right lures
Richard with a big flathead caught trolling an SX48F minnow. This shows elephants eat peanuts.

How to choose the right lures for fishing the Gold Coast

Showing how a metal blade can match the baitfish.
Working topwater lures over shallow seagrass beds can result in nice bream such as this one caught by Mike.
Mulloway will readily take a small lure in deep water, like this one that hit an Ecogear ZX40 blade.

G’DAY everyone, in this month’s article I thought I’d mix it up and not discuss how to target a specific fish but how to choose the right lure to catch more fish.

Selecting the right lures these days is very overwhelming, with a huge variety of models and colours available in tackle shops. And to make it more confusing, they will all work at the right time.
I am without doubt a lure junkie and have literally hundreds of them, as do a lot of anglers.

As they say, you can never have enough toys. The truth is, I will always collect them but I only use a handful regularly. It is vital for me to choose and have the right lures on a daily basis, as being a guide (for over 20 years) and only using lures while guaranteeing customers fish, I have to get it spot on.

The lures in discussion are for targeting our local bread and butter species including flathead, bream, whiting, trevally and jewfish as well as tailor in season.


Having a couple of small vibes in your kit is vital because they are very versatile in that they can be drifted and hopped along the bottom as well as cast and retrieved and are deadly when jigged vertically in deep water. Vibes are well weighted for a small product, which allows them to be fished in a variety of situations.

They also generate a strong vibration, which is detected by predatory fish’s lateral lines. Some of my favourite vibes such as Zerek Fish Traps and Atomic Semi Hardz have soft bodies, while in the metal vibe range I like Ecogear ZX40s, VX40s and Strike Pro Cyber Vibes. If it has gills, these lures will catch it, even big jewies.

Hard-bodied minnows

Having a few hard-bodied lures in your kit is important for success because they can be both cast and retrieved, as well as my favourite go-to technique, trolled. You can cover a lot of ground trolling, even on windy days that make casting difficult.

My go-to lures are Pontoon21 CrackJack 48SP-DRs, Ecogear SX48Fs and Lively Lures Micro Mullets. These lures will allow you to cover water from 30cm deep out to 4.5m on the troll. My cut-off depth for CrackJacks and Ecogears is about 2.7m, while a Micro Mullet will hit bottom at 4.5m if trolled correctly.

You might be wondering how a Micro Mullet gets that deep when the dive rating on the packet says 2.5m. Well here is the tip that will get all lures to dive deeper than their rated depth: use very light braid no more than 0.06mm in diameter and a short (50mm) length of 6lb fluorocarbon leader.

You must also troll with the tide, which is the best way to go anyway, with your lures set about 20m behind the boat and your rod tips held low to the water.

Topwater lures

More and more surface lures are coming onto the market and rightfully so, as surface fishing is great visual fun and can be very productive. My two best lures for the job are Bassday Sugapens and MMD Splash Prawns.

If you see any surface activity, this is a great time to cast a topwater lure into the action in the hope of trevally, tailor and queenfish. For bread and butter species such as flatties, bream and whiting, use topwater lures in very shallow water over seagrass beds or yabby banks.


I have never really become too bogged down on colour choices because I have always felt getting the lure into the right strike zone with the proper technique is more important. However, I follow a basic guideline which is to use clear-ish and natural-looking prints in clear to slightly discoloured water, and darker or sometimes fluoro colours in dirtier water.

Final note

Despite the small size of all these lures, if you don’t set your drag too firmly, and take your time to play the fish slowly, you can still land a monster. As the old saying goes, elephants eat peanuts.
If you would like to learn more about the lures or techniques mentioned, please feel free to contact my fishing partner Clinton or me on our Brad Smith Fishing Charters Facebook page.

We are selling some of the lures discussed at special rates via our Facebook shop.
Thanks and I look forward to talking to you next month.

About Brad 'Smithy' Smith

Smithy has been working as a full-time professional fishing guide for over 20 years, which makes him southeast Queensland’s and northern NSW’s longest-serving guide. Above all the commitments Smithy has in the charter industry, his overriding passion has always been to pass on his specialist experience to anglers and teach people of all ages and angling abilities the correct techniques required to catch all the Gold Coast’s estuary species on a variety of different lures. Smithy’s unique charter operations guarantees you will catch fish on lures or you don’t pay.

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