Bribie Island – White Patch – Unexpected Jewfish – 23 August 2013

Friday

Another cold fine morning and I decided to try Whit Patch on Bribie Island again. As you will see from recent reports fishing can be hit and miss here. The coffee rock ledge structure that appears at various points all along either side of the Pumicestone Passage creates several holes and submerged mini rock bars along this stretch of shore.

I started early in the cold at White Patch

I started early in the cold at White Patch

There is a lot more sediment around after two years of floods, followed by a very wet period at the beginning of winter. This means that water clarity is not very good at the bottom of the tide. It also means that the weed/ sea grass beds that clump on the sand above the ledge, are taking longer than usual to spring up. But there must be something to eat in the area, as the first thing I saw, as I walked out in the pre-dawn light at the north end of White Patch beach, was the bristly snout of a Dugong. It was cruising along the ledge surfacing every now and then, to blow.

Great minds think alike and Bribie Island local – Colin was already out flicking some soft plastics further up the beach. I saw him pull up a legal Flathead, so I was enthused. I rigged up with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I was sticking with the 8lb fluorocarbon leader.

An ambitious pike was my first customer

An ambitious pike was my first customer

Low tide was at about 5.30 am – just on first light. There was no wind to speak off and I was starting fishing in the slack water just on low – which is not ideal. The first half an hour was uneventful – apart from the Dugong sighting. At about 6.15 am an ambitious pike grabbed the soft plastic but it was only about 15cm long. I wandered up and down casting diligently, but I had to wait another hour for a decent bite. I connected with the fish, which felt like a Flathead, but after a few moments it was gone.

At about 7.15 am, I caught a Flathead that was not much bigger than the pike and was sitting in only about 10 cm of water. I always forget just how quickly these fish will move up the beach with the tide. I decided to swap to the Zman range and put on a Minnowz paddle tail shape soft plastic, in the Houdini colour. I cast in all directions but this did not produce anything.

This one was only 20cm long

This one was only 20cm long

At about 7.30 am I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the flecked New Penny colour. I cast it over the ledge and let it sink. I paused until I was sure it was on the bottom then hopped it up and paused again. On the second lift the rod bent over and then line started peeling – something decent had eaten the soft plastic. It mad a solid and long initial run. My drag was not very tight and I need to re-spool this reel, so I quickly found myself down to the backing line. Patience is the key at moments like this. I left the drag alone and wound every time the fish paused. I kept the rod tip up and maintained the fairly light pressure. I gradually covered the backing line with braid and felt more comfortable.

The fish did not have very much power left after that first initial long run and so I had an inkling it was a jewfish/ mulloway. Now I tightened the drag just a little so that I could pull the fish cleanly over the ledge. As I did so I saw the silvery blue spots along its lateral line and confirmed it was a Jewie. A gentle stroll backwards and I had it up on the sand.

I measured it – 68cm – still not legal in Queensland, but a cracking fish nonetheless. I took a few photos in the shallows then sent it on its way. I fished on for a while but I could not find anymore. I looked back through my archives and realise this is the farthest up the Pumicestone Passage that I have caught a Jewfish/ Mulloway – it’s a very encouraging sign and more evidence of a healthy fishery.

68cm - still not a legal Jewfish - it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year

68cm – still not a legal Jewfish – it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year


I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I stopped for a coffee at Scoopys and ran into an old friend – local Brisbane children’s author – Julie Fison. Her Hazard River series of adventure stories are a great tool for engaging both reluctant and accomplished young readers. She has also just launched a series for teenage girls. I should warn my readership to check their pacemakers before they delve into these! Its book week in Queensland, so she was spreading the word about the wonder of reading, at the Bribie library. I would think there are some sections of our community where children don’t know what a book looks like! So full marks to Julie for taking this on. For more about the books visit http://www.hazardriver.com/. or Julie Fison visit http://juliefison.wordpress.com/. She also has an amazing and painful tale related to a Garfish encounter – but that is for another time.

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Bribie Island – Bongaree and White Patch – 22 August 2013

Thursday

Clear skies and 10 knot south-westerly winds – it would be cold but quite reasonable fishing weather. Low tide would be 4.17 am, about an hour before first light and the moon had been full the day before.

I decided I would start on Bribie Island at the Seaside Museum drain at Bongaree, again. I waded out into the shallows at about 5.30 am and the big moon was still high and bright. There was a cold breeze and a bit of chop on the water.

There were some cormorants swimming around and there were a few surface bust ups, as the sky gradually lightened. I started with a big soft plastic – a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. The water was already running fast – it would be a powerful tide, so close to the full moon. I was back to 8lb fluorocarbon leader, as I genuinely believe fishing light can make a difference when chasing bream – which were the main target.

It did not take long. At 6.15 am I had a solid bite and the fish ran with the lure for about a metre, but then I lost it. A few casts later I hooked another. It must have been sitting just below the edge. It grabbed the lure and ran off to the north, with the current. After a few runs, I got it over the ledge and walked it back to the sand. It was a good bream – over 30 cm. I have not caught large numbers of bream in this spot, this year, but almost all the fish I have caught have been over 30 cm.

The tide was getting too high to fish over the ledge so I opted to switch locations. I grabbed a hot cup of coffee at Scoopys and drove up to White Patch. This time I went up to the north end to fish around the weed beds.

The water was clear and it was well past dawn so I opted for a natural coloured, 2” GULP Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour. I chose a fine wire 1/8th ounce, #1/0 hook jighead and stuck with the 8lb leader. It was now about 8.15 am. I was casting into the incoming tide and hopping the lure back towards me. I would put in about three or four casts from one location, then move a few metres south and repeat the process.

At about 9.00 am I connected with a flathead and got a look at it, but it wriggled off before I could land it. I stayed in the same spot and methodically covered the area with casts. At about 9.15 am I hooked another fish and this time I set the jighead firmly. I pulled it up to the shoreline – it was a keeper flathead at 45 cm. Using the same plastic, same technique, in the same area, I caught another bigger flathead, about 50cm long, ten minutes later.

Five minutes later, I thought I had another small flathead but it was pulling very hard. It put up a tremendous fight and as it came into view I was surprised to see it was a whiting. It was probably the fattest whiting I have ever caught and measured 36cm.

At this point I had the makings of a good fish pie in my bag, so I gave up and went off to clean my catch.

Bribie Island – the Seaside Museum flats – 12 August 2013

Monday

Sunday had been a disappointment I had fished for three hours and caught nothing. Had my fishing mojo deserted me? There was only one way to find out – get straight back out there. So, on Monday, I was up early, to beat the forecast building south-westerly winds.
I decided to head for Bongaree on Bribie. I would go back to a familiar spot where I felt confident that I would catch something. I was heading for the freshwater drain in front of the seaside museum.

It would be low tide at 6.28 am and at this stage there was no wind. I arrived at about 5.45 am. I put on my waders and walked out in front of the drain down to within a couple of metres of the drop off into the main channel. After a disappointing day on Sunday, I decided to fish very light with 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose to stick with natural coloured small soft plastic lures. These were most likely to tempt the bream.

I started with the 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After a few casts, in the pre-dawn light, I felt a tug and then the pressure was gone and so was the jighead. Something sharp toothed had swallowed the lot. I re-rigged, and upgraded to 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I was out of shrimps so I tied on a 3” GULP Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour.

I cast into the running tide and hopped the lure along the bottom back towards me. At about 6.20 am I broke my duck with a decent bream, about 30cm long. About 15 minutes later, I caught another – a little smaller. Then things went quiet.

The cormorants and the dolphins like to fish in this area which suggests there are plenty of bait fish around but I could not see them in the water. I swapped through a few soft plastics and tried a small hard body vibe lure for a while.

By about 7.00 am I was back with the 3” GULP Minnow in the banana prawn colour. In an effort to get something going I was leaving the lure on the bottom for as long as possible between rod lifts. This can sometimes entice bored fish to strike. It did the trick and the rod bent over and something powerful took 3 metres of line and disappeared under the ledge.

I presumed it was a cod by the tactics. Brute force was not going to pull it out, I only had my light rod and 12lb leader. I tried a few angles but there was no movement. I decided my only option was to loosen the drag and see if it swam out. This requires the patience of a saint. You cannot put the tension back on until you are sure the fish is clear of the overhang. I waited about two minutes and then the line very slowly started to float out and away on the current. I waded along with it for about another 20 seconds then tightened the drag and pulled the fish over the ledge and slowly back to the beach.

It was a nice estuary cod – it measured up at 49cm and proved how good these fish are at ambush attacks. I decided it had earned its freedom and released it after a few pictures. The wind was up and although it had not been an easy session I had caught fish – so I went home happy.

Bribie Island – White Patch – 11 August 2013

Sunday

On Sunday I decided to try fishing at White Patch on Bribie Island. There have been a few Snapper around – just watch a few of Nigel Newman’s great video fishing reports on https://www.facebook.com/gatewaybaitandtackle. He, and others have caught some nice keepers lately. They seem to come a fair way up the Passage at this time of year and, in my experience, they often come on the bite just as the tide turns in.

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I arrived at about 5.30 am and parked by the first set of steps that lead down to the shore, at White Patch. My favourite soft plastic for tempting a snapper is the GULP Turtlebackworm in the Pumpkinseed colour. So I started with this one, on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. Low tide was at 6.20 am and the moon was a waxing crescent. There was no wind to speak of, but the water was quite dirty. As the tide turned, it lifted the weed and this made it difficult to keep the lure swimming.

As the tide really began to run in I was hoping the action would start. The weed floated off up the Passage and I kept casting. After 3 hours, I could no longer reach over the ledge without getting snagged on every other cast, so I gave up.
A morning with no fish, what is the world coming to?

Caloundra – Bulcock Beach and the Power Boat Club flats – 5 August 2013

Monday

As we were approaching the new moon I wanted to have a fish, pre- dawn. I was hoping to find some bream, which should, by now be schooling up to spawn, around the estuary mouths. I have not found many at Bribie, so I decided to try Caloundra.

I like to fish the rocky area, right at the mouth of the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, off Bulcock Beach. There is always good tidal flow here and lots of structure. At night, the street lights bring the bait in and the predators follow.

I started about 5.30 am, in my waders on Bulcock Beach. I rigged up with the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour – which is gold with a black fleck. I put it on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead. I was fishing with my 6’6” Loomis GL2 light spin rod. I opted for 8lb fluorocarbon leader as the water was very clear. High tide would be at 7.02 am, there was no real wind at this stage. It was forecast to pick up from the south west later in the morning. There would be a new moon in a couple of days’ time.

It was very dark and there were a few prawns skipping around on the surface. I cast the soft plastic into the fast moving water in the middle of the channel and let it sink. After about ten seconds, it was on the bottom, so I started hopping it back towards me. I paused for few seconds close to the shore line and when I picked up the rod tip I had a fish. My first customer of the day was a small pike.

I continued fishing, slowly moving towards the sea and soon picked up a bream about 28cm. I was hopeful I had found a patch of them, as my next few casts were all hit on the drop. I could not hook whatever was biting the soft plastic and so I moved on towards the mouth of the Passage.

Now the sun was up and the tide was running in. I decided to swap locations and drove down to the Caloundra Power Boat Club to fish the flats and weed beds. I generally find flathead in this area, so I rigged up a larger GULP 5 “ Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – which is a mix of pumpkinseed and yellow. I found the edge of the weed beds that line the edge of the main channel and focused on leaving the soft plastic on the bottom, just where the sandy slope drops away to deeper water.

I took a while but at about 7.45am, I felt a solid bite and after a pause, I lifted the rod tip and set the hook. After a brief tussle I subdued a just legal 40cm flathead. I took some pictures and let it go, hoping I would find a better one. I covered the same area in casts but I could not find another one, so waded further along the edge of the channel.

I had no luck for about an hour and the wind was really picking up and making casting difficult. At about 8.45 am I felt another solid bite. Again the fish was less than a meter from the edge of the weed and was waiting to ambush anything that came its way. It was another flathead, about the same size as the previous one, so I released it.

I had not secured a fish supper but I had connected with a few fish and enjoyed a beautiful morning.

Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum flats – 26 July 2013

My apologies for taking so long to post this report but standing waist deep in cold water finally took its toll last week and I caught a miserable man cold. At least 50% or more of my readers will be aware that this is, typically, far more serious than the milder colds that women contract. Frankly, I was surprised at my own courage and resilience. I battled my way out of bed to the sofa each morning and kept operating the remote control with no fuss at all. After about four days I had run out of fishing videos to watch and I realised I was better.

Cold and grey again

The weather has been very poor through to the end of July but the fish have been around if you can brave the elements. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

On the Friday in question, I decided to see if there were anymore bream or jewfish lurking around the mouth of the freshwater creek drain, at Bongaree, on Bribie Island. I arrived just before dawn. Unfortunately, there was another fairly strong cold south-westerly breeze blowing. Once more, nothing happened until the horizon started to glow behind me.

I was looking for bream so I started with a GULP 3″ Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and using 12lb fluorocarbon leader, in case the jewfish were around.

As the sun came up I felt couple of hits but could not hook a fish. At about 6.30 am, a fish grabbed the lure, as I pulled it over the edge of the drop off that runs parallel with the shoreline. It was a good one – over 30 cm long. I released it and went looking for more.

Found the first Bream at about 6.30 am

Found the first Bream at about 6.30 am

Should be plenty of bream around at the moment

Should be plenty of bream around at the moment

The wind was bitterly cold from the south west and it was building up. Low tide had passed at 6.03 am and the tide was running in slowly. I fished for another 2 hours, but all I managed was one more small flathead and at about 9.00 am I gave up.

Too cold and windy!

A small flathead could not resist the GULP Shrimp A small flathead could not resist the GULP Shrimp[/caption