Jumpinpin is a huge expanse of water that extends from the southern bay islands and Logan River all the way down towards the Seaway. For a beginner, its size is quite overwhelming and it can take a few trips to find productive areas to fish.
My first taste of fishing around south-east Queensland 10 years ago started at Jumpinpin. At that stage, I didn’t own a boat and trips involved hiring a boat from Cabbage Tree Point and chugging all the way to the mouth of Jumpinpin to chase flathead, tailor and bream. This was also the first place I caught the soft plastic fishing bug.
To this day, the Pin is still my favourite place to catch flathead, particularly in September and October. During this time of year, big female flathead (crocs) congregate throughout Jumpinpin in a breeding frenzy. It is one of the best flathead fisheries in Australia and is the area most competitors flock to while competing in the Gold Coast Flathead Classic.
Flathead between 70cm – 80cm are common, with the odd 90cm shovel headed brute in the mix to grab your lure. Small males are also common as they congregate around the females to try to get lucky. If you are targeting a feed, fish between 40 – 50cm are more than likely male and are the best size to keep. During this time of year anything over 60cm is usually a breeding female and although the maximum limit in Queensland is 75cm, I carefully release any fish over 60cm.
When fishing an area for the first time, tides are the most important factor forallowing a successful trip. Jumpinpin is no exception, with the most successful tide period being an hour before the high tidethrough to low tide, particularly the last of the run-out. Incoming tides can be hard work and often produce dirty water and lots of searching for a productive sand or weed bank. This is a good time to throw a few 3-4 inch lures out the back to search for fish by trolling along the never-ending sandbanks.
Outlined below are eight (8) spots that have produced some memorable fishing for me over the last 10 years.
(A) – The biggest drawcard for a lure fisherman visiting Jumpinpin is the huge expanse of deep water that stretches between the most northern tip of South Stradbroke Island and the most southern point of North Stradbroke Island. This deep channel is an obvious highway for bait and predators such as jewfish, flathead, sharks, giant trevally, tailor and bream as well as the odd visitor from offshore grounds such as snapper, yellowtail kingfish and various tuna species.
During winter and spring, massive schools of bait congregate in the clean water at the mouth of the Pin. These large schools of bait are easy to find with your sounder, sometimes blacking out the entire screen. This bait attracts big numbers of jewfish, which are a very popular target for lure fisherman. The best time to target theses fish is a few days before the full and new moon around the change of the tide. The most effective technique fortargeting these deep water jewfish is to drift around the schools of bait, while vertically jigging large softplastics, vibes and 40 – 60g micro jigs. Some effective lures include 7 – 9” Zman Streakz, Jerk Shadz, Gulp Jerkshad rigged on 1 ounce jigheads, 30 g Threadybusters and 1 ounce TT Switchblades.Heavier, 20lb spin or baitcast gear, matched with 40lb leader is my gear of choice when fishing this deep water. This technique is also very effective on the large flathead that congregate in the deep water during spring. Right now some spectacular 1m+ jewfish have been coming from the pin bar on large softplastics. Unfortunately, a case of bronchitis has kept me from targeting one of my favourite fish.
(B) – The stretch of water along the southern end of North Stradbroke Island is my favourite place to fish when visiting the Pin. This area includes the shallower stretch of water and expanse of snags and mud drop-off that extends from the mouth of Swan Bay to the mouth of the Pin bar. During September and October these drop-offs, exposed and sunken trees, become a beacon to huge numbers of big flathead as well as smaller males. My favourite time to fish for flathead around this area is an hour before high tide and 2-3 hours off the run-out. Casting large paddle tail plastics such as 6” McArthy Paddle Tails or 4” Zman DiezelMinnowz rigged on a half ounce jighead amongst the snags and mud drop-offs almost guarantees finding a flathead in this area. When fishing areas that I know hold large flathead I use 20lb leader to avoid being chewed through by their abrasive teeth.
As well as flathead, thesunken snags in 10 – 20 foot of water are a great place for targetingjewfish during the tide change. Casting the above-mentioned paddletail softplastics rigged on ¼ – ½ ounce jigheads around these snags will usually attract the attention of a nearby jewfish.
(C) – Local fisherman know this area as the ‘Pig Sties’. The Pig Sties has been part of a huge change over the past few years. A combination of flooding rain and hugeswell pushing through the bar has eroded the banks and transformed this place into a much shallower muddy expanse of water that quite often has dirty water. In my opinion, this has come at a detriment to the fishing and is now an area I visit when all others fail. I still catch fish from this area, but compared to 4 – 5 years ago there are many more casts between fish. Casting larger softplastics around the 5 – 6 inch on ½ ounce jigheads around the muddy clumps as well as sunken and exposed snags is worth a go as long as the water is clear and there is no swell pushing through the bar.
(D) – Fisherman heading straight to the bar, often overlook this area. Fishing around the sandbanks often produces agreat feed of flathead and tailor.
The shallow sand banks, drop-offs and drains in this area often hold a lot of bait and produce many undersized and good eating sized flathead. Throwing smaller, 3 – 4 inch plastics on ¼ ounce jigheads will produce flathead along the edges of the banks on the last half of the outgoing tide and up in the shallows during the last half of the run in tide.
From July through to September,larger than averagetailor are on the hunt for bait to be washed off the adjacent sandbanks on an out-going tide. Rarely do these fish bust up on the surface as smaller school size fish do in the deeper channels.I came across these fish while throwing plastics for flathead along the edge of the channels. After catching a few on plastics, I decided to throw out a popper. The first cast was monstered by a tailor that was well over the 50cm mark. I target these fish by using my electric motor to anchor in the deeper water. Using light spin tackle I cast 4 – 5 inch surface lures into the shallows and quickly skip them over the drop off into the deeper water. Most hits come as the lure enters the deeper water. I love this style of fishing and seeing a pack of 50 – 60cm tailor chase down your lure sure is exciting. On light spin gear they put up a great battle in the current, often leaping out of the water trying to throw your lure. When fishing for tailor on surface I generally run arod length of 10lb main leader, with 15cm of 30lb bite off leader attached to the lure. The 10lb leader allows longer casts through smaller guides on light spin rods, while the small bite off leader that doesn’t go through the guides, provides assurance from the sharp teeth of tailor.
(E) – This area is another great spot for flathead in spring. I caught my first 80cm+ flathead on an Ecogear Grass Minnow from the bank here. There are a few sunken trees littered through this area, which always seem to hold bait and therefore flathead aren’t usually far away. A well placed cast with a 4 – 6 inch plastic amongst some structure will soon attract the attention of any flathead waiting in ambush.
This spot also produces chopper tailor and bream throughout winter. ‘Chopper’ tailor are often seen chasing bait on the edges of the channels early in the morning. These fish are best targeted using metal slugs and poppers. Small soft plastics and metal blades hopped along the bottom are effective on the local bream population that school throughout this area in winter.
(F) – The Green and Gold Banks are a popular area for targeting flathead throughout the year. The eastern edge of the sand bank is a great spot to drift along and cast 3 – 4” plastics. Most of the fish are school size, but there can be bigger fish up in the shallows or lurking in the deeper water. The western edge doesn’t hold as many flathead, but seems to hold better quality fish within the 60 – 80cm range. There are weed patches, drop-offs, mud clumps and the odd sunken snag that can hold some big fish on 3 – 5” softplastics rigged on ¼ – ½ ounce jigheads.
(G) – The huge expanse of weed beds, drains, sandbanks, deep channels and drop-offs around this area is oneof my favourite areas for catching a feed of flathead on the last half of the run-out tide. Just looking at the aerial map, you can tell this area is ahaven for this ambush predator. A light spin rod, some 10lb leader, a hand full of4 inchpaddletail softplastics and small hardbodies are all you need for this area.
My favourite method for catching flathead in this area is to cast weedless rigged paddletail plastics around the edges of the weed beds, channels and gutters in search of fish. Once I find a fish, I usually spot lock with the Minn Kota and pepper the area for another 10 minutes. These smaller sized fish are usually found in schools and a good feed can be caught in a short period. Pockets of sand around weed beds and draining gutters are areas I particularly seek when fishing this area. Casting smallhardbodies such as Ecogear SX48s around these areas will also land a few flathead as well as bream hiding amongst the weed.
(H) – When the water is clear, the weedy drop-offs are a great spot for targeting bream and school flathead on small diving hard body and surface lures. It is critical that the water is clear in this spot to see and cast to the weed edge and pockets of sand/mud. Both predators hide in the weed and sand patches along the edge of the bank and ambush bait as it washes from the surrounding shallow banks on the outgoing tide. Lures such as Ecogear SX 40s,JackallChubbies and Lucky Craft Sammies work well when slowly worked around the edges. If the bream are a bit timid, adding a pause and twitch will usually get them to commit. Most of the time you can see the bite, which is exciting fishing. Light 6lb spin gear with 4 – 6lb leader is required in this area to entice a bite in the clear water. When fishing in this area it pays to have a heavier outfit rigged as there can be some larger lure-stealing tailor herding bait in the deeper channels.
Over the next couple of months, the majority of my fishing will be based around trips to Jumpinpin. My main targets will be jewfish, flathead and tailor on surface. These spotsare only a scratch on the surface of what this huge system has to offer. During the next couple of months you won’t find a better location in the south-east to find a feed of flathead. All you need is a light spin outfit, 10lb leader, a few soft plastics, jigheads, and a run-out tide to be on your way.