The wind had finally blown the rain away. It had turned round to a south-westerly and was quite cool on Thursday morning. It had been forecast to drop right off but was still pretty persistent in the trees as I drove up to the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived at the small car park, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at about 4.30 am. The sky was clear for a change.
The tide was still running out but had slowed right down. Low tide would be at 4.52 am. I waded out under the bridge lights to find Colin (a local Bribie fishing expert) in position again – there are some big advantages to living 5 minutes away.
He was fishing to the north of the bridge so I took the south side. The water was murky and still and there was no sign of any bait. At this time, there is usually a fair amount jumping around, but there was not much water under the bridge lights and it was now almost still. The water was very dirty – as you would expect it to be on the bottom of the tide. I realised that I have not seen a dolphin in the area for a few weeks which may mean there is no bait for them to chase, but it could also be that the water is still a little too fresh for their liking.
I tried a white coloured GULP Jerkshad and then a more natural coloured smaller, 3” Smelt Minnow soft plastic. I rigged both on 1/8th, 1/0 jigheads and I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader down to 6lb Fireline in the luminous green colour. There are now a number of different colours available in Fireline but this green colour is the easiest to see in low light. I got snagged a couple of times and re-rigged with various soft plastics.
I did not get a touch from any fish but for the first time in weeks, I was treated to a magnificent sunrise. This is a great time of the day to be out and about. I waded south and fished along the edge of where I thought the weed beds would be. It was hard to see where I should put the lure with the sun low on the horizon and the water so murky. The tide started to run in and gradually picked up pace. As it did so it lifted bits of loose weed and debris so I could not swap to fishing with small hard bodies. I thought these might have a more success in the shallow dirty water.
Just after 7.00 am, I was half way between the end of the old oyster jetty and the green channel marker, in about waist deep water. Having tried a few brightly coloured plastics and few natural coloured plastics, I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. This is a black colour with a bright pink underside. The tide was running in so quickly that I had put on a heavier 1/6th oz, 1/0 jighead. This also helped me figure out quickly where the edge of the weed bed was. I carried on casting up, into the incoming tide and bouncing the lure along the bottom, with lots of long pauses. At about 7.20 am I felt a pretty solid hit and saw some bait fish go flying. I cast back in the same spot about 6 or seven times – nothing. On cast number eight, there was a surge and splash and the fish took the lure, almost on the surface. It was a small flathead – under 40cm. I was relieved to find it. I took a few pictures and released it.
I continued south and stuck with the same soft plastic. Perhaps the dark silhouette was the only thing that was working in the sediment filled water. It was a big tide and now it was a little short of half way in to the run in and the water was getting too deep to stay close to the edge of the weed. Just short of the green channel marker, there is an exposed sand bank and just to the north-west, there is a drain where water from the bay floods in. This must be why the fish congregate here. Without looking, I knew I had reached it because the water temperature dropped a few degrees and I instantly felt the change, through my waders. I turned back towards the oyster jetty and kept moving. After about another 15 minutes I found another flathead of about the same size. It did not put up much of a fight. I photographed and released it.
I waded slowly back to the bridge, casting as I went, but I did not catch any more fish. I arrived at the bridge at about 8.45 am and the wind had picked up again. A tough session – the fish may be reluctant, but they are there.