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Destination: Fishing

Destination: Fishing

The many miles of sheltered waterways, combined with a normally very safe Gold Coast Seaway and easy access to the offshore reefs, means the average boater stands a good chance of landing anything from a marlin to a garfish, all within 30 minutes of the boat ramp. Local Nic Welch shares his favourite spots to enjoy moments of peace and fish on the Gold Coast waters.

On calm waters

Jumpinpin is by far my favourite location. There is no sign of civilisation apart from the like-minded fisherman. There is a labyrinth of mangrove-lined channels to set crab pots and places to escape the wind from every wind direction no matter what strength, and an underwater landscape of every variety to target your favourite fish. Yabbies can be pumped at the inlet at the northern end of South Stradbroke Island. Try your luck at channel junctions at Crusoe Island, Five Ways, Tiger Mullet, and Whalleys Gutter. Drift along Kalinga Bank and the Pig Sties for anything, from a whiting to a mulloway.

Please take care if fishing further towards Jumpinpin bar itself. This is a notoriously dangerous bar and should only ever be crossed by very experienced skippers in a reliable vessel with recent local knowledge of the bar.

For assistance, contact VMR Jacobs Well on (07) 5546 1100, VHF channels 16/73, or 27MHz channels 88/91.

There is a labyrinth of mangrove-lined channels at Jumpinpin to set crab pots and places to escape the wind from every wind direction no matter what strength.

Onshore

When beach fishing, the surf side of South Stradbroke Island is simply a must do. You can anchor your boat on the calm side of the island and walk less than 10 minutes across the island to the surf in at least three locations: The Bedrooms, Brown’s Island, and South Currigee Campground. Just carry your surf rod with a trusty Alvey reel, a shoulder bag for your catch and bait, and a pair of worming pliers.

Beach worms are readily caught all along the island, and a whole worm threaded on a hook is fantastic bait for mulloway, especially at night. So do not forget your head torch! There are permanent gutters which run every few hundred metres or so along the island. These hold countless numbers of dart and flathead, with tailor feeding in the white water and gutter run-offs ready to take your pilchard loaded gangs, soft plastics, or silver spoons.

Beach worms are readily caught all along the South Stradbroke Island, and a whole worm threaded on a hook is fantastic bait for mulloway, especially at night. So do not forget your head torch!

Wild waters

When fishing offshore, the 24 fathom reef just 5 nautical miles due east of the Gold Coast Seaway is one of my favourite destinations. It takes less than half an hour to reach these productive fishing grounds, which holds consistent numbers of snapper and trag jew during winter. Venus tuskfish (parrot) and bar-tailed flathead are also a welcome bycatch. Being in only roughly 45-metre deep waters at the Seaway means you are not winding in your line for minutes on end. It is handy for when the fish are hungry, as you can smash your bait before it has the chance to reach the bottom. The current is good at the 24s, with a 4-oz to 8-oz sinker being suitable most of the time.

One of the biggest advantages of the 24s east of the Seaway, is that if you see weather approaching, it’s only a short trip home. The predominant winter south-easterly or predominant summer north-easterly breeze will produce a cross shore chop which should be able to be handled by a 5-m+ vessel in 15 knots of breeze without difficulty by a competent skipper.

Always log on and off with the Seaway Tower, Coastguard Southport, or VMR Southport on VHF channel 16/73, or 27 MHz channel 91.

Being in only roughly 45-metre deep waters at the Seaway means you are not winding in your line for minutes on end. It is handy for when the fish are hungry, as you can smash your bait before it has the chance to reach the bottom.

Some helpful hints

Get out early, and catch your own bait. Try to be fishing at first light. If you pump your own yabbies, catch your own beachworms, castnet some poddy mullet, or jig for slimeys and yakkas, you will catch ten times more fish than if you buy that frozen pack of prawns or squid.

Always have a good quality Gortex jacket, a pair of sunglasses, hat, bottle of drinking water, frozen bottles of water for the esky instead of a bag of ice, and a couple of Snickers bars.

My main motivation to go out fishing is to escape the monotony of mainland life, and enjoy the great outdoors in the amazing aquatic playground the Gold Coast offers. It does not even matter if the fish are not leaping into your boat on the day. A bad day fishing is far better than the best day at work!

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