Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – Kellys Landing – 8 June 2013

Saturday

On Saturday, I was back in Byfield National Park, so I decided to try fishing further up Water Park Creek, near Kelly’s Landing. There are thick mangroves lining the creek with only a few openings on to the muddy banks, along this stretch. A few visitors had arrived to camp beside the river and although we are well into the ‘dry’ season, the day started with rain patches, grey skies and drizzle.

This is another muddy spot and I was soon ankle-deep in the stuff. I squelched up river, using the same technique as I had on Wednesday. I was fishing with 8lb fluorocarbon leader, my light spin rig, small soft plastic minnows and shrimps on a 1/8th ounce, # 1 hook jighead. It was a new moon so there was a big, powerful outgoing tide.

The water was fairly shallow but formed some deeper channels close to the bank. In a few places there were oyster covered rocky outcrops and I settled in the mud, a few metres short of one of these and concentrated my efforts casting close to it.

I was using the GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon Colour. This was as close as I could get to the small bait fish. They were cruising up and down beside the rocks in small schools. After a few minutes, there was a surge and splash as something hit them from below.

I dropped my lure as close as I could to the rocks and let it sink. After about 10 seconds, I hopped it up, off the bottom and felt some resistance. I had a small flathead, about 35cm long. I persisted, casting along the edge of the mangrove roots and I soon had another – a bit over 40cm. I had found a patch and I caught three more over the next 30 minutes, all about the same size, in the same general area.

I kept fishing this spot for more than hour. As the tide went out I was able to climb onto the rocks and cast further upstream, from them. I was soaked, muddy, cold and kept losing gear to the oyster covered rocks and mangrove roots. I was pondering the long squelch back to the car when a freight train smashed the soft plastic, very close to the base of the rocks.

The fish took off, but fortunately it swam out into mid-stream. I only had 8lb leader on so I left the drag alone but did everything I could to keep the fish way from the rocks. It darted back into the mangrove roots and I thought it was gone. I kept the pressure on, but did not try to pull it out – I would just have snapped the light leader. After what seemed like a few minutes but was most likely 30 seconds, I saw the leader wiggle and the fish swam out. I pulled it a little further out and then tightened the drag and quickly lifted it clear of the water. It was a handsome mangrove jack – no monster – about 30 cm long. I took a few pictures and released it.

I decided to finish the session on a high note and so I gradually squelched and slid my way back to the car. On the way, I caught a couple more small flathead. Despite several interludes with the Zman Minnowz, I had not been successful with them – it was a GULP day today. Perhaps a different profile Zman would have worked as well as the GULP Minnow, but I think in the muddy water, the GULP scent may have been an advantage.

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Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – Fishing Creek – 4/5 June 2013

Tuesday/ Wednesday

Byfield is a beautiful spot and I spent Tuesday exploring. The wind was a howling south-easterly, all day, so I focused on scouting out some good sheltered spots. I tried the lee side of the headland that I had fished the day before, at the end of Nine Mile Beach. This looks like a great spot but the waves were crashing in and I could not keep my lures in the dirty water. After a few hours, I gave up on the fishing and climbed up the hill.

It looks like the water is generally quite shallow and the sediment that has poured out of the creeks and bays must get stirred up by the wind. I climbed to the top of the hill and surveyed the whole area. There were a few trawlers working just offshore. I concluded this would be an excellent area to fish land-based, so I will be back.

On Wednesday the wind was still up and it had rained heavily overnight. I decided to try fishing one of the shallow creeks that feed into Corio Bay. I chose Fishing Creek, which comes in from the south and drove down Fishing Creek Road until it petered out at a bend in the creek. It was just after high tide at about 7.00 am. There was a small ledge path on the muddy, mangrove lined banks and I squelched my way along it.

The guys at Barra Jacks in Rockhampton had suggested this spot, when I was in there a few days before. They reckoned that crocodiles were very unlikely to be around at this time of year but that I should keep my eyes peeled. That always adds a little excitement to the session!

I was fishing with my light spin rig (Loomis GL2 and Shimano Stradic 2500) and I dropped all the way down to 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. I decided to stick with natural colours and started with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. The water was not too dirty as the tide had just peaked. I dropped the soft plastic up current and bounced it back to me, along the bottom. I cast as close to the bank as I could and gradually lengthened the pauses on the bottom. After about ten casts, I felt a bite and was connected to a fast fish for a few seconds, and then it was gone. I stayed in the same area and after about 10 more casts, I landed a small flathead. A few casts later I found another, it was just under 40 cm.

I continued down the creek towards the estuary. The tide was running out quickly revealing various ponds and channel. I was wet and muddy but the sun was out and I was catching fish, so things were looking up. I concentrated on the patches of deeper water and the caught a steady stream of small flathead, over the next 4 hours. The 3” GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour was the most successful lure of the day. I tried the paddle-tailed Zman Minnowz, in a couple of colours, but did not catch anything on them.

I gradually ran out of water as the creek emptied and at about 12 noon, I turned around and walked back to the car. I caught a couple of fish in the shallow pools on the way back. By the time I reached the car, I had caught 9 flathead – the majority were between 30 and 40 cm long and only two looked like they were big enough to keep.

It had been a much more successful session and had given me confidence that this is a very fishy area, when conditions allow you to get at it.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – 3 June 2013

Monday

Sorry I have not posted a report in a while, but once again paid work has interfered with fishing. It has however, given me the opportunity to fish a few interesting spots.

In early June I found myself back in Rockhampton and decided to spend a few more days fishing in the Byfield National Park – just north of Yeppoon. Last time I was up this way the rain pretty much washed out the fishing. Unfortunately, this trip was not very different. Whilst it was not actually raining, the accumulated downpours had left the creeks and estuaries of Byfield very fresh and muddy.

On Monday it was also very windy with a 15 knot south-easterly forecast. I drove in to the national park across the causeway and along the four-wheel drive sand tracks. There was a big bog on the track in and someone had cut a crude bypass through the forest beside it – but this required the car to get over a few fallen logs and stumps. The car was up to the challenge and got through ok. I carried on over the sand hills and drove down Nine Mile Beach to Corio Bay.

I decide to fish the Corio Bay estuary where there had been a bit of action last time I was here. When I walked around to the inside of the headland the wind was blowing harder than 20 knots and it was coming from the south. This meant there was not much shelter. We were a few days off the new moon but the tide was running in, very strongly.

I started with my medium rod and reel combo – an N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb, matched with a Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I had it spooled with 15lb Super PE Braid in the green colour. This will cast big and small soft plastics, small hard bodies and slugs.

The water was dirty and muddy and full of fresh and there was very little surface action. The water was considerably colder than it had been a month or so ago. I started with big soft plastic jerkshads on light jigheads and gradually swapped through heavier jigheads until I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and a GULP 4” Minnow in the Rainbow colour. I cast into the incoming current and let the lure sink as it was carried past the rock bars by the current. I got snagged a few times and re-rigged. I had a couple of quite aggressive bites, but no hook ups. It was about 7.30 am and high tide would be at about 11.00 am. The sun was out but the wind was getting stronger and stronger.

I swapped to a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow hard body for about 20 casts, but this did not tempt the fish. I swapped back to the soft plastic minnow in the Rainbow colour and at about 8.10 am I felt a solid bite. On the next cast a fish grabbed the soft plastic as it landed in the water. It was quite powerful but small. After a couple of runs a pulled a very small blue salmon from the muddy water.

I carried on fishing through to the high tide and tried a number of the bays on the inside of the headland but after a few hours, the wind just made it too tough, so I gave up.

That afternoon I followed a very narrow four wheel drive only track down to Five Rocks Beach. This looks like a spectacular fishing spot and I tried a few casts, as I explored it. On the north side of the headland I was sheltered from the 25 knot southerly wind. But the water was now very stirred up and I did not get a bite. It was good fun exploring this area but it would have been better if I had caught something.

Bribie – Oyster jetty flats – 26 June 2013

Sunday

I was up early and even though it was cold and windy, I had to get my fishing fix. I drove up to Bribie and waded out under the bridge, on the mainland side, at about 6.00 am. Low tide had been at about 4.30 am. I had filled a bag on Thursday, so I was confident.

My target area would only be in range until about 7.30 am. The sky was clear but the wind made things tough and it was building. I waded straight to the north of the oyster jetty, to target the edge of the weed beds. This is where the fish are usually laying up.

I tried lots of different lures – Gulps, Z-Men, hard bodies, but I could not find the fish. Just as I was being pushed back by the incoming tide, I finally connected with a fish. It was a 46cm Flathead and I caught it with a 4” Gulp Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

The tide was too high to stay in this spot and the wind was making things tough, so I gave up. There was a big moon in the sky behind me and recent trips suggest the fishing is tougher in this spot when the moon is full. Maybe that is true – but I maybe had just failed to find them today.