April is a great month to fish on the Gold Coast for both outside and estuary systems. With the water temperature dropping a fraction this month and the late summer rains, April will be on fire. Most of the summer species start to migrate and feed hard before winter comes along. Target species for the estuaries this month will be mangrove jack, whiting, trevally and prawns.
It’s been an unbelievable season for prawns with most cast netters getting their bag limit in quick time. Most of the action has been around Macleay and Lamb islands. Good numbers are starting to filter down around Cabbage Tree and the Jacobs Well stretch of water. A good sounder can target prawns very easily. Most of the time you will see plenty of boats targeting prawns.
A good 12ft top pocket cast net is a must. With the prawns on the move, this is a great month to target mangrove jack on surface. Casting cup face poppers and walk-the-dog pattern lures alongside a retaining wall in low light periods should see plenty of action with trevally as a by-catch. Sovereign Islands are a great starting point. Look for good water flow from canal entrances as well.
‘Diving the Gold Coast’ has been putting up some really great posts of late on Facebook with photos of large schools of mulloway, trevally and jacks. Most of these photos of schooling fish are taken around the high tide.
Whiting have been in excellent numbers in the Nerang River from the Council Chambers to Monaco Street; fresh baits like bloodworms and yabbies have been working well. If you don’t own a boat you can have just as much success fishing from the shore for whiting. The school by the Nerang River and Coombabah Creek hold plenty of good quality whiting.
Locals have been getting into decently sized sand crabs. The western side of Crab Island and the drop-off in the main channel in front on Marina Mirage have been the pick of the places.
The beach fishing has been excellent for a number of species like whiting, bream, dart, tarwhine and the odd flathead. I like to fish the shallow gutters at high tide with a 10ft surf rod and a running ball sinker with a size 6 whiting hook. Some excellent gutters have formed along Tugun and Bilinga beaches. The best baits are from the environment that you are fishing in, so beach worms and pipis are the gun baits.
Tilapia are in plague proportions in the Clear Island Waters. Jay Cottrell bagged 63 fish in one morning. These fish make great fun for kids, as they are easy to catch and patience is not needed as bites are very regular. Make sure you dispose of these noxious fish correctly.
So far this season, it has been pretty dismal for Spanish and spotted mackerel, but don’t get disheartened. April will see better numbers of these speedsters. I have been one of the lucky anglers to get a few Spanish this year. I like to get out the day after a southerly blow and troll live bait like slimies, yakkas and my favourite bait (if I can get a few) – legal tailor.
I like to troll one live bait down on a downrigger and the other rigged up free swimming near the surface. This technique works well for all mackerel and the odd wahoo that like to turn up in April. Mackerel are a migration fish and will turn up to the same place year after year. Diamond Reef, Burleigh Gravel Patch, Palm Beach and Mermaid Reef will be hotspots in April. Don’t forget over the border places like the Tweed Nine Mile and Fidos Reef.
The current should slow down, which will open an opportunity to fish for some bottom species like snapper, tuskfish, pearlies and the odd kingfish or amberjack. The humble two hook paternoster rig will be the way to go if the current is still running out wide. Float lining will produce the better fish.
Next month, I like to chase wahoo. Trolling Hex Heads in purple at speed will work well. The places to try are the Tweed Nine Mile, the Mud Hole and the 80m line off the Q1 building.Reads: 39