The waters of Coolangatta might be famous for their surf breaks
, but the area’s sheltered bays and reefs have an even longer association with fishing. In fact, Coolangatta is one of the Gold Coast’s best fishing hotspots, whether you have a tinny, a kayak, a speargun or you just want to set up a chair with your rod.
Beach fishing is allowed on all Gold Coast beaches
, just so long as you stay outside of the red and yellow flags that mark out designated swimming areas. Around dawn and dusk you’ll find dozens of fishermen and fisherwomen stretched out along the various shorelines and it really is a sight to be seen. If you head further south and into NSW, you will need to purchase a NSW fishing license
to fish legally. This is only a few dollars for a weekend.
With its generally low tide and sheltered location, Snapper Rocks is one of the best beach fishing locations around. Pelagics such as bonito, tailor and tuna can be caught off the rocks between Rainbow Bay and Point Danger, or for more variety - including bream, dart, flathead and whiting - you can head up to the sand jetty. For jewfish, try beach fishing in the open end of the gutter (which sits in nice and close). The gutter’s not far off the reef, which holds good volumes of bait fish all year round.
Just north of Snapper Rocks sits Kirra Beach which again has a reef that’s swarming with bait fish all year round. Erosion of the seawall means that jewfish and tailor can be caught right off the beach, particularly at the northern rip holes, southern trough, and Kirra and Greenmount groynes.
The 800-metre stretch of Coolangatta and Greenmount Beaches is home to plenty of fishing holes and gutters. You’ll need a longer rod when casting into the rip from the sand, or you can cast off the rocks at Greenmount Hill in search of bream, snapper, tailor and dart. Coolangatta and Greenmount is the ideal family fishing location thanks to its low waves and the presence of surf lifesavers between 8am and 5pm everyday. It’s also a great spot for varied fishing, as it’s continually changing due to the large sand waves that move from New South Wales across the Tweed River mouth and around Point Danger to settle at Greenmount.
Creek fishing not only offers the opportunity of a great catch, it also sets the scene for total serenity. The creeks around Coolangatta are picturesque and swimming with fish, making creeks the local’s choice when it comes to fishing.
At Currumbin Creek you can take a pick from two shaded platforms located along the boardwalk
near Salk Oval. Here you can hook into whiting, flathead and the occasional flounder, especially when fishing murky water with light, estuary type rigging. Currumbin Creek has a fair bit of development along its foreshore, so if you prefer a spot that’s a little quieter, head to Pine Lake in Elanora, which is fed off Currumbin Creek via a small canal. The whole lake is accessible to land-based anglers and here you’ll find mullet, herring, mangrove jack, trevally, bream, flathead, whiting, jew, queenfish, and crabs.
Cruise along the mouth of Tallebudgera with your tinny and you’ll easily snag a few flathead. Head towards the bridges, which have a tendency to make deep holes, and get a shot at some really big fish. If you don’t have a tinny, that’s okay too, as you can set up just about anywhere along Tallebudgera Creek and cast for bream, whiting, flathead, luderick, and mangrove jack. Fly fishermen and fisherwomen have the opportunity to target tarpon and giant herring in the upper reaches and canals. Also expect to see bullsharks.
A wide variety of different species of fish can be found inhabiting the rivers around Coolangatta, or at least navigating them in order to catch fish or reach spawning grounds. A great way to catch fish, you can river fish from shore, from a bridge, by wading or via a boat.
Tweed River will require you to get a fishing licence
, but it’s worth the small charge. Tweed River’s rocks and banks are abundant with bream, flathead, and jewfish. You can also find bass in the upper reaches, mangrove jack to the south, trevally at the mouth, and dart, tailor and whiting in the offshore reefs. Favourite spots to fish along the Tweed River include North Wall and Jack Evans Boat Harbour, the latter being a great spot for kids to have a dip as you fish. If you can’t catch a fish off Kennedy Drive boat ramp, there’s something wrong. Best fished on the run out, you’ll get bream after bream as you float a bait over the weed beds.
Spearfishing is bang on trend
right now, with many Australians returning to the most ancient form of fishing. Deemed less environmentally intrusive than throwing in a rod, you can fish only what you want with the right gear.
Nine Mile Reef is home to abundant pelagic fish, turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, the occasional manta ray and a good population of wobbegongs. It has a reputation of being a “sharky spot”
Nine Mile Reef
among locals, but if you’re an experienced diver, it doesn’t get much better than here to spear fish. The top of the reef sits at about 10 metres deep, dropping to 30 meters with the drop off covered in numerous hard and soft corals. Reef fish are scattered across the shallower parts. Wherever you choose and however you choose to fish around Coolangatta, make sure you understand what regulations apply and which fish you should avoid according to season. Make sure you’re using permitted equipment and if all else fails, head to Selfish at The Strand
for the tastiest fish you didn’t get to catch.