June is a transition month on the offshore grounds, with a mix of pelagic gamefish and bottom species. Although it is the first month of winter on the land, at sea the water temperatures drop about a month after the land temperatures do. Out wide the water temperatures are still often around 22 to 23 degrees. This year has been a pretty good one for blue marlin off the Gold Coast, and this should continue into June, with an increase in the numbers of striped marlin and yellowfin. Some very big blues over 250 kilos have been caught this year, and June often sees quite a few bigger fish turn up as the water cools down.
On the inshore grounds there will still be a few mackerel and wahoo early in the month, although these are erratic. The quality is generally very good. The spotted mackerel season has been quite poor this year, although in some years June has excellent spotted mackerel fishing as the fish that have migrated into NSW move back north as the water cools.
The current generally drops off a bit this month, and bottom fishing the 50 fathom line is generally very productive for pearl perch, snapper, kings, amberjacks and pig fish. It is a good month to bring out the jig rods and get a bit of exercise on the kingies and amberjacks. There have already been some excellent kingies on the northern end of the fifty-fathom reef.
The 36-fathom line can produce some decent snapper with a bit of berley and patience. Float lining is generally the best method and if the water stays blue and there is bait and current, it is worth trying for striped marlin as well. Sometimes we have had up to 5 strikes a day on stripies on the 36-fathom line in June. Live baiting while fishing at anchor is another good option.
Closer in, there is often a good run of big cobia at this time of year. The cobia usually appear at the same time as the first big pods of migrating humpback whales. Cobia are one of the toughest fighting fish, and on light tackle they can take hours to land. The Cotton Reef, 18 fathoms off Southport and the pinnacles wide of the Casino in 40 metres of water, are good places to target these fish. Cobia are very susceptible to cubing techniques and live baits. To cube, cut up a block of pilchards or a few tuna into small chunks and feed them in to a steady current one at a time. Fish a pilchard or strip bait unweighted into this berley trail on a mono leader and feed it out in the line of cubes. Cobia eat a lot of food, and at times will consume the entire cube trail before eating your bait.
Close to the Seaway entrance there should be quite a few big mulloway this month. Night fishing is generally the most productive, and it is surprising how many jewies feed in this area and on the close reefs normally only fished for catching a few live baits. Anchoring up and fishing a tide change with a bit of berley, tailer fillets or live baits is a very good option on a quiet cold June night with a bit of westerly breeze.
The prevailing westerly winds start to trigger a lot of fish migrations this month. Tiger mullet and sea mullet congregate in big numbers in the seaway area and attract kings, mulloway and sharks. Bream start to move out of the rivers and school up on all the reef sections of the seaway prior to spawning, and luderick also appear in big numbers. The water temperatures in the estuaries start to drop quite dramatically, often falling to around 17 degrees.
With a lot of fish movement, the angling activity is concentrated around the river mouths and entrances and throughout the central Broadwater. June is the first month of the year where I start to get serious about catching flathead on soft plastics, and the water is generally quite clear and cool and the fishing excellent. Most of the flathead are smaller fish, although we did catch a 95cm specimen in June last year. The area from Currigee through to Jumpinpin is generally pretty reliable this month. In the clear water drop leader size down a bit and use smaller three-inch lures. Some big bream and a few trevally and school mulloway also turned up on soft plastics this month.
There is some excellent lure fishing for bream this month with big numbers being caught on baits. As the water cools, bream become quite prolific throughout the entire system and everything from small stick baits and poppers through to soft plastics and hard bodies all catch plenty.
Live baiting the Seaway at night with big mullet is a good way to chase big mulloway. Most of the fish that eat a big live mullet are over 15 kilos in my experience. The top of a high tide between 7 and 10 pm is generally the best time. Weeknights fish better than weekends. The big fish can be very leader shy. I’ve found 15-kilo leader, fine sharp hooks and 8 to 10 kilo mainline are often required to get a bite, particularly if there is a lot of moon or phosphorescence in the water.
Overall, June is a good month for fishing both the estuaries and offshore grounds of the Gold Coast. We desperately need a bit of rain to give a good injection of freshness into the system, but the fishing has been surprisingly good this year despite the drought conditions. As a final word of caution, pay particular attention to the area known as ‘Deadman’s’, north of the seaway entrance. This bank is moving north and is very shallow. It is best to leave and enter the Seaway from the channel near the South Wall. I was recently in a game fishing tournament where quite a big boat sunk when hit by a wave over this bank in only a moderate swell, so it pays to avoid the shallow bank to the north of the entrance.Reads: 4166