Lake Monduran – 9 November, 2013

Saturday

After a bit of work and a bit of time at home, I found myself on the road back up to Central Queensland, on Saturday. I often drive past the various arms of Lake Monduran, around Kolonga, but rarely have time to stop. But today I did have time and even though the sun was blazing and it was 10.30 am, I had to give this area a go.

Unsurprisingly, once back in Brisbane, I had been doing some tackle spending. I had replaced my G.Loomis GL2 with a G.Loomis Ultralight TSR Series , Fast Action, 2 to 6 lb, 6’7”rod. This is a beautifully crafted, incredibly light trout rod and even though it is a little longer than my preference, I think it will be a great Bribie Island flat’s rod. But I had also decided I wanted a fairly heavy shorter rod that would be easy to cast in the cramped, freshwater environments I have been exploring. It still needed to have enough power to subdue a big barramundi, if I came across one. Steve at Jones Tackle seems to now understand my light gear obsession and knows that I consider anything rated over 2-4kg to be really only suited to offshore big game fishing. After my recent bruising barramundi encounters, I recognised I was going to have to sacrifice ‘feel’ for strength but everything I tried seemed very stiff. In the end I compromised with a cheap 6’ Shimano Catana, rated 2 – 4kg. There is nothing very sophisticated about this rod but at $70 it was cheap enough to experiment with.

I parked in a shady spot pulled on some lightweight long trousers and my ankle boots and wandered off along the bank. The water was brown and still, almost every branch had a lizard on it and I could see tiny baitfish hovering around the fallen timber. I was not sure what would be in here. I was confident there would be fish of some kind. I tied on a GULP 4” Swimming Mullet in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/12th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. I was using 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

On my first cast I found a familiar species – the catfish. I moved along the banks casting at lots of snags and caught a catfish on almost everyone. I tried various plastics and it was the grub tails that were most attractive to the catfish. Whenever I let them sink and remain still on the bottom, for anything more than about 20 seconds, they would be hoovered up.

I walked towards an area where the lake opened up a bit and came across an enormous flock of birds escorted by a pretty big group of pelicans. This area looked really fishy with lots of fallen timber and presumably, some deeper holes.

There were lots more fish but they were all catfish – there were some really big brutes among them so the new Shimano Catana was christened with a good workout. After a couple of hours I gave up. It’s always good to explore and maybe a dawn or dusk session here might haven been more successful.

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1770 – The headlands , beaches and Round Hill Creek – 8 September 2013

Thursday to Sunday

Unfortunately, there is not much to report from the remaining days I had at 1770. The south-easterly blow persisted, so I was pretty much limited to fishing the rocks on the northern side of the 1770 headland and the creeks. The high seas stirred up the water and so it was soon fairly murky.

I drove into Eurimbula National Park and fished the creeks. I fished lighter and lighter, until I finally found a few whiting and small bream. I also went back down to Baffle Creek and failed to catch anything. I tried Wreck Rock and Flat Rock beaches, but the water was just too stirred up and the wind was still howling.

As you will see from previous trip reports, you often have to work hard for your dinner here, but this was a disaster. I gave up on Sunday and drove back inland to do a bit of work and see if I could catch something other than catfish, in the inland waterways.

1770 – Baffle Creek – Deepwater Creek – 4 September 2013

Wednesday

From Gayndah I drove north to Agnes Waters/ 1770 for the important part of the trip. Unfortunately the weather messed up my plans. No rain this time but a howling south-easterly blow.

I decided to do some exploring around Baffle Creek. I started on Wednesday morning at Flat Rock on Baffle Creek. There are a few submerged rock bars in this area. I walked out onto one in the pre-dawn light and cast a few soft plastics along the edge of the Mangroves.

Just after first light I caught a decent Bream – about 32 cm long, but as the sun came up everything went quiet. I moved down to the flats to the south of the boat ramp and cast around with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I had a few hits in the shallows but I could not hook up. I slowed the retrieve and caught a small flounder.

I carried on for an hour but I could not catch anything more, so I decided to switch locations. I drove into Deepwater National Park and decided to stop and fish along Deepwater Creek. This is a long meandering waterway that works its way out to the sea near Rules Beach. It is fresh at the top end but then flows over a small weir to meet the salty water. It is shallow and tannin stained but there are a few deep holes.

I swapped down to very light gear – 8lb leader and 1/8th, 1 hook jighead and a 3” GULP Crazylegs shad in the smelt colour. After all the rain earlier in the year, there was plenty of water in the system, but it was not running over the weir. I stopped at a few breaks in the vegetation on the bank and put in a few casts – no luck.

I followed a track off the road, down to the weir itself and decided to cast at the snags along the banks. There was plenty of bait close to the bank and something was lunging at it, periodically. I cast in close to the snags and lost a few jig heads.

After about an hour of peppering the area, I had not had a touch. I was about to give up. I cast in, under an overhanging branch, a few inches from the bank. The lure started to sink and there was a tail splash as something engulfed it. It took off hard for mid-stream. Then it leapt out of the water and I could see it was a small Barramundi.

It calmed down and I pulled it up onto the concrete. I was delighted to have my first barramundi. It was sitting on the salty side of the weir and was a golden bronze colour. I did not measure it but it was about 40 cm long. I took a few photos and sent it on its way. It was just before noon.

The wind had forced me to spend time exploring and it had paid off.

1770 – Baffle Creek – Flat Rock Ramp – 10/11 June 2013

Monday/ Tuesday

By Monday work was done and I was on my way back to Brisbane. I did have time for a quick stop at 1770. The weather was far from encouraging with heavy rain and persistent strong southeasterly winds. So on Monday morning I trekked round to the stretch of coast between Workman’s Beach and the beach I call Getaway Beach. This area is quite sheltered in a strong southerly. The top of the tide was just before dawn and I tried everything, big and small soft plastic and hard bodies – nothing raised a bite. The water was stirred up and murky and the swell made things tough. Every time I fished with heavy lures, I pulled up lots of weed and displaced rubbish from the bottom. When I fished lighter, I could not keep the lures in the water. After a few hours I gave up.

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

Tried everything in the tackle bag

Tried everything in the tackle bag

In the afternoon I decided to drive back to Brisbane, via Baffle Creek. I arrived at the Flat Rock boat ramp, just after lunch, at the top of the incoming tide. The wind was still a strong southerly and the rock bars to the east of the boat ramp were all covered in at least 30 cm of water. This area took a pummeling from the flooding, earlier in the year and there was plenty of evidence, with grass and debris still high up, in the mangroves. The ramp and picnic area were badly damaged but have now been repaired.

I waded out on the biggest rock bar just west of the picnic area and cast around the edges. The tide turned and started to run out just after 1.00 pm. There are big rock bars on either side of this channel. They form a funnel in the middle and on a big tide the water really races through. The water was quite clean at high tide, but got dirtier and dirtier as it ran out.

I started with GULP and Zman soft plastic on 1/6th oz, 1/0 jigheads. I had a few bites and watch the bait fish follow the lures in. Across from me on the other side of the channel, something was feeding in the eddies, formed by the opposite rock bar. I tried to land a few long casts in the right spot but I could not tempt them.

After about an hour, I move back upstream to the west of the boat ramp and cast around in the shallows. I was now fishing with my all-time favourite plastic, the humble 4 “ GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1 jighead. I was now down to 8lb leader, in the hopes of attracting a fish. After a few casts I did. It was a small dusky flathead. I continued along the sandy banks, casting at the base of the mangroves and soon found some more. I caught six in the next hour, but only two would have been just over 40 cm.

At about 3.00pm it was time to pack up. Overall, I had had a pretty disappointing couple of weeks on the fishing front. The fish had been small and hard to find. However, I had enjoyed exploring some new territory and as always, learning what does not work can be as important as learning what does. I found that when the going gets tough small, natural coloured soft plastics, like the GULP 4/3″ Minnows and light leaders, still produce results. The Zman Minnowz did not produce a fish on this trip – and they had plenty of outings. I will have to try their natural coloured minnow shaped range, but I still think the GULP scent and softer texture give their lures the edge. The weather had made things very hard but I believe the big flush out will set the area up for some great fishing in late winter. I am planning to get back up here as soon as I can.

1770 – Eurimbula Creek – 8 May 2013

Wednesday

With the weather showing no signs of improving, I decided it was futile to keep trying on the rocks, so on Wednesday, I drove back out to Eurimbula Creek. I arrived a little after first light and the tide was running in. The water was not quite so dirty here. I went back to basics and started by fishing with small, lightly weighted soft plastics, first a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger and then a 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After an hour with no luck I switched to a DUO Tetraworks Bivi, small, hard bodied vibe lure. This did not stir anything up either.

I decided to try a slightly bigger soft plastic and put on a GULP 4” Minnow, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The tide was running in fast, so I also upped the weight to a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. The water had now come over the sandy edge of the main channel. I dropped the lure over the edge and then retrieved it, pausing for as long as I could, right at the edge. I felt the small bait fish attack the lure on each retrieve and then, after about 10 casts, a bigger fish grabbed it. It was a dusky Flathead – just over 40 cm. After a few pictures it went back.

I moved nearer to the mouth of the creek and put on a GULP 3” Jigging Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour. I lost a few of these to the fast flowing current and the fallen trees. I rigged up for the third time and aimed the soft plastic at eddies around one of the snags. It was hit on the drop and the fish went straight into the tangle of roots. With the Loomis GL2 light spin rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader, I really did not have the power to fight a determined fish in heavy current – the fish was in charge. I backed off the drag a little and it swam out. I let it move about a metre away from the snag, tightened the drag and then increased the pressure again. It headed straight back in. We repeated this process 3 times until I eventually pulled out a 45 cm estuary cod. It was perfect cod terrain with overhanging mangrove roots and plenty of snags.

The rain showers kept coming. At about 10.00 am, I caught a couple of small grunter bream (javelin fish) – about 30 cm long. I had swapped back to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I have caught plenty of these in the creeks around here, especially after heavy rain. I put them back and carried on fishing, up and down the creek bank, as high tide came and went.

By about 11.00 am I had had enough and drove back to Agnes Water.

1770 – Workmans Beach – 7 May 2013

Tuesday

The wild weather continued; strong south-easterly winds and plenty of rain. On Tuesday morning I braved the rocks at the southern end of Workman’s Beach, near Agnes Water. This area is sheltered from a southerly and south-easterly and there is plenty of fishy looking territory.

After a few days of big seas, the water was all stirred up and a milky brown colour. I started with soft plastics and then switched to slugs and hard bodies, but nothing yielded results. The sun came out mid-morning, but not for long. As the day wore on, the wind picked up. It then brought the clouds back in. Just after lunch, there was another downpour, so I gave up. Tuesday had been my first zero fish session for quite some time!

Nothing seemed to work today

Nothing seemed to work today

1770 – Eurimbula Creek – 6 May 2013

Monday

Where did the weather come from? I had checked the forecast before I left Brisbane and apart from a bit of south-easterly wind there was virtually no rain forecast for the week. I woke up on Sunday night to a massive rain storm at 1770. By dawn on Monday the rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing 20 knots from the south-east.

At about 10.00 am I went for a drive down towards 1770 to try and fish the north, sheltered side of the headland. I parked by the Captain Cook monument and walked down the water’s edge. The water was already brown and muddy after all the rain and the tide was about half way through the run out. I fished for 30 minutes and then another heavy shower came over and soaked me so I gave up.

I dried off and drove back out of Agnes Water and down the track to the mouth Eurimbula Creek. This area is pretty flat and there was plenty of water over the road at various spots along the route. A few hours of solid rain and the drains and creeks soon fill up. I got through alright and parked at the edge of the camp ground. Unsurprisingly there were no campers around.

The sky looked ominous but it had briefly stopped raining. Eurimbula Creek mouth is also a bit sheltered from a south-easterly. The water was just as dirty as Round Hill Creek and the tide was still running out. As the tide drops it reveals a steep mangrove lined bank on the south side of the creek mouth. This is great fish holding structure but it is a little difficult to get to and fish from. The tide runs out fast creating some good eddies around the fallen trees and mangrove roots.

I fished with a few different soft plastics – bright colours, natural colours, paddle tails, shrimps and minnows. I had a few bites and whenever I pulled a lure in, it was surrounded by bait but I did not catch anything.

I swapped to a DUO Tetraworks Bivi, a small sinking vibe lure and hoped the vibrations might stir the fish up. There had been a few surface bust ups, so there were some fish around. The DUO Bivi weighs 3.8 grams and 40mm long. It casts like a bullet and has a great action. I cast it out, up-stream towards the far bank and let it sink. I then hopped it along the bottom with the current and tried to swim it as close to the snags as I could. I repeated this a few times and felt a few bumps. After about 20 minutes of fishing this lure, it was smashed close to the snags. Fortunately the fish took off towards the middle of the stream. I was fishing with the light spin rod so I did not have much power. The fish used the current and felt decent. After a little bit of back and forth, I pulled a trevally up the sandy bank. It was hooked through the tail.

That was it for the day – the rain came pouring down again and I headed home.