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Winter pinky snapper and flatties
  |  First Published: July 2017



July is the coldest month of the year and it can be very fruitful for anglers who are prepared to rug up and put in the time. The cold westerlies will start to blow and the water temperature will fall.

Big schools of whitebait have entered the Broadwater, which has fired up the local predatory fish like bream, flathead, tailor, mulloway and juvenile snapper. Flathead numbers have been excellent already this winter. Expect the catch numbers to increase this month with good eating-size flathead around the 40-65m mark. The odd big girl should turn up early as well.

With the water temperature around the 17°C mark, flathead fishing can be very tough in the morning. For the better bite period try fishing around the midday lows. Try casting 3-4” soft plastics and trolling hardbody lures in pink. Water clarity won’t be an issue this month, so try fishing from Crab Island in the south all the way through the Aldershots, Neverfails and up through Tipplers Passage.

Tailor numbers have been excellent due to the amount of whitebait in the estuaries. If you can find the bait, the tailor won’t be too far behind. Diving birds are a dead giveaway. Tailor get quite finicky in the Southern Broadwater, so it pays to get a long cast into feeding fish.

The southern end of Sovereign Island can fish very well on the incoming tide, as most baitfish get pushed up against this wall. Snapper are a frequent resident of the Broadwater and make an excellent sportfish to chase in the cooler months.

The deeper channels around Sovereign Island and the Aldershots are good places to start. They are suckers for small soft plastics, small blades and soft vibes. Big schools of mullet are starting their spawning run. Big trophy mulloway will start to follow these mullet schools into the estuaries and feed on them at night around the eddy points in the Seaway and Tweed bars. Weeknights around the top of the tide coinciding with the lead up to the full moon usually fish very well.

Offshore

Make the most of this month, as fishing conditions are at their best with little current and flat seas. Out wide, try fishing the 42-50 fathom line for a feed of snapper, pearl perch, yellowtail kingfish and amberjacks. The two-dropper paternoster rig has been working a treat on these tasty bottom dwelling fish. Anglers fishing deep livies and knife jigs have been killing it on the kingfish and amberjacks.

Snapper start their spawning migration on the close inshore reefs. The best times for snapper fishing on the close inshore reefs like the 18, 22 and 24 fathom line are dawn and dusk on a change of tide. Anchoring up and using a stack of berley and float lining baits is still the best method to fish the close inshore reefs for snapper. Micro-jigs, butterfly jigs and octa jigs are a great alternative to bait fishing.

July is probably the best month to fish for snapper off the Tweed Coast. Try the Mud Hole and Fidos Reef. Big 7” white jerk shads and light jigheads work extremely well in these areas. Expect heaps of by-catch as well from cobia, big sweetlip or maybe a rogue giant trevally.

Cobia are also a fantastic option this month on the close inshore reefs and wrecks. I find the cobia bite more aggressively on a westerly wind. Combine this with plenty of berley and big live baits like tailor and big slimies will see you with plenty of cobia action this month.

The 24 fathom reef off Southport and the 30-36 fathom reefs off the Tweed have been producing big numbers of quality teraglin. A simple two hook dropper rigged with pillies or squid will get more bites than float lining for teraglin. Please watch you bag limit and legal size with these fish.

With the start of the westerly winds, July is a great month to chase tailor behind the breakers along the coastline. Casting 25-40g slugs work well on feeding fish. Always look for diving birds – this is where the tailor are feeding. Overall, with plenty of fishing action for both inside and outside, it’s time to rug up and get out there to score yourself a feed of fresh fish. How good is the Gold Coast?

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