Spring has seen unseasonably high water temperatures on the grounds off the Gold Coast. There have already been quite a lot of blue marlin and large yellowfin caught on the wide grounds. November should see a further increase in water temperatures to around 24°C. Overall, November is a good month to fish both the Gold Coast estuaries and offshore grounds and there are plenty of options this month.
This month has traditionally been the start of blue marlin season in these waters. If you look at the sea surface temperature charts before heading out, looking for eddies and temperature breaks, you should be able to plan your fishing area before leaving home. In general, I like to work areas between 250-400m. If you see birds and tuna schools, it’s time to put the lures in.
Most of the blue marlin have been around 120-160kg and they’re a great target on stand up 24 and 37kg tackle. The yellowfin have been out a bit wider between the 500 and 1000m lines, and some great fish to 80kg have already been caught.
In closer to shore, there’s been an excellent run of longtail tuna up to around 27kg out from the Jumpinpin Bar in 10-20m of water. These have mostly been caught spinning with metal lures, stickbaits and large soft plastics. There are quite a few mackerel tuna as well. Hopefully the schools of longtails will still be around throughout November.
The run of juvenile black marlin in more northern ports through late winter and spring has been quite poor, so I don’t hold too many hopes for the coming season on the inshore grounds. November usually sees mahimahi and small black marlin start to show when the East Australian current pushes into the inshore grounds, bringing large schools of pilchards.
This month is definitely a good one to do a few trolling sessions on the 40m line. Look for these early season fish, concentrate in areas such as the Cotton Reef off the Jumpinpin Bar, the Gravel Patch east of Burleigh Heads and the area around the Tweed Heads Nine Mile Reef.
For the bottom fishers, fishing tends to drop off this month as the water warms and the current increases. There should still be a few snapper and pearl perch on the 36 and 50 fathom line, but by now, most snapper have finished spawning and the numbers decrease. It’s still worth trying deep soft plastics and soft vibes or pilchards if the current is slow.
In closer to shore, cobia can be a good option this month. There’s generally an inshore run of adult fish on Palm Beach Reef, the 20 fathom reef east of the Seaway and Mermaid Reef this month. Anchor up, berley heavily and fish large live baits and big soft plastics to put yourself in with a good chance of fish. There’s sometimes an early run of spotted mackerel on Palm Beach Reef in November.
This month is one of the best months of the year to target mangrove jacks in the Coomera and Nerang Rivers. Floating pontoons have changed the way that mangrove jacks behave on the Gold Coast, giving them food and shelter across the entire tide cycle. This has also lead to an increasing number of mangrove jacks in Gold Coast canals. Present soft plastics and hardbodies at the end of the pontoon that the current is running into, and work the lure quickly along the face and inside of the pontoon.
ZMan soft plastics on a HeadlockZ jighead are particularly popular in local waters and catch a lot of fish. The most popular colour is white. Poppers are another good option, particularly very early in the morning or at night. There are monster jacks in the Gold Coast canals with increasing numbers of fish over 60cm turning up each season. By-catches include juvenile Queensland groper, gold-spot estuary cod, Moses perch and giant and big-eye trevally.
Flathead are still in good numbers in November but start to drop in numbers towards the end of the month. The recent Flathead Classic saw some really innovative new methods shine through and fairly good numbers of fish in terrible conditions. There’ll be a few large females in the deep water around the entrances as well as quite a few good sized mulloway. If there’s cloud cover and a coolish day, there should be good fishing on the shallow flats. If it’s a hot windy day with dirty water and a clear sky, the catch rate will generally plummet.
Whiting are good to chase this month and as the water warms they become a lot more aggressive on surface lures. This type of fishing is often at its best on windy days. The fish seem to feed a lot more aggressively if there’s a bit of chop on the water. My favourite whiting surface lure is the Bassday Sugarpen. These are expensive little lures, but unless tailor and pike get involved, you don’t tend to lose many lures. I’ve tried quite a few different whiting surface lures but the Sugarpen has been the most reliable.
November is also a good month to get out the crab pots as the muddies and sand crabs become more active. There’s a lot of crab movement this month – the muddies have thin shells and aren’t very full. Uncooked chicken frames, tuna and any fish frames all make good bait. I like to mix my baits up to give the crabs a flavour combination. The best bait I’ve used is a mackerel head inside a chicken frame.
An average blue marlin caught from Reel Easy.
A nice jack on a hardbody.
Mitchell Clacutt with a whopper mahimahi.Reads: 1957