Back to Bribie Island on Friday morning, but I decided I would miss dawn and arrive closer to the bottom half of the run out tide. It was a perfect morning with a light northerly wind and a clear blue sky. High tide had passed at 7.00 am and I arrived at about 8.30 am.
I waded out just south of the main Jetty and cast around in the sand flats. As I drew level with the Seaside Museum a solid fish grabbed my soft plastic lure. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead with about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The fish made a couple of runs but was soon safe on the sand. It was a good size – just under 60cm. I released it and cast out again and, after a few hops I felt another solid fish bite. I brought it in and even got a look at it, but when it realised it was headed for the shore it shook itself free.
I carried on casting in the same area and after about 15 minutes, I felt a good hit and I had another Flathead. This one was a little smaller, about 48cm. I photographed it and released it. Things went quiet for a while so I waded to the south. I caught two more undersized Flathead and one keeper (about 45cm), as I waded along, casting over the ledge. Each time, the fish were sitting on the sand above the ledge.
After about an hour and a half, I had walked down to the south end of the tidal lagoon and back up to where I had started catching fish in the morning, by the museum. It was now about 11.30 am and the tide was much lower. This made it easier to see the ledge and cast the plastic just over it and hop it back in. I was now using a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour.
I was about to give up for the day when I felt a tug, paused and then struck. There was plenty of weight and at first I thought I was snagged on the edge. The rod tip started wiggling and there was a slow steady run. I tightened the drag a little and tried to pull it over the ledge. At this point the fish woke up and put in three blistering runs out towards the middle of the Passage. I slowly got my line back and then tightened the drag some more to make sure I could get the fish over the ledge. I pulled it over and got my first look at a very big Flathead.
By now the fish was pretty tired but it still tried to change direction several times before I grabbed the leader and pulled it gently up onto the sand. It was a Monster. I have a 40, 50, 60 and 70 cm marked on my rod and it was much bigger than these – somewhere between 70 and 80 cm. It was also an unlucky fish because it had my jighead through the left side of its mouth and recent hook wound from what must have been a much bigger hook, on the right side of its mouth. I took a few photos and then released it. It paused in the shallows for a while and then took off at a healthy speed, when I waded closer.
That was it for the day. It has been a while since I have tangled with a really big Flathead and it had been another very successful fishing session. If you want to catch a Flathead on soft plastics, now is the time!