Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 15 June 2014

Sunday

I love my trips away – up and down the Queensland and New South Wales coasts, but this year I have not had much time for them. This has given me the chance to fish my home turf, at Bribie Island, more often. People ask if I get bored fishing the same spots and the answer is always, a resounding no. The main reason is that every day and every tide change brings you a different set of variables. You may be very familiar with the geography of the area but as the water runs in or out, faster or slower, depending on the moon phase and as the weed grows or dies off, with shifting water temperatures, everything is constantly changing. Then you add the wind direction, weather and shifting sand banks and there is always plenty to consider.

So as you may have guessed on Sunday, I decided to fish the old oyster jetty flats at dawn. Low tide would be at 5.15 am, so I would be fishing the first part of the run in tide. It was a couple of days after the full moon and the forecast was for a 12 knot south-westerly. I arrived at 5.45 am just after low tide and waded out under the bridge. The water was calm and the wind was hardly blowing, but it was cold. More importantly the water was really cold. A few days of very cold nights had really brought the temperature down.

I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. I find this is good to fish before the sun comes up. It has plenty of action and the high contrast often attracts a bite. Just north of the jetty I found my first fish of the day. It was just after 6.00 am and it was a 45cm flathead. I cast around the same area and then moved in, closer to the jetty, where I picked up another, slightly smaller flathead, about 20 minutes later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The sun took a long time to come over the thick band of cloud that was sitting along the horizon. I kept moving south, as the run in tide picked up pace. I swapped to the GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook, jighead. At about 6.45 am, I caught another flathead, just over 40 cm.

I swapped soft plastics again. This time I chose a GULP  2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. It took a while, but after another 30 mins I caught my final fish of the day – another 45 cm flathead. It had been a good but tough fishing session with some long gaps between fish. Perhaps it was the cold weather/ water or maybe I just had trouble locating them today.

Advertisements

Bribie – the old osyter jetty flats – 7 June 2014

On Saturday it would be a morning high tide at 3.52 am on Bribie Island. So on past performance the fishing would start to get really good around 7.00 am, which sounded great. I arrived at my usual spot, beside the old oyster jetty, at about 5.45 am. The air was still but it was very cold.  The moon was just into its second quarter, so it would not be a very powerful or big tide.

The water was up to the mangrove roots, so I moved slowly south. I cast a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Curried Chicken colour, ahead of me, into the shallows, parallel with the shoreline.  There a few sandy patches in this area and they had been covered in flathead lies, the last time I was here, so I peppered the area with casts.

At about 6.30 am just before the sun came over the horizon, I felt a definite bite but did not hook up. I threw the lure back in exactly the same place and slowed things down. After a long pause on the bottom, I slowly lifted the rod and then flicked the tip. I wound in a little line and then repeated the pause. When I lifted the rod, the fish had already grabbed the plastic and it was hooked, instantly. It was a good flathead around 45 cm long. I released it and tried again and was instantly rewarded with another, slightly bigger one.

As the sun rose, I could see lots of small squid and I noticed the pelicans where swimming around picking them off. This might be what has brought the flathead in. I fished around the mouth of the drain that runs off the flats, from the direction of Pebble Beach. I did not get much interest here so I waded out on to the long sand bank, which runs to the south.  I swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow in the new Green Camo colour. The sand bank was still was covered in water. From here, I cast at a sandy patch that sits about 30 metres directly south of the jetty. As soon as the lure hit the water it was snaffled. After a brief fight, I had another 45 cm flathead swimming beside me.

I released this one and cast straight back into the same spot. This area is always fishy because it is where the water running off the flats meets the water running down the main channel of the Pumicestone Passage. The current flow forms a bit of a depression with a sandy bottom. After a couple more casts I felt a fast solid hit. The rod tip bent over but this fish was faster than a flathead. It took a bit of line in a few quick runs then I saw the flash of silver and realised it was a good sized bream. It had seriously munched the 4” Minnow soft plastic. It was about 33cm long, I tried for another but could not find any. It was now just after 7.00 am.

As the tide ran out I gradually moved closer to the edge of the weed beds. I caught a couple more 35cm flathead on the GULP 4” Minnow and then decided to try something bigger. I loaded my 1/8th 1/0 jighead with a GULP 7” Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. This is a very big plastic for a flathead so I flicked it slowly along the bottom with plenty of pauses. I felt a definite bite but struck too soon and probably pulled the plastic out of the fish’s mouth. On the next retrieve I slowed it down even more. In exactly the same spot, I felt the bite and this time I dropped the rod tip and counted to ten. When I lifted it the fish was on. Amazingly, it was a just legal sized 40 cm flathead. I carried on with this soft plastic for a while but I could not catch anymore.

I swapped down the spectrum to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and fished around the same area. I caught a few more flathead that were just undersize. There were clearly plenty around but I had only caught 4 that would have been big enough to keep.

As I pondered what to try next an old timber bibbed minnow floated past. The front eyelet ring had pulled out. It was nice to get one back. I will have to try and fix it up. It was now getting close to low tide and I had to stop for the day.

In summary, the flathead are back in large numbers but they are mostly under 45cm. Size/ type of lure did not make much difference today. Perhaps they have followed the plentiful squid into the shallows.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 4 June 2014

Wednesday

After a pleasant but not very successful session at Whitepatch Beach on Bribie Island, it was time to head back to my favourite spot, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, beside the old oyster jetty, just south of the Bribie Bridge.

Low tide would be at 7.37 am and the fishing has consistently been good in the last few hours of the run out tide, in this area. First light is at about 6.00 am, at the moment and I drove up to Bribie so that I would be in position at about 5.30 am. We were about a week into a new moon.

I put my waders on. I have seen a few people trying to brave this area without them, lately. I would not recommend wading around this area without a pair of waders. The crabs often try to nip your heels as you walk past and I have kicked plenty of stonefish. I have stepped on rays and been stalked by a few big wobbegongs and the whole area is littered with oyster covered clumps of rock and debris. To round things off, the water is now cold, so you will get fed up pretty quickly if you are soaked.

It was still dark so I started fishing under the bridge lights with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Curried Chicken colour.  I had a couple of tugs and follows from the pike, that where circling under the lights and then a grab from a flathead. It suddenly appeared, almost on the surface behind the soft plastic. It snapped at the lure, but perhaps it felt some resistance or saw me standing a few feet away, either way, it turned and disappeared with a tail splash.

I moved towards the jetty following the line where the seagrass gives way to sandy bottom. The sky had turned bright red and it would be a fantastic sunrise. I felt a solid bite and dropped the rod tip for a few moments. Then I lifted it and felt a wriggle and a head shake and knew I had another flathead. It was about 45cm and the first keeper of the day. I caught another fish, a couple of casts later, in about the same place. I noticed a few small squid in the shallows but not much other bait.

I moved to the south of jetty and swapped to the small, hard bodied DUO Realis Shad 62. It was light now and the water was fairly clear. From about the third cast, this little hard body started catching fish. From 6.45 am through to about 8.00 am, it caught a steady stream, probably about 10 to 12 flathead in total, of which more than half would have been big enough to keep.

 

 

At around 8.00 am, the water was calm and shallow all around and it was a very bright and clear morning. The trebles on the Realis Shad were now all bent out of shape so I took it out of service and tied on a MARIA MJ Twitch 90 mm suspending hard bodied bibbed minnow and cast it out.  This is a big lure to throw at flathead but when they are around they seem happy to go after it. I varied the retrieve until I felt I was slowly moving the lure along, just above the bottom, with plenty of pauses. I felt a few aborted strikes and then there was a solid whack. The line started slowly peeling as the fish swam away with the lure, then it took off, as the treble hooks set. The first run was long and powerful, but fairly slow. I thought it might be a ray. Then it started shaking its head and I realised it was a flathead. There are only a few rocks in this area but there is small group that have sprouted tall seaweed clumps.  I soon realised the fish had the line wrapped around one of these. Fortunately the tide was still a low and I waded out to it and freed the line. I gradually tired the fish out and pulled it up into the shallows.

Unfortunately, in the prolonged fight, or perhaps in its initial hard strike, it had got the big hard bodied lure stuck a long way down its throat. I later measured it at 68cm – normally I would release a fish of this size but with the lure lodged where it was, I did not think it would survive the process of removal, so I decided to keep it. I would rather eat it, than let a shark have it!

I decided to give up at about 8.30 am and as I wandered back to the car, there where flathead lies everywhere. It seems the fish are back, in large numbers.

Bribie – the bridge and White Patch – 2 June 2014

Monday

No time for anywhere but Bribie at the moment, but I decided to try a few different areas. These bright winter dawns are the best of the year and although the cooler weather makes it a bit tougher to get out of bed in the dark, it’s dark for much longer.

I started on the Bribie Island side at about 5.45 am, just north of the bridge. I would be fishing the low tide and the start of the run in. The water was still and the tide had slowed down. I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour and I have now swapped back down to fishing with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This definitely produces more hits than fishing with 12 lb leader or heavier. It is also a good strategy to try and catch a few bream.

There was not much going on under the lights below the bridge. A few prawns skittered around, which was why I chose the Shrimp patterned soft plastic. At about 6.00 am, I caught a couple of small Pike. I moved a bit further to the south and a few minutes later, I caught two 35cm flathead, which had been lying in the shadows on the edge of the weed beds.

The sun started to light things up and nothing much was happening, so I drove up to White Patch Beach, further north on Bribie Island. The drop off that lines the edge of the Pumicestone Passage, also runs along the shoreline here. I parked at the set of steps down to the beach and wandered down. The fishing can be tough here but the scenery is fantastic, so it’s worth a regular visit.

 

There are nearly always lots of pike here and whilst you do catch the odd snapper, queenfish, mulloway and trevally, it is the core estuary species of cod, bream, flathead and tailor that dominate. Predictably, I found a patch of pike straight away. It was now about 7.30 am. I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and the pike liked this as well.

I moved slowly to the south and swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR a suspending hard body that has caught a few bream for me. I put in some long casts further to the south and I slowly twitched the lure back along the edge of the drop off. I felt a few grabs and then, as I slowed things down a little I connected with a fish. It was a small bream – about 28cm long. A few casts later, I connected with another, but I had the drag set a little tight and I pulled the trebles out.

It was now 8.30 am, well after low tide but the water still appeared to be running in, on the surface. The water was quite, murky and stirred up, so I decided to swap to a big bright coloured soft plastic lure. I chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. I was now close to Wrights Creek, casting ahead of me into the shallows.

I was now close to Wrights Creek, casting ahead of me into the shallows. I got plenty of grabs and small bites, as I worked the soft plastic along the edge of the drop off, but I had to wait another hour to find the next fish. It was another small flathead about 35cm.

At about 9.45 am I had to pack up. I had found a few small fish, which usually means the bigger ones are nearby, but there was nothing for dinner.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 28 May 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday afternoon was my next free spot for a quick session and I drove up to Bribie to fish the run out tide. I wanted to fish today to see if the New Moon made any difference. It would be a 0.4m low tide, at about 3.00 pm. A 10 knot northerly was forecast but when I arrived, at about 1.15 pm, it was more like a 15 knot south-easterly.

I waded out to the south, under the bridge towards the old oyster jetty. The water was stirred up from the wind and the big tide, but there was not too much floating dead weed and sea grass around. I started with a DUO Realis Shad 62 DR, a small floating hard bodied bibbed minnow lure.

At this point I thought I would clarify that Landangler is not sponsored by anyone and does not own shares in BERKLEY GULP, DUO, RIO, MARIA, LUCKY CRAFT or any other lure manufacturer (although I probably should). From time to time (very rarely) manufacturers send me a few lures to try. If they look like they might work for the type of fishing I do, I will give them a try and see if they catch fish. If I do try them, then I will write about the results – good or bad.  But I will always let you know if I did not have to pay for them. This approach is not always welcomed and I often receive a package only once!

I read a great blog post by Adam Royter, a few weeks ago – it is worth a look, if you have time – http://www.maddogroyter.com/1/post/2014/04/the-truth-be-told.html . I was impressed that he was willing to bite the hand that feeds him by pointing out how disappointingly predictable reviews in Australian fishing magazines have become. I appreciate that the fishing industry is small here and that the ‘pay for advertising in return for a positive review’ model has become normal practice – but that don’t make it right.

Landanglers prediction is that only good quality, current, unbiased content will get read in the future and most of it will not get read in the paper format. Like it or not, the younger generation consider web content as free, so if you want to get paid in some way to be a fishing journalist, your product will need be exceptional and that is how it should be.

Right, it’s time to get off the soap box and get back to the fishing. I tied on the DUO Realis Shad 62DR (purchased with hard earned cash from Tacklewarehouse at Camp Hill – http://www.tacklewarehouse.com.au/). The tide was running out quickly and I was now standing about 30 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty. After about three casts, using a fairly fast, constant retrieve an angry flathead surfaced with the lure lodged in its mouth. It was a good sized fish – about 55cm long. A few casts later, the same lure caught a slightly smaller one.

 

Then things slowed a bit. As the tide got lower, more and more weed started to clog the lure so I swapped back to a soft plastic – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. This found the fish pretty quickly and I caught another 3 small flathead over the next 30 minutes.  I waded a long way towards the green channel marker and caught one more 45cm flathead before turning back.

Just before 4.00 pm I made my way back towards the bridge and stopped to cast a few shots in the area just to the north of the jetty. I had now swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. This produced another couple of small fish.

It had been another good session with plenty of fish around. They were all released today, so go and catch them again.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 26 May 2014

Monday

On Monday I had a late morning fishing session at the usual spot at Bribie. The weather was perfect – light south-easterly breeze and clear blue skies. Winter days like this are hard to beat.

I started fishing in my usual spot – beside the old oyster jetty at about 11.00 am. Low tide would be at 1.37 pm, so the timing would be pretty good. This spot most consistently produces fish in the last few hours of the run out tide.

I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Curried Chicken (red back, yellow belly) colour. The water was clear and there was no missing this lure – it stood out very clearly underwater. Just to the north of the jetty, I found my first fish of the day – a 45 cm flathead. The fridge is empty so I kept this one. I caught another smaller one, a few moments later, then moved south of the jetty.

The underwater terrain is changing here very quickly. I think it must be the more consistent south easterly winds which start to cut channels and drains in the sand banks. I was now fishing much shallower clearer water so I decided to swap soft plastics. As mentioned in my previous post, I am all out of GULP Watermelon Pearl 4 “ Minnows, so I started off with the same shape and size,  in the Smelt colour (white and silver/grey).  It is a fairly good imitation of the small mullet and whiting that are everywhere at the moment. After a few slow sessions, I have dropped down to consistently using 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Lighter leader nearly always means more bites, but you have to play the fish more carefully, if you want to land them.

 

The Smelt Minnow soon found the fish – a 45cm one at first and then a bigger, 55cm version. The tide was running out quickly and would soon start to slow, so I decided to try a bigger hard bodied lure. I chose the MARIA – MJ1-70F, this is a floating diving bibbed minnow with a great action. It has the added bonus of being pretty tough, which helps with flathead. It only took a couple of cast to stir up the biggest fish of the day – a 62cm flathead.

As the tide ran down I walked back across the exposed flats and was amazed at the seafood buffet of whelks, worms, and soldier crabs that litter the area – no wonder the fish like it here.