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A guide to fishing the Gold Coast broadwater

A guide to fishing the Gold Coast broadwater

By Clint Ansell

8 February 2020

SMS 0432 990 302 to book your private charter.

The broadwater is a fishing mecca for anglers of all ages and experience levels. This large body of water plays home to a vast array of marine creatures and many types of fish can be caught depending on the season.

Right now, and in the coming weeks and months will be a great time to fish this area. On our charters we usually fish somewhere in the area between Budds beach and Sovereign island. We fish up Nerang river too but in this article I will focus on the broadwater, and put up some maps.

Finding fish does not mean catching fish however. If you’d like a full rundown on techniques it’s a good idea to book a private charter with us.

We have experienced lovely rain in the past few weeks on the Gold Coast. The Nerang river catchment received close to 400mm three weeks ago, and possibly 300 millimetres or more is expected for the region in the coming days.

So what does this mean for the fishing? Well I’ll be out there the second the rain slows. The broadwater will be the first place to fire.

In the weeks ahead we will be hunting a big variety of species in the area, with a variety of charter offerings. These include pumping yabbies then bait and vibe fishing the channels, crabbing, throwing cast nets, night time live baiting for jacks, seaway sessions with heavier tackle, and fishing the reef and sand areas with lures around the islands in the broadwater.

Mulloway, mangrove jacks, big flathead, tuskfish, squid, trevally, tailor, sand whiting, winter whiting, flounder, cod, bream, snapper, tarwhine, are the main targets on our Gold Coast charters and many more surprises turn up every day. We have caught over 40 species in the broadwater.

Some of our catches on charters, all on lures

Where to fish? There is a myriad of choices but we’ll focus on a few main options and spots.

In the Southern end of the broadwater between Sundale bridge at Southport and the Gold Coast seaway (see map 1 )

Map 1- Southern broadwater

I have circled the best yabby banks, and marked in red lines some good areas to fish. The main species you’ll find here are flathead, whiting, bream, squid, squire, tailor. It’s a good area to fish during bigger tides as the flow is not too strong.

Alaeddin with a big flathead

In the Seaway area (blue circled area on map) the pipeline running across the seaway is a top spot to try for big mulloway, kingfish, trevally, jacks with heavy tackle and live baits or big soft vibes. The tides run hard there so fish within an hour of tides changes. 

Map 2- Northern broadwater

Just West of the seaway is a large reef area in 6-8 m of water which holds good number of squire and bream, as does the corner along the Northern side in from the seaway. It’s quite snaggy so be prepared to lose tackle. Soft plastics and bait work very well here.

In the second map the general areas away from the seaway where I’ve marked with red lines are good areas to fish for tuskfish, flathead, whiting, flounder, squid and many others and feature a mix of reef and sand areas at various depths from 1m to 10m deep. 

Michael caught this big Tarpon near the seaway on a blade

Find the bait on your fish finder and you’ll find the fish. The tides run hard through here so either fish smaller tides or time your efforts around tide changes.

87cm flathead caught on Ecogear ZX40 blade, colour 440

Best bait for the broadwater: yabbies, whitebait, fresh squid, live, whole or strips of winter whiting.

Best lures: Ecogear ZX40, Samaki Vibelicious, Gulp, soft plastics

We often pick up guests by boat from their waterfront property or from various boat ramps and jetties along the river and broadwater, including Isle of Capri where you can grab coffees from cafes or food from the supermarket before you comfortable jump on the boat at the pontoon there and keep your feet dry.

Clint’s boat at Isle of Capri

Clint runs daily charters for 1-4 guests at Nerang river and the Gold Coast broadwater. He has been working in partnership with Smithy for over five years now. His private tours vary from catering for kids and beginners with a mix of easy to use bait and lure techniques, to more seasoned anglers with lures only.

We love teaching so come out and we’ll run you through heaps of techniques, spots, and information. Or if you just want a fun day out to catch a fresh feed, book in soon to avoid missing out on the prime time fishing in March, April and May.


1-2 guests

6 hour day time private charters

Lure only fishing

Full tuition provided


Comfortable seating


1-4 guests

Day or night time private charters

Bait and/ or lure fishing

Full tuition provided


Padded, comfortable seating

Esky and bluetooth audio speaker/ radio system

SMS 0419 028 704 to book!

Or click here for more info:

Check out our facebook shop for Brad’s book which has maps and heaps of fishing info for the Gold Coast, plus lures and apparel:

Tackle and expert fishing advice:

Sporty’s Fishing- 32 Strathaird Rd, Bundall

More fishing tips and secrets:

Cheers and tight lines!

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