Snap back to Winter
  |  First Published: May 2010

June sees the water temperatures drop quite a bit, and generally the warmer currents of summer and autumn have headed back north. It is the start of good fishing on the wider grounds and snapper are starting to feed up prior to spawning in late winter.

The last tongues of warm water often hold some big mackerel and wahoo, and the biggest of these species often turn up late in the season. This year was an excellent season for all the mackerel species, and there should still be a few good ones this month when the blue water pushes in close.

The 50-fathom line will fish well as the current drops away and the water cools. Calm mornings with a light northwesterly make for ideal conditions, and the drifts on the better days are long and slow.

When the weather map has a large high pressure system directly over Brisbane the conditions are usually quite glassy on the wider reefs. Target species out wide include kingfish, Samson, amberjacks and pearl perch. There should also be a few delicious pigfish as well.

I like to pick up a few live baits on the way out and fish a range of tactics once I find a good showing on the sounder. I start off by doing an hour or so of float lining on the 36-fathom line just on day break targeting snapper. This usually produces a few fish early. Soft plastics can be used here as well.

After the sun has come up the fish usually slow down a bit, and it is time to head out a bit wider to the 50-fathom line. I start by fishing paternoster rigs using pilchards and squid with the aim of catching my bag limit of pearl perch. If the pearlies are cooperative this may only take half an hour or so. Once I’ve got a good feed on board I usually change to either metal jigs or live baits targeting Samson and amberjacks. This usually produces the biggest fish of the day. Sometimes I experiment a bit with deep soft plastic or Lucanis style jigs as well.

Out wide I tend to move around a fair bit, and on my GPS I’ve got about 80 spots out on the north east 50-fathom line that I move up and down. If the drift is slow in a north to south direction it is usually possible to drift along the line of the reef and this makes the fishing much easier.

For the game fisher there are opportunities on the wide grounds chasing blue and stripe marlin this month. Often, as the current slows down, the fishing becomes a lot more consistent, and some really big blue marlin have been hooked in June over the past few years. The Tweed Canyons, Jims Mountain and the 100-fathom line are all good areas to fish. A few yellowfin tuna may turn up as well.

On the closer grounds the typical winter season begins, and it is time to start chasing big cobia on the 18-fathom line east of the Seaway, as well as a few jewies. The cobia have been quite good over the past few winters, with fish over 25kg being quite common. A good berley trail and big live slimy mackerel are the key to success, but increasingly a lot of big fish are falling to large soft plastics like the Gulp 7” Jerkshad.


As the westerlies start to blow it triggers spawning in many of the common estuary species. The Seaway and Jumpinpin become fish highways as mullet, bream and luderick start to school up in big numbers prior to moving out on the beaches. Tailor, mulloway and sharks all start to patrol the entrances as the big schools of mullet form around the walls and channels.

In June bream, mulloway, tailor and flathead are the main target species, and the month is generally dry with light westerlies. Most of the best fishing tends to be around the entrances and in the main body of the Broadwater. If the westerlies blow hard the beaches will also fish well.

Live baiting the Seaway on a run-in tide is a great way to fish in June. Head offshore to the 8 or 12 fathom reef and jig up some small slimies and yakkas, and then drift them through the Seaway. The rig I use is generally 8-10kg mainline, a number 8 ball sinker running on to a small swivel then a half metre of 24kg mono to a pair of 5/0 octopus hooks (depending on the size of your livies). Drift the bait just off the edge of the rock wall or in the eddy at the end of the north wall. Over the years this has caught plenty of mulloway, from schoolies to monsters, big tailor, XOS bream and some good flathead. Live baiting has become the forgotten technique since soft plastics came to the fore, but it is the most consistent and reliable way to fish the Seaway.

The flathead fishing in the Broadwater should be pretty good as the summer and autumn rains have left the estuary in excellent condition. The fish will be scattered if conditions stay dry, and places like Tipplers Passage, Whalleys Gutter, Coombabah Creek and Crab Island are all worth a fish when the water is clear. Try to keep the leader and main line light, and a jighead size of around 1/4oz is about right.

While not many big fish show this month, it is pretty easy to find quite a few fish in the 40-60cm range on jigged soft plastics, or by trolling hardbodies. I find winter gets the best catches as far as numbers go. It shouldn’t be too hard to find 20 fish a session this month when the westerlies are light. Quite a few big bream will also turn up as a by-catch.

Overall, it is going to be a pretty good month to fish the Gold Coast with a wide range of options.

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