Spawning fish on the move
  |  First Published: June 2003

JUNE is definitely one of the better months on the estuary fisherman’s calendar. The cool but calm weather, light westerlies and the spawning triggers at this time of year get every species on the move. There should also still be the odd jack in the Seaway area and a few trevally available on livebaits.


Cold weather and cool water sees a definite change in fishing focus in the Gold Coast estuaries. The prevailing westerlies stimulate the spawning run of tailor, bream and mullet, and there is a tremendous amount of fish movement throughout the estuary system. Target species include bream, mulloway and flathead. There is also usually quite a lot of bait in the Seaway area, and from time to time on the top of big tides in June you can catch yellowtail kings, tailor and amberjacks around the Seaway itself.

Bream are a mainstay in June, and baitfishing the Seaway will see thousands of bream caught this month. Unfortunately, bream don’t seem to have benefited much from new bag and size limits, and at times a lot of these fish are wasted. Bream spinning in the Nerang River canals at this time of year is increasingly popular with anglers fishing soft plastics and hard-bodied lures. The houses opposite the Southport School on the main river are well worth a look in June on the bottom half of the tide early in the morning. The most strikes seem to come when the oysters are exposed and the current is running hard.

June is an excellent month for flathead, although not many big ones are caught. The majority of fish are between 40-55cm this month, although the odd bigger one turns up around Jumpinpin. Soft plastic shads jigged on dropping banks and small trolled minnows work very well. If the month is dry, expect plenty of fish to move up into Coombabah Creek, the Pimpama and upper Coomera.

Mulloway start to move into the estuary as the water cools and the mullet schools get thicker. At night on the top of the tide is a good time to target a decent jewie, and live mullet are the best bait. Increasingly this winter we will be targeting mulloway on soft plastics, and a lot of the work done around the Shoalhaven in NSW should help sort out the Queensland fish as well.

Tailor should be common once the westerlies start to blow. The North wall of the Seaway is a great place for an early morning spinning session, as is the artificial reef off Narrowneck. Pilchards, Lazers and Raiders all work extremely well. Some really big tailor over 4kg turn up in the washes just off the Jumpinpin bar in June. Big gar, pike and large surface poppers are often the best way to sort out the bigger fish. There is the occasional monster over 6kg in this area.


This is a transition month on the offshore grounds, with the last swirls of warm current transiently winding in big eddies off the Gold Coast. Water temperatures vary from 19 to 23 degrees, and at times it can be a great month to target big Spaniards, wahoo and striped marlin, although it does tend to be erratic. It can also be an excellent month for blue marlin out wide, and cobia on the inshore reefs.

As the current drops off, snapper, pearl perch, teraglin and amberjack get a lot more accessible on the 36, 42 and 50 fathom reefs, and the generally calm weather gives plenty of fishable days on these wider grounds. In recent months there has been a lot of interest in jigging on the wider reefs for yellowtail kings and amberjacks on big metal jigs, and some sensational captures have been made.

The Tweed Heads Nine Mile is well worth a look this month. Trolling large baits such as bonito and tailor can produce XOS Spaniards, and most of the wahoo caught in June are pretty big fish. This area also produces yellowtail kings, mack tunas, amberjacks and sharks. Quite a few decent snapper are caught around the Mud Hole and in around Fido’s Bombora as well.

The wrecks just off the Seaway and Jumpinpin Bar, as well as the artificial reef off Main Beach, are worth a look at low tide for a decent mulloway – although they seem to get a perpetual flogging from charter boats these days. These areas also produce a few decent cobia.

A great way to fish offshore in June is to anchor up and berley. This gives you the opportunity to try a variety of techniques at the same time. A livebait on the surface and a second one positioned down deep and a pilchard drifted down a berley trail give a chance at everything from a cobia to a snapper or mackerel, and in this month of transition this broad brush approach works very well.

When bottom fishing the wider reefs for pearlies, a bit of luminescence definitely seems to help. Glow sinkers and glow beads or tubing definitely increase success on these deep water fish which make fantastic eating. Circle hooks work extremely well on pearlies also. This method is also effective on squire and kingfish and most of the good deep water jigs incorporate a degree of luminescence in their paintwork.

If you’re a keen lure troller, the Cotton Reef and Sullies may be worth a look for striped marlin in June, particularly if they hold good schools of slimies. This area seems to be the closest inshore reef that regularly holds striped marlin. The 36 and 50 fathom lines and Spot X, 16.4 miles at 85 degrees from the Seaway, are also worth a look.

June is the month where the trolling gear gets a few more goes and the bottom fishing starts in earnest. The weather is usually conducive to safe offshore boating, but be careful in any forecast of north-westerlies greater than 15 knots. These tend to create some pretty messy seas on the wider grounds.

1) Bream are a mainstay in June. This quality fish snapped up a soft plastic.

2) June is an excellent month for flathead, although they’re aren’t many big ones around.

3) Samson are always an option out wide if conditions are right.

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