Branding Marlin
  |  First Published: January 2010

The start to our annual juvenile black marlin season has been slow to say the least, as those yearling fish may have side tracked our Gold Coast waters. But don’t be surprised if we get a solid run of a more medium class of fish this month.

Spot X, Deep Trag and right through to Deep Southern off the Tweed should hold a few decent size billfish. These fish will more likely be in their second or third year of patrolling our coastlines and may range anywhere from 40-140kg.

I prefer to run a slightly larger profiled lure when this class of fish is around. Lure sizes ranging from 7-10” should do the trick. As always I find if the bait masses are present, live baiting is often the most effective way of catching these prize fish in big numbers.

For those willing to venture further afield there should be a few nice blue marlin showing their faces. These fish aren’t for the faint hearted, their explosive runs are enough to get even the most experienced angler’s adrenaline racing!

Venture beyond the continental shelf for blue marlin, but any of our local wide grounds will hold these spectacular gamefish from time to time. These areas may at times appear barren but often subtle changes such as temperature or current lines can make a huge difference to the days result.

Leave your light rods at home when you’re fishing these areas, with even 24kg gear often too light for these fish. The fish in our area average between 250-350lb and will eat lures from 7” to as big as you can imagine. I run a pattern of lures with varying sizes when fishing for blues and I find a small light coloured lure 7-9” fed furthest from the boat can be a real performer at times.

February is still a good month to target mackerel of all species on our close reefs and spots like Mermaid and Palm Beach reefs, the Gravel Patch and Fidos are all good places to start. Anchoring, setting out a berley trail and float lining pilchards back into the trail is my most successful way to target these fish.

There are two rules to follow when chasing mackerel: first, use light either single strand or nylon coated multi strand wire (around 20lb is suitable) and second, keep the berley flow constant at all times. Even when fighting fish keep the berley going because the majority of the time with mackerel where there’s one there’s more.

When looking to anchor, first sound around for a while and try to find some bait or a standout pinnacle that may set your position on the reef apart from the rest of the crowd.

Later in the month there should be a few nice snapper and mulloway starting to show their faces on our close reefs. Lightly weighted pilchards and deep set live baits such as yellowtail and slimey mackerel are both methods that are hard to beat.

These fish are great to eat but remember when you’re taking a feed of fish to look after your catch; it’s always best practice to have an esky onboard with an ice slurry. This not only keeps your fish from going off in the heat but makes your fish taste much nicer.


February is always a good month to target mud crabs so if you’re heading up the river to wet a line why not throw in a few pots. Any banks with a nice drop-off and a bit of structure will hold a few crabs.

I’ve always had good success with the rectangular collapsible style pot. These pots are easily stored and quite inexpensive, and best of all, they work pretty well. Always remember to clearly label your pots and floats with your name and address.

The rivers will still be holding a few jacks, cod, trevally and tarpon throughout this month. A run-out tide in the late afternoon until early evening is prime time to chase these fish.

Casting and trolling around any rocky banks or outcrops is a good way to target all of these fish. When fishing around these areas it’s generally not a bad idea to keep a tackle back onboard. I generally run by the rule that if you’re not regularly coming in contact with the bottom and occasionally getting snagged you’re either not in the right spot or you perhaps need a deeper lure.

Down towards the river mouths, don’t be surprised if you run into a few schools of tailor. This month generally holds a fair bit of bait around our local entrances and on a run-in tide. That first push of clean water will generally bring in a few chopper tailor with it.

Keep a close lookout for any diving birds or fish breaking the surface; these are key signs that a school of ravenous tailor are present. Once you’ve located these schools, casting small metal lures towards them with a moderate retrieve will yield a hook-up. Any small metal lure around 15-25g will do the trick just nicely.

There should still be good numbers of whiting in the mid reaches of the local rivers particularly the Nerang River. But the sand banks towards the mouth of Tallebudgera and Currumbin creeks are great areas to target a few whiting on poppers.

This method is surprisingly effective when chasing whiting and even a less experienced angler can achieve good results. I try to stick with lures that are transparent or lightly coloured and anything about 50mm in length should do the trick.

Try using a slow but constant retrieve and don’t bloop your popper too hard. I find a leader of around 4lb and around a rod 2m long and 4lb mainline is probably maximum. This is simply to get the most action out of your lure.

Until next month be safe on the water and good fishing.

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