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.