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!

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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