I have been away for most of January. I was on a holiday that did not include any fishing – a complete waste of time and money, in my opinion. But the family seemed to enjoy it.
I was therefore dead keen to get back amongst the fish. Unfortunately my return coincided with the weather turning pretty wild. There was the tropical cyclone crossing the coast further north and the wind had been blowing fairly solidly from the east or south east, all week. The change from persistent northerlies also meant the temperature had dropped a bit.
Conditions at Bribie Island did not look great on Friday. There would be a 10 to 15 knot easterly wind and there would be a very low 0.2m tide at 3.17 am. First light would be at about 4.55 am, but it was new moon. The tide would be running in fast, at dawn, but I would be able to reach my favourite spots for about an hour.
I set off from Brisbane at 4.00 am and arrived at Bongaree, outside the Seaside Museum, just before 5.00 am. The place is currently a building site. The council has finally decided to properly rebuild the seawall on either side of the museum drain. They have completed the work on the north side and are currently working on the south side. The stepped sea wall will probably change the way the currents and sandbanks form, at the mouth of the drain. This should give us some new and interesting fishing opportunities.
At 5.00 am all was quiet. The tide had turned in and I arrived during the first of many light showers that continued through the morning. I started fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8thounce, 1/0 jighead. I tied it on to some new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I popped in to see Nigel from http://www.gatewaybaitandtackle.com.au a few weeks ago and he suggested I give it a try. It seems like a great leader and almost as important it comes in a great little dispenser. It feels like it is probably tougher than the rated 10lb – I was hoping to give it a good work out and find out.
It was gloomy and I edged my way towards the drop off that runs along this section of beach. The sand banks are always moving around in this location, so I usually poke the ground in front of me with my rod. I have seen more than one keen angler wade boldly over the edge and filled my own waders, a few times.
I found the edge and cast over it. I got a couple of hits on the first cast. A few casts later, I caught a tiny moses perch and then another. I caught about 6 of these on various plastics and also found a ‘Happy Moment’. I moved up and down the ledge for about an hour.
I tried swapping to a small MARIA MS 1 D45 SP hard bodied lure. This is a 3.4g, 45mm, suspending deep diving minnow. It is very light but will get down to about 1 metre, very quickly. As with many of the lures still made in Japan, it is beautifully crafted. I was using an olive green colour. The moses perch and whiting kept attacking it but I did not hook any. I covered the same ground that I had with the soft plastics but did not catch anything.
The incoming tide had pushed me a long way back from the edge and another, heavier shower had started up so I decided to swap locations. I crossed back over the bridge and waded out to the south, under the bridge. The water was already up around the mangrove roots along the shore and coming in fast. It was now just before 7.30 a.m. I waded along the edge of the mangroves, past the old oyster jetty to the drain, which runs around the corner from Sandstone Point. The easterly wind was now picking up and the water was getting choppy.
I was back using the soft plastic lures and had tried a GULP 2” Shrimp in the New Penny colour with no luck. I swapped up to a heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead as the wind, swell and current made it too difficult to fish a 1/8th ounce. I also swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow in the grey/ black and white Smelt colour.
A very grey morning
Plenty of new structure
Small moses perch at Bongaree
Tough conditions but a good fish
It took a while
A 50 cm flathead from Bribie
GULP Smelt Minnow does the trick
The tide was getting higher and so was the wind and there were not really many places to cast from. I was about to give up when I felt a touch on a slow retrieve. I cast back in approximately the same location and let the lure sink, until I was sure it was on the bottom. I waited about 15 seconds then hopped it off the floor and I felt a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip again and then paused. Then I struck. The rod tip bent over and a little line peeled away and then the tip started wriggling. I finally had a fish.
The current helped the fish and it took a bit of line. I looked for a gap in the mangroves, behind me. The tide had come up and there were not many options. I let the fish play itself out in the open water and then slowly pulled it towards the shore. The big tide and wind had created a floating carpet of loose weed, about a metre deep at the foot of the mangroves. I managed to skid the fish over the top of it and find some firm ground.
It was a fine example of the dusky flathead species, about 50 cm long. It had been hard won and would make a perfect lunch. It was good to be back in business.