3.45 am – Rain and wind – but at least it was a south easterly wind, this time. If you like to sleep in, land based fishing in Queensland, in summer, is probably not for you. I drove up to Bribie hoping that the rain would blow over. By the time I got there it was raining harder than ever. I pulled on the rain gear and waders, under cover of the petrol station, then drove down to the mainland side of the bridge and walked down to the bank. The rain had eased a little and I now had the bridge for shelter it was about 4.15 am. The tide was just a little more than half way out.
I was using my light spinning rod and reel – a 6’6” Loomis GL2 (Fast Action – rated 4 to 8lb) and a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel. The line was 6lb/ 2.8kg Fireline, with a 1.5 metre leader of 10lb fluorocarbon. I started with a 1/8th 1/0 jig head and rigged a GULP 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour. I started casting along the line of the mangrove trees, to the north of the bridge, a couple of metres offshore. There was no more than 20cm of water, but after a few casts I hooked my first fish of the day – a 25cm Flathead. I sheltered under the bridge as another rain shower came over and continued to cast the soft plastic up into the run out tide and bump it down towards me. The rain was really pouring but it didn’t deter the fish. After a couple of retrieves, I had another undersize Flathead.
The rain stopped and I moved to the south side of the bridge and swapped soft plastics to the GULP 4” Minnow in the Vader colour. I was still close in to the bank but casting just south of the bridge pylons. The ground is a bit rocky here so you will lose jig heads, but the channels in between the rocks are where the Flathead lie, waiting to ambush the baitfish as they are washed out on the tide. After a couple of casts in this area a fish grabbed the plastic and swam with it, almost to my feet before letting it go. I cast back in the same spot and slowed it all down. After a couple of hops, bang! I had another fish. This one was a keeper at about 45cm.
Given how many sharks are around at the moment and how murky the water is, I decided to put the fish in the keeper bag and hang it on a mangrove branch, rather than slosh around in the water with it. It was now getting light and I started to move out into deeper water, to the south of the bridge, casting up, inside the rocky bommy that is next to the 4th or 5th bridge pylon. I caught another undersize Flathead on the Vader minnow soft plastic and decided to experiment a bit. I put on the GULP 5” Crazy Legs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour and cast it up under the bridge. A few seconds after it hit the water it was smashed. I started losing line but before I had even started to work the reel – ping! It was gone. I think it had pulled the leader onto a rock and rubbed through.
I put the same plastic on again and this time an undersize Flathead grabbed it. I released it, straightened the plastic and cast it back out. A few casts later, I had a better fish on. I carefully dragged it out of the rocky area, and then let it run off a bit of steam. As it was a decent fish I decided to pull it back to the shore. It was another Dusky Flathead – the best of the day at 63cm.
I carried on moving south over the weed beds and also fished the flats to the south of the old oyster jetty. I switched between a few different soft plastics and ended up concluding that they all work when the fish are there and hungry – not much of an experiment. I also caught a few small flounder that seem to like the minnow shaped plastics. I ended up completely soaked but with a full bag of five Flathead from 42cm to 63cm. I released another six undersize flathead and a couple of Flounder. That is a good mornings fishing!