Between the wind and the increased traffic, finding the fish has been far from easy over the Christmas period at Bribie. All you can do is keep trying your favourite spots, on your favourite tides and hope things improve. As I look back over the blog and my dairies, which precede it – I see that December and January have been my toughest fishing months in the Pumicestone Passage for the last few years. Partly because if this, I have often run away to fish the rocks at Iluka or elsewhere, at this time of year.
The only spot that has been consistently producing fish for me is the area to the south of the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Passage, so this is where I started on Sunday morning. To add to the challenge high tide was just on dawn (3.57 am at 1.9m) and there would be a fairly strong south-easterly blowing at about 10 to 15 knots. This had the advantage of frightening off the boat traffic but would make casting less simple.
I started with a hard bodied lure as there was not much weed around. I love the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. It is another of DUO’s finesse range, probably designed with bass in mind, but it annoys the hell out the flathead. It is 59mm long and weighs a little less than 5 grams. This is rapidly becoming my favourite suspending lure. It casts a mile and it seems to be able to just hang for ages in the water column. It’s great in this terrain, where you want to stay off the bottom. I was using an olive coloured model.
I was fishing a stretch of sandy bottom about 6 metres out from the edge of the mangroves. It was covered in about 80cm of water. I was retrieving the lure over the edge of a weed bed when suddenly something grabbed it. First it ran away from me and then it changed direction and hurtled back towards me. This must have left some slack in the line and as it came tight again, the drag screamed and the lure pulled free. Not sure what it was but it seemed a bit fast for a flathead – who knows?
I carried on working the same area and about 10 minutes later, there was a tug and a splash and an angry flathead appeared, shaking its head on the surface. After a brief fight I had it subdued and pulled it over to a gap in the Mangroves. It was about 55cm with a small open wound on its back and a pattern on its scales that looked as if it had been mauled by something with a broad mouth. Perhaps a wobbegong had had a go at it. I have seen some big ones cruising these flats.
I let the fish go and carried on peppering the area with casts. I felt another tug and lunge but again the hook pulled after a brief fight. The weed was starting to become a nuisance so I decided to swap to a soft plastic lure. I picked out a GULP jerkshad in the lime tiger colour, which has been doing quite well lately. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. On the first cast I saw a flathead appear from the weed, grab the lure and immediately roll over, flashing its white belly, to release itself. I kept going and soon hooked it again. This time I kept it on the line. It was another nice fish, about the same size as the first.
As the tide started to run out strongly I gradually followed it, casting over the weed and sand banks. The gradually increasing high tides and big south-easterly blow had lifted a lot of sea grass and this was now clogging almost every cast. I reached the green channel marker and walked slowly back towards the oyster jetty. About half way along I connected with another fish, but it shook out the hook. I carried on casting in the same area for about 10 minutes until I felt another solid thud. I paused and then lifted the rod. It was another flathead about 45cm. I released it and battled the wind and weed for a further 30 minutes before giving up. I had found a few fish but also lost a few – not a bad session.