Bribie Island – Wild & Windy – 30 Sept 2010


Friday
With the SSE wind gusting to at least 25 knots this morning; I really should have stayed in bed. However there is something in all diehard fishermen that makes us think it might not really be that bad.
When I arrived at Bribie Island at 4.45 am it really was that bad. In fact, it was probably worse! The wind was howling from the south east, so the only option was to try and fish the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I waded out under the bridge at Bribie, on the island side, just before the first glow of dawn. There was no surface activity under the bridge lights – not a good sign. However things looked up after a couple of casts, as I caught a few Pike. I was using the 4” Gulp Minnow in Pearl Watermelon on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
There is some good submerged structure in this area. Between the third and the sixth bridge pylons there are some rocky outcrops. These are just visible at low tide. In amongst them are a few channels with a sandy bottom, dotted with clumps of tall sea weed. This area is just below the bridge lights and at night it is often a hive of activity. There are usually Flathead on the sandy bottom looking for the Pike and other baitfish that are drawn to the lights, on the surface. The dolphins often come surging in here, following the Pike.
This morning I walked round to the south and then cast up, into the run out tide, so that my lure was floating back with the current. I got snagged a few times in the weed and rocks but always managed to pull the jighead free. Just on dawn there was some surface commotion and I flicked the soft plastic straight into a jumping boil of Pike. A fish hit the lure instantly and the mad shaking and running indicated a chopper Tailor. I was right and I wound him in quickly. I did not want him to munch his way up through the leader. As soon as I got him to shore he shook the hook free. He was probably just legal size, but I released him after a couple of pictures. We are all still eating Flathead (see previous posts).
The wind was building as was the swell and after an hour or so, I had really exhausted my fishing options in this area. I headed home, cursing the weather gods all the way.

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Bribie Island – Bag of Flathead – 28 Sept 2010


Tuesday
I was back out wading around on Bribie Island this morning. The midges were doing their best to put people off and I swallowed more than a few for breakfast. With the weather warming up and the weed beds exposed at low tide, conditions are perfect for them.
I decided to focus on the sand flats at the bottom tip of the island. There is no defined rock ledge marking the edge of the Pumicestone Passage here. There is a smoother, sandy drop off, peppered with weed beds. With low tide around 5.30 am I was fishing the run in tide for most of the morning. I parked at Buckley’s Hole, waded out to about waist deep and then walked south, casting out in front of me, parallel with the shore.
I decided to start with the larger GULP 4” Minnow in the natural, Pearl Watermelon colour. This soft plastic lure looks remarkably like a pilchard in the water. As it was the bottom of the tide and there was no current flow, I rigged the soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. It was not long before I felt a solid hit on the lure. After a pause, I pulled up hard, then I thought I was snagged as I could hardly move the rod tip and line started to peel from the spool. But it wasn’t a rock it was a fish and initially it swam towards me so I got a little line back. Then I think it realised something was up or got fed up and started really thrashing around. With a couple of massive headshakes, it was off the hook and swam away. It was a big female Flathead. I consoled myself with the thought that it probably would have been too big to keep.
I carried on wading south putting long casts out in front of me and moving as quietly as I could. The bottom was predominantly sandy and fairly featureless now. I switched plastics to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour on the same jighead. After another 50 metres or so I had a bite, but no hook up. I cast back along the same trajectory, slowed my retrieve right down and added plenty of 3 second pauses. This time in the same spot I got a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip, paused and then struck. I had caught my first fish of the day, an under-size Flathead. I un-hooked and released it.
Now I had found them and over the next two hours, while wading another 200 metres or so, I caught 14 flathead, 8 or 9 were big enough to keep. So I took my bag limit of 5 and released the rest. I put on bigger soft plastics and smaller soft plastics but regardless of these different offerings, could not find any bigger fish. Everything was between 35cm and 45cm long.
I gave up around 10 am. I love this time of year – if you have been thinking of trying out soft plastics in the estuaries – now is the time.

Broomes Head – Sandon River – 23 Sept 2010

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Thursday
The weather was improving but the swell was still up, so fishing the rocks out in front of Broomes Head did not look like a good prospect. I decided to go and have a look at the Sandon River, just 15 minutes drive to the south. This is small river system with a tidal estuary that has patches of mangroves, sandbanks and weed beds. There are also various submerged structures left over from the long abandoned oyster leases. It is very shallow so there is hardly any boat traffic.
I arrived just on dawn and put on a small Gulp 3”Minnow soft plastic lure in the Pearl Watermelon colour. It was almost a full moon and the tide was a fairly high one. High tide would be around 8.00 am. The water was running in fast, so I used a 1/6th ounce, size 1 jighead, which sinks fairly quickly. I waded out into about 70cm of water and started to cast around on the sand flats and in between the weed beds. I started at a small bay, by some broken oyster racks, about 1 km from the mouth of the river, on the north shore. The water was crystal clear and schools of good size mullet and whitebait were everywhere. After a few casts I caught an undersized flathead.
I carried on towards the river mouth and as I reached a stretch of Mangrove lined shore, I came upon a large school of Luderick sitting around the Mangrove roots. They weren’t interested in the soft plastic lures, but just beyond them I caught a better size, 44 cm flathead. After a couple of hours, and one more under-size flathead, I gave up. This is a beautiful, pristine river and in calmer conditions, the river mouth would also offer superb rock fishing. I will definitely be back.

Broomes Head Lagoon – Wild & Windy – 21 Sept 2010

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Tuesday

I am just back from a trip down to Broome’s Head, just south of Yamba, in northern New South Wales. It is typical of the rocky headlands on that stretch of coast. You can fish on either side of the headland depending on the prevailing winds. However last week the weather really made things difficult. On Monday it rained all day while an enormous swell smashed over the rock ledges. I am pretty keen on my fishing but I could not find anywhere I could cast from.

Tuesday was better – well at least the rain had stopped. The seas were still enormous, with a three metre swell. Fortunately the northern side of Broomes Head has a sheltered lagoon. Just on dawn, I waded out into the lagoon and got as close as I could to its mouth. I cast out a 3” GULP Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I wanted to keep my rig as light as possible to avoid getting snagged on the rocky bottom. I got a couple of touches and saw a few Long Toms following the lure in. After a few more casts, I hooked up with a small Bream – around 25cm. Then a couple of casts later I hooked up to a better fish. When I got him to me, he was a small golden Trevally. I hooked a couple more under-size Bream and a Moses Perch from this position before deciding to try to get closer to the lagoon’s entrance.

At its eastern edge the lagoon is filled through a gap in a long ridge of rocks. Here at the mouth of the lagoon there is some deeper water on either side. The outside of the lagoon entrance was far too rough to fish. But by walking out along the rocky ridge I found a spot from where I could cast into the deeper water just inside the lagoon. I started with the 4” GULP Swimming Mullet soft plastic on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I could not really let it settle for more than a few seconds on the retrieve, for fear of losing it to the rocks or kelp beds. I gradually got a feel for where I could stop and start the retrieve and what the sink rate was. After about 30 minutes of peppering the area with casts I caught a very good Bream – just on 35cm. On the next cast I caught another Bream, a bit smaller but also a good fish. Then things went quiet on the fish front and the wind was really howling. I switched to a 3”GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour and cast it out into the wash at the foot of the rocks. Just as I was about to lift the lure from the water it was grabbed by a big dark shape. The fish took the lure down deep into the kelp at the foot of the rocks and then just sat there. I was only running a 10lb leader so I decided to ease off the pressure and let him swim out of his hiding place. I dropped the rod tip and counted to ten then pulled hard. It worked and I slid a very decent fish up on to the rock ledge at my feet. After giving it the once over, I decided it was a Morwong or Mother-in-law fish of some kind and kept it for the table. I later found out it was a Spotted Hind. It did not taste much good and apparently is quite common down here. I now had plenty of fish for a family supper so I headed off for a hot shower.

Landangler’s View – Fishing Forums

I bet they wish they had BFO/ AUSFISH/ NUGGET/ TACKLEBOX in those days

Warning this is not a fishing report or a tackle tip or even a “How to catch Mullet on my Grannies week old banana fritters” article. This is Landangler’s view. My take on something vaguely related to fishing that I have decided to share with you whether you like it or not.
What is it about the keyboard? It removes inhibitions faster than Bundaberg rum. People will happily type things they would not dream of saying. Punctuation goes out the window, correct spelling is optional and text speak creeps in, LOL. It’s so much easier to just blurt out a verbal vomit in an email or a tweet, or on an online forum, which brings me to my topic for today – Fishing Forums.
Over the last few years, prior to starting the Landangler Blog, I have been regularly posting fishing reports in online fishing forums – and overall, I love them. They are a great way to share information and stories. They put like minded people together. They provide solace when you think you are the only sad bugger who fished all day for one undersize Moses Perch and a 23.5cm suicidal blind Bream. But lurking out there in cyberspace are some interesting characters, with fairly fanatical views.
Let’s call our first on-line fishing forum poster – Big Boat Big Esky Bill. Bill loves to catch anything and everything and loves to tell anyone and everyone, all about it. Whatever you have caught, Big Bill has caught a bigger one. However many fish you have caught, Big Bill has caught more. He usually posts to let you know that even though you thought you had a great session, you have used the wrong; bait, line, rod, lure, sinker, leader, hook and were wearing the wrong sunglasses. He also lets you know that he knows all about that spot and used to get more, bigger fish there, when he was nine. Of course back then, he fashioned hooks from old safety pins and used his unravelled old school jumper wrapped around an empty ginger beer bottle, for line. Despite his forthright opinions, Big Bill can rarely string together a fishing report. When he does manage something it reads along the lines of: “Went to super secret spot X, one day last week and caught a massive snapper on my favourite secret lure/bait. It was 25 kg but unfortunately didn’t have the camera.” Thanks Bill.
Next is Newbie. Newbie has just joined the forum and he will do anything to escape his novice status. He logs on every 30 seconds to check if anyone has read his posts. He posts a response to everybody else’s posts. This is usually something highly informative or insightful like: “Nice fish”, “Well done” or “Good on ya”. I can imagine that Newbie has the attention span of a small insect. He is permanently plugged into his iplod whilst constantly texting, Tweeting, Facebooking and probably twitching. After about five hundred posts Newbie finally reaches ‘Gold’ status – then we never hear from him/ her again. Thank goodness for that!
Now onto EcoFish Ed – Yes, you guessed – Ecofish Ed is a committed environmentalist, but you didn’t need to guess that because he is going to tell you all about it. You can almost smell his Birkenstock sandles and see him sitting in his Toyota Prius deciding on which lead free hooks to use. He actually pays the electricity company the extra cash every month for the ‘green’ power. Ed releases every fish he catches – in fact, he rarely catches anything so as not to harm the environment. He never eats fish or anything else – he is a vegan – so he survives on soy sawdust bars and organic vegetables. He vigorously patrols the forums pointing out our environmental failings at every opportunity. He attacks, without mercy, anyone who keeps more than one fish for dinner and if he uses his forensic photoshop techniques to determine your flathead is 39.8cm long – God help you.
One of my favourites is Optmistic Ollie . He makes even the crappiest of us look good by never catching anything – but he has always got something chirpy to say about it and his positive attitude cannot be dented. “Took a run out into Moreton Bay this arvo to look for some Snapper. I crashed the car at the boat ramp, scraped the hull on some shallow reef, the young fella vomited all over the sounder, forgot the bait and we snagged all our lures, didn’t get a touch from the fish all day. Unfortunately a storm came over and the wind whipped up to 25 knots. Got done by the water police on the way back in, because of a hole in a life jacket. Sorry no pics as I dropped the camera over board. Even though we came home empty handed – we all had a great time – what a wonderful day to be out on the water.”
Then there is Inappropriate Ian. Ian uses the forum a bit like the telephone. He does not seem to realise that the whole world can read his posts and is therefore listening in. He responds to every report by his mates in a chummy fashion with a reference to some private joke or shares some totally inane private titbit with us, just to emphasise that he knows the bloke who is posting. “Great bag of Snapper you got there Dave. Saw Marge at Aldi yesterday she was buying some lamb chops, they were on special – How is she going with the piles?” or “Nice Bream Brucie – can’t believe Dazzer did the dirty on Suzie and is now shacked up with the Kinde teacher.”
Finally there is Tedious Tim. He likes to start from the very very very beginning. You get it all from Tim. Which rod, which reel, which line, which lure, when he went fishing, where he went fishing what the tide was doing, what the wind was doing, what the moon was doing, which hat he was wearing , when he put his sunscreen on, which brand of insect repellent he used, which underpants he chose etc. His posts frequently have to be broken into two parts and you are often fast asleep by the time you reach the bit where he catches a fish. He rarely gets to go out fishing as he spends most of his time writing his reports.
Keep up the good work fishing forums – there maybe be a few nutjobs around and we may not all agree on what makes a good days fishing – but the fishing world is a better place for all those posts!

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole – 17 Sept 2010

Friday
I am off to Broomes Head in northern New South Wales next week so I thought I would get a quick fishing trip in before departure.
I headed up to Bribie and straight for the flats to the south of Buckley’s Hole, arriving around 9.30 am. The water was fairly clear and the tide was running in. I put a 3” GULP Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th ounce weight, size 1 hook, jighead. I then waded south gradually from Buckley’s Hole, casting up into the run-in tide, just on top of the ledge that runs parallel with the shore.
It was not long before I found the fish. First a couple of Pike attacked the lure and then, a few minutes later I found the flathead. They were in just about 60cm of water sitting in the hollows in the weed beds that are just starting to sprout. In that first spot I caught two undersize flathead, both around the 35cm mark.
I moved on and kept putting in long casts out over the sand flats. Suddenly the lure was slammed, the line started peeling and the rod tip was rattling. I had a chopper Tailor on the lure, about 30 cm long. The water was crystal clear and as I wound him towards me, I could see a monster (70cm plus) Flathead following him. Was he going to eat the Tailor or had been following the plastic? I was hopeful, although not quite sure how to play it. I did not have to wait and see as, at that moment, the Tailor munched his way through the 10lb leader and was off. The Flathead sat there, looking disappointed. Then I cast the lure at the sand a metre or so in front of him, but he just turned and swam slowly away into deeper water.
I carried on towards Red Beach and caught another three flathead in similar terrain. Two were just legal size at around 43-44cm, and one was smaller. After a couple of hours of good fishing I headed back to Brisbane.
I will be posting my Broomes Head reports when I get back on the 27th September.

Bribie Island – Plenty of Flathead – 14 Sept 2010


Tuesday
After a really disappointing land-based fishing session at Bribie Island (see previous post)on Sunday, I was a little concerned on when we were going to eat fish next. Rain was forecast for Tuesday morning but I had to get back out there. So I was up early and fishing under the Bribie Bridge, on the island side at about 4.45am.
I started on the south side of the bridge – a logical spot as the tide was running out and the fish often feed in the eddies, behind the pylons. I put on a 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. The water was moving fairly slowly so I rigged it on 1/8th 1 jighead. After a few casts up under the bridge, I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. It was only a little one so I photographed it and sent it on its way.
The northerly breeze had blown most of the weed away. This enabled me to try a 1/4oz blade vibration lure in amongst the bridge pylons. The tide was running out and would be low at about 7.00 am. I gradually waded to the north side of the bridge. I was now standing at the foot of the oyster covered rocks in the sand, in about 70cm of water, casting as close as I could to the foot of the third bridge pylon. Just as the sun started to rise behind me, a fish hit the blade. I dropped the rod tip for a few seconds and then I struck. After a few headshakes I had my first Snapper on a blade. At about 25cm he was not going to be dinner and back he went.
It was a good start but after another half an hour and a few Pike, I decided to move. I drove down to Bongaree and waded out onto the sand flats in front of Buckley’s Hole. The Pike were plentiful here as well. Just on low tide another angler, further along the beach, pulled in a nice 70cm flathead on a whole, fresh herring bait.
I decided to move south, along the coffee rock ledge, in the direction of Red Beach. My strategy was to target the Flathead as they moved up over the ledge with the incoming tide. The water was now very clear and the sun was fairly bright. Although it seems counter intuitive, I have often been told that these are the best conditions to use a bright coloured plastic. So I switched to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the green and orange Lime Tiger colour. After about 15 minutes this seemed to pay off as my line came up tight on another small flathead. I carried on and after covering another 10 metres or so, I was on to a much bigger fish. The problem in fighting a fish in this location is that they will immediately try to get themselves back down deep, below the rock ledge. You need to keep their head above the ledge and walk them back towards the beach, the drag needs to be set fairly tight to achieve this and with only a ten pound leader you really have to be careful. Perhaps I was pulling too hard or had not really set the hook properly. Either way, almost as soon as the Flathead came into view (about 3 metres away), it dropped the hook. It just sat there on the sandy bottom for a few moments then turned and made its way back, very slowly, to the ledge. It had two smaller fish following it the whole time. A few metres further on and I caught yet another undersize flathead.
I switched back to the Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and as the tide was now running in quite strongly, I put it onto a 1/6th oz 1 hook jighead. I felt a knock on the first retrieve and after a few more casts in the same spot, I hooked up with 48cm Flathead. I walked it back to the shore and finally I had something to keep for dinner. Using the same tactics I caught four more undersize fish as I gradually waded south. By now it was around 9.15 am and I was almost at the point where the shore turns left and becomes Red Beach. I decided to give myself a few more casts before turning for home. I clearly saw a decent Flathead just miss my lure as I lifted it up at the end of the retrieve. So I immediately cast it out just a couple of metres away, in the same direction and let it sit on the bottom for 10 seconds. As I lifted it, it was smashed by what I presume was the same fish. After a long walk back to the beach I pulled it safely up onto the sand and it was the best fish of the day – a 60cm Flathead. It was now starting to rain so with two nice fish for dinner; I called time on the session and headed back to Brisbane.