As the year rolls around to July once again, the days will get even shorter and a whole new host of species will be on offer.
July is a prime snapper month, and they are available to be caught using a number of different methods.
Fishing soft plastics for snapper is a growing trend in our area, as it’s effective and great fun.
When using softies for snapper I find most of my bites come as the lure is descending and the fish that take the lure on the drop are generally a better class of fish. So I try to use the lightest jighead possible to maximise sink times.
When selecting a jighead there are many factors to take into account, including current and water depth but you may find yourself using anything from 1/4oz to 1 1/2oz so don’t be afraid to experiment. I use a thread line outfit of about 20-30lb and I think braided line is a must.
My favourite soft plastics are jerk shad style plastics as I find they are less affected by strong current. Guzzler, Bass Assassins and Gulps are all favourites of mine, but I don’t think colours are that crucial.
If soft plastics are not really your thing, a big knobby snapper will rarely pass up a well-presented bait. By letting your bait slowly waft down with a small sinker you will be able to target the better quality fish that sit higher off the bottom.
This time of year the 18 and 24 fathom reefs east of Surfers Paradise as well as Fidos and the Mud Hole will all produce the goods.
As well as snapper there will be a range of reef species around a little bit wider off the coast. The 36 and 42 fathom reefs will hold good numbers of pearl perch, parrotfish, pigfish and a wide variety of others.
When targeting reefies such as these it’s pretty hard to beat a paternoster rig due to these fish living hard on the bottom. As far as bait type goes anything fresh is best – pillies, squid and flesh baits will all produce good results.
Cobia will start to show up more and more throughout July. These fish are great fighting and also great table fair. You will find them on more prevalent on the closer reefs such as the 18s and 24s as well as the Nine Mile and Palm Beach Reef.
Cobia are quite partial to a soft plastic but most anglers prefer big live bait. Live baits such as tailor, small snapper, slimeys or yakkas are fine and anything up to about 1kg is more than edible to a passing cobia.
I like to fish an 8oz barrel sinker fixed between two swivels with one or two 9/0 hooks, depending on the size of the bait. A trace of around 80lb and 30lb or 50lb line is fine for cobia, but a big one will still give you plenty of curry, so beware of obstructions such as anchor ropes during a long fight.
The flathead season will really start to kick off in July. These fish are one of the most popular sport and table fish on the east coast so why not give them a go while they are around.
Flathead are found almost everywhere, but if you want to target them successfully there are a few things to keep in mind. Flathead are very tide dependant, so each spot works on different stages of the tide.
At a low tide try the gutters around Crab Island and behind Sea World. For a higher tide the fish will generally be more spread out. They can be found right to the top of the weed banks in most of the estuaries, particularly the southern bank at the entrance of Tallebudgera and the mouth of the Tweed.
Flatties will eat most lures, whether they are trolled and cast. For trolling keep two different lures close handy to change it up if one is not producing results. Two of my favourite are the Lively Lure Micro Mullet and the locally made Pig Lure.
Soft plastics between 3-6” would have to be generally the most effective way to catch flathead. Gulp or Guzzler soft plastics are the most user friendly and no doubt catch a swag of fish.
As with all soft plastics several things can dictate the size of your jighead: water depth, tidal flow and wind strength. I generally use 1/4oz and 3/8oz for most of my flathead fishing and I think they are the most versatile.
There will be plenty of tailor showing up at the river mouths on the start of the run-in tide and as well as most headlands and surf beaches. Tailor are often ravenous but can be quite fickle from time to time. By using metal slug style lures you will rarely miss out on a feed.
Match the size of your lure to the size of the bait that the fish are feeding on. This can sometimes take a bit of experimenting on each given day, but mostly anything between 20-40g is fine.
Sea bream will no doubt be on offer and are widely targeted. If you’re chasing a quick feed the most effective rig to use is a running ball sinker with 1m of trace and a size two hook. For bait yabbies, soldier crab and white pilchards are all top performers.