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.