Cooler water equals bigger fish
  |  First Published: April 2010

This month will see the water temperatures drop slightly and it should be an excellent month to target big Spanish mackerel and wahoo.

So far we have had an excellent mackerel season on the reefs of the Gold Coast, with most anglers not having much trouble getting their bag limits when conditions are good. There has been plenty of bait and strong south easterlies that have, for the most part, kept the blue water in close to shore.

Additionally the floodwaters of early March have really primed the close in reefs for some excellent fishing this month.

Most anglers have been doing quite well trolling minnows such as Halco Laser Pros and Rapala X-Raps when targeting Spaniards. The locally made Jonesy’s range of lures has also been excellent.

The key to mackerel trolling has been to fish early morning tide changes and get out on the water at dawn. The week leading up to the full moon has usually been the most productive; with early morning high tides a big factor in getting bites. The 24-fathom reef east of Southport is often very productive in May for minnow trolling.

To target bigger Spaniards try areas such as the Tweed Nine Mile and Fidos bommie off the Tweed.

Troll big baits such as small live mac tuna, bonito or tailor. Drifting live pike is also an extremely effective method to target big macks over 15kg. In general the best mackerel in this part of the world are caught in May and June.

High speed trolling using metal-headed skirts such as Hex Heads is another excellent method this month.

Try trolling at an average of about 12 knots, use 15kg or 24kg tackle and set the lures a long way back. Red and white is a good colour combination.

This method is excellent for wahoo and catches plenty of big Spaniards as well. Wherever tuna or flying fish are found, try this method.

Out wide there should be a few blue and striped marlin on the Tweed Canyons, Jims Mountain and along the 100 fathom line.

The blues have been quite erratic so far this season, but as the strong current slows a bit, they should become a bit more fixed in their locations. At present they are a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ proposition.

This month is also the time to dust off the bottom fishing tackle and have a bottom fish on the 50 fathom line.

These fish have been mostly untouched over the past few months due to the strong current. Pearl perch, amberjack, samson and kingies shouldn’t be too hard to come by on jigs, livies and paternoster rigs.

There will also be a few teraglin and mulloway on the inshore grounds at night this month.

Close to the Seaway try the 18 fathom line for cobia and Spaniards this month. Anchor up on hard reef and berley with tuna and pilchards, and fish livies on the surface and mid water. Use a short length of 60lb wire if the mackerel are your target, and get the berley trail going just before dawn. You can often catch your livies on the spot, and cobia definitely eat some strange baits such as goat fish, bream, squire and tarwhine.


The estuaries are in excellent condition at the moment with all the recent rain.

There has been an excellent run of prawns around the Jacobs Well area, and there is plenty of bait through the whole system.

Flathead fishing has been very good throughout autumn, which is unusual. Areas such as Tipplers Passage, Crusoe Island and Kalinga Bank have all been producing fish up to 70cm quite consistently. This is very unseasonal and reflects the big flush we have had since the Coomera River flooded.

Working small soft plastics on light tackle is a great way to fish this month. I’ve found the Gulp 4” Minnow in chartreuse and white to be an excellent lure, especially when the water is a bit cloudy. Flathead love these things. The Swimming Mullet is also worth a go.

While you won’t get many monster flathead this month, there are plenty of 40-60cm fish around and if you downsize your tackle they can put up a pretty good fight.

We have also caught plenty of big bream in May on plastics in the main body of the Broadwater.

The Seaway and Jumpinpin Bar areas should produce a few mulloway on live baits and soft plastics this month. In late March most of these fish were small, from 50-70cm, making it hard to get a feed.

The best lure we used was the ever-reliable Gulp 7” Jerkshad in white, although the smaller fish often dropped it without hooking up.

Hopefully, as it cools down, we will start to see a lot more 1m+ mulloway entering the system chasing the schools of tiger mullet that start to build up in the entrances this month prior to spawning.

Bream and whiting will be biting well in the Nerang River this month. With the Hinze Dam going over the wall, the Nerang has had a constant flush for over a month now, and in May this should produce excellent fishing conditions.

A lot of keen bream anglers have already been out prospecting hard for the upcoming competitions. It is also very likely the brackish lake and canal estates have had a few additions to their bass populations this month, as a lot of fish have gone over the dam wall.

I think this May is going to be the best pre-winter month we have had in many years, as the conditions are perfect. All the rough weather and summer rains have fertilised the fishing grounds well, and the best two options are early season flathead in the Broadwater, and Spaniards offshore.

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