Bribie Island – Woorim & Spinnaker Sounds Marina – 29/30 December 2012

Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday, I decided to brave the strong forecast north-easterly on the ocean beaches of Bribie Island again. The wind was not the strong northerly, as forecast and was actually a westerly, at first. The tide was coming in and would be high at 9.44 am. The moon was full and the predawn sky was an amazing red colour.

This time I walked from Skirmish Point to the end of Red Beach, across the southern end of the island. I used my light spinning outfit, casting small soft plastics on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. Every time I saw some bait or surface action, I would cast a soft plastic minnow or shrimp in that direction.

I got a few bites and lost a few soft plastic tails but after two hours fishing, I had landed nothing and the wind was blowing 20 knots towards the north east.

On Sunday, I woke to a howling south-easterly and decided there was nowhere worth fishing, first thing. The wind blew all day and if anything, was even more powerful by late afternoon. I drove round to the mouth of the Spinnaker Sound Marina. I assumed no one would be mad enough to put their boat in so much wind – but at Christmas there are some real die-hards out there. There was a steady stream of boats going out and then coming back, 20 minutes later.

I caught nothing and went home about 30 minutes after sunset.

This will be the last post for 2012 – lets hope for some monster catches and great stories for 2013 – Happy New Year!

Bribie Island – Skirmish Point – 28 December 2012

Friday

Christmas has left me feeling knackered – all that eating and drinking wears you out. As many of you will have realised Landangler is almost a nocturnal creature at this time of year. I am not a good sleeper at the best of times but the full moon seems to really wind me up. So I went to bed early on Thursday night but tossed and turned and it only felt like I had just got off to sleep when I realised it was already light outside. I really did not feel like getting out of bed but I looked out of the window and saw a clear, still sky. The forecast big winds were not blowing so I decided I’d better get going.

I decided to put in the hours at Skirmish Point again. I would be fishing the incoming tide. High tide would be 2.4m at 9.32am. I walked along the beach from Woorim and arrived at Skirmish just after 6.00am. The sun was bright and the water was comparatively still. I stuck with the Catana Coastline Light rod but decided to try a lighter leader and 1/16thoz jighead, for the calmer conditions. I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I immediately felt a few hits and there were a few bait sprays as something attacked the small bait fish that were sitting on the wave break.

I could see tiny mullet all around in the clear water. It looked like small tailor were feeding on them. I kept up a fairly quick retrieve with the soft plastics, to avoid dragging up the glass weed that was all over the bottom. Almost every cast I would feel a bite or a bump, but I could not hook up. The fish kept snapping at the tails right up to the beach, where they would let go and swim away. After about 15 minutes of this, I hooked one and landed it – a 15cm tailor.

It was now about 6.30 am and over the next three hours of run in tide I walked up and down this area of beach, casting all sorts of 2”, 3”, 4” soft plastics and small hard bodied lures. The water was clear enough to see the schools of tiny mullet follow the lures in. I caught five more tailor – the largest of which was just about 25cm. I tried brighter colours – the GULP 3” Minnow in the lime tiger colour. Something bigger hit this and took off. It felt big but everything is relative – it was only a 25cm Dart, but things were looking up.

Unfortunately as the sun got higher in the sky even the small fish decided to slow down. I caught a tiny Whiting at about 8.00 am and then it all went quiet. It had been a better morning and at least I had caught a few fish – just enough to keep me coming back!

Bribie Island – Skirmish Point – 27 December 2012

Thursday

After the Christmas festivities I felt like I was suffering from fudge poisoning, so I was glad to get back up to Bribie where there is a bit less food in the fridge. I walked out on to the beach at Skirmish Point, south of Woorim, on the ocean side, at about 4.30pm. The tide was coming in and would be high at about 8.30pm.

I was fishing with the Shimano Catana Coastline Light, 10lb braid, 20lb leader. The wind was an easterly, blowing about 20 knots and there was a fair swell. I started with a big hard body minnow and then gradually worked my way through lighter hard bodies until I decided to swap over to soft plastics.

Bribie Island - Skirmish Point looking towards Red Beach

Bribie Island – Skirmish Point looking towards Red Beach

Fairly windy and choppy

Fairly windy and choppy

The water was clear and every so often I caught a glimpse of a small school of Dart or Mullet in the waves. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. This got a couple of bites and then lost its tail. This usually means small Tailor are around. I dropped down to a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic, also in the Lime Tiger colour. Again, I got a few bites but I did not hook up with anything.

I swapped through a few different soft plastics but could not hook anything, so I gave up just after sunset. This is proving to be a tough spot.

Christmas Eve – Mulloway – Fingal Head – 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the House – not a creature did stir – not even a mouse – except for a man with rod – who snuck out of the house.

I found myself awake at 2.30 am dreaming not of sugarplums, but of big fish. I loaded up my gear and arrived at Fingal Head at about 4.00 am. There were already a few cars in the car park. Clearly, some other fisherman needed their pre-Christmas fix.

The wandered out to the rocks to find a cloudy sky, virtually no breeze and a very big south-easterly swell rolling through. The tide was running in and would be high about 8.00 am QLD time. It took a while to cross the causeway out to the fishing platform – I watched the wave sets carefully and eventually found a gap. There were some big swells crashing through. A couple of fishermen were already out there and as the sky brightened I could see rods sticking up all along the headland.

The big swell made it pretty difficult to fish the front of the platform and I soon got a soaking from a big wave. At this time of year the water is warm enough to not be a problem – the risk is getting knocked off your feet.

I started with my heavy rod – the 9ft Daiwa Demonblood. I was using 20lb Fireline and a 25lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a RAPALA XRS 12 in the ghost colour and cast around. The other fishermen pulled up a couple of 35 to 45 cm tailor. They were casting directly to the north of the platform. They caught their fish on lures, one on an XRAP hard body and one on a Shimano Waxwing lure. I could not find anything on the XRS12, so I swapped to a smaller, suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow in a silver colour. This produced a bite – in fact I had contact with a few fish before I finally set the hook in one. It was only a small tailor – probably between 25 and 30cm long.

The swell was creating plenty of white water; a bird kept diving and coming up with fish so I knew there was bait around. We are now in the run up to the full moon so I was pretty sure there would be some jewfish / mulloway around. I stuck with the heavy rod and put on a ¼ oz jighead with a 2/0 hook and rigged up a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. I cast around the south east side of the rock platform – withdrawing to a safe distance, every time a big wave set came through. As I started to cast more east than south, I felt a tug and then a bite and the rod bent over. The fish decided to swim north which immediately posed problem. With swell crashing straight against this side of the rock platform there was nowhere to land the fish. I moved it a little way north but as huge wave set was coming in I had to retreat, keep contact and hope for the best. I survived a few waves but now the fish was getting bashed against the rocks and soon, the line snapped.

I re-rigged, this time with a soft plastic that I have been meaning to try out for ages – a Powerbait 4” Ripple shad Swimbait. I had it in the black and white ‘natural’ colour. I wanted to try it because when there is lots of foamy water I think a paddle tail vibration can attract the fish more effectively than the simple minnow shapes. I also decided to use a heavier 3/8th oz, 2/0 jighead. I moved back round to the south side and cast into the mouth of the channel that runs up to the causeway. I let the soft plastic lure sink to the bottom and then retrieved it, in short bursts. The swell was throwing the plastic around but I could still feel the paddle tail vibrating. After about three casts I felt a solid hit and the drag went to work. This time the fish stayed in the channel and I gradually walked it back towards the causeway. In a big swell this was the only place I would be able to land it.

I let it play itself out as I did not want it thrashing around once I was pulling it clear of the water. I soon had it close to the causeway and, with the aid of a big surge, I pulled it up on to the rocks at the bridge. It was still in the swell zone so I watched the waves and then stepped down and grabbed it behind the gills and lifted it to safety. It was a nice jewfish/mulloway – just over 70cm long.

While I was re-rigging I spotted a rod bend over from the top of the cliff, on the mainland. Peter, a local fisherman, had a long surf rod/alvey combination and was fishing with worms. He clearly had a good fish on his line, but he was going to really struggle to find somewhere to land it. He played it for a few minutes from the top of the cliff then slowly slid down to a lower rock platform. A few more minutes went by and although he was now closer to the fish, the swell was crashing in and he was at least 3 metres above the water.

A big surge lifted the fish onto a rock ledge. But as Peter tried to lift the fish by the leader, the line snapped or the hook pulled. The fish was pretty tried, so it just sat on the ledge – Peter was not going to let this one get away. He climbed along the rocks and down to the fish. He grabbed it behind the gills just as he was completely obscured by a huge wave. It crashed over the top of him. Somehow, when the water drained away, he was there, drenched but still holding his jewfish and clinging to the rocks. He made his way to safety and we all breathed a sigh of relief. It was a good fish – I would estimate it was about 90cm long.

Landangler’s advice – don’t try this at home!

It seems the jewfish/ mulloway love the rough water and stirred up conditions, especially if it is near the full moon. It had been a very exciting morning and was not even 7.30 am. I left, off to find a Christmas recipe for stuffed jewfish.

Happy Christmas to all and please remember rock fishing can be very dangerous – so take sensible precautions, wear good boots and a flotation vest, fish with a mate and stay safe.

Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 18 December 2012

Tuesday

It was great to wake up at 4.00 am and only have a few minutes’ drive to wherever I wanted to fish on Bribie Island. My problem was that I was struggling to find fish. Was it the northerly winds or increased fishing and boating activity or was I just not looking in the right places?

Sunday and Monday had been dismal days. I had put in the hours in spots where I have often found fish and caught very little. There definitely was not much bait around. I have often found fishing at this time of the year tough and the last few days had been evidence of that.

I decided to try the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, around the old oyster jetty, just south of the Bribie Island bridge. This is an area of mud and sandbanks with extensive weed beds. It usually fishes quite well on the bottom of the run out tide. Low tide would be at about 0.5m at 6.32 am.

I arrived at about 4.45 am and waded out across the mud flats. The tide was still running out slowly but the water was dead calm and it was already stinking hot. I started with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I waded south, casting at the edges of the weed beds.

At first, there was a little cloud in front of the sun as it came over the horizon but when it emerged, it was already white hot. The water was so shallow and warm that it provided no relief. I fished my way south and was encouraged to see a few patches of very tiny squid (about 3cm long) swimming around.

The northerly winds had blown hundreds of blue jellyfish in from the ocean and these were now dotted all over the sandbanks, like cake decorations. I walked down to the green channel marker and fished around but did not feel any bites. As the tide turned in, I turned back and walked parallel with the sandbanks. I slowly waded back towards the oyster jetty.

As the tide picked up pace it washed the loose weed away and the water became clearer. It was now easier to see the edge of the weed beds and that’s where I kept casting. I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. Suddenly I felt the tell-tale ‘thud’ and I immediately dropped the rod tip. I paused and then struck. The rod tip started wriggling but the drag was silent. I realised it was working but the clicking mechanism was buggered. It was surprisingly disconcerting to play the fish without the noise of a clicking drag. I slowly waded back to the sand bank, playing the fish very gently – it hard been hard to find. It was a dark green, carefully camouflaged flathead – about 50cm long and I was very glad to see it.

I took some photos, bagged it then followed my muddy footsteps back to the edge of the weed beds. A few more casts, in the same area and bang, I had another. I still was not going to risk grabbing it, so I waded back to the sand bank again. It was another flathead, about the same size. I repeated this process three more times along the edge of the weed banks and caught three larger Flathead – the biggest was just over 60cm. I got them all on the same GULP Jerkshad in lime Tiger.

So I had fished for three days and caught the only five legal size fish, all within about 30 minutes. They had all been on the same 50 metre stretch of shoreline. And this was the same stretch I had covered in casts an hour before.

It was a relief to have a bag of fish for Christmas entertaining and even more of a relief to know there must be a few more out there. At that point I decided it was time for a cold shower, so I gave up for the day and waded back to the car.

Bribie Island – Bongaree & Woorim – Tough Times – 17 December 2012

Sunday / Monday

I have rented a place at Bribie Island for December and January, on the surf side of the island. I am determined to get to know the fishing on the ocean beach and particularly, around Skirmish Point and Red Beach. I have always found these to be tough spots but I am convinced the fish must be there, somewhere.

On Sunday evening I had braved the howling northerly winds to try and fish around Skirmish Point, on the dusk low tide. I tried plastics and a few hard bodies but the wind and weed made things difficult. I caught nothing but was delighted to watch the dolphins having a bit more luck, chasing the baitfish right up on to the sand. I walked all the way from Skirmish Point to the end of Red Beach with just a few nibbles on the soft plastic lures. Red Beach is the only wind free spot in a big northerly blow.

For the Monday morning low tide (which would be at about 5.45 am) I decided to fish the drop off at Bongaree, along beside the saltwater lagoon, in front of Buckley’s Hole. The lagoon now has an opening much further to the south, which should fish well on the higher tides. On Monday, I waded out, close to the ledge at about 4.30 am and stopped about 10 feet away to cast along it, to see if any Flathead were lurking just on top. I waded up and down and gradually started casting over the ledge. I was using a GULP Swimmow soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead, with 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Nothing stirred – no surface action, no bait sprays, it would appear that the fish were asleep. The water was still and the sun was just coming up behind me.

Suddenly, I felt a solid hit, then another and then the fish hooked itself, before I even struck. It was a tiny Tailor. I unhooked it and let it go and cast out to see if there were any other predators nearby. But again, nothing happened. In fact nothing happened for the next two hours, so at about 8.30 am, hot and bothered in my waders, I gave up.

By afternoon, the northerly had blown up again and I walked down the beach to Skirmish Point to fish through dusk. Things looked promising with a flock of birds circling just out of casting range. I was using my beach rig which is a SHIMANO Catana Coastline Light 9’ rod with a Sustain 4000 reel. This will throw any lure under about 30 grams and is also good for 1/8th to 1/2 oz jigheads with bigger soft plastics. My plan down here will be to cast away with hard bodies and plastics, on dawn and dusk, for as long as it takes!

It could be a long time. I cast and cast and cast and did not get a touch. The RAPALA Clackin Rap hard bodied minnow that I was using, eventually gave up before I did. It lost its bib to nothing harder than the current and a sandy bottom – more evidence that RAPALA need to toughen these lures up. On sunset a kite swooped down to pluck a Mullet from the shallows, right in front of me. At about 6.45pm I gave up.

It had been a tough day and I am beginning to feel like Ricky Ponting!

Bribie Island – Whitepatch – 16 December 2012

Sunday

A hasy still morning at Whitepatch

A hasy still morning at Whitepatch

I was back in Brisbane and after a few interesting but largely fishless sessions, I decided to give Bribie Island a try, on Sunday morning.

Now, on the first Sunday of the school holidays it is not likely to be quiet anywhere. Also with a hot, sunny day on Saturday, a lot of popular spots will have been fairly thoroughly fished and disturbed. So I decided to try the north end of Whitepatch beach, about half way up the west coast of the island. I arrived at about 4.15 am and pulled in next to Colin, an experienced local fisherman, who obviously had the same idea. He explained he had caught a few Flathead earlier in the week, but they had been pretty hard to find.

The sky was thick with smoke haze and the wind had died down to nothing. The water was still and it was hot. Low tide would be a very low one at 0.2m at 5.22 am. The water was still slowly running out but there was not much pace in it.

I was back with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and started with a GULP Lime Tiger Jerkshad soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was only fishing an 8lbh leader as the water was quite clear, initially. Colin started with a small jerkbait, an Ecogear, I think. He caught a couple of small moses perch.

Troy arrived and put out a pilchard bait, which was grabbed pretty much straight away, and then bitten off. Colin waded south and I waded north. Neither of us found much. Eventually I ended up back at the bottom of the steps close to Troy, where I caught a just legal size moses perch – but it released itself before having its photo taken.

The tide was now running in. Troy was trying various baits and I knowingly told him that the squid would not catch anything. I wandered along the shore for another twenty minutes or so, and when I came back he had caught the fattest Whiting I have ever seen…………on the squid!

Troys very fat whiting

Troys very fat whiting

By about 8.30am, fishermen were lined up all along the beach. I was now fishing with a smaller GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic. I felt a few aggressive hits and saw some swirls but could not hook up. Then I saw a thrashing long tom, chasing the lure.  A few minutes later Troy landed one…… on the squid. It was time to give up!

The flathead were around - somewhere

The flathead were around – somewhere

Fisherman’s Bay near Nelson Bay – NSW – 13 December 2012

Thursday

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the scourge of all serious fishermen – paid employment – took me to the Hunter Valley. Before you get excited it was coal, rather than wine related! But every cloud has a silver lining and I managed to set aside Thursday morning for a bit of fishing.

I decided to drive out towards Nelson Bay from Newcastle and stopped at Fisherman’s Bay – near Anna Bay. This whole coast, just north of Newcastle, has loads of fishy looking spots. Unfortunately I was not up early enough to be fishing at dawn but this was probably wise on an unknown set of rocks. I was fishing with my Berkley Nomad 6’6″, 2-4 kg, 5 piece travel rod. This rod is a compromise between strength and travel convenience. Inevitably, the bend is nothing like a two piece rod but it is still the only decent rod I have found, that will fit safely inside a standard roll-on travel bag. I match the rod to an old Shimano Stradic 2500. The reel was loaded with 10lb braid and I tied on a 12lb leader.

Fisherman’s Bay is a series of rocky outcrops and shallow inlets. The inlets are dotted with kelp covered bommies and patches of rock and reef. There had been a heavy storm and a lot of rain in the days before my visit. This meant that there was a lot of debris floating around but the water was still very clear. The rod can manage hard bodies, up to about twenty grams but they would not work with all the weed, so I tied on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and put on a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure, to start with. I worked my way around the rocks, losing plenty of gear as I worked out where the patches of reef were.

Lots of fishy structure - Fishermans Bay

Lots of fishy structure – Fishermans Bay

I fished from about 7.30am to 9.30 am without a touch. I had walked around the whole bay and was now on the southern side. I had dropped down to a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I was now fishing with the GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the smelt colour. Finally, I found the fish – but they were only pike. Sitting behind a bommy, they came out, one after another to attack the soft plastic. I caught a few and then they went quiet. I swapped back to the GULP Shrimp again and caught a few more.

Eventually - A pike

Eventually – A pike

The Pike were very stripey

The Pike were very stripey

Two in two casts

Two in two casts

At about 10.30 am I had to head off to the airport for the flight back to Brisbane. I had not caught much but it is always great fun to explore a new area – I hope I can do this again soon.

Fingal Head – Tailor – 7 December 2012

Friday

On Friday I decided to give Fingal Head another try. Perhaps the bait would return. The northerly wind was up again, but it had a bit of west in it. It was a grey morning and there was not much of a sunrise. The swell had picked up overnight and there was plenty of foamy water.

I started at about 4.10 a, just after first light. The swell would make fishing with a soft plastic too hard until I could see what I was doing. So I decided to start with the RAPALA SXR 12 hard bodied minnow, that has been tempting the tailor.

I cast out from the northern side of the platform, as this was the only area safe from the swell. The lure caught quickly in the current that was sweeping round to the south. The water was moving fast so it started to wiggle nicely as I retrieved. High tide had just passed at 3.30 am and the moon was about 50% full.

After three or four casts, I felt a couple of bumps and knocks and then, on the next cast, a fish grabbed to lure. As usual it tried to make its way round to the south, using the sweeping current, but it was not a big fish and I soon subdued it. It was a 45cm tailor.

The cloud blocked out the sun as it came over the horizon. It was a gloomy morning but as it got lighter it was clear that the bait schools that had been hugging the rocks, had disappeared. The water was choppy and foamy but clear – perfect conditions for tailor.  But the sun eventually peeked through the clouds it was clear that the fish were off the bite.

A few other locals arrived and we fished on, hopefully for another couple of hours, but the fish did not materialise.

Overcast with lots of white water

Overcast with lots of white water

A 45cm tailor

A 45cm tailor

The RAPALA SXR12 strikes again

The RAPALA SXR12 strikes again

Fingal Head – Where has the bait gone? 5 December, 2012

Wednesday

The trouble with land based fishing is that once you find a good spot its difficult to stay away or risk going elsewhere. So it was back down to Fingal Head to look for the Jewfish again. Wednesday looked good, although the moon phase was no longer very exciting. Light northerly wind was forecast. I arrived around 4.00 am and caught a small 30cm Tailor just before the sun came over the horizon. I was using a RAPALA SXR 12 in the ‘ghost’ colour.

Another fantastic sunrise

Another fantastic sunrise

There did not seem to be any more around so I swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic, on a 1/4 oz, 1/0 jighead. There was a much bigger swell than I had been expecting and there was a lot of weed floating around. It had rained hard the night before and it was close to low tide. But the biggest problem was that the schools of tiny bait fish, that have been hugging the rocks for the last few weeks, had disappeared.

I fished for about 4 hours with every plastic I had. I changed down to the lighter rod, lighter leader and jigheads, but none of this helped. Eventually, I crossed the causeway and walked along the headland to the south side to get out of the northerly wind. I stuck with the light rod and the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow. After a few casts I felt a couple of double tap bites. I persisted in the same spot, making sure that the plastic was on the bottom before I started the retrieve. After a few more casts, I had a fish – a 25cm Bream. It had been a tough morning.

The 4" Minnow can be tempting

The 4″ Minnow can be tempting

I hope the bait has only disappeared temporarily.

Fingal Head – More Jewfish – 30 November 2012

Friday

A northerly wind to flatten the seas, a full moon and plenty of bait around the rocks – what more could a fisherman want? A few more hours of sleep, perhaps. Low tide would be at 3.20 am at Fingal Head and that is where I decided to go.

I arrived just before 4.00 am and walked out onto the rocks to find a few good size piles of scales – jewfish scales. The moon was still very bright in the sky. I started with soft plastic lures. I was sure the jewfish would still be around and I am convinced that their favourite food is big Jerkshads. So I started with a big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Blackshad colour – black and white, with a split curly tail. I was using my heavy rig and cast it out on a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead hook. I had 30lb leader on.

After a couple of casts I hooked a fish in the half light – a small Tailor about 35cm long. By the time I released the fish, there was only about an inch of the plastic left, I put on a new one and carried on fishing. It was only 4.25 am and the sun had not yet crossed the horizon. I was concentrating on the area at the south end of the rock platform. There has been a big school of small baitfish sitting here for a few weeks and the jewfish have never been far away.

Con arrived and confirmed that he had found some good jewfish the day before – around the 85cm mark. He had caught one on a soft plastic, but had been surprised when one took his Shimano Waxwing hard bodied lure, the previous afternoon. Steve, another local arrived and finally decided to give the plastics a go. His was a cheapy from Kmart which included the jighead. As we were talking fishy rubbish he cast it out a few times, to the south of the rock platform. On about his third attempt a fish grabbed the plastic and took off. After a quick run around it tried to wedge itself under the rocks but Steve played it patiently and let it swim out. He lifted it clear and was delighted with his first jewfish. It looked about 60 to 70cm long and was in great condition.

Now Steve found his rhythm and over the next hour he land two more good jewfish. I was getting just a little jealous and beginning to wish I had never mentioned soft plastics. I had been fishing all through and had had a few bites but could not seem to hook up. I put on a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Smelt colour and just dropped it straight down beside the rocks and counted to 10. My lure would either be snagged or get a fish and luckily for me, it was the latter. It fought hard initially but I had the heavy rod and it soon tired. With the sea fairly flat I climbed down the stepped rocks to the water and lifted the fish clear. It was another jewfish, just on 65cm.

I continued fishing around that same ledge. I lost a few jigheads and plastics to the rocks and swapped down to a lighter, 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I was now using my old favorite GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. At about 5.50 am there was a tug and then another and then line started peeling. This one wanted to swim out to sea initially and then turned north. I went with it and followed it round to the eastern edge of the platform. It was about the same size as the first and I soon had it up they rocks.

I swapped to a RAPALA SXR 12 for a bit and felt a few knocks from small Tailor but by 6.30am, the jewfish had gone off the bite. I fished on until eight, trying lighter gear but then, with the sun beating down, I cleaned the fish and went in search of a cold drink.

Tailor & Mulloway/ Jewfish – Fingal Head – 26 November 2012

Monday

I had fished on Sunday morning at Bribie and managed not to catch anything at all. I had tried a range of soft plastics and small hard bodies and nothing raised a bite. The water was warm and still and the breeze was from the north. It is a while since I have scored a duck and I did not like the feeling. So on Monday I decided I needed to get back down to Fingal Head where I have been finding fish.

I arrived at 4.00 am and walked out to the rocks with a faint glow beginning to show on the horizon. Northerly, northerly, northerly wind was the forecast – not too strong but consistently from the north. I started with the battered RAPALA SXR 14 hard bodied minnow. When it is still fairly dark you have to be careful at the end of the retrieve not to get snagged on the rocks. I worked the lure around in a semi-circle on the northern side of the rock platform. It did not take long to get a hit – about 5 casts. It turned out to be the biggest Tailor of the day, as the first fish often is. It was about 50cm long. It was 4.50 am. A few casts later I caught another, smaller fish. This one was pinned in the mouth and back and was slightly smaller. Then things slowed down.

The sun was now over the horizon and I could see the large schools of tiny bait fish in close, hugging the rocks. Interestingly, most of the birds were missing from the beach or rocks. I decided to swap over to a soft plastic lure. I stuck with my Daiwa Demonblood heavy rod and tied on a 30lb fluorocarbon leader and 3/8th oz, 2/0 jighead. I chose a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I walked over to the south side of the platform. With not much swell and the sea flattened, by the northerlies I had a good chance of landing anything I hooked up with.

Once again it did not take very long. After about three casts the line tightened and the rod bent over. It was a Jewfish, sitting close to the edge of the rocks. I played it round to the front of the rocks and hauled it up. It was just under 50cm long. I tried again in the same area for a while but I could not locate another. It was now about 6.00 am. I got snagged a few times and then decided to move round to the east side of the platform. This area has a lot of bommies and rocks but I think there is an overhang under which the jewfish school. This spot did not produce but I was sure the fish were down there somewhere.

I swapped back to a slightly smaller RAPALA SXR12 – hard bodied minnow, in the red headed ‘clown’ colour. I cast out and slowed down my retrieve, so that I could only just feel the vibration as the lure slashed from side to side. After about six casts a fish hit the lure next to some submerged rocks. I subdued it and pulled it in. It was a smaller Tailor, which I threw back.

By 7.00 am I was back on the east side of the platform fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I had dropped down to a 20lb leader but was still using my heavy rig. I managed to put in about 5 casts and retrieves without getting snagged. I was just lobbing the plastic out about a metre and letting it waft around next to the rocks. I let it sink for 5 – 10 seconds then jigged it up from the bottom. On one of these retrieves the bait went flying and the fish grabbed the soft plastic centimetres from the rocks.

This one was a little bigger than the last but I was in a good position. I played it out and then hauled it on to a flat rock. I waited for a gap in the wave sets and jumped down and picked it up. It was another jewfish in beautiful condition.

That was it for the day as I had to get back to Brisbane. I am sure there were more fish around and I will be back soon to have another go at them.

Bribie Island – Dawn & Dusk – 22 November 2012

Thursday evening and Friday morning

I decided to look for some Flathead at Bribie Island. I was able to fish through dusk on Thursday and dawn on Friday.

Only one fish south of the Oyster jetty at dusk

Only one fish south of the Oyster jetty at dusk

On Thursday I drove up from Brisbane at about 4.30pm with a huge storm cloud blackening the sky to the west. I waded around the area just to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the top of the tide. I fished with a GULP 4“ minnow and various other shapes, but it was tough to find the fish. I hooked and then lost a fish at about 5.00pm, which felt like a small flathead. A little later, and a bit further to the south, I tangled with a Long Tom and saw it thrashing around but it bit through my 10 lb leader.

But a really spectacular sunset

But a really spectacular sunset

At about 5.30pm I finally hooked up with a 30cm flathead on a GULP 4” minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. That was it for the fishing but I did witness a fantastic sunset behind the oyster shed as I waded back to the car.
The next morning I tried the sand flats at Bongaree, on the island side of the Pumicestone Passage. As usual I was a bit stuck for ideas as I would be fishing the top of the tide. I know the flathead move up very quickly with the rising tide but I find it much easier to predict where they might be, on a falling tide. When the tide is high there is just too much ground to cover.

I started at about 4.40 am, just south of the jetty, with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The water was clear and still and high tide would be at 5.40 am. My plan was to move south from the jetty casting soft plastic lures over the exposed rocks and sand between it and the creek mouth that drains in front of the Seaside Museum.

I could not find anything under, or around the jetty. I hooked my first fish just after 5.00 am, little to the south of it. It was a flathead. I carried on casting all around the same spot but could not find another one.

I moved a little further south and swapped plastics to a GULP 4” minnow in the pearl watermelon colour. I was using a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The water was still and it was hard works. I moved slowly south casting all around the creek/ drain mouth. Eventually, just after 7.00 am I caught another Flathead – about 40cm long.

I persevered and found just one more flathead at about 8.30am. This one was smaller, at about 35cm. At this point I gave up. I had found a few fish, but it had been another tough high tide fishing session. I had not seen much bait in the water and wind had been solid from the north for a few days. The moon was about half way to full. I think we may have reached the point in the year where the flathead get harder to find!