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

23 November 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s Big Hit Fishing estuary tips and report


Chasing Mangrove Jacks. They’re many people’s bucket list fish, while others have a knack of catching them regularly. As more anglers target them so there seems to bigger and more fish.

The easiest way to catch them on the Gold Coast is by using live baits such as poddy mullet or even better, whiting. Winter whiting are plentiful in the gold coast broadwater and easily caught on yabbies, worms, thin strips of squid, or lures. I catch tons of them on blade vibes and they have no size limit.

Keep your whiting alive, they are quite hardy in a bucket with a battery operated aerator. You want to be anchored just before sunset, in an area with some tidal flow and near structure, using a running sinker trace with 4/0 snelled circle hooks, and a sinker just large enough to hold bottom.

Push the front hook through the upper lip of the whiting, and the other into the anal hole then out the side. They seem to stay alive longer this way rather than through their back near their sensitive lateral line.

Baitrunner reels are a good option, this gives the jacks a chance to kill and begin to move off with the bait. React quickly when they do, they can brick you in seconds. If you are fishing in an area with heavy, snaggy structure wind be very quick to react.

Light line is not an option, you’ll possibly need 40 lb braid, with 50 lb leader to stop the bigger jacks. Even then you’ll still get smoked, especially in the Nerang river where some of the biggest jacks are.

A few more tips:

*Bigger tides try more upstream. Smaller tides more downstream. *Try to be where there is reasonable tidal flow but not too much.
*Fish around the tide changes during big tides when there is not too much run.
*Use quality strong hooks, or jacks will happily straighten them.
*Hot and stormy days with a rising barometer can provide good action
*Move a few times during the evening, try two or three spots
*Keep things quiet on the boat, don’t make noise with the anchor chain, and keep lights to a minimum. Do not shine torches into or near the water!
*Make up enough traces for the night so you can quickly replace them when you lose them on snags or fish.
*Put out two or three rods in strong rod holders, with different baits on each one.
*Hold on tight if you choose to hold the rod and engage the reel, or they will rip it out of your hands and into the water.
*Be patient, their violent strikes can come at any time when least expected.
*Pontoons, moored boats, bridge pylons, rocky walls, corners on entrances to canals and marinas all hold jacks.

The local Gold Coast and Tweed rivers, creeks and lakes all hold monster size jacks, get out there and have a go.



The far upper reaches have been productive for Smithy this week. This is where most of the baitfish have been holding and so have the predators, with vibes tempting the school mulloway, flathead, bream, and wild bass.

The lower to middle reaches have produced whiting on surface lures, best sessions have been on sunny days.


Clint has been doing a fair few charters with families and kids in the broadwater. The wind direction has made it tough some days but still we kept the rods bending with some winter whiting, flathead, tuskfish, small trevally.

To keep the kids entertained we do two things. First we pump yabbies when the tide allows, and we also use blade vibes. Fish just can’t resist an Ecogear ZX40 coated with Sax scent. It pays to try different colours to find what works as every day is different.

On any given day either the yabbies or the lures, or both can produce the best results as far as fish quantity and size goes.

With the big tides coming up this weekend, we’ll be fishing out of the main flow to get the right speed drift, plus upstream and lake areas chasing trevally, jacks, and cod.

Hope to fish with you soon!

Smithy & Clinto

16 November 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s Gold Coast and Tweed estuary fishing tips and report sponsored by Big Hit Fishing.


We caught nothing. There’s no fish left in the Broadwater.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that from other boats when getting back to the boat ramp, I would be able to buy quite a few cartons of beer!

So let’s get back to basics and help them catch fish.

One thing that really stands out when I look in their boats is big clunky rods with heavy sinkers, big hooks, and a big chunk of frozen squid from the servo hanging off the hooks. Great way to catch nothing.

Use some nice light rods, smaller sinkers just big enough to reach the bottom, no.4 size baitholder hooks, 6 lb line and 10 lb leader, with fresh bait. You can’t go wrong with fresh yabbies or fish caught in a cast net.

Then go out there and find an area to drift at an even speed, and keep moving until you get bites. Don’t anchor unless you find a good nest of feeding fish.

Same goes for the lures, small lures and light tackle still catch big fish but also get more bites in heavily fished areas like the Gold Coast.

For more tips book a charter with us and we’ll teach you heaps more and be the envy of others back at the ramp.



Brad has been working the upper reaches of the river, putting his clients onto some big whiting, as well as finding mulloway, trevally, and flathead in the deeper holes on vibe style lures, and this nice Mulloway pictured below caught trolling a Savage Gear hard body.

The water has fully cleared up again, and the bait fish has moved well upstream.

Gold Coast:

Clint has been finding some big fish in Nerang river including the thumper Estuary cod pictured, which smashed an Atomic 85mm double deep lure. His son Archer caught some nice flathead to 58cm and a sporty little GT too!

There has been a lack of bait in the lower river too, so hunting well upstream is the go for flathead and GT’s, although the numbers are down. Transparent and pale/ natural colour lures work best.

The broadwater has been more consistent for quantity with flathead, whiting, flounder, trevally, and tarwine all going for Ecogear blades and soft vibes.

This weekend features neap tides, which provides a bigger window of opportunity to fish near the mouths of rivers for mangrove jacks, mulloway, and others. The last few hours of the run out tide and first few hours of the run in will be best.

Smithy & Clinto

9 November 2018 fishing tips and report

This week’s Gold Coast and Tweed estuary fishing report and tips from our charter boats, with Big Hit Fishing.

This week’s tips:

Northerly winds and barometer drops. These can make fishing tough but a change of focus can result in big rewards.

While fishing for flathead can slow down, try chasing mangrove jacks and big whiting. The hot weather really gets the jacks going.

The besy way to target them is in the evening and into the night on lures, or live baits and dead baits. They can be caught through the day however, if you put in the hours and find your own special spots that produce.

Some good areas are around structure such as rock walls, pontoons, boats, wrecks, mangroves, trees, and where there is good tidal flow in rivers and creeks. Even the smallest creeks hold jacks, as do lakes.

Casting and trolling large soft plastics, soft vibes, hard bodies, and surface lures all work well. You have to get in close to the structure though so practice your casting! Red lures imitating baby jacks, white lures imitating mullet or whiting, and natural colours in clear water will give you a good chance.

Our local Tweed, Coomera and Nerang rivers are all home to big fish. Don’t go too light on gear or you will get busted up in seconds. Using a bimini twist is a good idea as a shock absorber, and upgrade your hooks, Jacks have no trouble straightening cheap ones.

Whiting are ravenously feeding to fatten up for spawning, get out there with surface lures and a non stop walk the dog retrieve for best results. Bassday Sugapens and MMD splash prawns will both catch heaps of good fish for us this summer.

If you’d like some pointers book a trip with us and we’ll run you through some effective techniques.

Fishing report:

Tweed river:

The Northerly winds and barometer crashes have been a pest but Brad has worked his guts out to put clients onto some great whiting on surface lures around Chinderah.

See pics below of some nice fish on Sugapens and MMD splash prawns, Ben Cole had a fun session with Brad.

The odd Mulloway, flathead, and a Mangrove jack the season opener, has made up the rest of the catch.

We’ll see a welcome cool change come through over the next few days, and SE winds. Get out there over the weekend and get amongst some quality estuary fish. The jacks might slow down temporarily but fish still have to eat.

Gold Coast:

Clint on Southwind has been doing some charters for families, as well as one or two fishos at a time. Again the Northerlies have made it tough, but we have been working our arses off to get a result for our guests.

Giant Trevally On 6lb gear have made for some adrenalin filled sessions in the Nerang river, as well as some Mulloway, flathead, bream, whiting on vibes, Ecogear ZX40 blades, and hardbodies.

In the Broadwater all around Crab island we have found some nice Tuskfish, as well as squid, flounder, winter whiting, sand whiting, dusky flathead, and bartail flathead all on lures.

Smearing some Sax scent on your lures every 30 minutes or so definitely improves the catch rate and size.

With the bigger new moon tides this week we’ll be heading upstream, and having a go for big jacks in the Surfers paradise area during the hour each side of the tide changes.

December and January charters will book out so get in touch to secure your spot.

Till next week, cheers and happy fishing!
Smithy & Clinto

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