Everything from marlin to bream
  |  First Published: June 2010

July is definitely one of the best months of the year to target tasty bottom dwelling species off the Gold Coast.

The 36 and 50 fathom lines are well worth a look when the conditions permit, and after all the rain in late autumn, the winter snapper season should be a good one.

The water temperature will drop a few degrees this month as the cold westerlies push in, and this gets the inshore spawning runs of bream, mullet and luderick well underway, which in turn attract a lot of bigger predators.

For the game fishers, the colder months offer both striped and blue marlin out wide, with potential for big yellowfin tuna as well.

Sometimes there are plenty of sauris on the wider grounds in winter and these definitely attract the pelagics. It is worth putting the lures in on the 50 fathom line and then heading out.

July is a hard month to predict but at times we have had some very good heavy tackle fishing and have caught all three marlin species. It is surprising how many marlin get hooked on the 50 fathom line on jigs and live baits in July by anglers targeting other species. Don’t discount a troll if the water is blue and there is a bit of bait around.

Snapper will be active on the 24 and 36 fathom line and pilchards, 7” Gulps and small live baits are all effective. Good snapper spots are hard to keep a secret these days but the extensive ridge of rock in 36 fathoms extends all the way from Kingscliff to Point Lookout and all along this snapper can be caught. When you find the fish, turn off the sounder as the constant pinging noise puts them off the chew.

On the 50 fathom line pearl perch, samson, amberjacks and kingies will make up most of the catches, with a few squire and bigger snapper turning up as well. Deep fished livies are a sure bet to get a bite this month, current permitting. Jigs are another effective method.

On the closer reefs expect mulloway, cobia, teraglin, snapper and tailor. Getting up very early and using a stack of berley is the best way to fish the close grounds. Take time to get plenty of live baits.

Over the past 25 years I’ve witnessed a tremendous increase in pressure on these reefs, and while good fish are still caught, it definitely is a lot harder than it used to be. Snapper stocks on the closer reefs aren’t even 10% of what they were when I first started fishing these grounds. At that time you could drop a rough and ready paternoster rig on the 18-fathom reef in the middle of the day and catch 1-2kg small snapper in abundance. These days you’ve got to be a lot more cunning.

There should also be plenty of tailor at the back of the surf this month and some big ones should be just off the Jumpinpin Bar. Spinning metal lures from a boat at the back of the swells is a fun way to fish but watch the waves carefully.


July is one of the most productive months in the estuaries and there is a lot of fish traffic in the river entrances as many species spawn this month.

Cold winter nights represent the best opportunity of the year to pin a decent jewie in the system. Live mullet are the most reliable method, although persistent casting of big soft plastics and shallow running hardbodies at night can produce results as well.

I love fishing a live mullet, feeling the line panic, then the hit and run of a decent big jewie on a calm still night. Pick a high tide between 7pm and midnight and fish the mullet in the back eddies without a sinker.

Calm still days should be great for targeting flatties on plastics. Most of the fish will be small, between 40-60cm, but on light tackle it makes for very pleasant, easy fishing.

I’ve got a heap of new flathead lures to try at present, and the experimentation is all part of the fun. When the water is clean and clear I like to keep the leader down to about 6kg fluorocarbon with 1/4oz to 3/8oz jigheads.

All the central Broadwater should fish well this month, and every channel and run-off from Bayview Harbour to Tipplers Passage should produce plenty of fish.

Bream will be in huge numbers in the Seaway and Jumpinpin this month as they prepare to move out to the entrances and sandbanks to spawn. Plenty of big blue nosed bream over 1kg should turn up. Soft plastics fished deep and slow, vibes and baits will all work well. With all the rain of the last six months the bream season should be a beauty.

Tailor will be active on the run-in tides around the entrances, and if schools of white pilchards move into the estuary the spinning should be quite good. If the fish are chopping on the top stay as far from the schools as you can. Make long casts using metal lures like Snipers, Halco Twisties or Lasers. Time and time again we see boats drive directly through the schools and put the fish down, which makes it hard for everyone.

So get out your beanies and thermals, get up early and enjoy some great winter fishing this month. Last July we caught everything from bream to blue marlin, and this month should be even better.

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