Flathead are massing
  |  First Published: August 2006

As the depths of winter fade into memory, plenty of estuary fish will start to gather in the Gold Coast’s rivers. But it is the flathead that will be seeing the most interest as the biggest fish for the year start to arrive.


August is a great month to fish the Broadwater. The cool mornings see plenty of action around the flats and weed beds in the Central Broadwater, and flathead are starting to gather around the river mouths prior to spawning. There are still plenty of bream around, and run-in tides early in the morning and at dusk should see plenty of tailor enter the system.s

The popular target this month is flathead. Bigger fish start to appear around the Seaway and Jumpinpin entrances towards the end of the month, and good numbers of fish from 40-80cm will be on all the feeder channels in the central Broadwater from Crab Island up to Tippler’s Passage. Trolling small lures and jigging soft plastics are generally the most effective methods. Good soft plastics at this time of year include the Squidgy 65 and 75mm fish, Gulp 3” Pogy and Atomic shads. In most situations a vigorous jigging action followed by a pause (which lets the lure drop) gets the most bites. Braid line and a rod with a stiff tip are the best weapons for flathead jigging. Hard fluorocarbon leader is also a worthwhile investment for lizards. Spend a bit on your jig hooks and use McCubbin’s, Berkley Nitros or TTs made on Gamakatsu or Owner hooks.

By August most of the bream have spawned and they will start to feed voraciously to put back on condition. If the month is a dry one, then bream tend to move around a lot, often heading up river in big numbers a week after the full moon. At present there are huge schools of white pilchards in the Jumpinpin area and the water is extremely clear. Bream can be seen in the fringing mangroves and steeper banks actively hunting the small pillies. Under these conditions the Berkley 3” PowerBait is a very good lure to use in conjunction with a light jighead. Plenty of these pilchard chasing bream are 30cm+.

August is also a great month to fish livebait the Seaway. Use slimies, mullet, yakkas and herrings. Big bream, tailor, mulloway and flathead are all common catches. At night a few big jewies should be around the back eddies in the Seaway. A live mullet free swimming on the top of the tide is the most effective method. The best tides are high between 8-11pm. Take a thermos and plenty of warm clothes. The coldest nights often have the best fishing. Most of these mullet eating jewies are over 10kg.

A few early season jacks can also turn up on the rock bars in the Nerang River this month. Trolling deep divers, soft plastics and livebaits can catch a surprising number of jacks on the first run of warm days. Small GTs, flathead and big eye trevally are a common by-catch. The red-scaled toothy monster will clean up quite a few bream anglers targeting structure with soft plastics this month as well.

Overall, it’s a great month for lurefishers in the Broadwater, and it’s time to start practising for the upcoming Flathead Classic, an event open to all players on the Gold Coast. This year the event will be on 4-7 October. Entry forms are available in most Gold Coast tackle shops.


This month is a good one on the wider grounds especially for deep water jigging. Kingies, amberjack and samsons should be in good numbers on the 50-fathom line, and deep jigging with 200-400g metal jigs is the most popular method. When fishing jigs work areas of high reef in 70-100m of water. Most of the bigger fish are almost uncontrollable on the hook up, and it is a very exciting way to fish that keeps you fit. I use Chaos jigs, 300g knife jigs, Daiwa Sacrifice Sticks and Zests. When the fish are shut down try a longer, thinner jig in plain chrome. This little trick often produces a few fish on my boat. If pearl perch are hitting the jigs but not hooking up, smaller 120-200g jigs and double hooks often put a few pearlies in the esky.

August is a great month to catch big snapper on the 36-fathom line. Plenty of berley is the key. The reefs north of the bar usually fish the best this month. For bigger snapper try bigger baits such as whole mullet, yakka heads, small live slimies or bonito strips. Carry a range of ball sinkers so you can adjust the weight according to the current. The sinker should slowly drag the bait down, rather than be directly attached to it. August is probably the best month to crack a genuine 20lb catch on the waters off the Gold Coast.

For gamefishers, it is a good month to target striped marlin on the 50-fathom line and also on the wider grounds. There have already been quite a few striped marlin hooked this season and a few of these have been 100kg+. When the water clarity is good striped marlin will move closer inshore, and in some years Sullies and the Cottons produce excellent fish in August. As well as striped marlin a few yellowfin tuna will be caught by the same methods, although in recent seasons their appearance has been erratic. Last weekend we were berleying and floatlining on 24-fathoms targeting cobia and snapper, and we caught three 7kg yellowfin in the berley trail on livebaits and pilchards.

Overall, August is a pretty good month on the fishing calendar with lots of options from wide of the continental shelf to far up the rivers. As the days get slightly longer and the first hints of spring begin, the available species shift again. The cold winter westerlies start to slow down, and swing to warm north westerlies.

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