Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 25 May 2014

Sunday

I could fish for a few hours early on Sunday. So I drove up to Bribie. The tide was not ideal. It would be a 2.1 m high at about 6.30 am – which is just about sunrise, at this time of year. I arrived just after first light, at about 6.10 am and waded out under the bridge. There was no wind and conditions were perfect for boating. There were a few boats out already, collecting live bait under the bridge lights.

I heard a few big splashes and could just make out a dolphin putting on its best ‘Seaworld’ display, out in the middle of the Passage. Miraculously, I caught its silhouette, clear of the water, in a photograph, but there was not enough light to make it a good shot. The boats anchored close to the bridge would have had a fantastic view of the show.

I headed for my usual fishing zone – to the south of the old oyster jetty. But as the tide was in, I would be fishing the shallows, close to the foot of the mangrove roots, rather than the edge of the weed beds, further out.

I started with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. Someone asked me what has happened to my favourite – Watermelon Pearl colour. My problem is that I cannot seem to find them anywhere, at the moment. It is still my favourite colour, but a lack of stock in Queensland is forcing me to try different things. So Berkley Australia – http://berkley-fishing.com.au/company/berkley-australia/ – if you are reading, time to re-stock the retailers with the Watermelon Pearl 4” Minnow soft plastic!

 

The Peppered Prawn Jerkshad did not let me down, however. I was slowly hopping it along the bottom, in less than a meter of water, when I felt a fish grab it.  It was a 45cm flathead. I released this one and moved on. About 10 minutes later, I had reached the gap in the mangroves, just before the shoreline turns west, towards Sandstone Point. There is a drain in front of this spot and a few deeper hollows in the sand. I cast towards these and soon found another flathead –  a good size this time – just under 60 cm.

Things went quiet as the tidal run slackened, so I swapped to a small hard bodied lure – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. I fished this around the same area and had a couple of grabs and knocks – which could have been bream or the long toms.  At about 8.00 am I caught another 45 cm flathead on this lure.

Then things went quiet. I fished for another 2 hours without a touch. It was a perfect day and so there was a constant flow of boats heading out into the bay, which may have slowed the fishing down a little. Beautiful morning but once again, fishing the high tide had been hard.

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Bribie – the bridge, the Seaside Museum creek, the old oyster jetty – 22 May 2014

Thursday

The wind was up again, making it hard to know where to fish. It can be unpredictable, as we move firmly into winter, but as the direction becomes more consistently from the south east, I find the fishing usually improves.

For some reason I could not sleep, so I got up at about 3.30 am and arrived at Bribie at about 4.30 am. The weather was not good. The wind seemed to be building and it was swapping between drizzle and real rain. There had been plenty of activity on the island side, under the bridge, early on Monday morning, so I started there.

The wind had blown the floating sea grass over to this side of the Passage and now it floated by in huge clumps. I loaded up a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour and threw this around for a while. I fished here for about an hour and the contrast with my pre-dawn session on Monday was stark. Despite changing through a few soft plastics, I did not feel a single bite. There was no surface activity and the water seemed completely devoid of fish. At about 5-15 am, I swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR – my current favourite suspending, hard bodied lure. After a few casts, I caught a small (35cm) flathead. I released it, tried a few more casts and then decided to move on.

At 5-30 am, I moved down to the ledge and the creek drain, in front of the Seaside Museum. The rain had stopped but it was so cloudy that it looked like there would be no real sunrise. Low tide would be at 10.03 am. I waded down to the point where I caught the decent bream on Monday and started casting, with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic. The wind was up and making things tricky. I could see the ledge and I cast at the area both on top of it and beyond it, but did not have any luck. I waded south, following the tide out. I swapped through small and large soft plastics but nothing produced a result.

Then the excavator started up and dug a trench to release the tidal pool that had gathered overnight. I did not think this would do much for the fishing, so I switched locations again. I crossed back over the bridge to my old stomping ground – beside the old oyster jetty.

I swapped to a Powerbait Jerkshad soft plastic lure, in a grey/ silver/ neutral colour. I had also dropped my leader down to 10lb fluorocarbon. The tide was still running out, hard. The water was clear and the sun was trying to come out. It did not take long to find the fish here. I caught the first flathead sitting just behind a submerged weedy sand hill, about 30 metres south of the jetty. It was about 45cm long. I caught three more, about the same size, in quick succession. Then things went quiet.

I was pretty sure there were more fish in the area, so I swapped to a Mad Scientist 4” Optishad soft plastic in the Motor Oil colour. This is a great plastic with a whopping great shad tail that pounds along the sandy bottom. I could not find any more fish in the same spot, so I moved about 10 metres further south. The Optishad worked its magic and caught two more flathead in successive casts. They were almost exactly the same size as the others.

 

 

Over the next hour, I caught about 10 more flathead. Most were about the 40 cm size. Only two looked like they were over 50 cm. I swapped through a few more lures, to see if this would affect the size of the fish, but it did not seem to. I put on the new DUO Realis Shad 62DR – a slightly longer, deeper running version of the Shad 59MR. This also proved a hit and accounted for a few more fish.

Eventually I tied on a large timber Detonator 100 from Lethal Lures  – http://www.lethallures.com.au/ , that I bought at Barra Jacks (in Rockhampton) and gave that a go. It was awkward to fish on my light rod and picked up plenty of weed but, after about 10 casts, it caught another 45cm flathead.

At about 11.30am, with the tide running in, I gave up for the day. There were plenty of fish around on one side of the Passage, today, and none on the other. That’s why you have to keep moving.

Bribie – the bridge and the Seaside Museum creek mouth – 19 May 2014

Monday

It would be low tide at Bribie just after dawn. I could not resist a quick fish before work. With the water getting noticeably colder, I was sure the tailor would be around somewhere.

Small ‘chopper’ tailor often hang around under the bridge, just before dawn. The bait fish and prawns are drawn to the bridge lights and the tailor, pike, bream and flathead can’t resist trying to ambush them. To the north of the bridge there are some established weed beds which are good fish habitat. The bait is also drawn to the light of the big street lamp, near the boat hire spot, a little further up.

Low tide would be at 7.06 am. Unfortunately, this side of the Pumicestone Passage gets a bit more breeze when the wind is coming from the south, south-west, or south-east. Today it was a cool south-westerly, initially and then turned into to a much stronger south-easterly, later in the morning. There had been rain over night, but not much.

I arrived at about 5.00 am and the moon was completely blocked by some ominous looking clouds. It was growing smaller in its waning gibbous phase – a bit less than half way between full and new. The water was very clear but the wind had lifted a lot of weed.

The tide was running out, so I went round to the south side, and waded into the shallows, in the dark. I cast up, towards the circle of sandy bottom, lit up by the bridge light, nearest to the shore. I started with a DUO hard body that is perfect for clear, shallow water. The DUO Realis Minnow 80 SP is a suspending minnow. Because it is fairly long at 80mm and light at 4.7 grams, you need to rig it on a light leader (10lb breaking strain or less). This enables you to cast it over longer distances. You need to do this, as it is a fairly shallow diver and it takes a few metres to get down to its running depth, about 10 cm below the surface. I think this will be a great bream lure.

As always at Bribie, the floating sea grass was a pain in the neck. After a couple of casts, I saw the lure get knocked out of the water by a small fish. A few moments later, something grabbed it and started shaking its head. It was a tiny pike.

 

I carried on casting in the same spot and had obviously found a patch of them. I caught 3 more small pike before they decided to leave the Realis Minnow alone. I swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR  – another suspending minnow,  but this one dives a little deeper. I moved closer to the bridge and cast into the shadows underneath it. Once more, it did not take long for the Pike to find this lure. There were a couple of casts when nothing hit the lure, then a tiny flathead grabbed it and came to the surface angrily shaking its head.

It started to rain so I moved north in to the shadows, under the bridge. I cast over the shallows, on the south side and soon foul hooked a tiny bream. It was now about 5.30 am but with the clouds and rain, there was no sign of first light. The surface activity increased as the fish sensed dawn was on its way. I felt a few very aggressive knocks and bumps and decided to increase the speed of my retrieve. This produced immediate results and on the next cast, I saw a small tailor grab the back end of the lure, a few feet away from me. It fell off but on the next cast, I landed one. It was only about 25cm but I was delighted that it had been hanging out just where I thought it would be. I then had a frantic twenty minutes with my lure getting bumped and smashed on almost every cast. I connected with about 8 fish, but only 4 stayed on until they reached the shore. They were all small choppers, the largest of which might just have made 30cm long.

At about 6.00 am a grey dawn started to break and I decided to move down to the drain in front of the old seaside museum, to see what has happened to the terrain there. The works to secure the sea wall are continuing but clearly, the finished, stepped, wall is some months off. I waded out on to the patch of coffee rock that sits in front of the seaside museum. With about an hour to go until low tide, the rocky bottom was completely exposed.

I cast the DUO Shad 59 MR around, but it kept picking up weed so I changed it for GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and loaded this up on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I moved south, along the edge of the coffee rock, casting into the deeper what beyond. I got a couple of strong hits and then, at about 6.30 am I felt a solid bite and set the hook. The fish tried to run away under the ledge but I had the drag set quite tight and the rod absorbed its lunges. I soon saw a flash of silver. It was a chunky bream that I later measured at 34cm. I tried for more and had a few hits but could not land any.

At 7.30 am, the wind was up and another rain shower threatened. It was time to head back to work. But a day of work is always easier to bear, when you have caught a fish before it starts!

Bribie Island – WARNING – the old oyster jetty flats – 16 May 2014

Friday

I only had time for a quick fishing session on Friday, so I raced up to my usual spot at Bribie Island, just before dawn. I was going to fish the flats around the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the bridge, again.

A word of warning – this area can be dangerous. The sand banks and weed beds constantly shift and there are patches of muddy bottom, where you can easily get stuck. Once you start sinking, it can be very difficult to free yourself and the waders can make things worse, especially if they fill with water.  You should survey the area at low tide and only fish where you are sure of your footing.  A small self-inflating PFD, is a good accessory to have.  I have heard reports lately of a number of people getting stuck in the mud.  No fish is worth having a heart attack or drowning for – so please take care. A special thank you to local fisherman, Richard –  who safely extracted someone from the mud last week.

I arrived at about 5.45 am and it was the day after full moon. There was no breeze at this stage, but as the sky started to change colour a light, cold wind picked up from the south-west. As the sun came up, I realised I had forgotten my camera. Sometimes it’s more fun just to enjoy the show!

After dawn, the wind turned into a stronger south-easterly. The tide was running in. It had been low at about 4.30 am. This meant I could only fish my favourite zones until about 7.30 am, at the latest – after that, they would be out of reach.

At about 6.20 am, I caught my first fish of the day – it was a 48cm flathead and I got it on a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I stuck with this plastic for about an hour but I could not find any more fish.

I moved further south and decided to try out a new GULP colour – Green Camo. I had it in the 4 “ minnow pattern; one of my favourite profiles. This soon did the trick and I found another flathead that was just over 45 cm long at about 6.45 am. I fished on until about 8.30 am and caught three more flathead, which were all too small to keep.

At about 9.00 am, with a now belting south-easterly wind blowing, I gave up for the day.

Tumut – Jounama Creek and the Goobarragandra River – 10 May 2014

Saturday

I woke to a cold grey morning in Tumut. I am used to fishing early but I had been advised that dawn is less good for trout fishing than dusk. I took the advice to heart and had a lie in …. until 7.30 am. By then I had to test the theory. I drove down to Junction Park on the Tumut River, parked and walked back across the bridge. This spot is where the Tumut and Goobarrangandra Rivers meet. There is a bridge across the river and a small park. The Tumut River is wide and fairly shallow but there are some deeper pools, near the bridge.

You can fish a fair way along the Tumut side of the river and I climbed the steps over the fence and set off along the bank. The sun was trying to come out and it was about 5 degrees. I had a warm hat on and a couple of layers of fleece, but soon everything felt cold. I fished from the bank with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Rainbow colour and then swapped to a GULP 3” Jigging Grub in the Peppered Prawn colour. The latter provoked a few bites but I could not hook up. By about 9.00 am I was still fishless, so I drove back in to Tumut for a bacon sandwich and a coffee.

At about 10.00 am I had warmed up, so I drove further up the Snowy Mountains Highway in the direction of Yarrangobilly.  The road runs alongside Blowering Reservoir. At Talbingo I noticed a small creek running down in to the reservoir. I turned off on to the track and followed it up hill, as it ran parallel to the stream. I later figured out this was Jounama Creek. I walked up it for about an hour, casting around, first with soft plastics and then with a few small hard bodied lures, but I could not find any fish. There were lots of pools, but there was not much water over the rocky bottom in places – perhaps there was not enough water for the trout to get up here. I am still very much a novice at this type of fishing, but I work on the principle that any body of water is worth casting at. At about noon, I turned around and walked back to the car. The scenery was fantastic but the fish were elusive.

 

 

I drove back down through Tumut and out, along the Goobarragandra River again. Through the afternoon I fished a selection of spots. I had a couple of hits on the soft plastics but did not catch anything. Then I found myself on what looked like very fishy section of river. The bank had turned rocky on both sides, channelling fast flowing water in between.  I gave up on the Rapala F3 and switched to the DUO Tetra Works Toto 48. This is a 48mm sinking, bibbed minnow, from my favourite Japanese lure manufacturer. It has the usual DUO hallmarks – brilliant finish and colours, great balance for casting and a startling action. The first one I tied on was in the zebra glow rainbow colour (white stripes on silver). Almost as soon as it hot the water, I watched a fish come out from beside a rock and follow the lure all the way back to me. This happened three times. On the next cast, I jerked the lure a bit more aggressively and bang, the trout struck. It was on, it jumped….,it was off. I was getting frustrated and a couple of casts later, I lost the lure to the trees, on the far bank.

I looked through the tackle bag – one more DUO Tetra Works Toto 48 left – in the red gold colour. I tied it on and moved upstream. I was in the right spot now or I had finally selected the right lure. I saw a few more fish follow the lure and once more, by speeding up, I triggered a strike. This time the fish stayed on. It was only a small brown, but I was delighted to bring it ashore.

I carried on upstream and caught another brown, about 10 metres further on. This time I hooked myself as well as the fish. I found my pliers, released the fish and then bit hard as I pulled the treble out. It had clouded over and fortunately my hand was numb from the cold water.

It slowly started to rain and as I moved up stream, I caught another small brown on the same lure. Then disaster struck – the lure caught on a tree branch, on the far bank. It was out of reach so I had to leave it. The rain was picking up and I was knackered so I gave up for the day.

That was it for me, as I was on the early flight back to Brisbane, the next morning. I had thoroughly enjoyed catching my first trout on mainland Australia.

Tumut – the Goobarragandra River – 9 May 2014

Friday

Every cloud has a silver lining and last weekend work left me in Tumut, at the base of the Snowy Mountains, about 2 ½ hours drive from Canberra, on Friday afternoon. The weather forecast was for a few showers over the weekend and it was cold – about 3 Celsius, up to a top of about 20. But Friday afternoon was beautiful, with bright sunshine and no wind.

I have never traveled down here before. At this time of year, the trees form a bright tapestry of colours that brought back memories of Octobers in England. I have not experienced a real autumn for a while. I do not miss the rain or cold but the colours are fantastic.

I changed my flights home, found a motel in Tumut and decided to fish the nearby streams. First stop was the local tackle shop – to buy everything (I had not planned to fish). When I say I had not planned to fish, I do always have a packed bag of small DUO lures, soft plastics, and an old spooled up Shimano Stradic 2500, that goes everywhere – just in case. Barry from Tumut Fishing, Camping and Outdoor, on Wynyard Street, soon sorted me out. He is a helpful and friendly cove and has a full range of tackle. I ended up a few hundred dollars lighter with a nice, light 6’ NS Blackhole Trout rod, some thigh waders and few other bits and pieces. I do this quite often when I am on the road. It is my way of directly supporting regional small business. Joe Hockey should really give me some kind of regional development grant. I suppose, theoretically it would be a tax deduction, but I would have to make enough money to pay tax, from my fishing exploits, first. At present, that seems fairly unlikely.

Barry suggested the Tumut River or any of the other local streams and explained that the trout should be sitting near the fast, oxygenated water, at this time of year, looking for whatever prey comes by. When I pressed him for more specific locations he said they could be pretty much anywhere along the river. Although the local rivers were quite low they were, apparently, still deep enough to hold fish.

 

 

I had a look at the map and did a quick survey of fishing forums for any local advice. I decided to drive out of Tumut and fish in the Goobarragandra River, which is only 30 minutes away. At this time of year it is a shallow, fast running, rocky bottomed stream that pelts down a narrow valley.  I wanted to fish the fast water in the upper reaches. There a number of points where you can access the water from Goobarragandra Road. I drove upstream and stopped at the first point where I could park. near the river bank. I surveyed the stream and cast a small Rapala F3 floating hard body, at some likely looking pools. I got the hang of the new rod and moved slowly upstream. The water was bracingly cold but the sun was out and the scenery was fantastic. I fished for about an hour with no luck. So I went back to the car and drove further upstream.

I stopped at an accessible stretch of river just before the trout farm. When the river got wider, I would wade in the shallows. When it was narrow, I tried to stay on the bank. I saw I couple of fish following the Rapala F3, but I could not get them to strike.

I reached an area where the stream narrowed and ran fast, against some big rocks on the far bank. I swapped to a soft plastic – a GULP 3” Minnow in the Rainbow colour. I put it on a 1/12th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with 6lb fluorocarbon leader. It was about 4.15 pm. There was a big boulder mid-stream. As I hopped the soft plastic past it, a fish came up on the lure and I saw its tail break the surface. A few casts later, I was hopping the lure past the boulder again and this time, the fish grabbed it.

I had forgotten how ballistic trout go and I was instantly worried about the 6lb leader. Once I pulled the fish out of the main flow it was easier to control and I soon got it into the shallows, at my feet. It was a nice small brown trout between, 30 and 35cm long.

I now had only about 30 mins of good daylight. I moved further upstream to an area of very shallow fast moving water and started casting and hopping the plastic down along the bottom. The water was moving so fast that I did not need to do much. I just took up the slack after each cast and flicked the rod tip up a few times. I got snagged often but was usually able to move up stream and release the jighead from the rocks.

Just as I was about to give up, a small rainbow trout leapt out of the white water with the minnow soft plastic firmly lodged in the corner of it mouth. I landed it, took a picture of it and let it swim away.

It was the perfect end to my session and I headed back to the motel to thaw out.

Bribie – the Sandstone Point flats – 27 April 2014

Sunday

I am so far behind with my fishing reports that I will make this one short and sweet.

Early Sunday morning I headed for Bribie Island and arrived at about 5.15 am. I waded out under the bridge, fishing in the shallows, on the mainland side of the Bribie Island Bridge. High tide would be at about 8.00 am. There was a cool south-westerly breeze blowing.

I started with a GULP Peppered Prawn Jerkshad soft plastic lure on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader. A 5.25 am I caught a 45cm flathead, that was feeding under the bridge lights.

It was a big high tide at 2.3 m, so I decided to head past the old oyster jetty and round the corner towards Sandstone Point. This area is great to fish on big tides. The water was very clear so I decided to swap to a Gulp 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. At about 7.30am my plastic was knocked around a few times by a Long Tom. Then, about 10 minutes later, I caught a 30 cm Bream. It was followed, a few casts later by another, smaller bream.

I swapped to a DUO Realis Shad 59MR suspending, hard bodied lure. This lure will catch just about anything, but the bream love it. After a few casts it connected with another bream. As I waded back towards the bridge, it caught two more bream – both about 25cm long.

I finished my session at about 8.30 am. It is good to see the bream are back in business.