Summer species get active
  |  First Published: November 2005

November sees the current start to increase and the water warm up to around 22 or 23 degrees. There is a lot of anticipation and preparation this month, as anglers get ready for the upcoming light tackle marlin season.

Reports from more northern areas indicate a bumper crop of small black marlin is south bound on the East Australian Current. In November, a few small blacks start to appear, but there are plenty of hours between bites. Dolphin fish generally start to put in an appearance and are a welcome by-catch when marlin fishing.

Good areas to go for an early season marlin troll are the 50-metre line north of the Seaway, Sullies east of Jumpinpin and the reefs east of Tweed. It’s a good month to get all the gear in top shape, and although the odd fish will show up, the real action generally starts in December.

Small lures like Meridians, Pakula Mosquitos and the new Tropic Angler range work well on little blacks and dolphin fish. We generally do a few ‘warm up’ troll days this month, and although the action is erratic, it’s good to get the boat organised before the fish arrive in force. There may be more early season action than normal this month as very early reports are coming in from Fraser Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Cobia are another good target this month. The 18-fathom reef off Southport, Palm Beach Reef and the Cotton Reef off South Stradbroke are good grounds to fish. Plenty of berley and a few big livebaits like tailor or tarwhine are the key to catching these tough fighters. We generally fish at anchor and use chopped pilchards for berley, fishing one livebait deep, one on the surface and a big bait midwater.

As the current picks up on the wider grounds, the bottom fishing becomes more difficult, but there is still good fishing at times on the 50-fathom line. Deep water jigging with metal lures that sink quickly works well in moderate current, and there are still plenty of kings and amberjacks this month. A few squire and pearl perch will turn up on the northern end of the 50-fathom reef this month. There will be some snapper on the 36-fathom line.

The Tweed Coast has plenty of interesting options this month. The current will start to run hard over the top of the Nine Mile Reef, and there should be plenty of pelagic activity as the water warms up. Cobia, small amberjacks and a few juvenile black marlin should be on the back of the reef, while yellowtail kings and mackerel tuna will be taking trolled lures and drifted livebaits.

November is a transitional month on the offshore grounds, but with great reports coming from more northern ports, this month has all the signs of being an early season start, and there may be some good light tackle gamefish caught.

Broadwater and Gold Coast Rivers

November has plenty of late afternoon storms and the water in the estuaries warms up a few degrees this month. This makes a lot of summer species much more active, and there will be some great lure fishing in the Gold Coast rivers. This month is the best time to chase mangrove jacks in the Nerang, Pimpama and Coomera rivers. Run-out tides late in the afternoon offer the best chance of catching big jacks on lures.

Trolled hard-bodied lures such as the Tilsan Bass work well, while soft plastic shads and stickbaits also do the job. The 4” Berkley Bass Minnow is good on jacks. As dusk turns to night, poppers become another useful lure. After dark the jacks start to stray well away from cover, and quite a few are caught in open water.

Whiting numbers improve this month and the main sections of the Nerang River, from the Southport Bridge up to Sorrento, fish well. Small soldier crabs, shrimp and bloodworms on a long light leader are effective. Run-in tides generally fish the best and early morning before the boat traffic starts is the optimum time to catch a feed of these delicious fish.

Quite a few school jew turn up in the Seaway this month, most of which will be less than 8kg. Soft plastics are productive at times, but small livebaits such as yakkas and slimies are preferred. Big flathead and trevally will respond to the same methods. There have been plenty of flathead over 70cm around this season, but remember to handle them carefully prior to their release, as they are all breeding female fish.

Trolling for flathead in the central Broadwater can be good this month. Small deep divers like the Lively Lures Micro Mullet are worth a shot, and a few bream, trevally and cod will be caught as well. Soft plastics are another option, and in the recent Flathead Classic I did really well on the 3” Berkley Gulp Pogy. Fished on a 3/8oz lumo green McCubbin jighead, the Gulps caught me a swag of fish including a beauty of 91cm. These lures stink, become hard after use and don’t take up the lure stains we use on other plastics, but they catch flathead extremely well.

The canals of the Nerang can produce trevally, tarpon and giant herring this month. Small poppers, trolled small minnows and jigged soft plastics are all effective. Late afternoon into the dark is the best time to try, and if there has been a bit of rain in preceding days the fishing is generally better. Giant herring are the fastest things with fins in our local estuaries and are an absolute ball on light tackle.

Overall, November is a fun month for fishing, and as things warm up the action will improve even further.

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