October can be one of the more difficult months on the offshore grounds. It is very much a period of transition as on the wider reefs the current is still fairly minimal.
The 50-fathom line fishes well for kingfish, amberjack and samson on live baits and deep jigs. A plague of leatherjackets has recently made fishing on the 50-fathom reef quite an expensive exercise. The toothy jackets are biting off hooks and rigs at a ferocious rate.
There should still be a few snapper and squire on the 36-fathom line this month. By now most of the fish have spawned and are moving back out to deeper water. The snapper thin out on the 18 and 24 fathom line this month. Pearl perch should still be about on the wire weed patches on the 36 and 50 fathom areas.
As the water warms and the current increases it is a good idea to fish with braided line. Fish out wide for pearlies, as less lead is required to get to the bottom, and drift at a fairly slow pace. Pearl perch are also susceptible to soft plastic lures. The 4” luminous Atomic Shads are excellent when fished on a paternoster rig.
Cobia often move into the closer reefs to spawn this month and some big fish turn up on Palm Beach and Mermaid. Unfortunately the productive little reef east of Snapper Rocks is all but silted over since the sand bypass system on the Tweed River began. The cobia are generally most active when the wind is a light northerly. Plenty of berley is the key to success. Cobia love big, live baits such as tarwhine, big yakkas or goatfish. Active bait generally works the best.
Trolling is pretty quiet this month. It is generally a bit too early and cold for the first black marlin of summer. Despite this, some seasons have seen good striped marlin fishing in October on the 50-60m line east of Jumpinpin. There is plenty of bait in this area so it could be worth a look.
Quite a few decent black marlin turned up on the wider Gold Coast reefs all through the winter period. One big fish around 200kg was tagged by local charter boat ‘Adrenaline’ on the 36 fathom line. Amazingly, this big fish was tagged after eating a pilchard intended for a snapper!
The area just to the north of the seaway entrance is also worth a look. The sandy drop off from 6-17m holds a lot of bait. A slow drift in this area with a few slimies or yakkas can yield some decent mulloway at night, with plenty of hammerheads, shovel nose and whaler sharks also in this area. Big mackerel tuna patrol this drop off as well and can be caught on spinning tackle.
Overall, October is generally a better month in Gold Coast estuaries than the offshore grounds, but it is still definitely worth a look on the wider reefs when the conditions are good.
There are some excellent opportunities to be had on the calm waters off the Gold Coast this month. Flathead will be the main target species and consequently the Flathead Classic is being held early in the month. With some late winter rains the estuary should be in good condition this month. The flathead are actively spawning this month and quite a few big specimens over 70cm will be encountered that must be released.
There are a few exciting new flathead lures on the market that are outstanding at fooling flathead. The locally designed Bozo 3” and 4” mullet tails are great and very tough lures, ideal for jigging from the shallows to the deep channels. The Berkley Gulp 3” nuclear chicken shrimp is another great lure to try on a 1/4 or 3/8oz jig head. This is a great lure around the weedbeds and should be worked with a sharp twitching action.
Most of the good flathead fishing will be close to the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances. The deep channel along Kalinga Bank and the top end of Crusoe Island should be particularly productive spots, particularly in southeasterly winds. Tippler’s Passage is another good spot to try and the Aldershot’s is also quite good this month. The main thing to look for is clear water with good visibility and a lack of floating weed.
Mangrove Jacks increase in numbers this month and, as the water warms up, become a lot more active. Soft plastics worked around the jetties and rock walls can be a good method, and poppers and small stick baits are also productive. Some big jacks over 50cm should show in the Nerang and Coomera Rivers this month. Trolling deep running lures over rock bars is a very productive method that seems to get virtually no attention from the ‘cast only’ brigade. Trolling is often the best method to get a lure into the strike zone and is a very effective technique in the Nerang River. Deep runners like Storm Thundersticks, Reidy’s Goulbourn Jacks and Halco Scorpions all work very well.
Whiting also become active as the water warms. Recently anglers are enjoying surprising success with small poppers fished over the shallow sand for whiting. The best results come when the fish are chasing small shrimp over shallow flats and they attack poppers very aggressively.
October is a good month on the Gold Coast estuaries. Best of luck to all anglers fishing the Flathead Classic. Due to work commitments I won’t be fishing this year, but I’ll be back in 2008. My tip is to use Bozo’s 3” mullet on a 1/4oz lumo head and 3” Nuclear Chicken Berkley Gulps. Work the flats on the end of Crusoe Island at high tide and as soon as the run out starts work the area from Tippler’s to Whalley’s gutter.Reads: 3720