Wider Grounds Great Option
  |  First Published: August 2007

August is an excellent month to fish on the wider grounds out from the Gold Coast.

Snapper are at the end of their spawning run and are actively feeding in August. The 36-fathom line north of the Seaway is a great place to catch a few decent reds this month. The best method is to fish lightly weighted baits with a free running, small ball sinker in a berley trail. Some good snapper are also being caught on soft plastics, particularly on the closer in reefs.

The 50-fathom line will also produce some good snapper this month especially on the high sections of the reef. Pearl perch, kingies and amberjacks should also show up in catches. Over the past few seasons I’ve found that using a jig rod with braid is a great way to bottom fish in this area using a paternoster rig. This works very well on pearl perch. A few live yellowtail caught on the way out to the 50 fathom line are generally a good investment for the bigger pearlies and kingfish.

August is an excellent month for jigging. Long metal jigs worked over deep pinnacles catch a wide range of species, but kingfish generally dominate the catches. If you use smaller 100-150g jigs the number of big pearl perch and snapper will increase. I recently saw some very interesting jigs in Doug Burt’s tackle. These look like a small round cuttlefish complete with rubber tentacles and if you are looking for something different give these a go. They have certainly been selling very well and are quite a unique product.

For the game fisherman, this month will produce a few striped marlin for the persistent troller and there may be a few yellowfin tuna on the wider grounds. Some seasons see the striped marlin move in close to areas such as the Cotton reef off the Jumpinpin area. Look for gannets and sauries. These are the best winter indicators of game fish activity.

Closer to the Seaway there will be snapper on the 24 fathom line, some good cobia and the odd mulloway coming from the closer reefs. Mackerel tuna should start to show in the 20 to 30-metre line and there should be plenty of tailer in close to the back of the surf line. If you anchor on a close reef and berley heavily and fish a few live baits and big strip baits you should attract any cobia in the area. I find this method to be a good standby when things are generally quiet. The secret is to work a decent berley trail of tuna, chopped pilchards or old fish frames and fish several rods well down the trail. If you are patient and quiet, the berley will always eventually bring fish to your boat.

Watch out for strong north westerlies this month. Sometimes it is very tempting to head out wide on a calm morning, but if more than 20 knots of north westerly is on the forecast it is better to stay in close. I’ve learnt that lesson the hard way a few times, and no wind generates bigger steeper chop than a strong northwesterly hitting even moderate swell.


August can be very cold, and when the mornings are a few degrees above freezing the fishing can be quite shut down. There is a lot of fish movement in the estuaries this month. Bream have mostly completed spawning, luderick (black bream) are in the river mouths in massive schools and mullet are moving in big numbers along the beaches. The flathead spawning run usually begins late in the month. Tailer are often active early in the morning on a run in tide around Jumpinpin. The last few seasons have also seen a few Australian Salmon turn up in August and September.

I start chasing flathead in the Jumpinpin area this month. The big adult females start to move into areas such as Kalinga Bank, Crusoe Island and the mouth of Whalley’s Gutter this month, and fish over the maximal legal length of 70cm are relatively common. Working the edges of the many weed banks in these areas with bigger soft plastics is a great way to catch some quality flathead this month. The first push of a run in tide is often the most productive time. Over the past five seasons I’ve found that flathead can be caught at almost any stage of the tide in south easterlies but shut down markedly in north westerlies. If there is a lot of floating weed and the water is dirty and warm, then the fishing can be really tough. In this situation look for clean clear patches of water. These are usually in back eddies or areas where there isn’t too much run in the current. Tippler’s Passage is often a good bet in these conditions.

The Seaway fishes well this month. At night there are usually a few decent mulloway around, stacks of bream and big flathead start to move into the main channels. Deep soft plastics, live mullet and herrings or strips of tailer work very well. The run in tide generally fishes better with live bait than the run out. Live mullet fished around Wavebreak Island on the top of the tide at night produce quite a few decent mulloway. Casting big surface running soft plastics also works well.

Up the Nerang river there is good bream spinning and a few decent trevally start to show later in the month as it warms up a bit. I’ve also caught some good jacks in August trolling around the main rock bars and bridges in the Nerang River through to Lake Intrepid. A few estuary cod also turn up at this time.

Overall August is an interesting month for anglers on the Gold Coast. As conditions warm up towards the end of the month and the westerlies start to abate the conditions improve even more, and there can be some good surface lure fishing on the warmer days.

A) A nice squire caught on floating bait.

B) A nice jewie caught on the close reefs after a bit of berleying.

C) Expect a few lizards like this one in August.

D) A few estuary cod will show up later this month. Pat Hollowood caught this one in Coombabah Creek.

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