas and harbours. If you find these schools, try hardbody lures like the Lucky Craft Pointers and Jackall Squirells. Both these lures are expensive but jacks have expensive taste. Big schools of jacks will start to move in the Seaway.

This is great month to catch a trophy jack from the Seaway. Fish well over the 70cm mark like to terrorize the local fishers. Fishing the last of the run out tide on the north wall with big baits, like pike and slimeys, and a bit of luck will go a long way. Use heavy tackle like 50lb main line with 60lb leader.

With the amount of bait in the Seaway, expect plenty of action on the top of the tide, with plenty of trevally, queenfish and the odd kingfish getting stuck into these schools. Casting small 20g slugs and small white plastics around 2-3” will do the trick. Some days these fish will push right up to Sovereign Island in the Broadwater and as far Southport Marina in the Nerang River.

Whiting numbers have been very consistent all season in the Nerang River. The key to a good feed is to use quality baits like bloodworms and canal wrigglers. The go-to areas are the waterway between the Council Chambers and the Island Capri Bridge. The banana prawns are starting to move and March is a great month to target them.

The prime area is between Jacobs Well and all the way up to MacLeay Island. Just look for the hundred other boats that chase them as well. A 12ft top pocket cast net with a good sink rate is all that you need to get a delicious feed.


The mackerel have been hit and miss this season; it’s starting to turn out like last season with an influx of mackerel north around Point Lookout, south around the Tweed and not much in between. The Nine Mile Reef and Fidos have had a good run of mackerel for the locals. Any technique seems to work. Hardbody lures like Halco Laser Pros and Rapalas seem to be the go to lures.

Casting stickbaits seems to work well on Nine Mile and Fidos and is such a cool way of seeing fish smash your lure off the top. The spotty mackerel have been really hot and cold so far this season. Expect better numbers this month. There have been spotty mackerel and both mack tuna and longtail tuna giving the bait a bit of a touch up along Stradbroke Island, anywhere from the coffee rocks to the blocks just south of the green zone.

Another great spot that really fires for spotties is the Jumpinpin Bar. Look for the dirty line on a run out tide and start casting 40g slugs in the dirty side and retrieve your lures to the clean side. This is a great place. Boat traffic can be very minimal, as everyone tends to stick to Mermaid and Palmy reefs.

The close reefs off Southport can be very rewarding this month with good numbers of snapper and the odd mulloway and kingfish will start to turn up this month. Float lining pilchards down a consistent berley trail is a great way to get a feed of these tasty red fish. Overall, March can be a very productive month from the speedster in the blue water to tasty whiting in the estuaries. Don’t forget the tasty prawns. How good is the Gold Coast?

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