Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats and White Patch – 10 February 2014

Monday

The wind was dropping gradually so I decided to try Bribie Island again, on Monday. As regular readers will have spotted, I find fishing the incoming and high tides much harder around Bribie. On Monday high tide was at 6.36 am. The wind was forecast to get up to about a 10 knot south-easterly by mid-morning.

I was stuck for inspiration on where to fish, so I opted for the flats either side of the old oyster jetty, to start off with. I arrived just after 5.00 am and the wind had dropped off. I started to the south of the bridge and almost immediately caught a tiny (25cm) flathead on a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic, in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I released it and was treated to a magnificent sunrise. I waded along the edge of the mangroves until I reached the jetty, casting in all directions. Just passed the jetty, I saw a flathead take off from the shallows just in front of me. I stopped and started casting around in a broad arc, starting parallel with the mangrove roots and gradually turning out into deeper water.

There are a lot of rocks on the bottom in this area, so I kept the soft plastic moving fairly quickly. At about 6.10 am, I caught a small flathead that was just about legal size. I let it go feeling confident that I would find something bigger. However, despite trying numerous spots and lots of different plastics, I fished right up to the high tide and through it, without any luck.

As the water slackened off I went for coffee and thought about where to try next. I drove up to White Patch to have a look around. It was now about 8.30 am and the tide was slowly picking up pace on the run out. I drove all the way to the northern most beach access and walked out between the mangroves. This access leads out on to a large area of shallow featureless sand, which is only really deep enough to fish on the bigger high tides.

There are a few weed clumps and depressions and I cast all around these in search of fish. I saw a flathead follow the plastic and then dart away, when it saw me. I moved further south until I reached the area where the weed clumps are thicker and the floor slopes away in to the main channel. I decided to swap up to a bigger, brighter soft plastic as I had not had much luck with the natural coloured minnow that I was using. I loaded a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour on to the jighead and started putting in some long casts, right out to the edge of the channel.

At about 9.30 am I felt a very solid hit and then line started peeling. The fish must have been sitting just beyond the drop off and had struck as the soft plastic swam over it. I felt the leader pulling on the edge of something, so I loosened the drag a little and let the fish take line. It made a couple of big runs and then started to swim back towards me. I took up the slack and kept winding. It was now clear of the drop off and coming into the shallows. It was a big flathead – between about 65 and 75cm long. I never got to measure it. I took my camera out to get a few shots and as I did so it wriggled off the hook and slowly swam away.

That was it, after a few more casts I called time on a fairly frustrating morning of fishing.  I looked back at the blog when I got home and realised I have lost a lot of big fish in this area. I will definitely be back.

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Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 3 February 2014

Monday

By Monday the weather looked more promising for a fish at Bribie. A few showers but the wind would drop to about a 10 knot south-easterly, early in the morning. Low tide would be just after 5.30 am, with first light at about 5.00 am.

I decided to fish on the flats around the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. If the flathead are around, this is usually where they are easiest to find. It rained for almost the whole journey up from Brisbane but it was not very heavy. I waded out into the shallows, under the bridge at about 5.00 am. The tide was still running out but slowing down quickly. I left the area under the bridge alone as I wanted to reach the jetty while the water was still running out.

I was fishing my light rig – G.Loomis TSR series light spin rod, Shimano Stella 2500, 15lb Super PE braid and the new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with a soft plastic lure – the GULP Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.  The wind was negligible so I dropped down to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. This would hop over the weed on the shallows, if moved fairly quickly.

It was light enough to see but the sun was not yet up. I was covering the area just south of the jetty with casts. After a few minutes I caught the first flathead, lying in wait, behind a clump of weed. It was a little over 45cm. It destroyed the Jerkshad and I did not have another, so I put on a smaller, 3 inch minnow in the same colour. I cast at the same spot and instantly hooked up again. The smaller plastic had produced a bigger fish – this one was about 55cm long.

I carried on prospecting around the rocky bits of reef and weed clumps that dot this area. I connected with something that turned out to be some abandoned braid. I decided to wind it up. It was probably 50 lb breaking strain and there was plenty of it. I waded up and down, pulling it off the rocks and as it loosened, I could feel something moving in the end of the line. I eventually reached the leader that was also pretty substantial – perhaps 60 lb+ breaking strain. Then I saw the source of movement; two mud crabs – one large, one small, were completely tangled up, but both wriggling.  I took a few pics and gradually untangled them. One looked big enough for dinner but I am not an experienced crabber – so I could not tell if it was male or female. I was also fairly unsure as to how I would grab it! I cut the last bit of line off and they both slipped away. I wound up the remaining leader and found a very substantial – size 8/0 hook on the end of it.

The sun came over the horizon and the run out tide fizzled out. I moved further south. I kept swapping colours and sizes of soft plastic and caught flathead on the GULP Minnow, Shrimp and Jerkshad shapes. The Watermelon Pearl, New Penny, Lime Tiger, Satay and Cajun Chicken colours all worked. I caught six more fish along the stretch of weed beds that run from the end of the jetty to the green channel marker. They were all between about 35cm and 45cm long.

As the tide turned in I waded back towards the bridge and swapped to my favourite DUO Realis Shad 59MR – suspending hard bodied lure. The loose weed now lifted by the run in tide made fishing with the hard body a bit frustrating. I had a few grabs and snatches which I suspect were Bream or Pike, but I did not catch anything.

At about 8.45 am I could no longer reach the area I wanted to castat and the wind had built up to 20 knots, so I gave up for the day. It looks like a few days of solid south-easterly winds have brought the fish back on the bite.

Bribie Island – Bongaree & the oyster jetty flats – 31 January 2014

Friday

I have been away for most of January. I was on a holiday that did not include any fishing – a complete waste of time and money, in my opinion. But the family seemed to enjoy it.

I was therefore dead keen to get back amongst the fish. Unfortunately my return coincided with the weather turning pretty wild. There was the tropical cyclone crossing the coast further north and the wind had been blowing fairly solidly from the east or south east, all week. The change from persistent northerlies also meant the temperature had dropped a bit.

Conditions at Bribie Island did not look great on Friday. There would be a 10 to 15 knot easterly wind and there would be a very low 0.2m tide at 3.17 am. First light would be at about 4.55 am, but it was new moon. The tide would be running in fast, at dawn, but I would be able to reach my favourite spots for about an hour.

I set off from Brisbane at 4.00 am and arrived at Bongaree, outside the Seaside Museum, just before 5.00 am. The place is currently a building site. The council has finally decided to properly rebuild the seawall on either side of the museum drain. They have completed the work on the north side and are currently working on the south side. The stepped sea wall will probably change the way the currents and sandbanks form, at the mouth of the drain. This should give us some new and interesting fishing opportunities.

At 5.00 am all was quiet. The tide had turned in and I arrived during the first of many light showers that continued through the morning. I started fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8thounce, 1/0 jighead. I tied it on to some new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I popped in to see Nigel from http://www.gatewaybaitandtackle.com.au  a few weeks ago and he suggested I give it a try. It seems like a great leader and almost as important it comes in a great little dispenser. It feels like it is probably tougher than the rated 10lb – I was hoping to give it a good work out and find out.

It was gloomy and I edged my way towards the drop off that runs along this section of beach. The sand banks are always moving around in this location, so I usually poke the ground in front of me with my rod. I have seen more than one keen angler wade boldly over the edge and filled my own waders, a few times.

I found the edge and cast over it. I got a couple of hits on the first cast. A few casts later, I caught a tiny moses perch and then another. I caught about 6 of these on various plastics and also found a ‘Happy Moment’. I moved up and down the ledge for about an hour.

I tried swapping to a small MARIA MS 1 D45 SP hard bodied lure. This is a 3.4g, 45mm, suspending deep diving minnow. It is very light but will get down to about 1 metre, very quickly. As with many of the lures still made in Japan, it is beautifully crafted. I was using an olive green colour. The moses perch and whiting kept attacking it but I did not hook any. I covered the same ground that I had with the soft plastics but did not catch anything.

The incoming tide had pushed me a long way back from the edge and another, heavier shower had started up so I decided to swap locations. I crossed back over the bridge and waded out to the south, under the bridge. The water was already up around the mangrove roots along the shore and coming in fast. It was now just before 7.30 a.m. I waded along the edge of the mangroves, past the old oyster jetty to the drain, which runs around the corner from Sandstone Point. The easterly wind was now picking up and the water was getting choppy.

I was back using the soft plastic lures and had tried a GULP 2” Shrimp in the New Penny colour with no luck. I swapped up to a heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead as the wind, swell and current made it too difficult to fish a 1/8th ounce. I also swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow in the grey/ black and white Smelt colour.

 

The tide was getting higher and so was the wind and there were not really many places to cast from. I was about to give up when I felt a touch on a slow retrieve. I cast back in approximately the same location and let the lure sink, until I was sure it was on the bottom. I waited about 15 seconds then hopped it off the floor and I felt a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip again and then paused. Then I struck. The rod tip bent over and a little line peeled away and then the tip started wriggling. I finally had a fish.

The current helped the fish and it took a bit of line. I looked for a gap in the mangroves, behind me. The tide had come up and there were not many options. I let the fish play itself out in the open water and then slowly pulled it towards the shore. The big tide and wind had created a floating carpet of loose weed, about a metre deep at the foot of the mangroves. I managed to skid the fish over the top of it and find some firm ground.

It was a fine example of the dusky flathead species, about 50 cm long. It had been hard won and would make a perfect lunch. It was good to be back in business.