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.