Gold Coast Fishing Planner
  |  First Published: March 2006

After a promising start to the pelagic season in February, strong winds blew steadily from the north. This means there will be cold dirty water off the Gold Coast in March.


Throughout late December and all of January the fishing was very disappointing. I had nine days at sea, trolled for 70 hours and didn’t hook one billfish. The total catch was 13 wahoo, 16 dolphinfish and two striped tuna. After nine days without any billfish we decided to go barra fishing at Awoonga, where a 1m barra was a lot easier to catch than a marlin!

There have been plenty of wahoo about on the 36 fathom line off Southport. Most of these have been small fish between 6-10kg. They’re very keen to destroy your favourite marlin lures and seem to have a passion for purple. In March a few bigger wahoo should show up and the Nine Mile Reef off Tweed will be definitely worth a visit. Hexhead lures on wire are a very popular method, and slowly trolled live tuna work sensationally well.

There may be quite a few medium-sized black marlin around on the 42 and 50 fathom line in March. Bait schools this year have been very erratic, and a lot of these schools have been very mobile. Out further there should be a few blues and striped marlin, and a few yellowfin as well. It’s hard to predict how good the blue marlin season will be this year, after a dismal early season we are due for a bit of better luck with blue marlin.

Mackerel have also been affected by the persistent northerly winds and cold water. There should be Spaniards and spotties around in March. The area directly in front of the Jumpinpin bar on high tide early in the morning fishes very well in southeasterly winds. There are often big schools of pilchards around which attract plenty of predators. Palm Beach and Mermaid Reef should also fish well.

Offshore bottom fishing catches are being dictated by the amount of current. The 36 fathom line, probably due to the dirty water, has produced quite good catches of snapper throughout January, with fish over 4kg being relatively common. In March there will be a few amberjack and kingies on the 50 fathom line and teraglin and tailer on the closer reefs. A good option has been anchoring and berleying on the 24 fathom reef off Surfer’s and putting a few mackerel baits out at the same time under a float. Night fishing is another good option.

Hopefully, by March, we’ll have had a few big southeasterlies to get that hot blue water in close to the Gold Coast. I think that a lot of migrating pelagics have bypassed the Gold Coast and we have missed the run of most of the small black marlin.

Gold Coast Estuaries

The unrelenting northerlies have also had a dramatic effect on the estuaries. The water has been quite dirty on the majority of days. In March the Seaway generally provides good fishing for a range of species. Livebaiting the pipeline and the hole at the end of the north wall will produce trevally, school jewfish, tarpon and flathead. Soft plastics such as Berkley Gulps will also be effective, and increasing numbers of mulloway are being caught on this lure type.

Whiting should be biting very well in March, especially at low tide around dawn when fishing takes place on the first of the run-in. Shrimp are usually pretty easy to net around the council chambers and make great bait for whiting. The Nerang River from TSS to Sorrento is the best place to try for a feed of big sand whiting.

There have been good numbers of flathead caught on soft plastics throughout the Jumpinpin area all summer, with quite a few big fish being caught and released. Good areas to try this month are Tipplers Passage, Kalinga Bank and the tip of Crusoe Island. Early morning is the best time. Soft plastics such as Squidgie Shads, Berkley Minnows and Gulps and Atomic Shads all work well. In the day try in the deeper water, particularly if it’s hot and bright. A few mulloway are also being caught on soft plastics at Kalinga Bank.

A few mangrove jacks should be caught in the Seaway and the canal entrances of Sovereign Island on live bait, poppers and soft plastics. The jack fishing this season has been good, with bust-offs and the odd fish landed on most trips. Quite a few big eye trevally should be caught in the same areas using the same methods. Queenfish should be about in the main Broadwater channel on the run-in tides.

Bream will be up the river in March unless there is prolonged heavy rain. Most of the fish will be fairly small. Small soft plastics and surface lures around the canals and jetties should work well. A few bigger bream should be caught around Jupiters Casino and in the canals around Lake Intrepid. There should also be quite a few bull sharks this month in the canals. These can be caught on strip baits or live baits.

If the blue water moves in close to the coast, the odd Spanish and spotted mackerel often strays into the Seaway in March. It’s definitely worth spinning around the Seaway entrance on a run-in tide if the water is blue and the birds are actively feeding on baitfish. There are also often plenty of sharks in the Seaway in March. Using a live tailer on wire drifted through the entrance on the last of a run-in tide can produce Spaniards, hammerheads or whaler sharks.

March is a very good month on the Gold Coast. I just wish those northerly winds would stop so we could get a few fish!

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