14 June 2019 fishing report

This week’s fishing report:

The weather at present is outstanding with cool starts but finishing with fantastic warm windless days. 

It sounds like a cracked record but the flatties are still dominating the catch rate in both the Nerang and Tweed river systems which is not a bad problem to have as an angler. 

Not be out done by his Dad young Izaac with one of the 11 fish he caught on the day.
Mat with one of the many flathead caught by trolling pontoon 21 crackjack lures in the Nerang river.

There has been a few whiting taking our lures but the size of the fish have not been big as have the bream which have been slow to start this season in both size and numbers. 

If we get some big seas running along our east coast shoreline the swell event will help to get our bream and tailor to enter our rivers, and ignite our winter season into full flight over the next two months.    

Smithy and Clinto’s tip of the week:

This week’s tip is for the anglers who don’t own a boat. 

When walking along the sandy edges of one of the Tweed and Gold Coast rivers with a lure you will often see where flathead have been lying in ambush on the high tides. 

Flathead are more than happy to move right up into the shallows to wait in ambush and as the tide falls they retreat back into deeper water and leave behind their imprint in the sand or mud. 

If you look at this photo carefully you will see around 11 marks left by 3 different sized flathead. I would definitely cast a lure around this area. 

When you spot flathead lays put in multiple casts in the area and more times than not you will catch the fish that left its trademark imprint.  

This is the imprint of a flathead around 55 cm long that was lying on a slightly muddy sand bank on high tide.

7 June 2019 fishing report

The middle reaches of both the Tweed and Nerang rivers are producing amazing numbers of flathead of all sizes at present with most days producing over 20 fish per trip.

Ethan with a cracker flathead caught while trolling at Tweed river
Go the girls, little Rosie with her first ever flathead

There have been some good numbers of bream attacking our lures as well in the same area but at this stage they have been small but the big bream are not far from entering our rivermouths.

Small giant trevally are still hanging around the deeper holes in the middle reaches and are hitting the lures around the first of the run in tides.

GT’s are still grabbing Ecogear ZX40 lures fished in deeper holes

Smithy and Clinto’s tip of the week:

Time and time again we see people trying to monster good sized fish to the boat such asbig flatties and jewies and put to much pressure on them.

This either pulls hooks or straightens them or simply busts the joiner knots between the braid and leaders.

The best success comes when good fish are hooked is to have a well set drag on your reel and a slow and steady approach while maintaining a constant even pressure.

There is nothing like catching a big fish on light line and small lures and the drawn out drama that goes with the experience.   


Smithy & Clinto

31 May 2019 fishing report

Well everyone there is no doubt that the days are getting shorter and the mornings are definitely getting cooler as we inch our way into winter.

The good news is that the weather is perfect through the day with warm and windless conditions and most importantly the flathead are becoming prolific.

Five year old Alfie with his first ever flathead

The flatties are in good concentrations in the warm shallow areas through the middle reaches of the Tweed and Gold Coast waterways and are taking both cast and trolled lures.

Piers and son Alfie caught over 20 flathead on their charter with Brad

There has been reports of both tailor and bream making their annual migration up our coastline which is very exciting as they will move into our rivers in mass proportions from now until August.  

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

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

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

28 September 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s fishing tips & report

When trolling with hardbody lures, or drifting and casting with blades, vibes, and soft plastics, it is important to use the right rods. We use Shimano gear a lot, as we find it’s great value for money, and lasts a long time if well looked after.

For trolling, a rod of around 6″6 is ideal, not too long and whippy, yet not too short and stiff. The Shimano sonic pro 3-5kg model is a great choice when using our favourite lures such as Micro mullets and Pontoon 21 crackjacks. The tip is just soft enough and vibrates to enable us to monitor the lure action closely, and notice if it gets fouled by weed.

When drifting with blades and plastics, a 2-4kg rod around the 7 foot length is good. It is just soft enough to not pull hooks on fish when striking and playing them to the boat until netted, which makes a difference with the small hooks and finesse lures we use daily on our fishing charters.

Match these rods up with Shimano sienna 1000 or 2500 size reels, spooled with good quality, fine diameter braid, and you have a winning combination which regularly results in big flathead, fiesty tuskfish, and Mulloway around the metre mark. For trolling we use 6lb fluorocarbon leader to maximise diving depth, and 10lb leader for blades and vibes for more protection against snags and flathead teeth.

Fishing report:

Brad found some good Mulloway in one of his favourite Northern NSW honey holes this week. Regular guest Richard had a great time on 6 lb braid and small soft vibes, with Zerek fishtraps and Atomic semihardz doing the job well.

Flathead, bream and whiting made up the rest of the week’s catch.

The weather and water is warming so it’s time to start targetting the mighty mangrove jack, especially on stormy days, and the bigger summer whiting will show up too in the Chinderah reach of the Tweed river.

At the Gold Coast we have fished anywhere between Carrara up the Nerang river, and Coomera river mouth. The snot weed has thinned out making it far easier to access some of our favourite spots. Clint has been finding schools of tuskfish, winter whiting, flathead, small snapper, tarwine, bream, and a few Torpedo scad, which put up a terrific fight.

Small metal blades fished deep on 6lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader in the area between the seaway and Seaworld and the area just upstream of Paradise waters has accounted for the most fish. The Nerang river has produced flathead on blades and gulps, but on the small side with fish between 40 and 50cm being common.

It looks like a mix of weather over the coming week, with variable winds and clear skies interspersed with some showers and Northerly winds. The aim will be to fish the deeper water in the calmer weather, and hunt the middle section of the Nerang river when the wind is up.

We are starting to get very busy so best to book 3 or 4 weeks ahead to lock in your charter.

Cheers and have a great one!
Smithy & Clinto

21 September 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s Gold Coast estuary fishing tips:

UV active lures are making an impact on recent times on the estuary fishing scene and on our Gold Coast fishing charters. It is quite surprising how well they work at times. We’ve also recently experimented with UV enabled scent on our vibe lures, to great effect.

The bite is more aggressive and sustained, when fish miss the hooks they often return three or four times until getting hooked.

It’s common knowledge to use lure colours to suit the water and weather conditions, for example using natural colours in clear water and sunny days. UV active lures add an extra element to whatever contrast catches the attention of predatory estuary fish. In short they work in most conditions!

A perfect example is Zerek’s range of Tango Shad lures that are UV active. Check them out, they will add another weapon to your fishing arsenal, and another reason we can guarantee our clients will catch fish day in and day out.

Estuary fishing report:

At the Tweed river the school flathead continue to be the staple catch for Brad with some Giant Trevally mixed in, on some clear and calm days he puts in long trolling runs to locate the feeding nests of fish, then drifts through these areas casting blades and soft vibes to keep the scoreboard ticking for his clients.

The Condong and North Tumbulbum areas have been productive, as is the Stotts Island to Jouberts hole region. When we are in desperate need of rain to rejuvenate the rivers, it is the bigger tides we depend on to provide more action, especially the run out tides. This is the case this week with the lead up to full moon.

The various deeper holes in the upper reaches of the Tweed will be worth a go for Mulloway, flathead, bream, bass, and sand whiting.

Clint has been busy doing guided trips at the Gold Coast broadwater, which is the pick at the moment. The Nerang river has been quiet and best fished at night for bigger whiting while the water is so clear. There has been a lack of bait fish upstream.

In the broadwater the snot weed is starting to thin out, and as long as we don’t get too much Northerly wind it will continue to disperse.
We fished there during the week and found some lovely tuskfish, flathead, flounder, bream, squid, snapper, and whiting in the area between the seaway and Crab island. There was good amounts of bait schools showing in the seaway area with bigger fish sitting under them waiting to pounce. Zerek fishtraps were the most successful lures.

On other days the correct wind/ tide angles were present for drifting South of the seaway. The sandbanks and weedbeds produced good flathead, flounder, and whiting in the area between the wavebreak island and just upstream of Sundale bridge on a run in tide.

This weekend we’ll look at targeting similar areas depending on the weather, and we should see an increasing number of tuskfish which are terrific fun on light gear and aggressive lure takers.

These fish increase in number and size over the warmer months in our waters and inhabit the rubble reef and weed bed areas from 3-6m deep. Ecogear ZX40 blades coated with prawn flavour Sax scent or Squidgie UV enhanved scent have proven their undoing.

There will be a number of people prefishing the flathead classic so try to get away from the crowd and find your own hotspots. Find the bait, find the fish.

School holidays are starting this week which is always a busy time on our charters. Best to get in touch soon to avoid missing out over the next month or so.
Message us on facebook to discuss your customized charter.

Cheers and see you out there,
Smithy & Clinto

See below for this week’s pictures from our boats:

7 September 2018 fishing tips & report

This week’s estuary fishing tips:

Spring has sprung. What to target now? The bigger flathead numbers have thinned out in our upper estuary reaches, they are moving closer to the river mouths in preparation for their spawning event.

Try to release the bigger breeding females over 60cms in length. A good way to target these fish is with soft vibes in deeper water, by drifting and “teabagging” or casting up current then bouncing the lure along the bottom, lifting slowly and dropping to get the lure vibrating.

Zerek fish traps and Atomic semi hardz are an excellent choice for this style of fishing. It helps to locate schools of bait fish on your sounder, often there will be flathead lurking under them ready to ambush strays.

If you spot wind lanes or current lines often there will be debris floating, bait holding and fish feeding nearby, a bonus is these lanes will sometimes hold your boat inside them too, thereby staying in the zone.

We still have some cool mornings, so you will find some big flathead sitting in shallow water feeding and warming up. A few methods will work here in attracting a strike, including trolling shallow (1m) diving lures over the top of and along the edge of weed beds and sandbanks, stealthily casting and slowly retrieving large glide or swim bait style lures in very shallow water, and using surface lures such as MMD Splash Prawns and Bassday Sugapens. Casting vibes and blades into semi shallow areas and hopping them along will also be effective.

One of our favourite styles of fishing will soon be available again on our charters, and that is surface luring for whiting. It is one of the most visually exciting and addictive techniques. To see three or four 35cm plus whiting climbing over each other vying for a surface lure then smashing the lure and rushing off with the reel screaming, in very shallow and clear water, is up there on the adrenalin scale.

Smithy will resume this seasonal charter option in October at his Tweed whiting super banks that are amongst the best in Australia, and it is a good idea to book ahead for this very popular activity. The trip also offers hard fighting trevally, tarpon, bream, and flathead as bycatches. We have several new lures and methods that will add an extra element to the fun this summer.

Estuary fishing report:

On our charters this week there has been some school size flathead and mulloway caught on shallow running trolling lures and on soft vibes teabagged in the deeper holes at upper Tweed river. Again natural and pale colours have been the best options in the clear water. Hopefully these patches of rain will have a positive effect on the fishing, and the bigger tides this coming weekend will also help.

Mulloway are a possibility in the deeper sections around the tide changes with the previously mentioned teabagging technique. Remember to quickly drop the rod again after each lift to keep the lure in the strike zone. The Tweed river is still producing some Australian Bass for us. Although it is now open season for these fish, we always release them anyway.

At the Gold Coast rivers and broadwater on our guided charters with Clint skippering, we have had to work hard to find keepers for our clients with some bigger sand whiting up to 37cm appearing, as well as tuskfish, a few flathead ranging in size up to 58cm, and winter whiting, bream, tarwhine, small snapper, and still the odd squid. The snot weed is still an absolute curse, it should clear out soon with a change in wind direction and a spring tide flush. The only option when it is thick is to move 1km at a time to find a clearer section of water.

There are some good patches of a variety of reef and estuary fish showing up in 5-7m deep water in the Southern section of the broadwater which is very promising for the months ahead.

For the bait fisherpeople, live yabbies never fail to catch fish in the broadwater. The keys to success are using as light a sinker, line, leader as possible, and drifting to cover the ground and make the fish chase, always looking for signs of life on the fish finder. Find the bait, find the fish. There are days when yabbies will outfish the lures. Don’t discount them as an option when catching keeper size fish is the name of the game. There are some amazing yabby banks in the Gold Coast broadwater.

Cheers and hope to fish with you soon!
Smithy & Clinto

See below for this week’s photos from our charters.

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