GOLD COAST OFFSHORE GROUNDS
This summer has seen some outstanding fishing off the Gold Coast. Large numbers of black marlin and mahimahi have dominated catches, and the marlin run has seen most of the local tackle shops doing a brisk trade in selling skirted lures and trolling outfits. The marlin have ranged from small fish around 15kg, up to solid 100kg-plus models on the wider grounds. There have been plenty of big bait schools on most of the offshore spots, and the predominant baitfish has been pilchards.
This month should see the inshore run of marlin continue, and the action out on the 70-80m line improve further. As a general rule, most of the marlin action each summer sees the inshore run of smaller fish move down the 25-50m corridor, with the bigger 40-120kg fish working the bait schools on the 80m line in spots like Deep Trag, Spot X and The Traps. These fish are ideal targets on 15-24kg tackle and most are caught by live baiting. They can take hours on 8kg tackle.
In February the blue marlin bite is generally a good one, with plenty of big fish in the 150kg range showing up in depths from 100-500m. At this time of year, trolling can produce all 3 marlin species, with blues, blacks and stripes being common. Realistically, 37kg tackle is the best gear to troll out wide, as some of the blues are over 200kg and take a lot of slowing down.