Spaniards Stable for the Table
  |  First Published: April 2010

May will see out the last of the warm currents and most of the migratory pelagics will start to disperse. However, there will still be a few wahoo and the odd Spaniard kicking about.

There are several ways to catch these speedsters but my favourite is to troll high speed minnows, such as Laser Pro 190 in the 2m bib. These fish will be patrolling anywhere along the 30-50m line south of the Gold Coast seaway and in areas like the Nine Mile, gravel patch and Fidos Reef. Mixed in the hook ups will also be a few yellowfin and the odd marlin.

When trolling these areas, especially the Nine Mile, keep your eyes peeled for any small tuna schools. The wahoo will be following these schools like magnets and if you’re feeling a bit adventurous trolling these baby tuna around on two 10/0 hooks and 135lb wire can entice even the most timid fish to bite.

This month there will be a few nice snapper around, although there still may be a bit of left over current. If you can put up with that, you will find good numbers around particularly the 24 and 26 Fathom reefs. There’s plenty of ways to catch snapper on the close reefs, with soft plastics one the best.

There are numerous soft plastic options on the shelves. I’m a big fan of Bass Assassins in the 7”, but Gulps, Guzzler and Squidgy all work just fine.

You have to also suit your jighead to the conditions and obviously the depth in which you may be fishing. For example, when I’m fishing in depths shallower than 30m I will try to keep my lure in regular contact with the bottom, but in deep water most bites come as the lure descends. Therefore, in deeper environments I’ll use a fairly light jighead, as light as 1/4oz sometimes, but in shallower water I’ll use 5/8oz and heavier.

There will be a few tasty reefies, such as pearl perch, parrotfish, rosy jobfish and many more, on offer but you may have to travel a little bit further afield. The 36 and 42 Fathom reefs, northeast of the Tweed Bar, is a good place to start.

Float lining baits and the humble paternoster rig are probably the best way to catch deep reefies, however I’ve had good success with glow in the dark soft plastics as it seems to attract their attention on days when the fish may be a bit shut down.

You can use a variety of baits using these methods. Pillies are always a great bait that is hard to beat but fresh squid and flesh baits have a good success rate. Remember that using fresh bait is very important.


The school jew will be around in numbers and should be ever-increasing in size as the season goes on. Any deep holes or entrances will hold jew and can be caught using a variety of methods.

Live bait is a popular choice and for schoolies, herring is always a good option. As you start to chase bigger jew, baits like mullet and pike are probably a bit more suitable.

Match your hook size to your bait. For herring I would use a single 5/0 and pin the herring through the nose, as it will tend to live a bit longer. And for bigger baits such as mullet or pike I tend to use two hooks and somewhere around a 6/0 will usually do the trick.

The tailor will also be around in numbers and the first push of clean water on a run in tide is the best time to catch them. They tend to schooled up during the day but usually at night they will be more active. Set out a berley trail on the edge of a sand bank somewhere near the mouth, particularly around Crab Island in the Southport broad water, on an early evening run in tide and fish lightly weighted pilchards on ganged hooks. Alternatively, spinning with metal lures back into your berley trail is also a pretty successful way to catch a few.

The winter run of bream should be around in force; these things are becoming a very popular target species by recreational and keen tournament angers. By casting small hardbodied minnows, such as Ecogear, Smith or Megabass, around pontoons and rock walls will always produce a few nice fish. A lightly weighted soft plastic hopped slowly and subtly along the bottom will produce fish if they are a bit timid.

A few school sized flathead should start to show up and at this time of year you will probably have your best success further up the rivers. The fish will generally be of a smaller class so try to down scale the size of the lures that you use. Anything around 3” is fine but I would probably stay away from anything larger.

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