Bribie Island – More Flathead from around that jetty – 31 May 2011


When you are catching fish in a particular spot, it is difficult to tear yourself away. So at sunrise this morning I found myself back to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island.

I started at about 6.00 am, just on first light. High tide would be just after 8.00 am. The wind was a very light south-westerly. From 6.00 am to 8.00 am, all I could find were a couple Pike. I often find the last hour of the run in tide is difficult. I think the fish need a bit of current to get them in feeding mood. When the water is completely still, at high tide, they just stop biting. Around high tide I was also limited by the water depth, to within 30 metres of the Mangrove fringed shoreline.

Around 8.30 am, as the tide started running out, I caught my first Flathead of the day – 42cm long, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead loaded with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed Colour. As the run out tide grew stronger and the water level dropped, I walked further and further south, catching Flathead all the way along the big sandbar. I turned around when I reached the green channel marker and waded back up the Passage, casting into the run out tide. I swapped between the Pumpkinseed and Pearl Watermelon colour soft plastics and both caught fish. In total I caught 11 Flathead, of which 7 were over 40cm – the biggest was 61cm. I caught 4 fish on the sand right next to the green channel marker. All the fish were caught in less than a metre of water.

I finished up back at the bridge by about 11.00 am. All the fish caught today were released, so get out there and catch them!

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Bribie Island – From the Bridge to Sandstone Point – 29 May 2011


I decided on Bribie Island again today. If you fish the flats on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage you are fairly sheltered from a cold south-westerly wind. The wind was forecast to be a 10 -12 knot south-westerly, but it was a good deal lighter than at 5.00 am, when I arrived by the bridge across to Bribie Island. I pulled on the waders and beanie and wandered out under the bridge lights, on the island side. There were a few lightning flashes over towards Moreton Island and the stars were blocked out by low cloud.

I fished around the bridge pylons and almost immediately, caught a few Pike, but there was not much surface action. The tide was running in and high water would be just before seven. There was now plenty of water close to the Mangrove roots and I concentrated on the area just to the south of the bridge, where I often see Flathead ‘lies’ at low tide. After a few casts with a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead, I was on to a fish. It struck hard, but it was only small – just under 40 cm. In the process of releasing it, it gave me a good spiking in the side of the thumb. I don’t know what’s on the Flathead spike, but there must be some kind of anti-coagulant, because whenever I get spiked, the blood just pours out – not ideal when standing waist deep in water in the pre-dawn light.

I moved gradually south, about 20 metres from the shore, casting all around. I continued to get the odd Pike but as the water slowed on the high tide, everything went very quiet and I had no bites for about 90 minutes. Then as the tide really started to run out I switched to a heavier 1/6th 1/0 jighead and a bigger GULP 4” Minnow in the Pumpkinseed colour. I was standing to the south-west of the long sandbar at the Sandstone Point corner and casting my lure over it and hopping it back with the run out tide. Suddenly the line went tight and I had a fish. I towed it back to a gap in the Mangroves – it was a nice Flathead at around 61cm. Plenty of fish in our fridge, so I let it go.

61cm Flathead caught on a GULP Pumpkinseed Minnow

The wind was getting up now and as this was a fairly sheltered spot, so was the boat traffic. I caught a couple more fish around the 40 cm size and then finally, just to the north of the oyster jetty, I got a 51cm Flathead. I had caught 4 of the 5 Flathead on the Pumpkinseed coloured soft plastics and the session was a good reminder of how useful this colour can be. At around 9.30 am I gave up and headed home for a warm shower.

51 cm Flathead - Caught on a GULP Pumpkinseed Jerkshad

Bribie Island – A bagful of Flathead – 27 May 2011


Back up to Bribie Island, in search of Flathead. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived around 5.00 am. It really was not too cold and the south westerly wind was far lighter than the predicted 15 knots. High tide had been at about 4.00 am so there was still plenty of water around the bridge pylons. I decide to start on the island side and as soon as arrived I could see and hear the Pike and Chopper Tailor breaking the surface as they grabbed smaller baitfish/ shrimps.

Small Flathead - under the bridge on Bribie Island side

I started with the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour, rigged on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I was using a 12lb leader and fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod matched with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel. After a couple of casts I caught a small Flathead – just about 40cm. It must have been lying in the shadows beside the first pylon, in no more than 40cm of water. I released it. The next cast gave me a Pike that was bigger than the Flathead and then, a few casts later, a 25cm Chopper Tailor.

Choppers - Juvenile Tailor under the Bribie Island bridge lights

Before the tide got too low I decided to go back over to the mainland side and fish around the pylons under the bridge lights. I stuck with the same soft plastic and jighead and worked my way around the pylons. I waded quietly, stopping frequently to pepper the spots where I have caught fish before. This soon paid off and just south of the bridge, about 6 metres from the mangrove line, I caught another Flathead. It was around 50cm long so it went in the keeper bag.

A Flathead from the mainland side about 50 cm

There was the glow of dawn on the horizon but the sun was still not up. It was cold now, but this area is shielded from the westerly breeze. The water looked fairly clear so I switched to a bigger GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour – basically a flecked combination of pink and yellow with a forked curly tail. After a couple more casts I caught another fish – despite the bigger lure it was a much smaller Flathead at around 42cm – Keeper No.2.

Bigger lure but a smaller fish! around 42cm

The sun came up and I continued wading south, past the old oyster farm jetty. I walked right along the big sand bar – that is exposed at low tide, casting on either side. I reached the pole that warns boats about the remains of the old oyster racks and then turned north again and started wading back, alongside the sandbar, in waist deep water. I swapped back to the Pearl Watermelon Minnow. I was casting back at the sand bar and after about 50 metres I hooked another fish. It was another Flathead, about 48cm long –Keeper No.3. I dragged it up onto the sand and then resumed my course towards the oyster jetty. Over the next half an hour I got two more slightly bigger Flathead (Keepers 4 & 5) and a monster Pike – well over 45cm – which I kept for the cat.

When water covers this spot the Flathead sit along this lip

A bag of five Bribie Flathead and a big Pike for the cat

I now had my bagful of fish and so I decided to call it quits. The forecast wind was really arrived and was starting to blow so I headed back to the car and then the gutting table. It had been another good fishing session in the Pumicestone Passage.

1770 – Flat Rock & Red Rock – Blubber Lip – Deep Water National Park – 16 May 2011


I woke up at around 5.00 am with the wind rustling in the trees. Out on the beach at Wreck Rock, it was a howling south-easterly, so I drove up the track to 1770. I was hoping to have a fish on the sheltered side of the headland but when I arrived, I realised that even that was too blowy. I watched the sunrise and then had a coffee and some breakfast from the bakery at Agnes Waters. I found a sunny spot and pondered where to fish next.
I decided to head for the northern end of Flat Rock beach. At the end of the beach there is rocky headland known as Red Rock. It’s a long walk – about 2.5 km, but the sun was shining and on the way there, at least, the wind was behind me.

I stopped to cast in a few spots along the way. I had to use a ¼ oz size 1 hook jighead to make an impact on the wind. I was fishing it with the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow which resembles the small whitebait that the Tuna have been feeding on. I caught a few Dart and Whiting towards the northern end of the rock, where the water was running out of the long gutter and into the ocean.

Eventually I reached the end of the beach and clambered over the rocks known as Red Rock. There is a small corner in this spot that is sheltered from the south-easterly winds and a couple of hours either side of high water, it is a good fishing spot. I cast the Minnow soft plastic close into the foot of the rocks and immediately got a few bites. Next cast I caught a small Dart and then a Stripy Perch – about 30 cm long. The fish were in close to the rocks in just over a metre of water. After half an hour I was running out of water and I had not caught anything worth keeping.

I headed back over the rocks to Flat Rock and waded out onto the northern tip of the rock. I then walked back south along the top of the rock, casting all along the edge. About 600 metres from the northern end of the beach there is a gig drain through a gap in the rock. I cast out in front of it and a fish grabbed the lure and made a short run. I struck but the fish dropped the lure. I paused and struck again – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I was on. The fish swam straight under the rock and soon I could feel my line rubbing every time I tried to put some tension on it. I let it go slack and after 10 seconds or so pulled it tight again. I made a bit of head way but then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz straight back under the rock. I employed the same procedure 3 or 4 times and eventually the fish swam out. It was a big Blubber Lip Bream around 50 cm long and over 2 kg. I bled and gutted it straight away and decided to keep it for supper. I made the long trek back along the beach – into the wind and decided it was time to head back to Brisbane. I have read a lot of criticism of the taste of the Blubber Lip Bream but my mob scoffed the lot at dinner – the fillets tasted pretty good pan-fried with lime and fish sauce.

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It had been a great week but the fishing had been hard work. I was constantly struggling to find the better fish and the Tailor and better sized Bream, really had not shown up. By the next full moon I would think the Tailor will be more prolific around 1770 – particularly if the Whitebait thicken up their numbers. The water needs to cool a bit more for the winter species, but I think the fishing will get better and better this year, so I hope I am back up here before too long.

1770 – Middle Rock – Flat Rock – Deepwater National Park – 15 May 2011


On Sunday morning the weather was beginning to change. The breeze was moving round from the south west to the south east. It was much warmer and conditions were good as the south easterly was still light. I had worked out that low tide presented the better fishing opportunities at Flat Rock and Wreck Rock and so, with high tide a few hours after dawn, I headed back to Middle Rock and more specifically the set of rocks in the middle of Middle Rock.

Middle Rock - an hour before high tide pre-dawn

Jupiter and Venus had been bright and visible in the eastern sky just before dawn, all week. Since about Thursday, Mercury was also clearly visible. Venus was so bright that it cast a clear light across the water. It had been similarly bright when I was fishing down at Iluka, in NSW, last month and I wonder if it has an effect on the fish.

I was fishing with the heavy rod – the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood, matched with a Shimano Stradic 6000 reel, loaded with 20lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I was hoping to encounter some bigger fish at dawn and thought that the cold snap would have got the Tailor going. My camping neighbour had caught a few off the beach to the south of Wreck Rock, the evening before. They had taken cut up Pike baits about an hour after sunset.

I rigged up with a GULP 5” Pumpkinseed Jerkshad soft plastic lure on a 3/8 oz 2/0 jighead. I cast all round the rocks in the pre-dawn light. I could not raise a bite so I dropped down to a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead and 16lb Fluorocarbon leader and cast around again. Third cast, in very shallow water, only a couple of metres from the beach, I had a fish. It was a Bream about 30cm long. I released it and cast back in the same spot. I hooked up straight away – it was another Bream – slightly bigger at around 34cm. I carried on but all I could not find anything bigger so at 8.00 am I went back to camp for breakfast.

Middle Rock Bream

Whilst there were fish around it was becoming clear that this week was right in the middle of the changeover between the dominance of the warm weather species –Tuna, Mackerel, Dart, Whiting and the emergence of the cold weather species – Tailor, Bream, Flathead. The air temperature had been bitterly cold but the water was still very warm. It was hard work trying to figure out what to try next!

After breakfast I decided I would fish the run out tide at Flat Rock. The moon was almost full so the tide would be very low. I arrived just after 10.00 am and the long rock was already exposed. I waded out and climbed up onto it. I was back to the light spin rod, using a 1/6th 1 jig head, 12lb leader and 2” and 3” GULP Shrimp and Minnow soft plastics. For the next few hours I walked all the way along the rock to the northern end of the beach, casting out over the edge. There was no shortage of fish but the problem was size. Everything seemed to be under 30 cm long. I caught Whiting, Flathead, Bream, Stripy Perch, Dart and Long Toms, but nothing was worth keeping. By 2.00 pm the wind was getting up and the tide was running in so I gave up.

Wreck Rock & Middle Rock – Tuna & Trevally – Deepwater National Park – 14 May 2011


On Friday evening the keen fisherman camped nearby told me he had hooked up to a freight train Tuna, off the beach, in the early afternoon and unfortunately pulled the treble out. He had spent the rest of the day running up and down the beach trying to get his metal slug back in front of the fish but they just never came close enough. I decided to try the slugs in the morning down at Flat Rock where I had also seen the Tuna working. As the sun came up I cast and cast and cast in the direction of the feeding Tuna – but they just never quite came close enough.

Flat Rock beach - with the rock just covered - just after dawn

After a couple of hours I gave up and went back to camp for breakfast. I was greeted by my neighbour whose persistence had paid off and finally he had a good size Mac Tuna. He had eventually caught up with a school that came into less than 3 metres of water, only about 25 metres from the shore, about 1km south of Wreck Rock, along the beach. He had followed the birds and dead Whitebait that littered the beach until he saw a boil of feeding fish on the surface close in to the beach. He hooked up on his second cast and hung on. I was delighted for him, but he looked almost as tired as the fish. Who said angling is a sedentary sport?

Mac Tuna caught off Wreck Rock Beach on a chrome slug - May 2011

Mac Tuna off the beach - does not happen very often - full marks to this fisho for putting in the hard work

Now I was really fired up but I needed to have a look at some other spots, so that afternoon with a high tide due for about 6.00 pm, I jumped in the car and drove along the track to Middle Rock. Middle Rock, predictably sits between Flat Rock and Wreck Rock. It is a set of three rocky promontories that are almost completely submerged on the bigger high tides. It was approaching high tide when I started fishing there just after 5.00pm.

I was using the light spin rod and was casting out a 1/6th 2/0 jighead loaded with a GULP Jerkshad in the Pumpkinseed colour. I was hopping the plastic over the submerged rocks pretty quickly so that it would not get snagged. Suddenly a fish smashed the soft plastic lure ran with it for a few metres, then dropped it. A few casts later and I was in contact with a fish again. It took off and took plenty of line. The light rod has no real strength so I had to wear this one out with the drag and use the waves to bring it in. It put up a good fight but it was solidly hooked and I soon had a 50cm Trevally at my feet. I think it was a Big Eye – but I am never quite sure as some of the species can look pretty similar. The sun had gone down by now and the south-westerly wind was chilling so I gave up for the day.

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Wreck Rock – Deep Water National Park 1770 – 13 May 2011


Having seen the Tuna working just offshore, all afternoon the day before, at both Wreck Rock and Flat Rock, I decided to spend dawn on Friday casting slugs from the southern tip of Wreck Rock. The tides where getting bigger in the run up to the full moon. Low tide would be at 11.10 am, so there would be plenty of water close into the rocks, at dawn.

The south end of Wreck Rock at dawn

The southern tip of the Wreck Rock bay has a couple of rocky outcrops and submerged bommies. At low tide there is only about a metre of water in front of them, but at high tide, this can increase to almost 4 metres. South of these rocks is a long, almost completely uninterrupted beach ( Rules Beach), that runs all the way down to the mouth of Baffle Creek. At the moment, the big seas and storms through the summer months have created a very steep, sloping beach with a few nice wholes and gutters. This means there is good deep water on high tide, all along this section.

Looking south from Wreck Rock - towards the mouth of Baffle Creek

It was another bitterly cold morning, the sky was crystal clear, but there was a light south-westerly wind blowing. As the sun came up I was casting a 90g slug from the rocks. I then tried a River to Sea – Dumbbell Popper and various heavy blades and big hard bodies. I could not interest the fish. I could see the Tuna, in small groups, smashing into the bait fish and the birds diving in to get a free breakfast, but they stayed at least 800m away the whole time.

Wreck Rock bay - just after dawn

I switched from the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood rod, which I use for slugs and poppers, to the light spin rod and rigged a soft plastic on a ¼ oz 1 jighead. I chose the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After about 30 minutes I had caught two tiny Dart and a Long Tom. At about 8.30am I headed back into my camp to thaw out with a hot cup of tea and some breakfast.

Mackerel, Trevally, Tailor and a few reef species all cruise around these rocks at the southern end of Wreck Rock bay

I considered my options and spoke to another keen fisherman who was camped nearby. He too had seen the Tuna and was planning to spend the day casting slugs at them. As low tide approached I decided to head out the rocks on the southern tip of Wreck Rock bay. The Tuna were there but always just out of reach. They would swing in tantalizingly close and I would cast slugs at them then they were gone again. As the tide dropped I moved as far as I could out onto the exposed rocks to the south. I cast out at about 45 degrees to the shoreline and as my slug landed a huge circle of bait scattered around it. Then ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….fftt’ and the fish was gone. I wound the line back in and it looked like a clean bite through the 40lb leader. I presumed it was a Mackerel or some other toothy species. I rigged a wire trace and carried on, but after twenty more casts I was still without a decent fish.

The bait that shelters around this bommy at Wreck Rock, attracts all sorts of predators

I switched from the slug rod to the light spin rod again and rigged a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I wanted to cast a bit of distance, but I also wanted to make sure the lure wafted around in the strike zone for as long as possible. I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and downgraded to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. First cast was hit on the drop but then the fish dropped it. Third cast and I had a solid hook up. The fish took line in a couple of fast blistering runs then swam round in front of the rocks into a good position. On the next surge I tightened the drag and pulled it up to my feet (getting soaked in the process). Then I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear. It was a Giant Trevally around 50cm – no monster, but a decent fish. Cold and wet, I decided I had enough – it was just after noon.

Finally a decent fish - 50cm GT at Wreck Rock

As always when fishing an area that you have not been to for a while, you need to spend a few sessions figuring out what works and where the fish are. It was my fourth day and I finally felt I understood when and where to concentrate. I headed back to camp for some fish cleaning.

1770 – The Catwalk, Wreck Rock & Flat Rock – 12 May 2011


Looking North from the 'Catwalk' at 1770

I had to try at another morning on the Catwalk at 1770. It was seriously cold again but with a completely flat sea and a 2- 4 knot south-westerly whisper of a breeze. The water is still not as clear as it usually would be, after all the recent rain, but it is still pretty clean. I fished from 5.00 until 9.00 am and the results were similar to the day before. The soft plastics got munched by the resident Groper and the slugs and poppers did not raise any bites. I finally caught a small Bream on a GULP Lime Tiger Jerkshad. It was a perfect morning and a fantastic sunrise, but there were no fish.

The great thing about this area is that there are always lots of other options. I went back to camp for some breakfast. Low tide would be at about 10.00 am so I decided to fish the Wreck Rock bay, directly in front of the camping area. This is a small beach framed by two rocky headlands. For about an hour either side of low tide, you can walk right out to the tip of the rocks on the north side and fish into some relatively deep water. Your feet get wet and however hard you try to avoid it, the occasional wave will slap against the rocks and give you a good soaking. I put on a ¼ oz jighead and loaded it with a GULP Lime Tiger Jerkshad. I had now upgraded to 20lb leader, as there are often some bigger fish around this area. There were a few hits from the small dart and then I hooked a small Stripy Perch. I put it back and carried on casting.

I could see fish busting up on the surface a few hundred metres further out and then I saw a few jump and realised they were schools of Tuna feeding on the small Whitebait. I tried a few different plastics but came back to the Lime Tiger Jerkshad. I felt a couple of solid bites in close to the rocks and cast back, as close as I could, to the same spot. The lure had hardly hit the water and ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ a fish took off with it. The light spin rod is a 2-4 kg Nitro. It is strong, but not strong enough to just pull this fish directly out of the rocks. After a bit of back and forth, it had wedged itself behind a bommy. A big surge lifted it clear and pushed it more or less to me feet. All I saw was a thick dark back roll over in the water and then it snap , and it was gone. Could have been a Tuna or a big Tailor, I will never know. I could not find another and the tide was now running in and making it to difficult to remain in that location, so I moved off.

The Dart are very aggressive and will try to eat anything

I went back to camp and dried out in the sun and considered the options for the next session. I decided to try Flat Rock again and drove down there at around 3.00 pm. The rock was now covered by the run in tide. I walked a kilometre north along the beach to the point where the rock starts to break down. This is the spot where the water rushes in to fill the gutter between the beach and the rock and is often a good spot for Dart. Over the next hour I caught plenty with the biggest being just over 40cm long. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1 jighead and using the 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I used a variety of GULP plastics that all seemed to work on the Dart – the Turtleback Worm, the 2” Shrimp the 3” Minnow and the 3” Minnow Grub. I fished until the sun dropped behind the sand dunes and then the cold forced me back to camp. I kept the four biggest Dart and ate two for supper.

Four of the bigger Dart from Flat Rock

1770 – The Catwalk and Flat Rock – 11 May 2011


On Wednesday I got out of the tent and boiled the billy at around 4.30 am. It was seriously cold but there was virtually no wind. After a thawing cup of tea and some breakfast I jumped in the car and drove the 15kms north to 1770 and clambered out over the rocks to the famous ‘catwalk’.

For those of you who don’t know it, it is a sloping rock ledge about twenty five metres long that forms an ideal casting platform. It is just south of the tip of the 1770 headland and is a favourite spot for land based game fishermen who wish to get a shot at catching big fish, from the shore. It is most popular when the various tuna species pass by, from about October to March, but there are fish to be had all year round. This morning I had it to myself which was probably not a good sign!

I started in the pre-dawn light with big soft plastic Jerkshads on ½ oz jigheads. After about 20 casts I was on to a fish. It was slow and heavy and first I thought it might be a turtle. After a couple of slow runs there was a huge swirl on the surface and then ping it was gone. I realised it was one of the enormous resident Gropers. I switched to an 85g slug and over the next hour, as the sun came up, I put in over 60 casts in every direction. It was a beautiful sunrise but there were no fish around so at about 8.00 am I headed back down the track to Flat Rock beach again.

I arrived around low tide at 9.00 am. By now the rock was uncovered and I waded through the gutter and up on to it. I then walked north along it, casting along the edge, in front of me. There are lots of drains and over hangs and other good structure to focus on. I was fishing with my light spin rod again but had upgraded to a 14lb leader to give me a chance, if a big fish appeared.

Long Toms - seriously ugly fish

The first predators to appear were the Long Toms – every now then one would leap clear of the water chasing the lure as it landed. They particularly liked the GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour.I walked up and down the face of Flat Rock for the next three hours and caught fish all the way along. I caught Bream, Whiting, Dart, Stripy Perch, Flathead and lots more Long Toms. Most were small but I kept a couple of the better sized Dart for supper. As the tide started to run in and the water lapped over the rock I gave up and headed back to camp.

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1770 – Deep Water National Park – Flat Rock – 10 May 2011

No – the Stonefish did not kill me. I have been away for a week of land-based fishing at the town of 1770. I was fishing the rocky headlands, beaches and bays of the Deepwater National Park. The park is reached via a sandy four wheel drive track that heads south from Agnes Waters.

There are three main access points to the water, off this track – at Flat Rock, Middle Rock and Wreck Rock. I arrived last Tuesday and set up camp at the Wreck Rock camp ground. It is basic, but beautifully positioned in the Banksia covered sand dunes, behind the beach. It has a composting toilet and access to bore water and an outdoor, cold water shower. There are about eight secluded camp sites.

I arrived at about noon and needed to catch dinner, so I set off for Flat Rock beach with my light spin rod. There was a light, cold, south westerly breeze blowing but the bright sunshine took the sting out of it. I started fishing at about 2.00pm. Flat Rock beach is so named because a long flat rock formation runs parallel with the shore, for about 4 kilometres. On the highest of high tides, it is covered by about three metres of water and on the lowest of lows, it is completely exposed. It is a great fishing platform to walk along, around low tide and it is also a great fish holding structure, on a high tide.

Flat Rock - covered by high water

The tide was only a little way into the run out phase, so the rock was completely covered by water when I walked out onto the beach. In these circumstances the rock forms the eastern wall of a huge gutter all the way along the beach. I rigged a 1/8th 1 hook jighead with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour and started walking north along the beach, stopping to cast every few metres. When I need to figure out what is biting and need to be sure of catching something to eat. I fish as light as I can, so I was using an 8lb Fluorocarbon leader. I soon got a couple of bites and grabs and quickly hooked a 25cm Whiting. I threw it back hoping for something better. I caught a few more that were around the same size. I swapped to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and after a few casts I found a patch of slightly bigger Whiting. It was now about 3.30 pm and I needed something for dinner so I kept four of the bigger Whiting, that where about 30cm long.

Dart will have a go at almost any lure - fish light and you will catch them

When I reached a break in the rock, where the water was draining out to sea from the gutter, I switched back to the GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow. I got a couple of more aggressive hits and finally hooked a Dart that was edible size. I got a few more and kept the two largest. Then I caught a tiny, but very well camouflaged Bartailed Flathead, only about 20cm long. The sun was dropping and it was getting seriously cold so I headed back to camp to clean and then eat the fish. Nothing spectacular but I had a caught dinner.

Nice camouflage - Bar-tailed Flathead

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – Stonefish Encounter – 5 May 2011


The weather forecast looked windy but not until about 8.00 am, so I set out early to fish on Bribie Island. I crossed over the bridge around 4.30 am and decided to fish around the base of pylons on the island side. I met another keen fisherman there, flicking soft plastics. It’s always nice to know that there is someone just as mad as me out there!

The bridge lights had attracted the prawns, and they had attracted the Pike and a few small chopper Tailor. We cast either side of the bridge for about 45 minutes. I hooked up with a few Pike, but could not find anything bigger. The other fisherman had found a couple of Flathead earlier and then been busted off.

The Pike are back with the cooler weather

At first light I moved down to fish the drop off in front of Buckley’s Hole. The wind was starting to pick up and it had stirred up the water. The tide was running in. I waded south, in about waist deep water and cast around in the area just before the coffee rock forms a ledge at the main channel. I was using the GULP 3” Crazy Legs Grub on a 1/6th 1/0 hook. After ten minutes or so I hooked up with a Flathead that was just under 50cm. I released it and cast back in the same area. I hooked another fish immediately, but then somehow it wriggled off the lure.

50cm Flathead

I moved further south, parallel with the shore. Then disaster struck. I felt a sharp needle under my wader boot and instinctively hopped away. Something had pierced the gumboot sole and gone into the sole of my foot. I thought things through and concluded it was probably a Stonefish. It did not hurt initially but after about ten minutes all that changed and it really went off! I limped back to the car and fortunately for me, the ambulance station was only a few hundred yards away. It was around 6.30 am, so I rang on the bell. A paramedic sat me down and had a look at the puncture mark. She then put my foot in a bowl of hot water. The relief was pretty much instant. Apparently the heat neutralises the toxin. After 15 minutes the pain was far more manageable and I hobbled off to the car and drove home. A few hours later the pain was just a tingle.

I was lucky. I was wearing my Horne waders which have a very thick soled, Blundstone boot. This meant that only one spike actually got to my foot. I was also able to find a qualified paramedic only a few hundred yards away. The paramedic explained that without the boots on it would have been very messy! If you are ever fishing in that area, I would certainly advise protecting your feet with some form of shoe and being very careful where you tread. I will certainly be a little more cautious in future.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point – Monster Flathead – 2 May 2011

Monday – Labour Day

10 to 12 knot winds forecast and even though there would be a big swell offshore, the estuaries would be good for fishing. Back up to Bribie, to the Sandstone Point flats where I have been getting some good Flathead.

At about 5.00 am I waded out under the bridge – on the mainland side, to cast around under the lights. The tide was running in, so I was casting from the north side of the bridge, under the bridge, into the shadows and hopping my lure across the bottom, along with the current, back towards me. Theoretically, the Flathead will be lying facing the current flow, waiting for their prey to be washed towards them. After a couple of casts with the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon soft plastic, I had a fish. This area can be tricky, as there are loads of prominent rocks to trip over and lose the fish on. Unfortunately just as I got a look at a decent 50cm + Flathead, it lunged down behind one, bumped the jighead out of its mouth and slowly swam away.

As the horizon started to glow I walked south and then around the corner onto the Sandstone Point flats. On my way, I caught a small Flathead in the weed beds, about 20 metres from the shore. It was only just 40cm long, so I released it.

I moved past the jetty to the point where the shoreline turns right, casting as I went. I waded over the big sandbar that runs roughly north to south; onto the area I call the Sandstone Point flats. This area is very rocky initially and then softens to sandy weed beds with some central channels and drains. It holds plenty of fish, especially at the top of the tide. The Flathead lie between the rubble and the weed beds waiting to pounce, while the Bream cruise over the top.

I was still fishing with the same soft plastic, but as the water was less than a metre deep, I was only using a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. The tide was still running in and this meant I was casting directly in front of me, as I waded across the flats. Because I had missed a fish on the rocks earlier, I had switched up from a 10lb to a 16lb leader. I was retrieving the lure fairly quickly with very short pauses to avoid getting snagged. I felt a bit of resistance and thought I was snagged. I jerked the jighead up and what felt like a rock, rolled towards me a little and then felt like it was free. I wound in my line and as I was about to lift the plastic from the water, the line went tight again and the ‘rock’, which I now realise was a fish, swam straight past me. Line started peeling at a steady pace and then, as the fish realised it had eaten something sharp, it took off on a powerful initial run, with the current.

My Loomis GL2 6’6 Light spin rod is very sensitive and amazingly flexible but it is not designed for power. If you get a big fish on, patience is the key. I let it run. Then I recovered some line and let it run again. It was obviously nicely hooked, but at the beginning of each run, it would put in a series of angry headshakes. I realised now it was a very big Flathead. I identified a break in the Mangroves and started to steer the fish in that direction. It must have made five or six long, determined runs for freedom and after each one, I had tightened the drag slightly, with little effect. Even 16lb leader will not last forever and the longer the fight goes on, the more likely the fish is to find a conveniently placed rock or snag. I tightened the drag and got the fish into the slacker water close to the shore. There was another short run but it was tired now and had no current to help it. With one long last heave I pulled it up onto the sand. The leader snapped as soon as its weight hit the sand but it was clear of the water.

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It was a monster female Flathead – well over 75cm. I measured it as best I could with my tape, took a few pictures and released it. I am settling on 75cm for the length, which makes it this year’s ‘personal best ‘Flathead for me.
Ironically, I still had no fish to eat, so I waded on. I caught a few undersize bream cruising over the weed and then in a small sandy depression, I finally picked up a 42cm Flathead. It was a good end to a great mornings fishing.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point Flats – 1 May 2011


After a week of wind I was keen for some fishing this morning. I decided on Bribie Island, as the forecast wind and swell were not great and it offers a few sheltered spots. I drove up from Brisbane and arrived at about 5.00 am. I would be fishing the last few hours of the run in tide and the first few hours of the run out. With all the recent wind and rain, the water was predictably dirty and as high tide approached, there was plenty of weed floating around.

I started in the dark, next to the old oyster farm jetty on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. The area under the bridge was being flogged by the cast netters who had a few crab pots out on long ropes. There were already a couple of boats anchored in by the bridge pylons so I decided to wade south towards Sandstone Point.

I have been experimenting with which plastics to fish in the dark and pre-dawn. My latest theory is that the high contrast plastics with a solid silhouette seem to work better than the lighter/ white glow colours. I decided to put it to the test this morning. I started about 5.30am by fishing with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure in the Midnight Tiger colour. This is a predominantly black colour with a flash of orange on its underside. It has been a great Bream lure for me at night. I rigged it on a 1/8th 1 hook jighead, as the tide was not running very fast. I was fishing with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and my light spin rod.

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Just before six, it was still pretty dark and I was wading south, parallel with the shoreline, about 10 metres out. I cast into a spot about 3 metres out from the Mangrove roots, where the water was around 30cm deep. As the lure hit the water, there was a great splash and line started peeling. The water was shallow and the fish started shaking its head immediately and splashing about. I let get into some deeper water and calm down and then gradually walked it back to a gap in the mangroves and pulled it up onto the beach. It was a good size Flathead at 58cm. I released it and moved back to the same spot to try for more. I could not get another bite so I moved on.

I worked the flats around the corner, towards Sandstone Point. At the top of the tide the water was very dirty close into the Mangroves and the cleaner water was just out of reach of my wading capability. I waded along the edge of the shoreline casting out onto the flats and slowly retrieving my soft plastic. As the tide started to run out at about 8.30 am I got a couple of hits from some Pike and then a few casts later, a solid hook up. I pulled the fish back to the shore and it was another good size Flathead at 54cm. I released it, as well and headed back to the car.

The fish were not thick and there was not much bait around so I was happy with two good fish from my session. Conditions look like they will improve as the week goes on.