Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 7 December 2015

Monday

I had time for a quick fishing session on the flats at Bribie Island. School holidays had not really started so I was still hopeful that I would find dinner. I wanted to fish the run out tide. Low tide would be at 12.40 pm. It had been fairly windy with strong northerlies blowing for the few previous days. Today a strong south-easterly was forecast and it was blowing at about 20 knots from that direction, when I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge.

I parked on the mainland side and walked out under the bridge.  The new café is now open at the old oyster jetty so there is now plenty of space to observe the fishing opportunities in this area. I don’t think there will be a sudden flood of anglers, as the mud and oyster covered rocks will put all but the diehard flathead hunters off.

I was fishing with my light rod and reel spinning combination. I have swapped back to the NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod. This rod picks up even the slightest of bites and although it does not have any grunt it can handle a good sized flathead. I was using the 2500 size Shimano Stella reel with it. I think the braid on the reel is about 8lb breaking strain Sunline Super PE in the bright green colour. I was using about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I started fishing with a large GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. After twenty minutes, I had passed the jetty with no bites, so I swapped down to GULP 4” Minnow in the green camo colour. Perhaps I had just found the fish or the change of lure and the fresh scent it contained, woke the fish up, but I almost immediately got a bite. I thought I had the fish hooked but after a couple of runs it was gone. I cast back at the same spot and slowed things down. On about my sixth repeat cast the fish grabbed the soft plastic again. I paused and dropped the rod tip for a few seconds. It took off again and I was sure it was hooked but unfortunately it wriggled off again.

I waded slowly south. Just before I reached the green channel marker, I saw a couple of big squid hovering in the shallows. I cast my plastic at them and managed to hook one through the wing. I slowly pulled it in, relieved that I would at least bring home something for supper.

The tide slowed and then started to run in. The wind made things very tough but I just could not find the fish. I swapped through lots of different shaped and coloured soft plastics but did not stir up any interest.

Finally at about 1.50 pm, with the tide running in and the water very stirred up, I felt an obvious bite. I was now fishing with the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour (probably my all-time favourite flathead soft plastic). This time the jighead pulled home and I reeled the fish in. It was only a 30cm flathead – but at least it was a fish! I photographed it and let it go.

I waded slowly back across the exposed flats. There were soldier crabs everywhere so there is plenty of food for the fish here. I did not see any flathead lies so maybe the persistent northerly winds have blown them off to another spot for a while. The northerlies seem to have flattened out the terrain quite a bit in the last few months. At about 2.30 pm I gave up for the afternoon.

Bribie Island – Bongaree – 22 September 2015

Tuesday

Its school holidays and it already feels like a chore reminding my teenagers that fresh air and limb movement are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. So kicking and screaming, I confiscated their phones and forced them into the car on Tuesday morning, to drive them up to Bribie Island. Obviously, a pre-dawn start was out of the question and we rolled into Bongaree, at the southern tip of the island, just after 8.00 am.

I have not fished here for quite a while. The shifting sands are the only constant feature. The new stepped sea wall on either side of the Seaside Museum creek drain is the latest feature. This has already had quite an effect. The coffee rock ledge that runs along the whole edge of the Pumicestone Passage has been covered in sand in some parts and stripped down to rock in others.

My children wandered off to Scoopy’s to find lattes and a nutritious breakfast that probably comprised mainly of hot chips – well at least I had succeeded in getting them to leave the house! I wandered south towards Buckley’s Hole. The sky was clear the breeze was light and low tide would be at 9.07am . I wandered passed a couple who had a few baits out and were in the process of reeling in a small bream.

I waded out slowly and quietly towards the edge of the coffee rock ledge. I was casting a small soft plastic GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with my light spin rod and reel combination and there were plenty of small schools of similair sized bait fish, hovering over the edge of the ledge.

The first taker was a small pike. It slammed the soft plastic, just as I pulled it over the ledge. It was followed by another, on the next cast. A few casts, later I caught another. Pike are often look very striped when they are caught and displaying their distress colours.  I moved a little further south and, about 10 minutes later, I found another patch of pike. I tried a few different soft plastics but I could not find any fish other than the pike.

The tide had slowed, turned and started to run in. The beach had started to fill with families, kayaks, inflatables and fisherman and of all ages. It was now about 10.30 am. I waded back towards the Seaside Museum. I was back fishing with the 3” Minnow soft plastic. I saw a two large amber speckled shapes moving slowly just beneath the surface, parallel with the ledge. I cast my soft plastic just in front of them and one diverted to miss it. I quickly wound in and cast again. This time I retrieved the plastic quickly across the surface and jagged the creature. It was a squid and I had sunk the jig head in to one of its wings. I slowly wound it in, keeping up the pressure but being careful not to pull the hook out. As it got close to shore it started pumping out black ink in big bursts. I carefully picked it up and let it empty its ink.

I fished on for a while but could not find anymore and by 11.00 am my children were threatening to report me to social services for child abuse, if I did not get them back to their mobile phones. I was happy – mission ‘fresh air’ had been accomplished and we would be having calamari for dinner.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 9 September 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday the forecast was for light winds and a clear day. I could not resist another spell at Bribie on the sand/ mud flats, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. Low tide would be in the middle of the day at 12.36pm.

The wind had dropped off significantly from the day before but it was now cooler and coming from the south west, at about 10 knots. The sky was clear and so was the water. As I walked out under the bridge a couple of Kiwis arrived, one with a fly rod. I politely explained that there were no trout to be had here. I reckon it’s hard enough catching a fish with a regular rod but it seems there is always someone looking for an additional challenge. At least with the wind behind them they were in with a chance.

It was about 9.45am and I started off casting into about 60cm of water, just to the north of the bridge. The tide was running out fast over the weed covered boulders that dot the gravel bottom, in this area. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour loaded onto a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using my light spin rod with 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 12lb braid. The first flathead was lying amongst the boulders about 10 metres north of the bridge. It grabbed the plastic and I landed it safely. It was about 44cm long.

I moved south under the bridge and waded under the old oyster jetty, casting as I went. The jetty now has a selection of fairy lights hung along it and a railing down one side. I hope the fairy lights will attract more bait.

I fished around fairly thoroughly in the area just north of the jetty but did not get any bites. It was about an hour before I found another flathead. Just to the north of where the big drain empties out into the main channel. By now I had swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. This soft plastic is a Jerkshad with a prong shaped split tail which flutters as it hops and sinks. It is a great lure. Its only problem is that dart, bream and other small fish often bite the tails off. I cast it out beyond the dark edge of the weed beds and paused for 10 seconds. I slowly hopped it back along the bottom. After a few hops a felt the solid thud as the fish hit it. I dropped the tip and counted slowly to 10. I lifted again and hooked the fish. It was another 45 cm flathead.

I carried on wading the south and fishing with the big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. I soon found a couple more under sized flathead and released them. At about 11.00 am I was halfway between the jetty and the green channel marker, standing about 3 metre back from edge of the weed beds. I had hooked another flathead and was taking a few photographs of it, as I reeled it in. It suddenly got very animated and started leaping out of the water. As I pulled it closer a sanding coloured shape loomed up on its tale and I understood its concern. It looked like a big wobbegong, about 1.5m long, but its more pointed nose and uniform colour suggested it was some other kind of shark. When it saw me it turned away and decided not to pursue its lunch.

I carried on towards the channel marker and caught 3 more keeper sized flathead and another 4 undersized fish, which were all released. At about noon the tide had slowed and I decided to give up. Another bagful of flathead and a great morning of fishing.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 September 2015

Tuesday

It looks like winter maybe behind us and we are in to the sub-tropical spring which usually lasts all of two weeks. I was back in Brisbane and decided to drive up to Bribie Island on Tuesday, to look for some flathead.

I chose to fish the flats in front of the old oyster jetty at the newly opened Sandstone Point Hotel. I thought it would be easy but initially at least, the fish were quite hard to find. I started at about 8.45am with low tide set for about 11.30 am. The wind was forecast to be light at first rising quickly to 15 knot north easterly. However, within 20 minutes of my arrival the wind was gusting 15 to 20 knots and the water was weedy and very stirred up.

I moved south from the bridge fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce size 1 hook jighead with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This yielded absolutely no bites. After an hour, I was south of the old oyster jetty battling the weed and wind. I decided to swap to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts, I felt a solid bite but pulled the rod tip up too quickly and did not connect with the fish. I slowed things down and cast out to the same spot. I paused and let the plastic stop for a while, just where I thought the fish was. This time it worked. I lifted the rod tip and the fish was there. It was a small flathead just over 40cm long.

It was now 10.10 am and I was wading steadily to the south as the tide ran out. I followed the edge of the weed beds but as the water got shallower and murkier it became difficult to see where to cast. Gradually I started to find the fish. I caught a couple more small flathead at about 10.30 am and then a 50cm fish just before 11.00 am.

I had now reached the green channel marker. I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and this almost instantly got a bite. It was another smaller flathead. I waded slowly back to the bridge and caught another six flathead on the journey. They were fairly spread out but seemed easier to tempt at the bottom of the tide.

I ended up with 4 fish over 40cm which is a good dinner. But the wind and weed had made it hard.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – A bagful of flathead – 28 July 2015

Tuesday

I could not get away for dawn and it has been so cold lately that I was glad I did not have to. But I could make it to Bribie to fish my favourite spot, for a few hours, mid-morning. High tide had passed at about 6.30 am and it would be low at 12.30 pm. The wind was a light south-westerly.

I arrived at about 9.00 am, pulled on my waders and wandered out under the bridge. The full moon was three days away, but the bigger of the daily high tides had been in the morning. This sometimes helps the fishing. On the bigger overnight high tides the fish have deeper water, to follow the bait up into the shallows and feed. Flathead will often remain in the shallows until they are only covered by 10 cm of water as the tide runs out.

I was fishing with my NS Blackhole light spin rod and Shimano Stradic 2500 reel. I was using 10lb braid and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I was trying out my new favourite GULP soft plastic – the 5 inch Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour. I had it rigged on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.

I soon found a flathead just to the north of the jetty on the edge of the weed. It was about 45cm long. I then found the pike who seemed to also like the jerkshad. They were clustered around the larger weed clumps.

I moved south and kept catching flathead. I caught 8 more fish over 45cm in the next three hours and a few that were too small. I kept the bag limit of five and released the rest. They were spread all along the edge of the weed beds and the pike were everywhere. As the run out tide slackened towards low, the bite dropped off a little. I finished up at 12.30 pm after another great session.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 20 July 2015

Monday

On Monday the weather looked windy and unsettled but it was forecast to get worse through the week, so I thought I would try an early morning session on the Bribie oyster jetty flats, in front of the new Sandstone Point Hotel.

The wind was a cold south-westerly forecast to turn northerly around lunch time. In a south-westerly it is better to fish the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, as the land gives you some shelter.

Low tide would be at 6.00 am. So I could probably stay fishing the best areas until about 9.00 am. By then the incoming tide would push me back away from the edge of the weed beds, where the flathead seem to congregate.

I waded out just after 6.30 am and the sky was very cloudy. The water was fairly dirty and not really running in yet. The sun came up at about 6.45 am and briefly showed beneath the clouds. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour rigged on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using 12lb leader.

I found the pike first, just to the south of the old oyster jetty. They were actually pretty hard to get past. They were also big and aggressive – several were over 40cm long. They finally seemed to leave the lures alone as I moved further south.

I found the first flathead of the day at about 7.10 am. It was a solid fish about 55cm long. I carried on wading south and found a steady stream of fish. The pike kept up turning up and a couple of times I was bitten off clean (could have been tailor or perhaps just really big toothy pike).

At 7.30 am I found another slightly smaller flathead. Then I came across several more. I soon had 4 keeper size flathead in the bag all form the same soft plastic. Then a big nasty grey cloud came over and gave me a good soaking.

The wind picked up and I was cold so I turned around and waded back towards the bridge. I kept casting and found a couple more undersized flathead. Fortunately I found one more 45cm fish just short of the end of the jetty, so I managed a full bag.

The weather was dodgy but the fish are definitely there at the moment.

Bribie – A few flathead from the oyster jetty flats – 12 May 2015

Tuesday

Up to Bribie Island again to find some more flathead. The cooler months – from March through to September – are traditionally a very good time to fish on south east Queensland. The pike, bream and flathead all fire up and occasionally the mulloway also arrive.

On Tuesday morning I was up early and wading out under the bridge at about 5.30 am. It was before first light so I decided to have a cast around under the bridge lights on the mainland side. There is always plenty of bait in this location and this morning was no exception. The water was cool and the Pike were surging around having a snap at the smaller fish.

The tide had been high at about 3.45 am and was running out. I cast at the areas of dark water just on the edge of the halo from the lights. I was working the area just north of the bridge around eth mangrove roots. I was fishing with the new Loomis light sin rig and a10lb fluorocarbon leader. I had loaded it with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. The first taker was a small flathead, about 35cm long, who was sitting in the shallows. I released it and a few minutes later connected with a series of hungry pike.

As the sky turned red I moved south. The sun came over the horizon at about 6.20 am and soon afterwards I found another flathead. This one was big enough to keep at about 43 cm long. I released it and moved under the jetty.

I could see something moving in the water a little beyond the end of the jetty and heard a blow a little like the sound the turtles sometimes make when they surface. About a minute later I heard it again and turned to see a swirl in the same spot. I realised it was a dugong sitting in the 2.5m deep channel that runs through the rocky/reefy area in front of the jetty. I stopped and watched it surface and sink for about 10 minutes. I have never seen one moving along these sea grass beds but I am sure they come and go fairly regularly.

I moved south and left the dugong to its business. There were lots of swirls on the surface and I realised there was a big school of mullet swimming around over the weed. I waded round the corner towards Sandstone Point and watched as the resident long toms harassed my soft plastic lure. There were mullet schools everywhere here but I could not find anything lurking beneath them. I waded around following them for the next ninety minutes with no luck.

I moved back towards the big sandbank and started casting along its edge. I had now swapped to a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour.  At about 8.20 am I felt a grab but did not hook up. I cast back in the same spot and this time I hooked another just legal flathead. I released it and peppered the area with casts but there were no more takers in the area.

I moved down to the edge of the major weed banks that line the main channel, in the direction of the green channel marker. At about 8.40 am I found another flathead, also about 45cm long. Once more, I could not find any others in close proximity. I turned back towards the jetty and waded along the edge of the sandbanks, casting as I went. At 9.00 am I caught my final flathead of the session just short of the jetty.

I waded back to the car. I had caught a few fish but it had been fairly hard work and they had been very spread out. The amount of bait in the water was very encouraging but I could not find the flathead bunched up anywhere – maybe next time.