17 August 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s tip:

Do not take bananas on a boat! Seriously they are bad luck haha.

Another tip is look for dredgers in estuaries. Especially this time of the year when the river water is super clear, any discoloured water created by dredgers working is going to attract fish. Firstly the food dug up is a feeding opportunity for them, and secondly the dirty water creates an instant ambush zone for fish such as flathead.

Just imagine a bait fish being swept along with the tide. One minute you are cruising along with enough visibility to take evasive action and escape getting eaten, the next minute you are entering dirty water with low visibility, getting inhaled by a hungry flathead buried in the mud.

In this dirty water it pays to use lure colours that will stand out against the contrast of the the sky and water colour, if something isn’t working change lures until you get a strike.

Fishing report:

This week our fishing charters have been based at Nerang river and the Gold Coast broadwater between Sundale bridge and Sovereign island.

Again flathead are the dominant species, and they are holding far upstream in the rivers due to the lack of rain and subsequent clear water.

Generally when the water is very clear bait fish will head upstream to find more discoloured water to hide in to escape predators. False security as the predators know this trick and will follow them, using the lower visibility to ambush their prey at close range.

We in turn can take advantage of this situation and hunt flathead and other predatory fish in these areas, doing our best to use lures that closely mimic what the fish are feeding on.

The average catch in the past week has been 10-15 pan size flathead a day as well as as bream, tarwine, winter whiting, flounder, small snapper, squid. Metal blades and trolled Pontoon 21 crackjacks and Lively Lures micro mullets smeared with gold prawn flavour Sax scent, have been the weapons of choice.

This coming week we have the lead up to full moon which often provides good estuary fishing. This weekend if the wind is not too bad try drifting with lures and lightly weighted yabbies around the edges of the weed beds at Crab island, and along the sand bank drop offs between Runaway bay and Wavebreak island for a mix of estuary and reef species.

Message us to chat about your personalised charter, we have great gift vouchers available for Fathers day. If you’ve never fished with lures before we will take you on a “lure challenge” where we only take lure rods on the boat and no bait. We have easy techniques guaranteed to catch fish!

10 August 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s tips will help you troll for flathead, bream and whiting.

For some it may be a reminder to get back to basics to keep the rods bending.

A) Always troll with the tide when possible.

B) Ensure your lures are running clean of weed or other contaminates.

C) Have your lures running about 15 to 20 metres behind the boat.

D) Keep your boat speed as slow as you can and always watch your rod tip to see if the lure is continuously tapping into the bottom.

E) Make sure your lures are tuned to swim straight and deep.

Tweed report: The clear water and lack of recent heavy rain has made fishing tough on the run in tides.

It definitely pays to fish upstream of Chinderah and into Terranora and Cobaki lakes. The run out tides provide the better fishing.

It’s starting to sound repetitive but flathead are still the dominant species. Then again, who doesn’t like these awesome estuary predators.

Gold Coast broadwater/ rivers:

Some nice variety this week with tailor, squid, flathead, winter whiting, flounder all hitting the lures hard.

We are enjoying using Ecogear ZX40 blades with Sax Scent smeared on them. A deadly combination that is irresistable to most estuary fish.

The productive area this week was Runaway Bay and the edge of the channel adjacent to Seaworld.

The bigger tides this weekend will provide some good action in upstream areas such as Coomera river.

Hope to fish with you soon, as always feel free to message us to discuss your personalised charter.

Cheers Smithy & Clinto

3 August 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s fishing tip:

Like a lot of things in life, fishing is about persistence. When things aren’t going your way, it’s easier to give up and go home.

Everyone has bad days and sometimes the fishing is slow no matter what you do. But if you stay calm and focus on cracking the code every time you head out fishing, you’ll make your own luck.

Sometimes a change of tactic is required, other times a change of location. Just because a tactic worked the previous day, does not mean it will work again the next.

We’ve had sessions at Tweed river where it felt like you could do no wrong, drifting along a 2km stretch of water produced seemingly countless big whiting and flathead caught and released.

The next day the thinking was to repeat the process, only to discover not a single bite in the vicinity.

A good tip is think of the whole river as a hotspot, fish can be feeding almost anywhere. Changing location doesn’t necessarily mean racing at full speed 5kms away either.

Stay composed, take your time, and search for bait schools on the fish finder. The predatory fish might only be hundreds of metres away from where you are not getting any action.

It pays to have an array of tactics at your disposal too depending on the season. Some estuary tactics we employ on our charters include drifting shallow flats with vibes and soft plastics, teabagging in deeper areas with lures, trolling sandflats with hardbodies, surface fishing casting with poppers and walk the dog lures to name a few.

Keep learning new techniques and work hard at it, and buy decent gear, cheap junk is false economy.

Fishing report:

Tweed river:

The pan size flathead catches once again have continued this week for Brad with the peak of the action concentrated lead up to full moon and a few days after. The bigger winter bream and spawning tailor have also made an appearance and are very sporty fish on light tackle and lures.

Cold mornings turning into beautiful sunny days have been typical. The fish can and do move a lot every day in their search for food, we as fishermen need to do the same to find the fish schools.

Neap tides this weekend will mean you can take advantage of smaller tidal run to target deeper holes and near river mouths.


The winter whiting, bream, tailor, and squid are still prominent, along with a lot of small to medium size flathead. It pays to keep fishing areas nearby where smaller flathead are being caught, you will eventually nail a bigger female.

Again with the neap tides this weekend you want to be targeting closer to estuary mouths to enjoy the “more run, more fun” situation.

27 July 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s fishing tip:

We often notice boats racing up and down the rivers constantly searching for fish. Number one you’ll burn excessive fuel and two you’re probably driving over fish to find fish.

Slow down, look closely at your surroundings and be observant. Look for signs of life such as birds diving, bait schools getting chased, changes in the water flow.

If you’re fishing a new area, pick a 1km section and just stay and focus on that area the whole day and get to know it. You should know all the features of the river floor before moving on somewhere else. After a while you will look out at the river as if there is no water there and “see” all the contours and depth changes.

Do that for every 1km section of your local waterway and before too long you will have your own hotspots to fall back on every time you go fishing.

A good start is to book an exclusive charter with us to show you various lure techniques guaranteed to catch fish every time you go. We fish the calm waters of the Tweed river, and Gold Coast broadwater.

Fishing report:

Clint has one more week off with his twin babies before he’s back on the water fishing. From all reports there is plenty of flathead around as is normal for this time of year. Expect the squid to be prominent too, and snapper, bream, tarwine, winter whiting, tuskfish will make up the bulk of the catch this coming week.

Tweed river:

Brad reports great numbers of flathead still in the mid to upper reaches of the Tweed river. Not a lot of size about them this week but the numbers providing great entertainment on light tackle for his clients using Strike pro cyber vibe blades and Atomic semi hardz vibes. Fish in the 40-50cm size range are ideal for the pan, with his clients usually taking home a delicious, fresh feed!

This screenshot below from Brad’s new Humminbird fish finder is interesting, showing clearly on side scan this structure near Condong sugar mill which has provided plenty of action and heartbreak in summer chasing Mangrove Jack.


Here’s what Brad had to say about his new Humminbird fish finder, we run Humminbirds on both boats and can’t speak highly enough of them:

“A huge thank you to Humminbird Australia and Stones Corner Marine for supplying me with a new Helix 9 Mega Chirp SI GPS GN2 Sounder.

I have been using Humminbird sounders on my charter boats for 25 years and I can not say enough about how tough, reliable and efficient they and just as important how much I rely on them to be able to guarantee that my clients catch fish.

If you would like to purchase a new sounder or upgrade the old one drop in and see or contact James Cullen and the team at Stones Corner Marine and mention my name for some great prices and great service.”

Cheers Smithy & Clinto

20 July 2018 tips and report

Tweed river: The flathead are still readily attacking lures at present even though the water temperature has dropped a couple of degrees with the cold weather.

The tip this week is to fish the shallow banks as the flatties move up on top of the banks with the run in tides to take advantage of the sun warmed water.


13 July 2018 fishing tips and report

Fishing tip:

The tailor are showing up around the entrance to the rivers. Try trolling around the schools with a combination of shallow and deep diving minnows to find the depth they are feeding.

No need to use expensive lures as the odd bite off can occur from their razor sharp teeth.

Fishing report:

At the Tweed a bit of rain, and a temperature and pressure drop, along with neap tides slowed things down temporarily but the flathead fishing has been fantastic otherwise, and nice size Mulloway are still falling for soft vibes worked in the deeper holes at Tumbulgum and Murwillumbah.

Gold Coast broadwater/ Nerang river continues to produce pan size flathead, bream, flounder, winter whiting, squid. The water has been clear so often a run out tide works best.

6 July 2018 fishing tip and estuary report

Fishing tip:

Neap tides can mean slow fishing in areas where flow usually enables fish to feed aggressively, by being able to sit in the current and get food brought to them on a plate.

Other times there can be a small difference between high and low tide. In this situation a change of tactic is required. One such tactic is fishing on top of shallow areas that stay covered for longer thus enabling fish such as flathead to feed for longer. This water can be super shallow and produce big fish. A shallow bank with mangroves nearby can cause flathead, bream, and whiting to go on a feeding frenzy by actively rounding up bait fish or prawns and cornering them. You will notice this action with boils and splashes on the surface.

A number of methods work well in targeting them including long trolling runs with shallow diving lures such as Pontoon 21 crackjacks, surface luring with Suga pens for example, and casting lightly weighted soft plastics or vibes ahead of you into the shallows then hopping the lure back into deeper water and enticing the fish to chase. This time of year with the clear water around, natural and transparent lure colours work best. Early in the morning slow your retrieve right down, in winter flathead are cold and sleepy until the sun warms the shallows.

This week’s fishing report:

Tweed river:
Tailor are starting to creep into the lower reaches of the river, and the flathead are still in fantastic numbers in the mid to upper reaches. Trolling a mixture of deep and shallow lures are working well as is fishing soft vibes in the deep holes. It’s been a bumper season for the lizards so far, long may it continue.

With the neap tides this week it pays to not fish too far upstream, as there won’t be much run. As the old saying goes “no run, no fun”. This is especially true in our Tweed and Gold Coast estuaries. The slower tides do however provide longer periods of time to fish the deeper holes for Mulloway. Persistence and patience is the key to success.

Gold Coast:
Upstream in the rivers has been producing some healthy, fat flathead in the 50-65cm range, with whitebait and yabbies effective, as well as Ecogear ZX40 and Hurricane Sting 37 blades.
Bream, and a few sand whiting are also keeping our guests entertained.

Again with the neap tides this weekend it may pay to fish closer to the ocean mouths if the wind allows.

Young Liam caught his first ever first fish with us this week, opening his fishing career with a 51cm and a 52cm flathead. Well done Liam and good on you!

Harry and John enjoyed a good session on flathead, taking a great feed home with fish up to 63cm caught on white pilchards and blades, and many others released.

29 June 2018 fishing tips & report

Smithy’s tip:
During the winter months the water temperatures in our rivers naturally starts to drop. This can be a good time to locate and fish up on top of very shallow sandbanks around the top of the tide. Flathead of all sizes will often move out of the deeper water onto these shallow flats to feed as the shallow water warms up quicker by the sun. It is very common for trophy size flathead to be caught in water that is only around 30 cm deep as we say in the industry a flathead is happy to lay and wait if there is enough water to cover their backs. 

Clinto’s tip:
Assist hooks. Stinger or assist hooks are very useful in estuary fishing situations. Firstly on surface lures such as Sugapens, they can really ping whiting or bream that bite short or miss hit the lure. They have a better hook up rate and lose less fish. On lures such as metal blades, again they have a better hook up rate, they don’t inhibit the lure action, plus they are more snag resistant than trebles, and if a fish is hooked on one of them, the other hook will tend to swing around and pin them as well, resulting in less lost fish at the net. Make sure you buy decent quality, strong assists to avoid them snapping on bigger catches. A pair of assist hooks can easily be replaced by changing the whole split ring/hook set with fine split ring plyers. You can even try them on trolled hardbody lures, for the benefits mentioned above. See Ecogear ZX40 and Hurricane Sting 37 blades for an examples of good, strong hooks capable of holding onto big flathead or decent size Jew.

This week’s fishing report:

Smithy reports good catches of solid flathead this week on Zerek fishtraps and Atomic semi hardz vibes, far upstream at the Tweed river. Any discoloured water is holding nests of feeding fish, the deeper holes that hold bait are attracting some Mulloway.

Ollie was visiting from Melbourne and fished with Smithy, she reported they were catching that many 40-50cm flathead they were trying to move away from them to catch other species.

She succeeded, catching her first Australian Bass, a nice fish of 42cm released, another fish ticked off her bucket list!

At the Gold Coast end flathead and bream also continue to dominate the daily catch in the upstream sections of the rivers. In the broadwater there has been some good size arrow squid, easily caught on blade lures, as well as flounder, flathead, winter whiting, tuskfish.


Tailor and bigger bream will increase in number and size over the next month, particularly in the leads ups to full moons.


22 June 2018 fishing tips and report

22 June 2018 fishing report

This week’s fishing tip:

Over the next few months keep an eye out for any bird or surface activity in our local waterways.  The birds are what we call our eyes in the sky  and they are the first to find the schools of whitebait  that can be prolific in the rivers at this time of the year. Pursuing the the whitebait could be tailor and small queenfish so have some small metal spinners and some hard bodied minnows ready to cast or troll around for some great light tackle fun.

Fishing Report:

At Tweed River Smithy has been still successfully chasing big flathead and bream on lures upstream at the Chinderah and Tumbulgum reaches, using Micro Mullets, Pontoon 21s, Atomic semi hardz vibes, and Zerek fishtraps.

Gold Coast broadwater has faced some persistant wind this week which has forced us to fish upstream at the Nerang river. With the sudden cool change the bait and fish have been holding in the deeper water where the temperature is more stable. Later in the day the shallow flats have been warming up enough for the flathead to wake up and chase a feed. Bream are increasing in number and size, we often leave them biting to chase more desirable fish, but they are fun for the kids.

Flathead in the 50-65cm range have been relatively common, and put up a fight on 6lb braid. We have been successful with Hurricane blades fished deep, which have also accounted for some big, fat whiting in the deeper holes.

This week we hope to get back out in the broadwater to target more flathead, mulloway, tailor, squid, snapper, flounder, tuskfish and other surprises that often turn up there on lures.


15 June 2018 fishing report

This week’s fishing tip:

Finesse fishing. There is more pressure on fish these days, therefore it pays to go stealthy when chasing estuary species.

Starting with line, you can still catch big fish on light braid. Use a good quality braid that has a thin diameter for it’s breaking strain, tied to a metre of fluorocarbon leader.

Whether you’re using bait or lures it will make a difference to your catch rate, especially trolling and casting soft plastics and vibes. 6lb braid and 10lb leader is enough to handle most fish in the rivers.

Other things that will tip the odds in your favour are using good quality, proven lures, and as light a weight as possible to reach the bottom.

Also it is amazing what size and numbers of fish you can catch on tiny 4cm long lures. Elephants eat peanuts!


Gold Coast estuary fishing report:

Dusky flathead of 50-80cm are enjoying the cooler water and feeding quite aggressively at the Tweed and Gold Coast upstream areas.

At this time of year there is bait fish present, which attracts these fish that are fattening up for their spawning activity in the months ahead.

Also the water upstream is not as clear as at the mouth, giving ambush predators like flathead better opportunity to strike at close range without being spotted.

Both trolling and drifting with vibes are working well, but it does pay to choose the correct plan of attack on the day based on the conditions.

At the Gold Coast broadwater there seems to be an ever increasing number of solid Purple Tuskfish. They are easily caught on bait and lures and put up quite a fight on light tackle.Terry and Scott caught some healthy flatties in the high 50s on Hurricane vibes with us at Nerang river.


The big sea Bream will begin to enter the systems, and winter whiting, flounder, squid, snapper, flathead, and a range of other reef and estuary species will be around.

Fishing a run out tide is preferred to avoid the super clear ocean water pushing in through with the run in tide, or if you’re fishing on a run in tide move further from the mouth as the day goes on.

Smithy the master guide is putting clients on to lovely fish at the Tweed river. The bio masses of big bream and tailor that we predicted are running late but won’t be far away.

The good news is the river is still firing with good numbers of flathead smashing lures including the two fish pictured below of 70cm, and an 81cm model posing here with Smithy and client Geoff. The best lures this week being Zerek fish traps and Atomic semi hardz.



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