Cold Rewards the Brave
  |  First Published: May 2009

The time for beanies, long shirts and hot coffees has finally arrived on the southern Gold Coast. The early starts should get a bit tougher now but if you are willing to brave the cold the rewards are well worth it.

The headlands and surf zones around Tallebudgera should start to produce good numbers of tailor and the odd jew. The headland will fish well early morning and late afternoon, and the beaches seem to fire just after dark.

A good trick is to select a good-looking gutter just prior to nightfall and get a bit of berley going. As the tailor move along the surf line to feed under the cover of darkness, they come across your berley trail and the game is on. The action can often be thick and fast for a short period and then that is it for the rest of the evening.

Just keep in mind that if there is any swell the headland can be dangerous so be sure that the spot you chose to fish off is a safe one.

The rivers have been suffering from the constant rain but fortunately the fish have become accustomed to the dirty water and have been feeding well in it. If we do get a few weeks of good weather the winter species should really start to make their presence felt.

Bream will be the number one target species this month up the creeks. Lure fishing with small diving minnows and plastics, and bait fishing with yabbies, herring, mullet gullet or fillet baits should see you catching them in good numbers.

The bream like to school up in the creeks over the winter months so it can often just be a case of finding them. If you have access to a boat then you can obviously move up and down the river until you come across some good bream. If you are land-based, try and fish slightly deeper water and get some form of berley going as the fish will use this deeper water to travel up or down the river and will respond well to the berley.

Keep an eye on the watercolour as this can play a big part in your tackle selection. If the water is still really dirty from more rain, then you can get away with heavier line and larger hooks, but if it has cleared up then you will need to fish lighter line and scale your hook sizes down. Fish feed very confidently in dirty water and as the rivers have been fairly dirty for a while, the fish will become fairly timid if it clears up substantially.

Tailor should also start to make their presence felt in the creeks, especially if the bait starts to move in and school up around the bridges or other structures. These fish will often mix with trevally and smash the bait off the surface. A whole pillie or fillet bait cast around this surface action normally results in an instant hook up. Periods of low light are once again the times to target these good table fish.


We should see a few whales on the offshore grounds by June and this will mean that the cobia will move in with them.

Palm Beach Reef, Mermaid Reef and the gravel patch are top spots to try for a black king. Anchoring up and having a few live baits out is a great way to fish for them. Suspend one of the livies under a balloon a few metres down out the back of the boat and fish another on the bottom. A constant berley trail usually gets them interested.

A good tip is to keep a look out around the boat as cobia will often swim right up to the side of the boat. Try not to make the mistake of throwing out a whole pile of berley to keep them there, instead only drop the odd small cube of pilchard while you get a rod ready. This keeps the fish hungry and stops them from following all the bait as it drifts away from the boat.

We will often have a rod rigged only with a small but strong hook ready to go. If we see the cobia swim up to the boat we will grab this and bait it with a small fillet of pilchard ensuring that the hook is hidden. Unfortunately, the fish that come up to the boat can be very hard to tempt at times, but keep trying different baits and they might eventually decide to grab one.

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