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.
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.
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.
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.
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!