Great action on lures
  |  First Published: November 2004

November is a difficult month on the offshore grounds although there are early indications, even at the end of September, that the warm water of the East Australian Current may arrive early this year. There are quite a few small black marlin turning up at the top end of Fraser Island even now, which means the warm water isn’t far away.

In November a few dolphinfish start to turn up for those targeting early season marlin. The area around Sullies and Cottons is worth a look this month, and on the wider grounds from 36 fathoms out there are also a few nice dolphinfish and the odd little black marlin for those who put in the hours.

As the current picks up bottom fishing becomes more difficult, and by November most of the snapper action is well and truly over, except for smaller squire on the 36 fathom line. The 50s can produce pigfish, pearl perch and amberjack and, providing the current isn’t too hard, the jigging can be quite good. On the closer reefs there is the odd big cobia around Palm Beach and Mermaid Reefs and also the 18-fathom line of Southport. Livebaiting is the best way to get a cobia at this time of year. There are quite a few teraglin and tailor in this area as well.

November can be a very productive month for tuna spinning close to the entrance of the Seaway. Casting metal lures at boiling schools of breaking fish is always exciting, and freezing away a bunch of small mack tuna or frigates at this time of year is a very wise investment, as in coming months they make great teaser baits for billfish and are also good for mackerel troll baits. Big mack tuna are one of the best crab baits available.

To catch tuna spinning it pays to have a good range of lure sizes, as it is often critical to match the lure profile to the bait the tuna are feeding on. Some species, particularly frigate mackerel and striped tuna, commonly feed on bait the size of a matchstick, and at these times they reject bigger lures. A light high-speed threadline outfit and some 10-15g Lazers can get plenty of bites in this situation and give great sport. John Nowak has just released a new thicker profile lure that gives more casting weight for a Lazer of the same length. These Lazer Slugs are going to be a fantastic lure for fussy tuna.

The full moon this month is often a very interesting time to fish, and often marks the arrival of a few spotted mackerel on Palm Beach Reef and small black marlin on the recognised spots off the Gold Coast. Overall, November is the month where the first hints of the summer gamefish season begin, and it is definitely the time to get all the reels ready, rig the lures and get out there and start trolling.

Broadwater and Draining Rivers

The water warms up a fair bit this month, causing different species to become active. It’s a great month to target mangrove jacks and whiting in the Nerang River, and it is also still pretty good for flathead. As the water warms the GTs become quite active as well. Lurefishing is very good this month. Bream fishing is generally quiet although most jetties and canals still hold resident populations that will eat lures and bait with gusto.

There are many ways to catch mangrove jacks on lures. Trolling deep running minnows is probably the most productive method, but in recent seasons we have found poppers and shallow runners have been really effective at dawn and dusk around oyster leases, canal entrances and marinas. A lot of the boils and crashes we used to attribute to trevally are in fact big mangrove jacks, and they are very keen devourers of poppers under the right conditions. The best time is often around dawn when the waterways are quiet and devoid of boat traffic. Some of the biggest jacks live in the busiest sections of the river, and the only time there aren’t boats and jet skis is between 4 and 6am! This is often the time jacks feed on the top.

Whiting come on as the days get longer and water temperatures increase. The Nerang River is consistently one of the best big whiting rivers in the state, which is surprising considering its lack of sand flats. I think that in part the river is so good is due to the big population of small shrimp. These make great whiting bait and can be caught with a dip net around bridges and mangroves. To bait up, put between two and four on a size 6 hook. Fish a long trace of 4lb mono and move around the Nerang until you locate a school. Once again, early morning is often the best time, and weekdays fish a lot better than weekends. The Nerang fishes well for whiting from the Southport School up to Sorrento.

Flathead are still active in the main basin of the Broadwater but by the end of the month most of the big females will have spawned and the activity will drop off a bit. Fishing soft plastics is probably the most popular method. As I write this the Flathead Classic is about to get underway, and there are plenty of teams out pre-fishing at present. Weed has been a big problem this year due to dry conditions and constant northerly winds. I think it is going to be a tough comp if these conditions persist.

Overall, November can be a great month to pin yourself a decent mangrove jack. The most important piece of tackle is an alarm clock set for around 3.30 to 4am! That’s not popular in most households, but early morning is definitely a great bite time for these fish, with dusk the other easier option.


1) There are still quite a few flathead around in November.

2) Franco Martinese with a GT taken on a Squidgy Fish plastic.

3) Vincent ___________ with a hefty Gold Coast lizard.

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