The moon was waning, the winds had dropped and the tides looked perfect. Low tide would be at 9.16 am, at 0.6 m. There had been a strong south-easterly wind the day before, but this would ease off in the morning and pick up as a pure southerly, later.
I was confident that the fish would be in my favourite spots – so I drove back up to Bribie at about 4.30 am. I was hopeful that I would find some flathead under the bridge lights. I waded out just after 5.00 am. The sky was clear and the moon was about 40% full.
There has not been much surface activity under the lights in recent weeks and today was no exception. I cast around the drains and weed beds on the edges of the illuminated pools created by the lights. I caught one very small flathead on a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour.
After about 30 minutes, I waded south, past the oyster jetty and started casting around the Sandstone Point corner drain. The water over this area was already pretty shallow – only about 50 cm, in most places. I moved to the edge of the sand bank and launched a few casts directly into the main drain. After three or four – I felt the lure stop dead. I thought it had snagged on the tufty seagrass at the edge of the drain. Then there was a tug and powerful, long, initial run. This was a good fish and it towed me around for a bit. I wanted to tire it out, as there were a few boulders and abandoned crab pots between and a gap in the mangroves, where I planned to land it. It soon tired and I pulled it up, on to the mangrove roots. It was a great start to the day – a good flathead – 66cm. I was still using the GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour.
I stopped for a chat with a keen local angler who had also waded out along the mangrove line – very keen – he is in his mid-eighties! He took to soft plastics after many years of fishing with an Alvey and bait, and now loves them. I hope I am still embracing change at his age – fantastic!
I wandered out a bit deeper, in front of the long sand bank and put in a few casts back towards the oyster jetty. The sun was up now. I hooked a couple of fish but dropped both. I was still fishing with the GULP 2” Shrimp. I stayed put and methodically sprayed the areas, where I had dropped the fish, with casts. I soon found one again and it was just under 40 cm, so I shook it free. A couple of casts later I had a better fish on and after a few solid runs, I decided to walk it back to the sand bank. It was just under 60cm.
As the tide dropped, I waded down towards the green channel marker and back again. The fishing got better and better. I caught another nine fish between 7.00 am and 8.20 am on GULP Jerkshads in the Cajun Chicken and Satay Chicken colours.
It was my turn to try something new. Many readers have been asking why I don’t use the Z-Man soft plastic lures. Steve, at Jones Tackle – http://jonestackle.com.au/ (and many others) have been trying hard to persuade me of their brilliance. I recognise they are cheaper and more durable than the GULP range but I have not really got used to their colours and I find their texture a lit too ‘rubbery’. I think the colours look very good in the water, but not very good on the packets. Steve insisted I buy a packet of Minnowz in the Houdini colour and try them out. I chose this moment to give them a work out. The Minnowz have a standard minnow shape with an additional paddle tail.
Well you can probably guess what happened. On the first cast, a fish hit the lure on the drop and I pulled in a tiny, 25cm flathead. On the second cast, I pulled up a 40cm flathead and from then on the Z-Man Minnowz caught a flathead about once every 10 minutes, until I gave up at about 10.00 am. At first they appeared to be catching smaller fish than the GULP Jerkshads but then I caught two 50cm+ specimens towards the end of the session.
So Steve, and everybody else – you are right, they do catch fish. Could this be the end of Landangler’s exclusive love affair with GULP? Well, one swallow does not make a summer. I have a feeling anything would have caught fish today. But I was impressed enough to buy a few more packets!