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.