Brisbane River – Boggy Creek Shark – 29 March 2011

Tuesday

With the wind still blowing and rain threatening there were not many good options on Tuesday. I decided to go down to Boggy Creek on the Brisbane River again. I arrived about 7.15am and the tide had only just started to run out.

There was lots of surface action, close to the far bank, just under the foot bridge, so I focused on that area. I started with a 1/6th 1/0 jighead, rigged with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Once the tide starts to run, the water flows very fast under the bridge. The narrowing of the creek at the bridge footings creates a fast-moving channel that is reasonably deep in the middle. I have caught Bream, Flathead, Tailor, Estuary Cod and Jewfish in this spot. The fish seem to gather in the eddies, that form on either side, depending on which way the tide is running.

A predator was surging up into the bait schools or jelly prawns that were sitting in these eddies, but I could not tempt it with my soft plastic lure. I switched to a ¼ oz vibration blade in a silvery green colour. I covered the same area with casts but still did not get any bites.

I moved along the bank, towards the creek mouth and came across a dead shark. It must have been caught the night before. It seems a shame to leave a creature like this to die on the river side. My fishing philosophy is – if you are not going to eat it, photograph and release it.

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I switched to a lighter jighead – 1/8th 1/0 and put on a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was now fishing in the slower water, up close to the Mangrove fringe. At an opening next to the abandoned timber log boat ramp, I felt a very faint bite. I cast back in the same spot and slowed the retrieve right down – counting to five in between each hop. After a few hops, I got a solid bite and I was on. It was no monster but it was a keeper flathead, at around 44 cm.

I moved on along the bank and watched the numerous mullet schools swim by. As the water cools I presume the Pike and Bream will get thicker and thicker and the bigger Flathead will start to follow them. The fishing should be excellent in the coming cooler months. After another 30 minutes I decided to give up at around 9.00 am.

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Brisbane River – Boggy Creek – 28 March 2011

A trip away, a cold and car trouble have all conspired to keep me away from fishing for a few weeks. To those of you who have been checking in to see what is biting – I apologise.

I managed to sneek out yesterday morning for a quick fix. I only had a couple of hours, so I headed down to Boggy Creek. A small swampy tributary on the north side of the Brisbane River, only a few kms from where it opens into Moreton Bay. I parked up by the foot bridge that crosses the creek and leads to the oil refinery. I arrived around 10 am and the tide would be low around midday. I would be fishing the last few hours of the run out. This is not a great time to fish, as there is very little water – but beggars cant be choosers.

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I have not fished in the River since the floods and I was delighted to see so much bait in the water. There were jelly prawns in close to the shore and lots of roving schools of small mullet. I decided to fish the soft plastic lures and went for a natural colour – a 2″ GULP Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I rigged it on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I was fishing a light spin rod with a 10lb Fluorocarbon leader. I moved along the bank, casting my lure into the middle of the main channel and bouncing it along the bottom with the run out tide, until it reached my feet.

I cast around on each side of the bridge and got a few bites but no hook ups. I moved east, in the direction of the creek mouth and switched to a lighter, 1/8th 1 jighead. I changed the plastic to a 2″ Minnow pattern, in the same colour. I was putting in a couple of casts at each break in the Mangroves when, at the third spot, a small bream grabbed it. I took a picture and let it go – my first fish for three weeks – a trifle small but very satisfying.

I carried on moving east, casting into the channel as the water got shallower and shallower. At the mouth of a drain, about 60 metres from the bridge, I felt a light thud. I paused, then lifted the rod tip. The line came up taught and there were a few head shakes. I had a 30cm Flathead.

At noon I gave up, just as the tide was starting to run in again. With the smell and noise of the refinery, this is not the prettiest environment to fish in. But after a three weeks off I was glad to get out there and see that there are plenty of fish around.

Bribie Island – Bridge, White Patch & Oyster Jetty – 8 March 2011

Tuesday

Up early and back to Bribie Island. I arrived at the mainland side of the bridge at around 4.00 am and started by casting soft plastics in amongst the pylons. The tide was in the last hour of running out and the rain showers overnight had again stirred things up. There is also a storm water drain under the bridge that empties out from time to time, further clouding the water.

I had rigged up a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Satay Chicken colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with 10lb braid and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader, on my light spin combo – a Loomis GL2 rod with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel.

I started just to the north of the bridge and got no bites for a while. I moved quietly, round to the north and cast into the area where the light and bridge shadows meet. Thud – a solid hit, I dropped the rod tip, paused and then struck. The fish took some line then settled into the current. I gradually eased it up on to the sandy area at the foot of the rocks. It was a nice, 46cm Flathead. I let it go, straightened the plastic on the jighead and peppered the area with more casts. It was about 4.20 am. A few retrieves later there was a smaller bite, in about the same spot and I caught another Flathead. This time it was just on 40 cm. I released it and moved all around the bridge area and down to the street light beside the boat hire outlet, but I could not find any more.

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As dawn broke, I drove up to White Patch to look for some more fish. I walked down on to the beach and out towards the drop off, that runs all the way along the edge of the Pumicestone Passage. It was just after low tide and I waded along casting in all directions, out over the drop off and on top of it, in the shallow water. I did not get a bite on the soft plastic lures. I swapped to a 1/6thoz weight, Berkley Big Eye vibration blade, but this did not find any fish either. After an hour of wading up and down, I decided to change locations again.

I drove across the bridge to the Oyster Jetty and waded out beside it, on the south side. The tide was now running in solidly and the water was much cleaner than it had been up at White Patch. However, the wind was really getting up and there were some very nasty clouds on the horizon. I hooked a decent fish but was disappointed when it leapt out of the water – a huge Long Tom. I got rid of it and waded south for about 60 metres, casting in front of me, into the run in tide. I swapped to a GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic and rigged it on a 1/8th 1 jighead. After a few casts in this area, the line came up taught and I had another fish. There was a bit of weight to it, so I decided to wade back the shoreline. It was a good size Flathead at 49cm.

I carried on for another 45 minutes but then a couple of monster rain squalls gave me a good soaking and the cooler southerly wind was really getting up. At about 9.45 am I headed home.

Bribie Island – Bridge and Oyster Jetty – 5 March 2011

Saturday

After a stinking hot week – but some pretty good fishing Flathead fishing, the rain was back. A south-easterly change and big wind and seas were forecast but it did not look as if it would get up until around lunchtime, so I decided on a quick early morning Saturday session. I headed for Bribie Island and was out under the bridge lights, on the island side by 4.15am.

A word on waders – I use the A S Horne waders which have a tough Blundstone gum boot. With postage, they are around A$ 120/30 but they are definitely worth the price premium. Before I bought them I went through 7 sets of cheap ones; Wilson, Mojiko, Shakespeare, and various other BCF/ Anaconda offerings, in just under two years. I was constantly patching up holes on these cheap ones. I have now had my A S Horne waders for 2 years and they have no leaks, despite lots of run ins with oyster covered rocks. They are pretty hot at this time of year but with so many jelly fish, Wobbegongs and various other creepy crawlies in the water – I am prepared to suffer the heat.

At 4.15 am this morning it was cool and wet. The tide had just started to run in and the rain had made the water even more murky than usual. I decided to started with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – yellow on top and pumpkinseed underneath. I was standing in 30cm of water casting in close to the pylons. After a few retrieves I was on to a fish. I brought him to the shore – a Flathead just on 40cm. The family decided they will go on hunger strike if I bring another Flathead to the table – so it was released. I got a few more hits from what I think where Pike, but as the sun came up an hour later I had not landed anymore fish.

I moved across to the Oyster Jetty on the other side of the Passage. It was now around 5.45am and the tide was running in strongly. I waded out beside the jetty to a point about ¾ of the way along and started putting casts out in a semicircle. I was casting into the run in tide and hopping the plastic along the weedy bottom. After two or three casts I was on to something. After a few short runs, I could see it was a small Flathead, again around 40 cm long. I did not want to wade back to the bank with it so I grabbed it with a cloth and released it.

I could not find any more in that area so I moved further south. I fished the drain, just before you turn the corner for Sandstone Point, but apart from a few Long Toms, I did not get another bite. The wind was now beginning to howl and it was spitting rain again so I waded back to the car and headed home.

Bribie Island – Bridge & Sandstone Point – 3 March 2011

Thursday

Thursday was set to be another hot day with a possible thunderstorm. There would be a slight northerly wind in the Pumicestone Passage, which would freshen through the day. I decided to keep looking for Flathead, as these have been the only consistent fish for me, in recent weeks.

I started under the bridge on the Island side about 4.15 am. The tide was running in and there was about 30cm of water at the base of the rockwall by the shore, to the north of the bridge. There was not much surface action and I think the Pike prefer a little more depth, to feel safe. I cast out a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and bounced it along the bottom under the lights. Three casts later, after a pause on the bottom, the line came up tight. There were a few head shakes and a short run and then the fish was gone. A couple of casts later; same soft plastic, same place, maybe the same fish, I hooked up again. This time I got him to the rocks – a Flathead – around 45cm, but as I was lifting him in to the bag, he spiked me and slithered out of my grip to freedom.

Dawn by the Bribie Island bridge - the fish come to the lights

After 30 minutes more, prospecting both north and south of the bridge, I could not find any more fish so I decided to change location. Just as the sun was coming up, I drove round to Pebble Beach and walked along the beach to the far end, towards Sandstone Point. The water was fairly high but there were still a couple of hours before high tide. It was a beautiful, calm, still morning. The thunderstorms had passed over earlier and there were still a few flashes of lightning as they moved in land, but the sky was bright red.

A very calm morning

At the end of the beach, I walked out in front of the fringing Mangroves and cast out over the rubble and boulders that dot the ground. I was aiming for the sandy patches in between the rocks, where the Flathead often shelter. As I moved nearer to the corner I had a few encounters with the Long Toms, who kept grabbing and then dropping, the lure. When one finally did get hooked it started leaping and splashing and effectively shredded the 16lb Fluorocarbon leader I was using. I re- rigged and tied on a new leader and put on a GULP 4” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Pepper Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. A few cast later as the lure bumped over the rocky bottom, a fish grabbed it and took off. It only made a small run and then settled in the current. I pulled it on to some rocks – a 48cm Flathead – I released it and carried on casting. A few casts later I had another on the same plastic, this time it was just over 50cm.

After working the corner thoroughly I move round it, heading north and on to the broad flats of Sandstone Point, which almost form a tidal lagoon. With another hour to go before a 2.3m high tide, I could still wade out to the middle of the area and cast back in towards the Mangrove roots along the shore. The Long Toms where patrolling and I had a couple of tussles with them. After 30 minutes, the water was getting too deep to stay in the middle so I turned and headed south, in closer. I switched to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour and put in long casts parallel with the shore. A fish grabbed the lure as it landed and this time it was a Flathead, I dragged it in under the Mangroves – it was around 40cm – and after a quick picture, I unhooked it and sent it on its way.

That was the last fish for the morning and even thought it was only 8.15 am, it was already blisteringly hot. I dumped the gear in the car and had a quick swim before heading home. Another good session, the water is still full of sediment on these big tides but there is plenty of bait around and so the fish will come.

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Bribie Island – Bridge and Sandstone Point – 1 March 2011

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Tuesday

Up at 3.45 am and back up to the Pumicestone Passage in search of more Flathead. I decided to start by fishing the Bribie Island side of the bridge, this morning. There is always plenty of surface action in this area with Jew, Pike, Moses Perch, Bream, Tailor, Flathead and even juvenile Snapper, all drawn in to feed on the jelly prawns and small baitfish that gather under the bridge lights.

In recent sessions, I have noticed the small jelly prawns are everywhere and the Flathead that I have caught and gutted, generally have a belly full of them. I therefore grabbed a bag of the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Jelly Prawn colour and decided to try these out. The tide was running in so I decided to start by casting my soft plastic at the base of the first bridge pylon, on the north side of the bridge and jigging my plastic along the bottom , all the way back to the edge of the rock wall. On the first cast, just as it reached the base of the wall, in about 30cm of water, the lure was grabbed. I was using a 1/8th 1/0 jig head and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. The fish took a bit of line but I soon subdued it and swung it up, over the rocks. At 42cm it was the first keeper Flathead of the day. It went in the bag and I cast back out. A couple of casts later, I had another – this one was just on 40 cm so I let it go. I moved to the south side of the bridge and carried on. I had a couple of bites from Pike and dropped a better fish, which was probably a Flathead and then I decided to move over to the mainland side of the bridge.

I put on a GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour, waded out and cast to the south of the bridge. The tide was now rushing in and a few Pike grabbed the bigger plastic but usually released it just before they reached me. There were some big surface bust ups erupting, in close to the Mangroves, so I cast straight into one and the line came up taught. I brought the fish in – the headshakes were too rapid for a Flathead and as it came close there was a flash of silver. It was either a Bream or a juvenile Snapper, but it spat out the lure so I will never know.

With the dawn I decided to change positions again and I drove round to Pebble Beach. I walked out onto the beach and turned left. I walked to the end of the beach and along the rocky area that fronts the Mangroves. I was casting in to the sandy areas amongst the rocks and although I lost a fair amount of jigheads, the strategy paid off. Over the next couple of hours, I caught nine more Flathead in this area – between about 25cm and 48cm. I experimented with different colour and size plastics and they did not appear to be fussy. I caught fish on the GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in Lime Tiger and Pink Neon, the 2” Shrimp in Jelly Prawn and Banana Prawn, the 3” and 4” Minnow in Pearl Watermelon and the 4” Minnow in Vader. The Long Toms were a constant menace – slashing through the soft plastics and often wrecking the last few cms of the leader.

I kept the first four fish over 40cm, to add to the one I had kept at the bridge, so I had another bag full. It was another good session and as there was a Northerly wind blowing the whole time, it did not really support my idea that the fish don’t like it!