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.