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Summer Road Trip: Amity to Tweed

Summer Road Trip: Amity to Tweed

This summer, planning a perfect road trip is in everyone’s must-do list. For fishers, the perfect road trip always entails the goal of catching fish at every stop. Paul Burt guides us with his summer road trip itinerary, from north to south of the Seaway, for a great Gold Coast fishing voyage. So pack the car, load up your boat, and head away!



AMITY POINT – North Stradbroke Island


This once small fishing village is now a thriving tourist destination for people wanting to get away for the day or the weekend. Situated on the northwestern tip of North Stradbroke Island and only an hour to the ferry terminal, the community can be reached by car and boat. A simple but enjoyable one-hour ferry trip across (the sometimes notorious) Moreton Bay from Cleveland to Dunwich, the main town on the island, is all it takes to get to this fisherman’s paradise. From Dunwich, a 30-minute drive will put you in the heart of the Amity Point.


The rock wall that lies along the front of the town were put there back in the mid 1900’s to prevent any erosion caused by strong tidal currents and the prevailing westerly winds the coastline gets in the cooler months. This rock wall houses a variety of marine life, from squid to the general bread-and-butter fish such as bream, whiting and flathead, through to the tasty grassy sweetlip and furious tackle-busting kingfish. The wall is easily accessible for bank anglers, but caution should be taken when stepping on the rocks as they do have a tendency to move a little.




This area is situated along the southern end of North Stradbroke Island in the pristine waterway of Canaipa Passage. It is home to a variety of fish life and is only accessible by boat. Sand dunes stretch up to 40 meters into the hillside and provide non-stop entertainment for the kids armed with a piece of cardboard. This area can be the home base for anglers wanting to fish the Pin region. Most spots are found all within a few kilometres of this area.


In the months leading up to winter, bream school up in there thousands along the many mangrove-lined banks that surround these waterways. Kalinga Bank, Tiger Mullet Channel, the southern tip of Short Island, and Whalley’s Gutter are just a few spots that anglers regularly target. Fishing with light tackle on the last of the tides generally produces a catch for the dinner table. Using local baits like yabbies and flesh baits such as strips of mullet fillet always work well.


Although Slipping Sands is sheltered from the blistering winds, most other open fishing spots in the Pin region are exposed to southeasterlies.


Tailor, whiting, mulloway, flathead, trevally, sharks and mangrove jacks are just a few other species regularly targeted in this region.


SOUTHPORT SEAWAY – Southport Broadwater


The Seaway is the main entrance for anglers and commercial vessels operating out of the Gold Coast. The Seaway consists of two break walls stretching more than a kilometre in length from the Southport Broadwater east to the Pacific Ocean. These rock walls are home to a huge variety of marine life, and regularly attract hundreds of anglers on a daily basis.


Anglers and boaties alike take shelter on nearby Wave Break Island for the night where a safe mooring can be found. Further north, the South Currigee Campground is available for long-term or overnight stays. (South Stradbroke Camping, story on P__.) Fishing around this neck of the woods is great for all aspects of fishing. One can walk for five minutes across the lower section of South Stradbroke Island from Currigee to the surf where the beaches are pretty well untouched with animal life roaming freely along the white dunes. Fishing the gutters produces a vast variety of fish from large green back tailor, sand whiting, large mulloway, sea bream, dart and flathead.


One can also walk a few kilometres south to the northern break wall of the Southport Seaway. This area often rises to the occasion with quality fish caught. Land-based anglers regularly target large trevally, mulloway, tailor, sea bream, mangrove jacks and tuna, just to name a few. Spinning with metal lures such as Raiders on the run-in tide has produced some of the most memorable catches with large tuna and trevally climbing over each other in the hope of eating your lure. During the summer months, when the bait fish school up along the coastline, this area is one that should be considered as a handy spot, just five minutes from most boat ramps or a quick walk from the water taxi drop off point.





Venturing out to the ocean through one of the five major entrances along the coastline will see you on a reef within no time at all. The first key to successful offshore angling is with live baits. Plenty of local shallow reefs are easily found simply by noticing all the charter boats backing up on the grounds just after you have exited the seaway.


Spots to consider are the local bait reefs and wrecks such as the Aquarius wreck north east of the Seaway, the 12fathom bait ground off the sand pumping jetty, the Scottish Prince wreck, and the Mermaid, Palm Beach and Kirra reefs just to name a few. Bait jigs are a necessity to catch these fish, which generally comprise of yakkas or yellowtail, and slimy mackerel. Keep them alive in a plumbed bait tank.


The offshore grounds are not hard to find, especially if you have a GPS unit. Most of the local tackle shops are more than happy to help you out with a few spots to get you under way. Reefs off the coast run in a north to south direction, and stretch all the way from Point Lookout off North Stradbroke Island south to the border. The waters off Surfers Paradise house a variety of reefs in depths of 12, 18, 24, 27, 36, 42 and 50 fathoms, known as the continental shelf. Other reefs and bombies can be found in different depths, but they are not as massive. A variety of dead baits should also be taken out such as W.A. pilchards, squid, mullet fillets and fresh octopus. Renting fishing charter vessels is one way of fulfilling the dream of heading offshore.





Fishing throughout the creeks and rivers of Tallebudgera, Currumbin and the mighty Tweed offers a vast diversity of fishing for anglers. Fishing the back lakes of these regions produces its fair share of action, especially on light tackle. These myriads of lakes offer a great range of fish life from trevally though to giant herring. These fish are top fighters and put on a show that comes close to that of their distant relatives in the tropics.


The sand flats around the entrances also house plenty of whiting, which are regularly caught during the warmer months and the start of autumn. Whiting are a schooling fish that inhabits the estuaries, and as the cooler months approach, they head out to the beach gutters where they can be caught in good numbers. Utilising our local baits that are found in the area in which you are fishing is the best way of getting a few bites. In this case, beach worms or pippies would be the best to use.


Further south in the Tweed, certain parts along Fingal Wall allow anglers to fish right beside their car, therefore allowing them to set up a picnic and shaded area to sit under. Boats are not a necessity when fishing this river, though it is recommended to hire one just to take in what the mighty Tweed has to offer. Once you get a few kilometres upstream, untouched waterways stretch and wind their way past old townships such as Tumbulgum, a place where time has stopped. This area is so beautiful and full of fish that one can only think back to what the fishing was like in the early 1900’s. Mangrove jacks, school jew, elbow slapping whiting, bream and the tasty flathead are all caught in the holes and channels that lie along this stretch of the river.


The volcanic grounds east of Cook Island and out to the Nine Mile house plenty of action for those anglers after some top action on wahoo (one of the world’s fastest fish), yellowfin tuna and other tuna species, sharks, snapper, mackerel, marlin, amberjacks, kingfish, and many other different species. Live baiting makes a huge difference when fishing the ledges along these reefs. Trolling skirted lures around with a wire trace attached to them, such as Hex Heads, also pay off especially when you are hooked up to a 25-kilo wahoo.


The best time to fish the reefs off Tweed is from January through to May. Different fish regulations and fishing licences apply once you head over the border into New South Wales. These should be adhered to and checked prior to heading out.






Short-term trip: For a quick and easy two-day getaway, the cost of getting there is minimal, camping is cheap and food can be taken with you.


Long-term trip: For extended stays, renting a cabin or house should be considered. This will be your biggest cost, but being comfortable on a long-term getaway is essential. Food can be taken with you or daily meals can be bought from the local pub keeping the cost down. Keep a few pennies aside for anything else you require to suit your own personal needs as this will cost a bit more than it would on a standard two-day getaway.


To start with, two to three days in one of the above locations are enough to let your hair down and escape the bustle of everyday life. Let us just say it is enough to kick start the engine again on a small budget that will not break your bank. Choose two or more (or all) locations if you have more time (and bigger budget!) for more exciting escapades!


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