Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum drain – 18 July 2012

Wednesday

The weather and fishing Gods take a dim view of those of us who put work before fishing. So I should not have been surprised that Wednesday’s forecast of little wind and a few showers was completely wrong. I arrived at Bribie Island around 6.30 am. As I rigged up there was a break in the rain, but as I wandered out on to the sand flats, in front of the Seaside Museum, the rain started.

It was not very heavy, but it was persistent. It was not the best tide for this spot, either. The 1.7m high tide would be at about 8.00 am, so there was already too much water for me to safely cast over the coffee rock drop off, that runs along this section of the Pumicestone Passage.

I started right in the mouth of the drain that runs out of the big lagoon to the south. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour –a typical Pilchard imitation. I think Flathead society maybe facing a junk food epidemic just like we are. Instead of eating healthy organic pilchards, junior Flathead are increasingly lured towards artificially coloured/ flavored food in appealing shapes – soft plastics.

I had a quick chat with Colin – local Bribie Island fishing aficionado who brought me up to speed on a few recent land-based captures of Jewfish and Squire, at locations that shall remain confidential, until I catch one. Colin is one of the few other mad individuals who will brave all weather to catch a fish. He was soaked having fished since 5.30 am, but had a good Flathead to show for it.

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I had no luck in the mouth of the drain, so I moved up to the big sand bank, right in front of the Seaside Museum and cast around in this area for a while. Eventually the line came up tight on a fish. It was a very small, annoyed Flathead, about 35cm long. It was about high tide and the rain was solid and getting heavier. I had had enough.

Not a great morning, but, as always, the fish were there. Today, the problem was getting too them without drowning.

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Bribie Island – The Oyster Jetty flats – 8 July 2012

Sunday

Saturday’s gusty winds were forecast to die away for Sunday morning. When I arrived at Bribie Island at about 5.15 am, the wind was still blowing at about 15 knots and it had just stopped raining. The water was pretty choppy and the wind appeared to be coming from the southwest. It would be fairly hard to fish into the wind on the island side. I decided to drive back over the bridge and fish the more sheltered mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage.

I walked out under the bridge just before first light. The tide was running out and low would be at about 7.00 a.m. As I walked across the exposed sand/ mud, I could see the scaring from the cast nets that had been thrown from the bridge. Netting from the bridge at night died right down with the introduction of the bridge cameras, but for some reason it seems to have picked up again – there are a few squid around – perhaps these are the target.

I fished around the reefy area by the fifth bridge pylon but this did not produce anything. It was a cold but fantastic sunrise. I waded along on the shallows casting a 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour, all around me. The tide was slowing now and the water was very murky. I hooked in to something slow moving and as I pulled it towards me it squirted a jet of water and grunted. It was a good size squid. My first on a soft plastic and it went in the bag.

I continued south and increased the size of my plastic to a 4” Minnow in the same colour. I fished along the edge of the weed banks but there was no run now, and I did not get a touch for the next hour. I reached the green channel marker and turned around to wade back. The tide had started to run in now and was picking up pace. The wind had dropped and the sun was now out.

I swapped to a brighter coloured, larger soft plastic. The GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, on a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead and I dropped down to a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The water was clearing with the run in tide. I felt a couple of bites and caught a 20cm Flathead about half way back to the Oyster Jetty.

I slowed everything down, letting the plastic sit for longer between hops. I felt a couple of quick bites and then had a few runs, but I could not hook up. Then I had a fish – it was a big Pike.

I moved a bit further north and at about 8.30 am I finally found a patch of Flathead. I caught two in the same spot, both about 45cm long. I concentrated on the area, casting in a semi-circle and at about 8.45 am I caught another, bigger one – about 55cm long. This was ground I had covered an hour earlier with no result. Either the Flathead had moved in quickly with the tide or the tidal flow had persuaded them to eat.

That was it for the day and the end of the school holidays. Things will get a bit quieter next week – but it won’t get any warmer for a while!

Caloundra – Golden Beach – 1 July 2012

Sunday

I decided to give Bribie a rest and head up the Pumicestone Passage to Caloundra, to fish on Sunday morning. The weather looked good and it would be a run out tide all morning. High tide was just after dawn at about 6.45am and there was not much wind forecast for the early morning.

I wanted to see if the Flathead would be as thick up here as they have been down at the Bribie Island end of the Passage. I started on the sand flats, in front of the Bribie Island Power Boat Club. The terrain has changed quite a bit in the short time since I last fished here. A few weeks of windy wild weather can change the position of the sandbanks very quickly. I was not the only one surprised by the change. I saw three boats come to a shuddering halt as they ploughed into a sandbank that was not there a month ago. One skipper very nearly ended up thrown out of his boat! So take it easy if you have not been out here for a while.

The sea grass beds are also developing around this area, giving lots of cover for the fish. There was not much bait around which is not usually a good sign. I started with soft plastics and chose the 4” GULP Smelt Minnow, which I loaded onto a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This is a very natural looking soft plastic that closely resembles a Pilchard. I waded along the edge of the sandbanks casting and slowly retrieving the lure with hops and jumps, across the bottom.

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Well, it was a beautiful morning and a fantastic sunrise but it was hard work, to say the least. I cast and waded, cast and waded. The tide was dropping which gave me access to a lot of area but it took me until 10.00 am to find a patch of fish. I had almost reached the channel markers in the centre of the Passage by the time I discovered them. Just after 10.00 am I caught a 30cm Flathead in about 50cm of water, close in to a weed bed. About 100m further on, I found a few more, of which perhaps 1 was legal size.

At about noon I was knackered and cooked so I gave up and waded back to the car. I expect this area has been fished fairly hard during the school holidays and there was plenty of boat traffic about. I am sure the fish are here somewhere but the ones I found today were not as big or easy to catch, as those at the south end of the Passage.

Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum Drain – 30 June 2012

Saturday

On Saturday morning everything had calmed down and the weather looked perfect again. The fish were singing to me in my sleep and I woke up at about 4.00am. It was a cool morning but not as cold as forecast. There was a slight breeze from the west.

I decided on Bribie Island again and started under the bridge on the island side at about 5.30 am. I could not find anything here so just before first light I moved down to Bongaree, in front of the old seaside museum. It was just about on the 1.9m high tide and I waded out along the sand bank beside the mouth of the drain. The water here was still slowly running in.

I started with the GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I cast all around but I could not yet reach over the edge of the drop off that runs along here. The water slowed down. There were a few bust ups at the edge of the main channel and there was a large flock of birds following a school of something around. I could not find anything. I tried a few other plastics then reverted to the Smelt Minnow again.

It was now about 7.30 am and the tide was really running out, I cast nearer to the edge of the drop off and felt a bite. I paused then struck. It was a Flathead about 35cm long. It was nothing spectacular but it was good to get started. I released it and cast back in the same spot. After a few more casts I was on to another fish. This time it was about 40cm long. I let it go and then things wnet quiet. There was still too much water to fish where I wanted too so I went and bought a cup of coffee. I came back to the water and sat on the sloping rockwall, just in front of where I had been fishing. The water was clear and as I sipped my coffee, I looked down to see a couple of big swirls right at my feet. The water was less than a metre deep and cruising slowly along the bottom of the wall was a large (80cm plus) Jewfish. I was stunned and by the time I got the rod, it was long gone.

Recharged, I grabbed my rod and waded across to the sand bar, to the south. I stuck with the GULP Smelt Minnow and after a few casts and slow retrieves to the north, I felt a solid bite. I paused and set the hook. This time it was a bigger Flathead at about 45cm. I waded back out and on the next cast, in the same spot, the lure was hit on the drop. It was another Flathead, 50cm long. Things were now going in the right direction.

I tried for more but could not find any, so at about 10.00 am I moved across to the mainland side, to fish the sand/ mud flats, by the Oyster Jetty. I decided to try out another of the DUO hard bodied lures I have in the tackle bag. It is another beautifully crafted fish tempter called the DUO Tetraworks Toto 42. It is a 42mm long, 2.8 g sinking, bibbed lure with a tight rolling action. As with all of the DUO range it has a great action and finds its rhythm as soon as it hits the water. It comes in a range of hues but I was using a bronze backed, orange bellied TS03 colour. It is a very light lure and therefore it suspends in the water column quite effectively.

I cast along the edge of the weed beds and predictably, as we approached the bottom of the tide, the water turned murky. I kept picking up weed, but you need to be close to the weed to find the fish. After about 30 minutes of wading and casting, and a few Pike, I found my target. I felt a whack on the lure and then an angry head came shaking out of the water as the trebles bit. It was another good Flathead – just over 50 cm long. DUO strikes again!

It had been another perfect fishing day – plenty of fish and fantastic weather – get out and catch them while you can!