So far this season has been very disappointing when it comes to chasing pelagics.
The weather has been windy on most days and access to the offshore reefs has been very restricted. When a suitable day finally arrives, the fishing is generally pretty tough. The recent fresh water run off will have a great beneficial effect this month if conditions finally settle down. By April the south easterlies generally start to ease off a bit.
Target species for April include wahoo, Spanish and spotted mackerel. This month generally produces some good quality fish in areas such as Mermaid and Palm Beach Reefs and the Nine Mile Reef east of Tweed. Trolled dead baits such as small mackerel tuna, tailor or bonito are the most effective and reliable way to catch a decent Spanish mackerel, while high speed trolling lures such as Hexheads is a good way to target wahoo. Anchoring up on a suitable patch of reef and berleying with tuna or pilchards and spinning with metal lures in the berley trail is one of the better methods for targeting spotted mackerel. Trolling minnows such as small Rapala Xraps or Halco Laser Pros is another good method.
The billfish season has been a bit of a fizzer on the inshore grounds but this month should give plenty of opportunities on the wide grounds. Despite a lack of small black marlin this year on the close reefs, there have been reasonable numbers of 60-100kg blacks on wider grounds such as Deep Trag, Spot X and the 50 fathom line. There has been a lot of bait in the area between 70 and 100 fathoms and this has produced a mix of blues and blacks early in the season
Blue marlin are generally very active in April with the average fish around 120kg and bigger ones over 200kg crashing lures on a reasonably regular basis when the bite is good. Most blues fall to trolled lures but anglers are increasingly using switch bait techniques as well.
On the bottom the current will dictate the fishing. There have been some decent snapper about all through the warmer months this year, which may be a result of the recent rains and subsequent run off. The 36, 42 and 50 fathom reefs should produce a few snapper this month. As the days cool down the fishing should improve and with all the recent rain there could be some good snapper, teraglin and parrotfish on the closer reefs as well.
April is also a good month to anchor up and berley hard. By fishing a live bait on the surface, another down deep and spinning or jigging in the trail good mixed bags containing everything from big snapper to mackerel are definitely on the cards. Lets hope the pelagics turn up late this year as the weather and conditions so far has made 2008 one of the poorest seasons in decades.
April sees the water temperatures in the estuaries drop a few degrees and marks a change in seasons. Most of the activity tends to be in the central Broadwater and the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances. The recent rains have sparked up the estuary fishing, and there have been excellent catches of whiting and unseasonably big flathead after the water started to clear.
The Seaway should fish well for school mulloway and a few mangrove jacks on live baits and lures this month on the run in tide. Most of the fish will be caught at the hole at the end of the north wall and a few around the pipeline. Try to fish in the eddies that form as the tide starts to push, and look for any wash coming off the rocks. A lot of the bigger mangrove jacks tend to leave the estuaries for the offshore reefs once they reach around 60cm in length, and quite a few of these big fish live in the rocks of the Seaway walls. They are adept at busting up anglers with their powerful runs back into structure.
The whiting fishing has been excellent in the Nerang River with quite a few fish over 40cm being caught. During the day wriggler worms, small soldier crabs and shrimp work well. After dark the fish are less fussy and can be caught on beach worms. A bit of berley also helps a lot. During April a lot of bream will be caught while fishing for whiting.
Jumpinpin and the Seaway should be worth a jig with big soft plastics this month targeting mulloway and the odd flathead. I find 7” white jerk shads by Berkley to be very effective for this. Further upstream smaller soft plastics are worth a try for flathead as the water on the flats cools down a bit.
Tailor should be around early in the morning on the run in tides around the mouth of the Seaway and Jumpinpin. Casting metal lures is generally very effective. Most of the tailor at this time of year are choppers around 700g, with the odd bigger fish. A few small mack tuna and bonito sometimes school with the tailor.
Overall April is a transitional month in the estuaries, with a mix of both summer and winter species. From time to time large mackerel will enter the Seaway this month, so there can be some big surprises at times. Towards the end of the month bream, tailor and mullet will start to move towards the estuary mouths in large numbers, a few months prior to spawning.Reads: 645