7 February 2019 fishing report and tips



Hello again everyone, a big mix of weather this week with dry and sunny conditions turning to some wind and rain. Luckily we always have plenty of sheltered options on our calm water charters.


Well isn’t it great to see a couple of drops of rain and a few more showers forecast for the rest of the week.

The early morning showers have cooled the water temperature down a fraction which has helped entice the flatties to feed a bit more freely in the deeper holes and on surface lures across the shallow flats, where bream and whiting are also patrolling.

The bigger tides this week has induced the baitfish to spawn which are being smashed by the local trevally especially around the tide changes.

The early morning tide changes this week also suit the Mangrove Jacks that are present in the heavily structured areas of the middle reaches.



As Smithy mentioned we are getting some welcome showers of rain this week, let’s hope it continues as we spare a thought for up North where some people have sadly lost everything in the floods. Let’s hope the rain eases there as soon as possible.

The Gold Coast broadwater continues to produce a variety on my favourite lures the Ecogear ZX40 blades which work so well in tandem with a smearing of Sax scent goldprawn or crab on them. Other go to lures are Zerek fishtraps, and Gulp shrimps rigged on 1/6oz jigheads.

With the neap tides we decided to fish the seaway a couple of times with live baits. We spent the morning gathering live whiting, pike, tailor, and squid all caught on Ecogear lures, while at the same time having a lot of light tackle fun with flathead, flounder, squire, tarwine, and trevally landed as well.

On one trip we got smoked by big kingfish three times on 50 lb braid/ 80 lb leader. Just when you think you have them under control they find extra gears! On another we caught some nice flathead on livies in the seaway.


Fishing near boat ramps and yabby banks.

Every weekend you’ll see anglers launching their boats then motoring at full speed 5kms away to start fishing.

We have often found great fishing to be had right near the ramps. In fact we have had full 6 hour sessions when we haven’t travelled further than 200m either side of a boat ramp and caught fish almost non stop the whole time, big flathead amongst them.

Try going slow when you first launch, look at the fish finder for bait schools and depth changes, and start fishing straight away. Boat ramps are a hive of activity which can and does stir the water up and attract the whole food chain.

The same goes for yabby banks, you’ll see people pumping yabbies then flying off miles away to start fishing, when the best fishing can be right there near the food source. Just the act of pumping yabbies begins a berley trail of dirty water which calls whiting and flathead in.

I’m going away to Northern NSW for a few days break next week after the hectic and busy past few months, so will be giving the weekly report and tips a break next week. I’ll be surface fishing for whiting while down there, hopefully get a feed. I will still try post some of Brad’s captures from Tweed River.

Cheers and chat soon,

31 January 2019 fishing report and tips




The waterways have been incredibly busy over the end of the school holidays and Australia day long weekend.

Brad has been staying upstream chasing whiting and trevally on surface lures with MMD splashprawns and Bassday Sugapens still his favourites.

He is also getting the odd mangrove jack near Chinderah. February and March are his favourite months for jacks as the bigger models begin to migrate downstream ahead of their permanent exodus at the end of summer to the open ocean. He has some dates available to target whiting and jacks in one day, book your trip soon by messaging us or sms.

When we eventually get desperately needed rain the jacks will school up in the mid to downstream areas, further improving the daily strike rate of well placed lures.


Clint has taken a few days off over the long weekend, before that he was still putting guests onto a large variety of fish in the broadwater, including tailor, barracuda, queenfish, moses perch, squid, flathead, whiting, squire, flounder, and tuskfish, with Ecogear ZX blades coated in Sax scent, and Zerek fishtraps being the lures of choice.

We are looking forward to quieter waterways now the holidays are over, the excess noise does deter the bigger fish.

This week with the smaller tides is a good opportunity to try the deeper water near the seaway, and Sundale up to Bundall bridge for mangrove jacks at night.

Let’s hope we get a big amount of rain of 100mm plus before summer is over, this will ensure some great estuary fishing over the cooler months.


Some lures we use that catch a lot of fish.

Thought we’d give some specifics on ones we use daily on our estuary charters at the Gold Coast and Tweed that have consistent strike rates. Especially for those anglers that go out there thinking there’s no fish left and come home with a donut.

First Ecogear ZX blades. These things are ridiculous fish catchers. Clint has just about everything that swims in rivers on them. Rig them on 4 or 6lb braid with a metre of 10lb fluorocarbon leader, drop to the bottom while drifting, and do continuous short, sharp flicks. The shorter the better. Rub some Sax scent on the 440 colour blade and they are weapons.

Secondly Zerek fishtrap in the 65mm size and Fat Betty colour. This soft vibe is as its name suggests, a fishtrap haha. It nails them.

Rig it on 6lb braid with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader and drop to the bottom in sandy areas, retrieve with slow 50cm lift and drops while drifting or casting and sooner enough you’ll be on.

Thirdly, slow troll Savage gear xdr shrimps in brown gold colour in depths from 1-3 metres, or pink Micro mullets in depths of 2-4m and you will catch fish. 6lb braid with 6lb fluoro leader does the job.

Lastly for jacks, big cod, and GT’s troll Atomic Shiner 85mm double deeps in Ghost Gill Brown colour in rocky areas 4-6 metres deep on 30lb braid and 50lb leader.

For a full on water demonstration on all of the above in one day, book a private charter with us and we’ll show you exactly how.

Cheers and good fishing
Smithy & Clinto

24 January 2019 fishing report and tips



Brad has been finding some hard fighting trevally for his guests. They have been turning up around the shallow weed beds around Chinderah at high tide. There are some decent ones and a real thrill on surface lures and light tackle.

Lures such as MMD splashprawns coated with Sax scent goldprawn imitates local bait very well.

Flathead are not around in numbers with the high water temperature and dry weather. Hopefully rain arrives at some stage, althought the ongoing glorious weather makes for pleasant days on the water.

Once again the best options at the moment are targeting whiting on surface lures on top of sand banks at high tide, trolling for jacks along deeper rock walls, livebaiting for them at night around structure, and teabagging the deeper holes with vibes for flathead and bream.


Clint has been getting some great results for his charter guests at the Gold Coast broadwater, catching and releasing over 100 fish some days, and up to 15 different species a day, and 22 different species this week.

The Nerang river estuary system is a light tackle, lure fishing mecca, with an abundance of various habitat. There were islands, weedbeds, huge yabby banks, shallow reef, deeper reef, rock walls, sandy channel edges, and man made structure including pontoons, and bridges.

Some nice flathead have been appearing in the dirty water in canals where dredgers have been operating. In the broadwater the big tides have stirred up some discoloured water. Find a patch of this water and bait on the sounder, drop some Ecogear ZX40 blades and Zerek fishtraps coated in Sax scent, and it won’t be long before you get a bite.

Brad has also done a few charters at the Gold Coast lately, see our facebook page for the latest photos and reports.

Species caught on our charters this week have included dusky flathead, bartail flathead, sand whiting, winter whiting, tarwine, bream, flounder, snapper, spangled emperor, grassy emperor, tuskfish, barracuda, pike, queenfish, squid, cobia, mangrove jack, tealeaf trevally, whiptail, trumpeter, leatherjacket, lizardfish.

Most productive areas this week were the mouth to Bums Bay, Lands End area, Runaway Bay, the hole across from Seaworld, and the hole next to Seaworld.


Fishing big tides. We are currently experiencing king tides up there with the biggest of the year. They can be tricky to fish with a lot of water spread around at high tide, but let’s explore a few options.

The main channels and river mouth run hard and clear when the tide flow is at it’s peak, they are best fished an hour either side of the tide changes.

When the flow is fast try moving to the edge of the channels away from the main stream. It is here fish will be gathering to comfortably get a feed.

Another option is heading far up rivers to areas that don’t normally get much rain, this is where some baitfish and jelly prawns will be found, and in turn predators following them. The run out fishes better with less water around, compacting fish schools more.

Lastly try pumping yabbies just after low tide, and flick them and live worms unweighted as the run in tide water quickly covers the yabby banks. Whiting, flathead, and bream will be right in the shallows waiting to access the banks to forage.

Surface lures such as MMD splashprawns, and Bassday Sugapens will work well too in the clear, shallow water. The big sandbanks between Southport and Grand Hotel are all great spots that attract plenty of fish.

This coming Australia day long weekend will be one of the busiest of the year, so get out there as early as you can, or fish in the evening. This is when the bigger whiting will be active and in bigger numbers.

Cheers everyone and we’ll chat next week,
Smithy & Clinto

18 January 2019 fishing report and tips

This week’s Gold Coast and Tweed estuary Big Hit fishing report 


Brad has been putting his guests onto some solid whiting, bream, trevally, queenfish, and flathead using surface lures, with the MMD splash prawns continuing to produce great results. These little lures have an amazing action and realistic look, and have been catching their fair share of mangrove jacks.

The Bassday Sugapens are the other gun surface lure essential for a successful session in shallow water.

The Tweed continues to produce the odd big flathead too in the deeper holes where it’s a bit cooleri this hot weather.

February is Brad’s favourite month for big mangrove jacks, get in touch to book your charter to lock horns with these estuary thugs, there is nothing like them for an adrenalin rush.

Gold Coast:

Early starts have been a must with the holiday water traffic, there are some good fish around though and lots of variety.

Clint has been getting between 20 and 70 fish a day on Ecogear ZX 40 lures covered in Sax Scent in Goldprawn and Crab flavours. Zerek fishtraps are also a lethal weapon in the broadwater.

Species caught this week included snapper, bream, tarwhine, trumpeter, dusky flathead, bartail flathead, sand whiting, winter whiting, goldline whiting, spangled emperor, grassy emperor, estuary cod, tealeaf trevally, barracuda, pike, whiptail, tuskfish, and still lots of squid.

Best fishing areas in the broadwater have been Lands end, Carters bank, the seaway area South East of Wavebreak island north wall, and the northern end of Crab island. In the Nerang river there are some big fish in the council chambers to Cascade gardens area. Stick to any discoloured or dirtier water like glue, it will hold fish.

We are building up to some massive king tides the next few days, which can make fishing difficult due to strong tidal flow and clear water near river mouths. Try up the canals and lakes, and on top of sandbanks not normally covered by water. For mangrove jacks try the bridges further upstream at night around the tide changes.


How to use Ecogear ZX40 lures, by Clint.

I have been using these versatile and extremely effective lures for a while now.

Brad not as much yet but I’m going to give him some of my favourite colours to start using at Tweed. He does already get great results there on Strike Pro cyber vibes, Zerek fishtraps and Atomic semi hardz.

To start off with you’ll need a 2-4kg rod and 1000 or 2500 size reel, or similar. The Shimano range does the job just fine, I really enjoy using a Shimano raider rod paired with a Shimano sienna 1000 reel, spooled with 6 lb braid, and 10 lb FC Rock fluorocarbon leader.

We can show you the exact method that slays big numbers of fish and squid on a charter with us, but basically you want to fish when the tide is running, find a sandy area between 2 and 8 metres deep, and look for evidence of bait fish on the fish finder.

Try to do long drifts of up to 2kms in a straight line, this is key to success as fish will follow for a while before deciding to strike. In the deeper holes try closer to the tide changes for slower drifts to ensure you reach the bottom.

Teabagging these lures involves dropping them straight to the bottom and keeping them there, keeping the line at a 45 degree angle, and doing short, sharp, continuous lift and drops. Keep it in their face and the bites will come!

Try it, it’s a shit load of fun, catching everything from little whiting up to big flathead and mulloway.

Get in touch to book your private charter soon, there will be some big fish around in February!

Cheers and chat next week 🙂

Smithy & Clinto

10 January 2019 fishing report and tips

This week’s Gold Coast and Tweed estuary fishing report:


The shallow parts of the Tweed River is still producing some flathead, bream and whiting on surface lures with bassday sugapens and mmd splash prawns being the choice of lures.

There are a few flathead in the deeper holes with soft plastics and vibes slowly worked across the bottom being the best technique.

Keep an eye out for any birds and surface activity around the tide changes as there has been a mixture of giant, big eye and tealeaf trevally on the prowl.

Gold Coast

Clint has been sticking to the broadwater for a wide range of species on Ecogear ZX40 blades coated in Sax scent, and pumping yabbies with kids on charters. The deeper water is best with the clear and calm weather.

This coming week should see quality improve with less traffic and noise on the water. 

The best options are chasing jacks late afternoon/ evening or early morning, and bigger numbers and sizes of sand whiting in the Nerang river at night.

3 January 2019 fishing report and tips



How to catch winter whiting

Winter or diver whiting are in abundance in the Gold Coast broadwater all year round. They are easily caught on small blades and fresh bait such as yabbies, worms or thinly sliced fresh squid.

They have no size limit and bag limit of 50 per person, and are delicious on the plate, and a great live bait for mangrove jacks. They are heaps of fun to catch, putting up quite a fight for their size.

Winter whiting feed voraciously any time of day when the tide is running. Some of the best areas to catch them are either side of Carters bank, all around Crab island, Ephraim island, and through the entire area between Seaworld and Sundale bridge in depths ranging from 0.5m to 7 metres.

Like their bigger cousins the sand whiting they move constantly to graze, so keep moving until you find the big schools. Best way to fish is to drift, this makes them chase and bite your lure or bait more aggressively.

There are literally thousands of them in the broadwater. On our jack charters we’ll go out and catch 30 of them in the morning then go fish for red devils. They often school along side snapper and sand whiting. Get out there and catch some!


Crazy busy on the water over the past week with the holiday traffic, it pays to get out there early or late afternoon.

The water has been rapidly warming, it has been getting up over 30 degrees up the rivers, and a more stable 24 degrees in the broadwater depending on the tide.

We have been catching nice tuskfish, sand whiting, winter whiting, spangled emperor, grassy emperor, flounder, bream, tarwine, and over 30 squid in the past week.

Best lures have been Ecogear ZX40’s, Zerek fishtraps, and best baits yabbies and fresh squid.

The tides are increasing in the coming days, with some good tides for fishing the broadwater as well as jacks up the rivers.


Brad has been getting some big flathead despite the hot conditions, with bigger lures tempting them. The surface lures such as MMD Splashprawns have been accounting for whiting, queenfish, trevally and flathead.

The best areas to fish will be upstream of Chinderah, and the deeper holes where the water is a bit cooler and darker.

Cheers and we wish you a successful and happy new year!
Smithy & Clinto

28 December 2018 fishing tips and report


By Brad Smith

This last few months have been tough with a long term drought, and constant low barometer readings due to the fact that we have been constantly dominated by east coast lows. 

The recent small amount of rain that we received was an obvious help to our lawns and gardens but unfortunately not enough to fully flush our local creeks and rivers. 

We have used this term before but it is well known that a drought on land is a drought at sea so in a nutshell our rivers bring life to the sea and in general with rain comes life. 

Being a fishing guide at present means that you have to take pride in your work and have full commitment to the guests that are coming out with myself and Clint. Not that we don’t always but we have to work much harder than usual. 

To work hard through the tougher times means that it will make you a better angler as my wise old Uncle Jack used to say if you can smile through the rough times in life your laughing when the good times come. 

The tip for fishing the Tweed and local Gold Coast rivers this week are to fish the shallow flats that have a combination of yabbies and sea grass beds with surface lures the likes of Bassday Sugapens and MMD Splash Prawns for whiting, bream and the odd flathead and work the deep holes in the far upper reaches of the rivers with blades, vibes and plastics. 

The reason for fishing the far upper reaches is that the salinity levels are high due to the above mentioned lack of rain and the water temperatures along the bottom of the deep holes is slightly cooler which suits the flathead and jewies.         

The waterways are busy this coming week so get out there early or after sunset. Best times to catch mangrove jack and big whiting will be the evenings. 

Bundall received 131mm of rain last week so the broadwater and Nerang river will fire up.

Happy new year everyone and we will talk next year if we don’t see you on the water before then!

21 December 2018 fishing tips and report



With the silly season upon us, let’s explore some fishing options for families and others wanting to avoid the worst of the noise on the water during the Christmas break.

Firstly the main arm of the Tweed river is a great area to find some peace away from the crowds. The boat ramps will be busy but get there early and the Chinderah and Tumbulgum ramps are close to beautiful scenery and good fishing. Buy some live worms at the Chinderah servo and you’re in with a chance of big whiting.

At the Gold Coast end the tip is to fish in the 6 knot zones, to avoid the worst of the wash and noise from those annoying and inconsiderate jetskis and bigger boats. One such area is between Sundale bridge at Southport, and Seaworld.

You can drift or anchor all the way along the western side, look for depths of 2-4 metres. Drop into Southport fishing to pick up live worms, and yabbies if you don’t want to pump them on the nearby banks. Fresh squid cut into thin strips works a treat too.

Use light sinkers and running traces with no.4 size Mustad baitholder hooks and you should score some nice whiting, flathead, and flounder, especially around sunrise and sunset.

Drifting and flicking Ecogear ZX40 blades lightly coated in Sax scent will see you hook a large range of fish in the same areas.



Brad has been catching nice whiting on surface lures with MMD splash prawns and Bassday Sugapens being the go to lures.

Some hard fighting Trevally have been turning up too.


The fishing was good for Clint in the broadwater until the neap tides and drop in air pressure which made it hard work.

Before that we had successful days fishing the deeper water to 8 metres with vibes and catching solid Tuskfish, flathead, summer whiting, winter whiting, flounder, squid, grassy emperor, squire, and others added to the mix.

Best areas were south of south currigee, east of wavebreak island, and along the edges of the main channel just North of the seaway.

With the tides building to the full moon this weekend, the southern end of the broadwater and the western edges between wavebreak island and paradise point should fire up, especially with a rise in air pressure.

At the Tweed the upstream areas from Chinderah to Murwillumbah and the Terranora lakes will be the go, but be prepared to do the miles to find showings of bait and fish on the sounder.The next six days will be a good time to target mangrove jacks near rock walls, bridges, pontoons, and mangroves.We now have available for sale a limited supply of our best Ecogear ZX40 lure/ Sax scent packs in our favourite colours and flavours. Message us for details, more can be ordered in as required.Now is a good time to book in your January charter, as we will book out quickly after Christmas.

Cheers and a very Merry and peaceful Christmas to everyone!
Smithy and Clinto

7 December 2018 fishing tips and report



To successfully target mangrove jacks requires strong, good quality tackle. You might get lucky once in a while on light gear, but most of the time a good old fashioned smoking is the end result.

Trolling for mangrove jacks is far from easy, it is effective however. You’ll need baitcast reels that can handle their brute power, such as Shimano Curados and Quantum Smokes.

Rods in the 6-10 kg and 6 ft length will do the job coupled with the above reels, and quality braid no less than 30 lb breaking strength will be needed to stop the bigger models.

For live baiting for jacks, spinning reels up to 8000 size and leader up to and above 80lb are sometimes needed to land those 60cm and above fish. A nearly locked drag and some urgent pumping and winding just might prevent a violent and quick bust up. Be ready, they hit when you least expect it.



Brad has been having some good days catching whiting and bream on surface lures. His two favourites are the MMD splash prawns and Bassday Sugapens.

He has also been finding some bass, flathead, and trevally in the deeper sections of the upper Tweed river for his clients.


Clint went searching the deeper water in the broadwater during the neap tides, finding some fresh ground around the 6-7m mark just South of Crab Island.

Regular guest Terry and his brother in law Jeff had a good day using Ecogear ZX40 blades, with 14 different species and more than 50 fish caught on the day. They kept a few for dinner and released heaps. The silver coloured ZX was a stand out.

Gregg and his family were visiting from Sydney and caught some nice Tuskfish, flathead, and whiting.

Other lures such as Zerek fishtraps and Berkley Gulp shrimps have also done the job for us this week.

The next few days features the lead up to new moon, a good time to be going for mangrove jacks. Just remember you need to be fishing close to structure to get a strike or two.

We will be very busy in January which ends up fully booked every year, so get in touch now to avoid missing out. We also have nice gift vouchers, there is still time to mail you one in time for Christmas Day.

Till next week legends!

Smithy & Clinto

30 November 2018 fishing tips and report

This week’s estuary fishing tips and report


Catching mangrove jack on lures as many know is the holy grail for estuary anglers.

There are a few ways of targeting them on lures, including casting soft plastics, surface lures and hard bodies as close to structure as possible. If you’re not losing lures you’re not getting close enough.

This can take time to master so one relatively simple way to first get a jack on board without too many donut sessions is by trolling for them.

In our local Gold Coast and Tweed waters there are some of the biggest jacks around, which makes them hard to stop! Nerang river, Tweed river, Coomera river, as well as the creeks and Sovereign island walls all play host to monsters over 60cm in length.

Trolling works well for a number of reasons. Firstly you’re covering lots of ground which improves your chances of encountering a jack. Secondly during daytime the jacks can be holding deep along rock walls, deep diving lures gets you in the strike zone.

Also by trolling the momentum of the boat moving gives you a headstart in turning their head on hooking up. It can pay to just leave the rod in the holder when they strike and driving the boat to the middle of the river to stop them snagging you.

If you hold the rod while trolling, be sure to hold on tight with both hands, a violent hit from a big jack can rip the rod out of your hands and into the water.

Persistence is important if you want success, sometimes trolling up and down through the same area finally gets a territorial strike from an angry jack.

Even if you’re just travelling between spots or passing through 6 knot zones, put a lure or two out and sooner or later you’ll get lucky.

Water depth of 4-6m produces well with this method, look for rocky structure on the fish finder, and water temperature of 26 degrees or above is ideal.

In the downstream areas of main rivers and during bigger moon phases focus your trolling around the tide changes. Trolling against the tide works well too, keeping the lure in their face longer and agitating them.

The bycatch is cool with this form of fishing, with big cod, flathead, gt’s, or even a mulloway a possibility.

We run jack charters all through summer, get in touch to book your adventure. It’s never guaranteed to catch them, but when it happens there is nothing like it. Lots of high fiving and trembling hands on the boat.

Next week we will go through some gear setups and lures for jacks.


Tweed river:

Brad has continued to follow the bait schools in the far upper reaches, where mulloway, flathead, trevally, bass have been holding in the deeper holes, with teabagged vibes the best option.

Some days conditions have been good for surface fishing for whiting with Suga pens. He is also starting to get more serious about hunting mangrove jacks during charters, with the peak months coming up. I remember one day last year he got 4 in one session.

Gold Coast:

Clint has been chasing mangrove jacks this week with Dan pictured below catching his first ever jack with us at Nerang river. We’ve also been fishing the broadwater around Crab island with lures for the usual whiting, flathead, tuskfish, flounder.

There has been some fast and furious action with jacks on live whiting. This coming week we’ll be upgrading leaders to stop the monsters.

The Nerang river needs some decent rain, with low air pressure and clear water making some days hard to find flathead and whiting. Night time fishing is a good option.

Our charter bookings are now filling fast into January peak season.

Get in touch soon to grab your spot.

Cheers and tight lines this weekend!
Smithy & Clinto

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