Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum flats – 24 July 2013

Wednesday

Wednesday morning was cold, cold, cold, and really cold.  It was the first time this year that I have really felt it. It was a solid 15 knot south-westerly at 5.00 am. The moon had been full the day before and it was pretty bright.

I wanted to see if the Tailor were around at Bribie, before dawn. Tailor will often come on the bite in the dark, just before sunrise or just after sunset. I usually find it tough to fish in the dark but when the moon is as bright as it was on Wednesday, it almost feels like daytime.

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I decided to try the area around the drain beside the Seaside Museum. Low tide had passed 4.45 am. So at about 5.30 am the tide was just starting to run in.

I need not have bothered to get up so early, as nothing happened until just before first light. At about 6.00 am,  I was retrieving a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1/0 hook jighead, on 12lb leader. I had let it sink and I was hopping it back along the bottom towards me. I felt it stop dead and then the weight of the jighead just disappeared. It was a clean bite off – something very toothy.

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I re-rigged with the same soft plastic and carried on fishing. I moved up and down, casting along about a 15 metres section of the coffee rock ledge. I decided to drop down to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic, in the Banana Pawn colour. This is a bream favourite.

At about 6.25 am I felt a few bites when the plastic hit the bottom. On the next cast, I paused for a long time with the soft plastic just sitting there. As soon as I lifted it the fish struck. It made some determined runs but I pulled it up, over the ledge and safely onto the sand – it was a 32cm bream.

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I continued casting in to the same patch and at about 6.45 am, I caught another good bream. This one was nice and plump and a bit bigger, at 34cm. I returned to the same spot and continued fishing. About 10 minutes later the soft plastic was grabbed again, as I lifted it off the bottom. This was a much more powerful fish and it took plenty of line in its initial run. I moved as close as I could to the edge, so that my line would not get caught against it. The fish made about four good runs and then it started to come towards me. It swam straight over the edge towards the shore line and I tightened the drag, a little. When it realised its mistake and started back towards deeper water I turned its head and pulled it slowly and steadily up to the sand.

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It was a handsome Jewfish. I measured it at 58cm. Once again, it had completely swallowed the jighead and soft plastic, so I cut the line, as far down its throat as I could, before releasing it. By now I the tide was getting too high to fish along the edge and I was freezing, so I gave up.

The weather is still consistently bad but at least there are a few fish around.

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Bribie Island – the Seaside Museum drain and flats – 19 July 2013

Friday

A late start on Friday and wet weather again. I drove up to Bribie and passed through several showers on the way. I arrived at Bongaree at about 9.30 am. I stopped in front of the Seaside Museum again and parked up. The tide had been high at 5.45 am, so I could now easily reach and cast over, the coffee rock ledge that runs along, parallel with the road.

Surveyors were measuring up for a new sea wall – the current slope is sinking and sagging after all the wild weather. Hopefully work on the new one will create some new fishy structure.

I started fishing with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was using 8lb leader again. After a few casts I hooked a fish. It made a few runs then I pulled it over the edge. It was a good bream, about 34cm long.

It was not long before I had another fish on. This time it swam under the ledge and soon rubbed me off. I did not get a look but it felt like another decent bream. I carried on in the same spot and after a few more casts, I felt another solid bite, as I lifted the soft plastic off the bottom. On the next cast, I paused a little longer with the soft plastic on the bottom. When I lifted it, a fish struck. It pulled quite hard but I was now level with the ledge and so I could keep the fish away from it. When it came in to view it was only a 25cm Moses Perch!

I moved a bit further south and kept casting. A few more casts and I had another fish on, this time it was a Tailor. It pulled very hard but it was nicely hooked so it could not bite through the leader. I pulled it up to the sand. It was just about 35cm long but I released it after a few pictures.

I checked the leader and thought about upgrading to 12lb, but could not be bothered. On the next cast I wished I had. A fish hit my plastic just a few inches out from the ledge and took off. This fish had weight and power but was not mad like a Tailor. I started swimming north, parallel with the shoreline and I went with it for about 10 metres. I tried to keep it away from the edge but my light spin rod was no match for it. It found a ledge and I could feel the leader rubbing and then it was gone. I suspect it was a jewfish but I will never know.

I fished on as the tide slowed and picked up another respectable 32cm bream on the Gulp 3” minnow in the Sardine colour. On the bottom of the tide the weed was clogging every cast and the sky looked ominous so I packed up.

Bribie Island – the Seaside Museum drain and Buckleys Hole – 17 July 2013

Wednesday

New look site – hope you like it.

Things looked pretty good for Wednesday – there was a bit of rain forecast but the wind would be light, turning into a northerly. The moon would be about 65% full and low tide would 0.5m at 9.43am. These are ideal conditions to fish at Bribie Island. Arriving before dawn, I could fish the second half of the run out tide.

I arrived on the island side of the bridge at about 5.30 am. The water was running out pretty fast. I put on my waders and clambered down the rock wall to the south of the bridge. The bridge lights often bring the smaller fish or prawns into this area but there was no evidence of their presence. The water was clear, but there was a fair amount of weed floating around. I tried dark and light, big and small soft plastics but did not get a bite. Just after first light at about 6.00 am I decided to move south.

I drove down to the car park in front of the Seaside Museum. Conditions were perfect – I could see where the fresh water drain was pouring over the ledge into the channel and I positioned myself just south of this point.

I was fishing with my light spin rod and running 8lb fluorocarbon leader down to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 hook, jighead. I started with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I cast over the ledge, let it sink and bounced it back along the bottom, parallel with the shore. After about three casts, there was a solid bite, then line started peeling. It was slow at first but then it took off, as it realised it was hooked. It took about 10 metres, paused and then took another 10. It was a heavy fish. It turned and swam back towards the ledge. I tried to apply some pressure and lift it over but it put its head down and swam under an overhang. I tightened the drag a little and then slowly dropped the rod tip. As the line slackened, the fish swam out. I put the pressure on again but it went straight back under. I could feel the line rubbing on something and then pffffft – it was gone. When I wound in the line, the jighead and plastic were gone.

I swapped through a few soft plastics and hard bodies as the tide ran out. A small school of Tailor passed through and I lost a couple tails from my lures. I dropped down to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on the same size jighead. On the first cast this soft plastic was hit as it sank. There was a quick initial run, towards me. I tightened the drag and started wading backwards. I did not want the fish to swim back over the ledge. I pulled a little too hard and caught site of a good sized Bream swimming away.

I carried on peppering the area with casts. I made sure I gave the soft plastic plenty of time to sink to the bottom. On a couple of casts I felt a faint bite, as I lifted the lure off the bottom. At about 7.35 am I cast out and paused. When I lifted the rod I felt some resistance. Suddenly line was peeling again. This time it was heading out into the channel. I moved closer to the ledge and gradually recovered some line. It was another slow powerful fish. It gradually tired and as I pulled it over the ledge, I could see it was a Jewfish. It made few more runs but I soon had it safely on the sand. It was about 55cm long. Unfortunately it had completely swallowed the jighead, so I left it in, cut the leader and released it, after a few pictures. I could not find anymore, so I moved on.

I waded to the south, casting along the edge of the drop off. Things were uneventful for about 45 minutes. I was now standing in front of the tidal lagoon at Buckley’s Hole. Suddenly, something grabbed the soft plastic as it dropped into the water. It took off and then let go. I continued retrieving the lure, quickly and just before it reached me, the fish grabbed it again. It jumped around and made plenty of lunges and short runs. It was a small Tailor. As it came over the ledge, it had two other fish following it. It was only about 30cm long but nicely hooked. I picked it up and took a few pictures before releasing it.

Things went quiet so I slowly waded back along the shore line to where I had started. It was now almost low tide and the water was getting dirtier and weedier. I was still using the GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic. At about 9.00 am I was ready to give up. As I speeded up my retrieve to pull the lure clear of the ledge, a fish grabbed it and pulled away. It went straight back over the ledge and headed for the bottom. It took a bit of line but soon calmed down and after a minute or two, I had a nice 36cm Bream to finish the session.

As I drove home the heavens opened again.

Bribie – Oyster jetty flats – 15 July 2013

Monday

Another fishing opportunity – and another miserable weather forecast, cold wet and windy. You just have to get on with it. I could not start early but I was able to reach the Bribie Island Bridge just as the tide was starting to really run in, at about 9.00 am. Low tide had passed at about 7.45am. There was a thick grey band on the horizon and a cool south-westerly breeze.

I wandered out past the jetty, heading south to my usual stomping ground. As I did so, the wind dropped and the drizzle started. I only had about an hour before the incoming tide would push me back, away from the weed banks.

A few weeks ago there were some good mullet schools in this area, but they seem to have moved on. I waded quickly south, to one of the more productive spots, along a big weed-covered sandbank. There are nearly always fish of some kind here. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Orange Tiger colour – bright orange and yellow with a black fleck. I was fishing with 8lb leader and a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. The water was still and fairly clear despite the wild weather so I was trying a high contrast soft plastic.

It did not take long. After a few casts, I felt a very slight grab. It could have been weed, but it felt a bit more solid. I dropped another cast in the same spot……….. nothing, except a clump of weed. I gave it one more try and bang, a flathead grabbed it and took off. The rod bent over and line peeled smoothly off the spool. The drag on the Shimano Stella 2500 had been expertly fixed by Neil at Jones Tackle – http://jonestackle.com.au/. It just required the adjustment of a small spring.

It was not a huge fish – about 50 cm, but it had plenty of fight in it. By the time it drew level with me, I could see it had completely swallowed the soft plastic. I pulled it over snipped the leader and slipped it into the keeper bag.

I re-rigged with the same plastic and peppered the area with casts. I did find another flathead so I moved about five metres further south. I put in a long cast and almost as soon as the soft plastic splashed through the surface of the water, there was a tug and then the line went slack. I wound it in to find the soft plastic Jerkshad and jighead gone. No idea what that was.

I tied on another Orange Tiger and cast it out. It was grabbed before it reached the bottom by an enormous Pike. It took plenty of line and made a few leaps, but it was nicely hooked in the side of the mouth, so the rod and drag soaked up the acrobatics. When I dragged it up close to me and unhooked it, I measured it at about 45cm.

I swapped over to a Zman Minnowz soft plastic in the Houdini colour. I thought the paddle tail might stir up the flathead. The tide was moving up fast and the drizzle kept falling. I only had 20 minutes left and then I would be pushed to far back to see where I was casting. After a few minutes of working the Zman I felt stop dead on the bottom. Then the fish started swimming. For the first time in ages I had a good fish hooked and I realised how little work my drag had been doing. I decided to pull it back to the shoreline – it was too big to grab while wading. After several good runs, I pulled a good 60cm flathead up, on to the sand and put it in the keeper bag.

The tide was now too high to carry on here, so I finished fishing at about 12.00 noon.

Bribie Island – Museum drain & oyster jetty flats – 8 July 2013

Monday

Monday was dry and sunny, with not much wind forecast. I could not get out early but I was determined to fish. I drove up to Bribie Island. As I drove over the bridge I could see the wind rustling in the trees – but at least there were no clouds around.

Monday was the new moon and I had arrived just after high tide at about 9.30 am. This was the smaller high tide of the day. I wanted to survey the area around the Seaside Museum drain and fish the run out tide. The mouth of the tidal lagoon that was emptying near the museum drain, has now almost closed up and a lot of sand has moved around.

I waded out to the south of the drain and cast around. I was using the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and fishing with 8lb fluorocarbon leader. A Dolphin soon appeared and put on a fairly impressive leaping show. It was a great sight but I doubt it did much for the fishing.

After about 45 minutes with no bites and a steadily building south-westerly wind, I decided to give up on this spot. I stopped for a cup of coffee to consider my options. I then drove back over the bridge to the mainland and parked up. The flats on this side of the Pumicestone Passage are a little more sheltered in a strong south-westerly wind.

I did not have much time left so I waded south, past the old oyster jetty and along the exposed sand spit, towards the green channel marker. I planned to wade back towards the bridge casting along the edge of the weed beds.

The tide was now running out very quickly and lifting big clumps of the ‘snot’ weed off the sea grass. I kept catching them which was really annoying, but even more annoying – my drag on the Stella 2500, was only clicking intermittently. At first, I thought the line might be slipping on the spool but I checked and it wasn’t. The clicker seemed to make a noise if I jerked a bit of line off quickly but not if I pulled it off in a slow, smooth motion.

I started fishing with a Gulp 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. My first customer was decent Pike who grabbed the plastic after about 20 minutes of casting around. The drag was working but not making any noise. It’s surprising how disconcerting this can be. Although you can feel the fish taking line, the noise that the drag usually produces really helps you gauge where you are in the fight.

After a while I swapped to the Zman range of soft plastics and tied on a Minnowz paddle tail in the Houdini colour. After 20 minutes this had not found the fish so I swapped to a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour (black and pink). After a few casts, I connected with a fish. I knew it was on but the intermittent drag was confusing me.Almost as a reflex, I reached down to tighten the drag and as I pulled the rod tip up, the 8lb leader snapped.

I re-rigged with the same set up and checked the drag was set right. I cast around in the same spot for about 15 minutes before I had another bite. This time I hooked the fish nicely and left the drag alone. It was a flathead, just under 40cm long. I released it.

It was now about 12.30 pm and we were approaching low tide. It was a bright sunny afternoon but the wind was getting stronger and stronger. I slowly waded back to the car, stopping occasionally to cast at the sandy patches on the weedy bottom. I soon felt another bite, but did not hook up. I stayed in the same place and three casts later, I had another 40cm flathead.

By 1.30pm I was just north of the old oyster jetty. I felt a grab at the soft plastic and suddenly there was an angry, head-shaking flathead coming towards me, across the surface. I wound in quickly and the hook stayed in its mouth. After a minute or two, the fish was beaten. It was the best one of the day, well over 50cm.

I had found a few fish but it had been hard work. I was delighted that the rain had moved on, now we just need the wind to calm down.

Bribie Island – the old oyster jetty flats – 21 June 2013

Friday

It’s been a long time between fishing sessions. Work and the dreadful weather – particularly the wind, have limited my fishing opportunities. On Friday the rain and strong south-easterly winds were forecast again but I had no choice, I had to go for it. Fish don’t really care about the wind in an estuary, but if it is really strong, it makes it very hard to feel the bite and cast accurately, not to mention the cold, if it has some west in it.

On Friday morning, on the flats opposite Bribie Island, the wind was switching between a strong south-easterly and south-westerly and bringing plenty of rain with it. The tide had been high at 7.10 am and we were approaching the full moon, due in a couple of days.

I started fishing at about 9.00am. I wanted to fish the second half of the run out tide, through to about midday. I waded out under the bridge in a disposable rain poncho and my waders – I was dry underneath but the wind was very cold. The rain varied between a steady drizzle and heavy squalls.

Despite the wild weather the water was clear and cold. Unfortunately the algae (snot weed) are all over the sea grass and rocks on the bottom, between the bridge and the old oyster jetty. If you let your lure hit the bottom, it just gets clogged up with this stuff, straight away.

The situation improved to the south of the oyster jetty. I think the current is a little stronger here so the algae find it harder to take hold. I was fishing with a GULP 4” minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After an hour of casting around I connected with a fish, but after a short fight, it slipped free. I persisted in the same spot for another 20 minutes. Eventually, I hooked the fish (or one of its neighbours) again. It was a flathead about 45cm long. Given how tough the fishing had been it seemed I was unlikely to catch the three fish minimum that I would need to feed my mob, so I released it.

I was now about 200 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty and the tide was running out, strongly. It was time to continue the sea trials of the Zman Minnowz. I chose the fairly natural, Houdini colour and put it on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I covered much of the same ground I had covered with the GULP Minnow and after about 20 minutes, I caught another small flathead about 35cm long.

I moved up and down casting at the edge of the weed beds but the after another 40 minutes with no bites I swapped back to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. This produced a result on the first cast – another small flathead about 30cm long. I continued fishing the same area for another 30 minutes, but could not find anymore.
The wind was really building now, so I turned back and waded towards the bridge. On the way, I slowed my retrieve right down and left it longer on the bottom between hops. This produced one more flathead, just before low tide at about 1.00 pm.

Tough session – but the fish were there – as they nearly always are.

1770 – Baffle Creek – Flat Rock Ramp – 10/11 June 2013

Monday/ Tuesday

By Monday work was done and I was on my way back to Brisbane. I did have time for a quick stop at 1770. The weather was far from encouraging with heavy rain and persistent strong southeasterly winds. So on Monday morning I trekked round to the stretch of coast between Workman’s Beach and the beach I call Getaway Beach. This area is quite sheltered in a strong southerly. The top of the tide was just before dawn and I tried everything, big and small soft plastic and hard bodies – nothing raised a bite. The water was stirred up and murky and the swell made things tough. Every time I fished with heavy lures, I pulled up lots of weed and displaced rubbish from the bottom. When I fished lighter, I could not keep the lures in the water. After a few hours I gave up.

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

Tried everything in the tackle bag

Tried everything in the tackle bag

In the afternoon I decided to drive back to Brisbane, via Baffle Creek. I arrived at the Flat Rock boat ramp, just after lunch, at the top of the incoming tide. The wind was still a strong southerly and the rock bars to the east of the boat ramp were all covered in at least 30 cm of water. This area took a pummeling from the flooding, earlier in the year and there was plenty of evidence, with grass and debris still high up, in the mangroves. The ramp and picnic area were badly damaged but have now been repaired.

I waded out on the biggest rock bar just west of the picnic area and cast around the edges. The tide turned and started to run out just after 1.00 pm. There are big rock bars on either side of this channel. They form a funnel in the middle and on a big tide the water really races through. The water was quite clean at high tide, but got dirtier and dirtier as it ran out.

I started with GULP and Zman soft plastic on 1/6th oz, 1/0 jigheads. I had a few bites and watch the bait fish follow the lures in. Across from me on the other side of the channel, something was feeding in the eddies, formed by the opposite rock bar. I tried to land a few long casts in the right spot but I could not tempt them.

After about an hour, I move back upstream to the west of the boat ramp and cast around in the shallows. I was now fishing with my all-time favourite plastic, the humble 4 “ GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1 jighead. I was now down to 8lb leader, in the hopes of attracting a fish. After a few casts I did. It was a small dusky flathead. I continued along the sandy banks, casting at the base of the mangroves and soon found some more. I caught six in the next hour, but only two would have been just over 40 cm.

At about 3.00pm it was time to pack up. Overall, I had had a pretty disappointing couple of weeks on the fishing front. The fish had been small and hard to find. However, I had enjoyed exploring some new territory and as always, learning what does not work can be as important as learning what does. I found that when the going gets tough small, natural coloured soft plastics, like the GULP 4/3″ Minnows and light leaders, still produce results. The Zman Minnowz did not produce a fish on this trip – and they had plenty of outings. I will have to try their natural coloured minnow shaped range, but I still think the GULP scent and softer texture give their lures the edge. The weather had made things very hard but I believe the big flush out will set the area up for some great fishing in late winter. I am planning to get back up here as soon as I can.