Tweed River – The North wall and upstream – 29 November 2011

Tuesday

I decided on a trip down to the north wall of the Tweed River. This spot is another one that only really seems to fire for me on dawn or dusk, so it was another early start. I walked out along the north wall just after first light at about 4.15 am. It was another warm morning with virtually no breeze and a cloudy sky. Low tide would be at about 4.30am (QLD Time).

I was using the Daiwa Demon Blood rod (2.4m) with a Stradic 800 reel, 30lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I started by casting big soft plastics on 3/8th 3/0 jigheads, all around the end of the rock wall. This produced nothing so I switched to a 110mm Popper – nothing again. I put on a 75g slug – nothing. I tried a few hard bodied shallow running minnows – also nothing. By 6.30 am, the sun was beating down and it felt like lunchtime. I decided to swap locations and techniques; put on the waders and try to find some fish in the Tweed River.

I drove down to the Tweed Heads Rowing Club and parked beside the boat hire place, just by the bridge. I wanted to fish the sand banks and weed beds around the north end of Boyds Island. You can wade out to this area, for a few hours, either side of low tide. The rest of the time the creek mouth gets too deep to cross – so keep an eye on the tide.

Tweed Heads - Rowing Club - Flathead Patch

Even with less than a metre of water in the creek mouth there were plenty of small Flathead hanging around. I was back down to my light spin rod – the Loomis GL2 with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel, 8lb braid and about 1.5 metres of 10lb fluorocarbon, for a leader. I started with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. On the first cast I felt a grab but there was no hook up. I slowed it all down and pulled the plastic back past the same spot. This time I felt the bite and paused. A few moments later, as I struck, I saw the white belly of the Flathead roll over under the water but it wasn’t hooked. I moved south west across the mouth of the creek to the weed banks which were now under about 60cm of water.
Over the next hour I caught 11 Flathead from the edges of the weed banks. Unfortunately not one of them was big enough to keep. I move slowly along the shore, casting just over the edge into the main channel and letting the lure pause, in close to the weed.

Another small Flathead snaffles a soft plastic

The Flathead usually find the soft plastic minnow hard to resist

Looking towards Boyds Island

There must be some bigger Flathead close by

I decided to try something different and put on one of the DUO lures – which I have been sent to try out by the manufacturers in Japan. They are beautifully crafted and so far they have proved deadly on the Flathead. I tied on a DUO Tetraworks Yurameki – a small bibless sinking pencil lure that weighs about 7 grams and is just under 5 cm long. I had the Redhead colour. This lure casts like a bullet but also keeps its head down on a long retrieve – this is great when you don’t want to get too close to the area you are fishing.

DUO Tetraworks Yurameki in the Redhead colour

After a couple of casts it was hit, but the angry fish shook the trebles free after a couple of lunges. A few metres further upstream, I caught another and this time it stayed hooked. It was only a small fish but the DUO lure had proved itself again. If you are interested in these lures, they are distributed by http://www.swldistributions.com.au – visit the website for more information. I Caught a few more undersized Flathead on the Yurameki.

Flathead on a DUO Tetraworks Yurameki lure

Only just hooked - the Tetraworks Yurameki lure from DUO

I then decided to try another of my recent favourites – the CULTIVA Miravibe. This lure is made by Owner and is another great sinking bibless vibe. It has a tight action, but does tend to rise up if worked too fast. It also has no action if worked too slow. It can often provoke a strike when the plastics are not working and after about five casts, I was onto a fish. It was the best of the day – after more than 20 fish, I finally had a Flathead over 40cm long. Given how long it had taken to find it, I did not fancy my chances of getting another, so I released it.
There had been no big fish but as long as you are catching something, you can’t complain. I had explored a new spot and I am sure that the bigger Flathead will be lurking round there somewhere. I will definitely be back.

The CULTIVA Miravibe also caught a few fish today

Caloundra – Dirty water, a big tide & elusive fish – 27 November 2011

Saturday

After a rubbish session at Bribie Island on Thursday morning, I decided to go back to Caloundra again on Saturday. It would be the usual wind pattern – virtually no breeze pre-dawn, building to a solid 15 to 20 knot north-easterly by about 11.00 am.

The view from Bulcock Beach - just after dawn


The new moon had risen on Friday, so it would be a big, fast running tide. High was due at 8.40 am and would be 2.1 metres. I arrived at Bulcock Beach at about 4.00 am to find the water just starting the run in, with some force. The blowy weather and rain of the previous few days has stirred the water up and visibility is very poor. There is also a bit of sediment and floating around. I started off fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was walking along the shore, under the board walk, casting close in to the shore. Just on first light, I caught a small Flathead – about 35 cm long. I carried on up to the rocks at the mouth of the Passage and caught nothing else.

Bulcock Beach - Small Flathead by the boardwalk


I moved down to the flats and weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club, just south of Golden Beach. The water was flooding over the flats when I arrived. I tried a Strikepro hard bodied, bibless vibe lure for a while, but there was a lot of sea grass floating around and the lure was getting fouled up on every cast, so I switched back to a soft plastic lure. I chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I hoped the fluttering tail might draw a strike.

I moved further north across the flats in ankle deep water. I cast along the edge of the channel, bouncing the soft plastic along the bottom. The water was still very murky, with the strong tidal flow washing around a lot of debris as it approached high.

Flathead grabs a Crazylegs soft plastic - Caloundra

After about an hour of fishing this area with the hard bodied lure, I had not found a fish. Three casts with the soft plastic – and I had one. It was no monster – a Flathead, about 45cm long. I released it and spent the next few hours trying, in vain, to find another.

A bit of a frustrating session – but the fish are there.

Bribie Island – North of Pacific Harbour – 24 November 2011

Thursday

Not much to say – drove up to Bribie Island for a late morning fish – caught nothing. I used both small hard-bodied bibless vibes and soft plastic lures. I waded the flats to the north of the entrance to Pacific Harbour, from about 9.30 am through to 1.00pm. The tide was running out the whole time. Despite forecast heavy rain it stayed dry and the wind was from the south-east – turning north-east, part way through the session. The water was very murky.

I guess you have to come home empty handed every now then!

Caloundra – Lots more Flathead but not quite a bagful – 22 November 2011

Tuesday

Caloundra again – an early morning high tide at about 5.00 am. The wind was forecast to be from the north – but starting off light and then building up to 15 knots, by about 10.00 am. It looks like a south-easterly wind change will bring some heavy rain and big seas on Thursday or Friday.

My level of excitement before a fishing day is just like the excitement before Christmas day, when I was a small boy. You get all you gear ready and load the car and then try to force yourself to sleep at 8.00 pm – you can’t sleep because instead of “visions of sugar plums”, etc – you are imagining huge fish or thinking about where to throw that first cast. By the time 2.45 am comes I am usually awake before the alarm goes off. I know, I know – it sounds ridiculous but it’s a powerful addiction.

I arrived just before 4.00am while it was still dark at Bulcock Beach and decided to target the areas under the lights, by the boardwalk. The tide was almost high and the water was close to the sea walls. Sure enough, the bait had come to the lights and the bigger fish had followed. It is fairly snaggy along here, so you have to keep the lure moving. I rigged a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour – black on top and pink underneath. I was using a 1/8th/1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to a reel of 8lb braid. I caught a few small Flathead and then eventually one that was big enough to keep.

The GULP Cajun Chicken coloured soft plastic lure works well in the dark

The rocks near the mouth of the Passage were almost covered and there was a bit too much swell washing around them, so just after first light, I decided to move down to the flats at Diamond Head. I waded along to the edge of the channel. I decided to start with a hard bodied bibless lure – the Cultiva MIRAVIBE which looks very like the small leatherjacket and herring that are floating around at the moment. As I waded along the channel, I skipped the hard body along the edge of the weed banks and soon caught a few small Flathead – between 25 and 35cm long. Then right at the point where the sand flats drop into the Diamond Head channel, a better fish grabbed it, just as it came over the bank. This one was around 44cm so I kept it.

A Flathead takes the lure from the sea grass beds at Diamond Head

By about 6.30 am the tide had properly turned and I waded to the shallow drains and weed banks that lie just north of Diamond Head. These were now covered by less than a metre of water in most places. I swapped over to a soft plastic lure as there was too much sea grass floating around to continue with the hard body. I put on the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. After a couple of casts I found a fish – another small Flathead. I carried on wading north as the tide started to run out. Just short of another weed bed, a Flathead grabbed the plastic and took off. It was only about 30 cm long. I wound it in and released it. I cast back in the same spot and this time caught a bigger one – big enough to keep at about 42cm.
The water was now too shallow to fish so I moved up to the flats and channels at Golden Beach. I swapped back to the hard bodied MIRAVIBE. This lure is effective but suffers from the same problem as many of its competitors in this category – a poor action when retrieved at a low speed. It is ok in very shallow water but becomes a problem in anything more than about 50cm. To get the right action, you need to pull it quite quickly and inevitably; it then rises too high in the water column. It is perfect in about 40cm of water over a sandy bottom and that is where my next Flathead nailed it. This was another fish for the bag at about 45cm.

This one went for the GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic

The Flathead are often in the shallowest water

A few casts later the lure was slammed at the edge of a weed bed by a heftier fish. There was a flash of silver – and then a strange looking fish came into view. I towed it to shore photographed it and carefully released it. The helpful folk on http://www.ausfish.com.au identified it as a Striped or Silver Scat – which has a nasty set of spikes but tastes pretty good, so it was a lucky escape for both of us.

A Silver / Striped Scat

I carried on for a little while longer and caught another couple of undersized Flathead. I ended the day with four keeper fish – two on the hard bodied lure and two on the soft plastic lures. I could not find five legal fish for a full bag – but there were plenty of smaller ones around. The Whiting are everywhere and so are the Garfish. When I filleted the Flathead later, only one had food in its stomach – the remains of Whiting and a recently swallowed Leatherjacket. This was the first fish I have opened in the last few weeks, that has had anything in it.

Contents of a Flathead's stomach - Whiting and Leatherjacket

We will see what a burst of south-easterly breeze brings, later in the week.

Caloundra – Lizards and Lures – 19 November 2011

Saturday

The pattern of wind has been the same now for nearly three weeks – a calm morning followed by a gradually rising north, or north-easterly breeze. We have had no rain or big weather events and there is plenty of bait around. The fish should therefore settle into some regular habits and spots and that seems to be the case. The Flathead are where you would expect them to be, on the edges of sand bars and weed beds, moving up and back with the tides.

Caloundra - the rocks and drains around Bulcock Beach

On Saturday I went back to Caloundra to see if I could find the Trevally again, but with low tide at about 8.00 am, there was a bit to much water for me too cast over, to get to the main channel. The Flathead where still around though, and I caught three in amongst the rocks at Bulcock Beach between first light and just after 6.00 am. I dropped a couple more as I tried to steer them to the beach. I was using the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Pink Shine and Black Shad colours, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. Three of the Flathead were over 40cm and a couple where a bit smaller. It was Saturday morning and the Jetskis, boats, swimmers and boarders were stirring things up a bit, so I decided to move down to Golden Beach.

Bulcock Beach Flathead

It was time to feed my new hard bodied lure addiction. I pulled out the latest try out – the CULTIVA MV 60S-06 Miravibe, 9.5g, 60 mm long – a bibless sinking vibe lure. CULTIVA is and Owner brand, so not surprisingly, the treble hooks are tough, sharp and a bit larger than the lures I have been trying out recently. There is no rattle in this one, but the vibe action is so tight that it almost sounds like there is, as it travels through the water. It looks very like a small Herring and I chose a yellow/bronze colour that seems to work well in the Pumicestone Passage.

CULTIVA Miravibe lure from Owner

I walked out in front of the Gemini Towers apartment complex and found the edge of a small channel. I cast the lure parallel with the bank, hopping it along the bottom in short bursts. The problem with this lure is that you have to move it slightly faster than I would like, to keep up the wobble. As they often say ‘no wobble, no gobble’ – so you have to keep it moving all the time.
I covered a fair bit of ground, travelling south and casting along the edge of the channel. Suddenly I felt a bite and short run but then the fish was off. I stopped and cast back in the same spot, pulling the lure across the bottom in shot sharp jerks – to get the maximum vibration. This worked and the fish (or another fish) grabbed it. It was another Flathead about 45cm long and it had thoroughly inhaled the lure. After a pretty complex extraction I released it. Another lure had passed the test and caught another fish. I suppose they all work in the right circumstances but I found this one a bit difficult to fish with. It seemed to take a while to find its rhythm in the water and I am not sure if bigger trebles help or hinder the hook up. More tests required.

Caloundra Flathead swallows a CULTIVA Miravibe lure

At about 9.30 am I gave up and went for a dip on Kings Beach. A few fish, a swim in the ocean and a fresh cup of coffee overlooking the surf – life’s good!

Caloundra – Trevally, Flathead and a few more old lures – 17 November 2011

Thursday

Back up to Caloundra for another very early start. The same wind pattern, early morning calm followed by a building northerly. The best thing was that the low tide would be after first light, at about 5.45 am.

I walked down onto Bulcock beach at about 4.15 am as the horizon started to glow. After a few casts with a soft plastic – a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, I had a 40 cm Flathead. It was lying close to the rocks waiting for breakfast to wash by on the outgoing tide. I carried on in the shallow for a while and then turned my attention to the deeper water in the main channel. I swapped to a heavier 1/6th 1/0 jighead – to get a better cast and faster sink rate in the strong current. I had to keep the retrieve fast, so as not to get snagged in the rocks.

I was back to the 7’6” 2-4kg Nitro rod and fishing with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader – so I would have a little bit more power to play a bigger fish, if I found one. I cast out into the main channel with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Pink Shine colour. Not long after it hit the water I felt a bump and then a solid bite. It was not a Flathead out there, so I struck after a short pause. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – I was on to a fish. After catching only Flathead for a week or two, I was blown away by the pace. It was a Trevally and not a particularly big one, but it charged around, all over the place and I had to tighten the drag several times to subdue it. I towed it back to the beach. It was a Big Eye, a bit less than 40cm long but in the current, it had felt much bigger.

I cast back in the same spot and a few seconds later I was on again. I caught about 8 more over the next 30 minutes, all in the same spot and then as the tide turned, they were gone. They were not fussy about colors and had eaten all of the soft plastics that I threw at them – Pumpkinseed, Pearl Watermelon, Camo, Pink Shine, Vader, Satay Chicken.

I decided to head down to Golden Beach to try out some more hard bodied lures. Inspired by the DUO range I have been trying out, I rummaged through my lure boxes to see what else might catch fish. With these northerly winds I think the Flathead are not feeding very aggressively and the vibes and rattles can stir them into a strike, even when they are not really feeding. I found an old, small shallow diving minnow with a good rattle in it and I decided to give it a try. I walked on to the sand banks in front of Gemini Towers and waded out, casting along the edge of the channels and drains, after 5 minutes, I felt a bite but no hook up and after 10 minutes, I was on. It was a small Flathead, just over 40cm but perhaps my theory was right. I released it and a few minutes later I was on to a much bigger one. Unfortunately, I was now about 80 metres from the nearest sand bar and on the walk back it wriggled free. The problem with a lot of hard bodied lures, is the small, puny treble hooks.

I decided to switch to a Strikepro Vibe lure that looked very like the Herring that were floating around the weed beds. It was a 14g, 70mm bibless sinking lure with a decent rattle and good action. Not as refined as the DUO REALIS that I had lost on Tuesday, but pretty close. The first cast travelled 20 metres and sploshed above the weed, on the edge of the channel. A few metres into the retrieve it was rattling along nicely and I could feel the vibrations in the rod tip. Suddenly, it stopped there was splash and I had another Flathead on the line. This was another fish around 40cm long.

It was now around 11 am and as predicted, the northerly was picking up. I decided to give up for the day. I was impressed that both of the ‘noisy’ hard bodies, I had selected had caught fish. The trouble is, I may be about to swap a soft plastic lure addiction for a much more expensive, hard bodied lure addiction!

Caloundra – Bulcock & Golden Beaches – a big Flathead and a runaway – 15 November 2011

Tuesday

Ok – forget about the wind, I told myself. Yes it would be from the north – but the fish must still be there – somewhere, and it was not forecast to pick up until about 9.00 am. Low tide would be at 4.00 am at Caloundra and the top end of the Pumicestone Passage is a little more sheltered than the bottom end, in a Northerly – so that was my destination.

It would have to be an early start – first light would officially be at about 4.15 am , but over the last few weeks, the fish appear to be out hunting for their breakfast as soon as the horizon starts to glow – from about 3.45am. So I set out from Brisbane at 2.45am and reached the rocks on Bulcock Beach at about 3.50 am.

There was no wind and the tide was still running out, but beginning to slow. I started with a GULP 5” Lime Tiger Jerkshad on a 1/6th 2/0 jighead. I cast around the base of the rocks and then waded a fair way out into the shallows. The sand gives way under foot and is constantly moving so you have to watch your step. I was casting just on the edge of the rock bar, which skirts the bank beneath the boardwalk and the car park. I got snagged and re-rigged.

A couple of seconds after the soft plastic hit the water a fish hit it. It must have been slowly sinking down the water column. Unfortunately, after a few days fishing with my heavier spin rod (Nitro 2-4kg) I had swapped back to the light one – the Loomis GL2. It was bent over and the reel was screaming. I had a 12lb leader and the knots would probably hold but I could not exert any pressure on the fish, through the rod. It was running all over the place, out in the middle of the channel. I tightened the drag but it made little difference. It went where it wanted. After about a minute and a half, it changed tactics and headed back in towards the rock bar. As soon as it got next to the rocks, the line went slack and it was gone. I think it had just knocked the jighead and plastic loose on the rocks. Given the powerful runs and its speed, I would think it was a Trevally – who knows?

I cast around hoping there might be a school of them but there were no more takers. I moved into the shallows and decided to try another of the DUO lures I have been sent from Japan. This time I would be using the REALIS VIBRATION 62. It is another beautifully crafted lure. It is a blade shaped vibe lure made of resin with a clever weighting system that means a really consistent swimming action, even when retrieved quickly. The rattle is loud and effective – I think it annoys the hell out of the Flathead – and can stimulate a strike from a fish that would not otherwise be feeding. It weighs 11 grams and is 62mm long, so it can be cast a fair distance and hugs the bottom, even on a fairly fast retrieve.

I carefully worked the REALIS lure over the sandy patches, I could hear the rattle from several metres away. I felt a bite – or was it a snag? I kept it moving pretty fast as I did not want to lose it. The next cast, across the same piece of sand was definitely grabbed and then dropped. Third time lucky – I cast back out and this time the fish made no mistake. There was a splash and head shake as it realized it had eaten something prickly, but it was solidly hooked. I pulled it up on the sand, it was a 52cm Flathead.

I went back to the same area and worked the lure closer and closer to the rocks until, inevitably, it got caught amongst the rocks and that was that. This seems to happen to a lot of my lures!

I took the hint and moved down the Passage to fish amongst the weed beds and sandbanks around Diamond Head. The water had just started to cover the weed along the edge of the channel. I walked across the sand bar to the green channel marker that marks the deeper water in the main channel. There were small flathead lies all over the sand bar, clustered in little groups. I cast around and caught a few small Flathead on a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour – between 25 and 35 cm.

After an hour of wading along the edge of the main channel, I decided to drive back up to Golden Beach and try my luck there. The tide was now almost high and the weed banks in front of the Powerboat Club looked like a good target. I waded north from the club, casting along the edge of the sand banks. It was now about 10.30 am and the Northerly wind was starting to pick up, roughening the surface of the water. I waded slowly, changing the soft plastic lure regularly and making sure I moved carefully and quietly. It may be choppy on the surface but it is calm down below. After 45 minutes of this I felt a nice solid bite close in to a clump of weed. I paused, counted to ten, then struck. There was a long slow pull, then a pause, then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I checked the drag, it was set right with a fair bit of pressure – this was a decent fish. I started to get some line back and moved towards the shore. There were plenty more solid runs but eventually I got a look at a very good Flathead. I kept the rod tip bent and slowly dragged the fish up on to the sandy beach. It was a big female that measured in at just under 75cm. I thought about it, but she was too good-looking to keep for dinner. The lure was now a long way down her throat so I decided to cut the line and leave it to be digested. After a few snaps, she swam away. She had been caught on GULP Lime Tiger coloured 5″ Jerkshad on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Despite the northerly wind it had been a good session with a cracker of a fish to finish up. I’ll be back!

Bribie Island Bridge & flats around the old Oyster Jetty – 13 November 2011

A long wade - for no fish

Sunday

Northerly winds – I don’t like them. They stir up the water and send most estuary species off the bite. Over the last ten days we have hit that frustrating Queensland summer pattern of an early morning calm, followed by a 15 to 25 knot north-easterly by lunch time. Add in the big tides of the full moon and the Pumicestone Passage is very murky on the bottom of the tide and full of weed, sea grass and other debris on the top of the tide.

Excuses, Excuses – you still have to get out there and try. The Mangrove Jacks don’t mind the northerly and nor do the pelagic species (they just have to keep eating whatever the weather). Therefore, on Sunday morning, I arrived at Bribie, under the bridge on the mainland side, just after first light at 4. 15 am. I waded around, cast soft plastic lures in various colours and sizes, all over the sea grass beds and sand banks for the next three and a half hours, but apart from one persistent Pike, I did not get a bite.
Finally around 9.00 am I gave up – bring on a good south-easterly breeze!

Caloundra – Golden Beach – 10 November 2011

Thursday

Northerly winds again and forecast to be blowing 25 knots by lunchtime. Fortunately the winds would be light from dawn through until about 10.00 am. I chose to fish at Caloundra again.

Pelican Waters Bridge


Still and hot in the Pumicestone Passage


I arrived about 4.00 am – just before first light and decided to put in a few casts under the bridge at the entrance to the Pelican Waters development. There were plenty of herring and other bait fish jumping around. Low tide had been just after 1.00 am so it was now about halfway through the run in phase. The moon was full. I have been fishing with a 2/4 kg 7’6” Nitro spin rod for the last few sessions – just in case I find a good Trevally, Tuna or Queenfish amongst the Flathead. It does not quite have the sensitivity/ flexibility of the Loomis GL2 (my usual estuary rod) but it can apply a little more pressure, if I hook up with a bigger fish. I rigged up with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour and cast it all around the bridge pylons. Finally as the sun was coming up I hooked up with a 28cm Flathead.

The first good Flathead of the day - Caloundra

I released it and decided to cross back over the bridge to fish the weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club. I waded out along the sand bank that was now partially covered with water. There were rays everywhere, scattering in all directions as they felt my feet, coming towards them. I waded quietly down to the southern end of the sand bank and then turned around and cast over the weed beds into the incoming tide. I jumped the soft plastic along the bottom, back towards me. I was now using a GULP 5 “Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts I hooked a fish but, as I pulled it towards me, the line went slack and it was gone. I cast back in the same spot and a few casts later I felt the solid thud of another bite. This time I paused and slowly counted all the way to ten, before I struck. This one was properly hooked. I dragged it back to the sand and photographed it. It was about 55cm long. It was just after 6.00 am.

TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI sinking pencil lure


The water was still and the sun was already hot. I decided to fish with another of the Japanese DUO hard bodied lures I had been sent to try out. The DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI is a small sinking pencil lure, 48mm long, weighing 6.3g. Once again, it is nicely weighted and beautifully finished to produce a clever, wriggling tail action. It casts like a bullet and so it’s ideal for covering large areas, when you are prospecting for fish on the sand banks. I knew there were Flathead around and it did not take long – less than five minutes later I felt the bite and hooked up. The Flathead broke the surface and started shaking its head furiously but the treble hooks were lodged. I took the fish back to shore. It was a 46cm Flathead and it swam away unharmed, after I removed the trebles with some pliers. The DUO lure had produced the goods again – two fish from two try outs – pretty impressive.

This Flathead fell for a DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI hard bodied lure

It was very warm but the northerly breeze was starting to pick up. I decided to move down to Golden Beach and fish the edge of the channel that runs out from Diamond Head. There is a big drop off here and I did not want to lose the TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI lure – I only have one and there are too many snags in this area. So I switched back to a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic lure in the New Penny colour on a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead. I worked the edge of the channel all the way out to the green channel marker. Finally, just as I reached the drop off into the main channel, I got a bite. I paused, and then I struck. I had securely hooked another fish – I brought it in close and released it – a 35cm Flathead.

By now the wind was too strong to cast and there were white caps on the waves, so I waded back to the shore and gave up for the day.

Caloundra – Bulcock Beach and Golden Beach – 8 November 2011

Tuesday

Strong northerly winds were forecast, but not until around 10.00 am. I decided to fish at my new favorite spot – Caloundra – at the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, about 1 hour north of Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast.

High tide would be at 7.40 am and it would be a nearly full moon. There would be plenty of power in the tidal flow and it would come up very high. I arrived at first light, just after 4.00 am. I started fishing at the mouth of the Pumicestone Passage, at the southern end of Bulcock Beach, on the rocks. The wind was blowing and it was already fairly choppy. The tide was rushing in, so I focused on casting my soft plastic lure at the eddies, behind the rocks. After a few casts, I caught a 45cm Flathead on a GULP 3” Minnow lure, in the Lime Tiger colour.

It was too windy to stay in this location so at about 6.00 am, I moved south along the Pumicestone Passage to Golden Beach, to fish the weed banks in front of the Power Boat Club. This is a good spot on high tide as the Flathead move up over the weed beds, looking for something to eat. After half an hour of casting I found one, another 45cm Flathead on the same lure. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 1.5m long 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I let the fish go and few casts later I got a better one. This time, on a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic., in the Satay Chicken colour. As soon as I felt the initial bite, I had dropped the rod tip and counted to 10. The waiting nearly killed me but when I jerked the rod tip up, the lure lodged firmly in the fish’s throat. The fish was too big to grab in waist deep water so I had to tow it all the way back to the sand – about 100 metres. Luckily, it stayed on and did not saw its way through the leader.

I fished for a few more hours, wading up and down the weed banks. But, by about 9.00 am, it was just too hot to carry on, so I put the fish on ice and went for a swim.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bribie Island – Pacific Harbour Flats – 7 November 2011

Monday

I wasn’t planning to fish today. I couldn’t get away until 8.00 am and thought that might be too late. But it was such a beautiful day that I decided I would go anyway. I drove up to Bribie and dropped in on Nigel at the tackle shop, in Ningi. As usual, he provided some good local knowledge and told me who was catching what, where and when.

I took his advice and decided to fish some new ground, to the north of the mouth of the Pacific Harbour canal development, on Bribie Island. High tide had passed at around 7.00 am and it was now about 9.00 am. This is a great fishing spot. It has everything – weed beds, sand banks and the coffee rock ledge that runs the length of the Pumicestone Passage.

I started just north of the wading bird sanctuary and started casting around with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour. I had been fishing the longer Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastics at the end of the previous session and had left the slightly heavier and wider gape 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead on. I have begun to conclude that anything bigger than a 1/0 hook jighead, can reduce you hook up rate with the Flathead. I don’t think it affects their eagerness to eat the lure but I think the bigger hook does not lodge so effectively in the jaw of the very flat mouth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After about ten minutes I felt a bite, paused and struck, I had a good size fish on, but after about twenty seconds, it wriggled off the jighead. I waded a little further south, towards the mouth of the Pacific Harbour development. Just short of the entrance, I was retrieving my lure and about to lift it from the water to cast again. A Flathead launched itself at the lure and grabbed it, just as it came out of the water. I nearly jumped out of my skin. It turned and ran and I tried to set the hook but failed again and it was gone.

I changed down to a lighter and smaller gauge jighead, a 1/8th 1/0 hook, and moved back north, wading and casting, wading and casting. I tripped over an unmarked crab pot and then another. The water is still quite muddy and murky in places, even though there has been no rain for a while. Finally, after more than one hour, I hooked up with a 25cm Flathead. I released it and decided to switch locations.

I drove down to Bongaree, to the mouth of the tidal lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole. It was just about low tide by the time I got there. I cast over the edge of the coffee rock ledge and moved south from a spot just in front of the new museum. After a couple of casts, bait started skipping around and I caught a small Chopper Tailor – about 25cm long.

I decided I had missed my chance of catching a good fish earlier in the day and so, at about 12.30 pm, I gave up and went home.

Bribie Island – The Oyster Jetty & Flats – 5 November 2011

Saturday

Early start again, but back to Bribie Island this time. I arrived at the island side of the bridge at about 4.00 am. High tide would be at about 5.30 am. It would be one of the lower highs of the month at about 1.7m.

There was a group of 5 fishermen on the bridge but they were fishing in the main channel, a few pylons out. I have always caught my best fish in this spot, close to the shore in the shallows. So that’s where I started, walking along the bank, casting into the run out current and bouncing my soft plastic along the sandy and weedy bottom.

The problem was not a lack of fish but rather too many. I immediately heard the blow of a couple of dolphins and then saw small mullet flying in all directions as they started breakfast. There were mullet everywhere and as the horizon started to glow, everything started eating them. Every few seconds you would hear a splash as they leapt out of the water, trying to avoid the predators.

I put on a GULP 5” Jerkshad and just kept casting as the surface bust ups. I felt the lure bumping through the mullet schools. The fish were so thick that my lure would crash into them on the retrieve. The problem when there is this much food around, is making your offering stand out. Theoretically, you should be trying to make you soft plastic lure look just like a small mullet as that is what the fish are eating. But in these circumstances this will just mean your lure gets lost among the mass of fish.

As dawn broke I decided to swap sides and drove over to the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I noticed the entrance to the track that leads down to the old oyster jetty is now being fenced off. I think the land was sold recently so perhaps the new owners have grand plans. It was now about 5.30 am. The sun was up and the surface activity had died down. The water had slowed as it approached the top of the tide, but there was a lot less sea grass floating around.

Nudibranch / Sea Snail

I waded south, under the jetty and around the corner towards Sandstone Point. The now disappointingly familiar smell of rotting turtle flesh hit me and I came across a big one, dead, bloated and washed up on the rocks. It had an orange nylon rope wrapped solidly around its head and right fin and I presume this is what had killed it. Maybe it had got tangled up with a crab pot or mooring line – I am not sure how this can be prevented but it is always sad to see them dead. The good news is that I have never seen so many – I cannot remember the last fishing session I had when I did not encounter (a live) one.

Tangled Turtle

The mullet schools were thick all through this area and there is now plenty of sea grass on the bottom. I waded slowly round towards Sandstone Point and just as I turned the corner, a caught a small Flathead on a GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow.

A 35cm Flathead - near Sandstone Point

The tide was now running out so I waded back across the flats, round towards the weed beds by the old Oyster Jetty. About 40 metres south of the jetty, level with I felt the familiar ‘thud’ of another Flathead bite. I had switched soft plastics and had caught it in a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. As I waded out to look for another, the heaven’s opened and I was soaked before I could make it to some cover.

Sandstone Point - 45cm Oyster Jetty Flathead

The bountiful natural bait (mullet) had made my fishing difficult and as usual, I had struggled to find the fish on the high tide. More practice required!

Caloundra – Kings Beach Rocks – 3 November 2011

Thursday

I decided to do a bit more exploring at Caloundra. I only had time for a short session so I decided to have a look at the rocks at the northern end of Kings Beach. I arrived just on low tide at about 10.00 am. There was a light southerly breeze, just enough to keep cool but not enough to make the fishing difficult.

I parked in Anzac Park and took a path down to the rocks. This whole shoreline looks very fishy. Where the rocks meet the sand there are numerous overhangs and small bays. The hard thing is timing. If the tide is too high it will be hard to get your lure / bait into the right spot – just beyond the rocks, where the sandy bottom starts. If the tide is too low the fish won’t be there anymore. I was lucky, I was fishing the couple of hours after low tide, which was pretty much ideal.

I decided to fish a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead, so that I would not get snagged too often. I rigged it on my Loomis GL2 light spin rod with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic to start with. Inevitably, I lost a few jigheads in the first 15 minutes, as I worked out where the submerged rocks where.

After casting and moving, casting and moving – a few times, a fish grabbed the lure, just as it came over the rock ledge. I let it have some line then pulled it over the ledge with a wave. It was a nice Bream – about 30cm. I released it and carried non along the shore.

I thought I might find some Flathead, but as time went by and the tide started running in, it was clear the fish had gone to sleep. I enjoyed walking along the rocks and examining the terrain and made a note to return to this spot at dawn or dusk, soon.

Caloundra – Some new ground and a new lure – 1 November 2011

Tuesday

I started early and I could see from the rustling trees that the strong southerly wind had not really dropped off. I set off at 3.30 am, from Brisbane, arriving at Caloundra at about 4.30 am. My trip up here last week had got me interested in the land-based fishing opportunities at this end of the Pumicestone Passage, so I was back to do a little more exploring.

Low tide would be at 7.20 am, with first light just before 5.00 am. The low tide would be better for establishing where the possible fish hiding places would be. I was looking for the rock bars, sand banks and sea grass beds.

I started at the far northern end of the Passage, where it runs out into the ocean. The Caloundra side of the mouth has lots of exposed rocks at low tide. It has a few shallow tidal lagoons, that you need to cross to reach the main channel, nearer to the northern tip of Bribie Island. The water was running out much too fast to fish the main channel.

At about 4.45 am I started casting a 4” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic lure, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead back, against the run out tide and then retrieving it along the sandy bottom, close to the submerged and semi-submerged rocks. I could not stop for long as the plastic would get wedged into the rocks by the quick running water. I lost of few jigheads, but that is the price of exploration. I moved a bit further out on to the sandy area and cast into the eddies, where the water had slowed down a little. This paid off and suddenly I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. I paused and forced myself to count to ten, then I struck. I had hooked it and played an angry fish back to the shoreline, It was a 63cm Flathead. As it grew gloomier and the wind picked up, the sky started to spit big splashing rain drops. I decided to wade back to the car and wait until the squall blew over.

It only took about 10 minutes and then I was back out on the rocks, this time I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I moved back along the Pumicestone Passage in the direction of Golden Beach. I was casting around in the shallow water – about 20 cm to 1 metre deep. Every now and then, I would lose a jig head to a patch of rock. I gradually found patches of smaller Flathead and caught 5 fish that were about 35cm long, over the next hour.

Another shower threatened so I decided to move round to the sand flats, just north of the Power Boat Club – near Golden Beach. The rain had passed by the time I arrived. Just in front of the club there a few clumps of sea grass, in a line, about 25 metres from the shore. The tide was now running in and the water was beginning to cover them. I waded out and cast all around them. I was using the 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I soon caught another fish – a Flathead about 55 cm long. It was lying a metre off the weed beds in about 40cm of water.


Those of you who are regular readers will know that I am hopelessly addicted to soft plastic lures, but I also fish with blades and, more recently, with hard bodied lures. A nice gentleman from DUO Lures in Japan recently asked if I would try some of their products and I agreed. I explained my usual rules which are – if I have been given something for free, to try out, I let my readers know and I will also let them know how the try out goes, good or bad. He was happy with that and confident that his products would catch fish.

He sent me a few lures and I particularly liked the look of one called the TETRAWORKS BIVI. It is basically a nicely weighted 3.8g resin blade. It has a bit more substance than a metal blade but seems to retain the traditional vibe action. As I now knew there were fish in the area, I decided I would give it a try. The colour was a semi-transparent silver on top and a bright yellow underneath. It looked good in the clear water and skittered nicely over the sandy bottom.

I decide I would give it 30 minutes to prove itself. I waded along the weed beds casting all around and trying a few different retrieves. There was a still a bit of sea grass floating around and the wind was now blowing strongly from the south east, but I kept the lure in the water and it did not get clogged up very often. After about 20 minutes I felt a bit of resistance. I thought it might be a clump of weed but then the line went taught and there was some furious splashing. It was another good Flathead about 60 cm long. When I landed it, I saw the lure had got a good grip through the corner of the fishes mouth. So full marks to DUO for this one – you can have a look at the range on their website http://www.duo-inc.co.jp/en/ and now I know they work, I will find out who supplies them in Australia and let you know.