Dotted with world-class surfing beaches and blessed with a sunny, subtropical climate, the city of Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, draws thousands of local and international tourists alike. The vibrant nightlife, fun theme parks, five-star hotels, and other attractions make Gold Coast Australia’s 5th most visited destination. But what is the fishing like on the Gold Coast, and what can you expect to catch there?
With its shoreline dotted with plentiful waterways, the Gold Coast is a paradise for anglers filled with huge fish. Anglers can rent a boat and try their luck at catching large, powerful game fish offshore, commonly finding bream, flathead and whiting in huge numbers.
What’s the secret to having a great time fishing on the Gold Coast? Knowing where the best fishing spots on the Gold Coast are and bringing home some fresh catch! Read on to learn exactly where the locals go to catch their fish.
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What Are the Best Fish to Catch on the Gold Coast?
Bream, flathead, whiting and yabbies are among the most popular types of fish you can catch on the Gold Coast. The most common of these fish is bream, thanks to the numerous rock walls and jetty pylons that host small baitfish and crustaceans for bream to feed on.
Sandy flats hold not just breams but also flathead, whiting, and tarpon; these areas are habitats of yabbies, baitfish, and shellfish, which they feed on.
Anglers may also try to catch mangrove jacks that settle on deeper edges of main waterways. The rock walls and mangrove roots create perfect ambush points for these aggressive fish.
Finally, head out to drop-offs and rubble patches far from boat traffic. That’s where hard-to-catch mulloways hang out. They’re particularly plentiful during nighttime in cooler months.
What Are the Best Fishing Spots on the Gold Coast?
Being an avid angler, you’re excited to head out to the best fishing spots on the Gold Coast. That’s great, but where exactly are they? Here are 10 of the spots where you could check out for your fishing trip.
1. Snapper Rocks
Snapper Rocks is among the most popular fishing spots on the Gold Coast. It’s mainly a rocky outcrop with a sandy beach. You can easily reach Snapper Rocks via a coastal walking trail and a series of boardwalks that run along Gold Coast’s Beaches.
While it’s primarily a popular venue for surfing, anglers can expect a healthy catch in Snapper Rocks. It’s home to tuna, tailor, snapper, and bonito. If you fish at the jetty, you can expect to catch bream, whiting, and flathead.
The best time for fishing in Snapper Rocks is early morning, from 3 AM to 5 AM, and mid to late afternoon, from 3 PM to 6 PM.
2. Cudgen Creek
Cudgen Creek is a small, shallow creek at Kingscliff in New South Wales. With its calm waters, it’s among the best secret fishing spots on Gold Coast for bream, luderick, whiting, and flathead. Ideal places to cast your rod include Casuarina Beach, Cudgen Yabbies, Cudgen Creek Bridge, and Cudgen Rock Wall.
A 9-kilometre waterway on either side of the shoreline harbours snapper, dolphin mackerel, snapper, pearl peach, and Spanish mackerel in deeper waters. Simply paddle a kayak or a canoe along the waterway to catch a good bounty.
You can buy or rent fishing gear, canoes, and kayaks in nearby stores for land-based and offshore fishing.
3. Currumbin Creek
Currumbin Creek is one of the best land-based fishing spots on the Gold Coast, and it’s because of its various nearby amenities and facilities. The local government constructed two fishing platforms along a boardwalk, around a kilometre upstream of Currumbin Creek’s tidal entrance. Each platform has seats and a shade cover for a more comfortable fishing experience.
The boardwalk also links the Gold Coast Highway underpass to the Thrower Drive ramp car park. Anglers like you can expect whiting and flathead to take a bite out of their baits. Occasionally, you can also catch sand crabs and flounders. During cooler months, you can even catch squid on a good day.
The best time to fish is during either the first few hours of the run-in tide or after the tide run-out. Watch the water; when it’s murky, that’s the perfect time to cast your line.
4. Tweed River
Tweed River is only 30 minutes from Gold Coast and 2 hours from Brisbane, which makes this fishing spot quite accessible. Cane Bridge, Riverside Bridge, Oyster Leases, and Cobaki Drains are the best places to fish here. Here, you can catch bream, mangrove jack, tailor, and other kinds of fish.
You can use a kayak and fish along the Tweed River. The river’s main channel and its tributaries, which are rich in seagrass, are ideal for kayak fishing, where you can find large numbers of bream, flathead, and whiting.
Cobaki Broadwaters and the channels around Womgin, Meebun Islands are amongst the best offshore fishing spots in Gold Coast. These are perfect fishing grounds for flatheads.
Flathead can be found throughout the river all year. Winter is the best season to fish for bream since they head down the river to spawn. Fishing at the mouth of the river on a winter night also yields mulloway.
5. Nerang River
Nerang River forms a network of canals, jetties, and rock walls, making it a great place to fish. Start your fishing adventure near jetties and holes where you can find plentiful bream and mangrove jack, especially during summer. Trevally and herring can be found where the canal systems join the Nerang River.
For the best and biggest catches, fish at dawn, dusk, or night. In addition, we also recommend fishing on a kayak. That’s because kayak fishing is quiet and doesn’t scare the fish off.
6. Tallebudgera Creek
Tallebudgera Creek is another great place to catch fish. With its catchment located within the Gold Coast local government area, it’s quite accessible to everyone. The creek is a favourite place for anglers. That’s because its waters harbour lots of bream, flathead, and whiting.
Sport anglers heading out in deeper waters may be lucky enough to even catch bull sharks.
Most areas of Tallebudgera Creek are accessible, with parking spaces everywhere. There are also barbecue stations and fire rings so you can cook your fresh catch right away.
7. Deep Tragg
Deep Tragg is one of the best offshore fishing spots on the Gold Coast. It’s especially popular for seasoned anglers and thus, home to several boat charters.
That’s because Deep Tragg is famous for its black marlin population. These large and powerful fish can reach up to 4.5 metres and weigh as much as 340 kilograms. It’s a great fish for anglers who love a challenge.
The area is a haven for black marlin due to the abundance of mackerel. You can also use lines and nets to catch these smaller fish if the black marlin proves too much of a challenge.
8. Jumpinpin Channel
Jumpinpin Channel is a large area of water extending from Logan River towards the Seaway, between North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island. Popularly known as The Pin, it is known for its swift currents. The place is not ideal for swimming, but it’s often popular for beach anglers. The large area makes it quite overwhelming and challenging for novice anglers.
The Jumpinpin Channel is bountiful with catches of whiting, luderick, trevally, mulloway, and tailor, especially when they’re in season. If you fish in Lew’s Folly, you’ll probably catch large numbers of bream and flathead.
You can also catch bream and flathead in Tree Gone Bay, Whalley’s Gutter, and Tiger Mullet in that area. However, you would need to rent a boat to access this area.
9. Pine Lake
Pine Lake is a small natural lake and is a hidden gem for anglers on the Gold Coast. There’s a boardwalk that leads to the lake, making it easily accessible to anyone. The shallow lake is not suitable for boating.
Only tidbits of information about fishing in Pine Lake are currently available online, making it one of the state’s best-kept secrets, with local anglers wanting to keep the good fishing spots hidden for as long as possible. What is known is that it’s a great area to fish for brown trout.
Those wanting more information about Pine Lake should check out the local government for more information or visit the beautiful area and speak to some locals.
10. Southport Pier
Southport Pier is another great fishing spot on the Gold Coast. Just walk along the long jetty; you’ll find a lot of anglers there, especially early morning, late afternoon, or early evening.
The jetty is home to herring, pike, squid, and mullet. Occasionally, the lucky angler may catch large mulloway jewfish.
What Time of Year is Best for Fishing on the Gold Coast?
Local anglers agree that winter is the peak fishing season on the Gold Coast thanks to many estuary, coastal, and offshore species. They usually cast their lines during early morning, late afternoon, and early evening.
Here are some of the seasonal fish you can catch on the Gold Coast. Note that this list is prone to change as temperatures, wind direction, and currents can vary.
- Amberjack: April to November
- Cobia: April to October
- Cod: April to October
- Mahi mahi: December to April
- Flathead: All year round
- Kingfish: April to November
- Spanish Mackerel: December to May
- Marlin: December to February
- Pearl Perch: February to November
- Sailfish: January to February
- Samson Fish: April to December
- Snapper: April to November
- Tailor: all year round, but cooler months yield better numbers.
- Teraglin: all year round, but tend to gather in large schools in winter
- Mackerel: March to November
- Yellowfin: December, January, May, and November
- Tuskfish (venus): All year round
- Wahoo: November to May
Do I Need a Licence to Fish on the Gold Coast?
Generally, you don’t need a licence when fishing on beaches, jetties, or the sea. However, people over 18 should have a permit when fishing in impoundments such as dams and weirs. In these cases, you need a Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) to legally fish with a line.
A SIPS permit allows you to fish in all 63 impoundments in Queensland. However, you are only allowed to fish with recreational fishing lines only. The prices of the SIPS permit are:
- $12.30 per week
- $58.43 per year
- $42.03 per year if you are entitled to a discount
Can I Fish in the Gold Coast Canals?
Yes, you can fish in the Gold Coast canals. There are over 400 kilometres of canals, so a fishing spot is always near you. Small baitfish gather in canals during springtime, attracting various bream, cod, trevally, and flathead.
You can fish from the canal walls or paddle a kayak or canoe and cast your line from your boat. Broadbeach Canal Reserve, Runaway Bay, Platter Park, Mermaid Waters and Sickle Park are great places to start.
Where Can I Catch Snapper on the Gold Coast?
Snapper can be caught on shale bottoms, most coastal reefs, channels between reefs, gravel and shale patches, and ledges. One of the best places to catch snapper is at the 24-fathom reef located five nautical miles due east of the Gold Coast Seaway. Snapper can be caught all year round.
Where Can I Get Fishing Supplies on the Gold Coast?
Being a popular fishing destination, there are plenty of bait shops and fishing supply stores all over the Gold Coast. The Yellow Pages list many of these establishments, making it easy to find one near you.