Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 9 September 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday the forecast was for light winds and a clear day. I could not resist another spell at Bribie on the sand/ mud flats, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. Low tide would be in the middle of the day at 12.36pm.

The wind had dropped off significantly from the day before but it was now cooler and coming from the south west, at about 10 knots. The sky was clear and so was the water. As I walked out under the bridge a couple of Kiwis arrived, one with a fly rod. I politely explained that there were no trout to be had here. I reckon it’s hard enough catching a fish with a regular rod but it seems there is always someone looking for an additional challenge. At least with the wind behind them they were in with a chance.

It was about 9.45am and I started off casting into about 60cm of water, just to the north of the bridge. The tide was running out fast over the weed covered boulders that dot the gravel bottom, in this area. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour loaded onto a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using my light spin rod with 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 12lb braid. The first flathead was lying amongst the boulders about 10 metres north of the bridge. It grabbed the plastic and I landed it safely. It was about 44cm long.

I moved south under the bridge and waded under the old oyster jetty, casting as I went. The jetty now has a selection of fairy lights hung along it and a railing down one side. I hope the fairy lights will attract more bait.

I fished around fairly thoroughly in the area just north of the jetty but did not get any bites. It was about an hour before I found another flathead. Just to the north of where the big drain empties out into the main channel. By now I had swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. This soft plastic is a Jerkshad with a prong shaped split tail which flutters as it hops and sinks. It is a great lure. Its only problem is that dart, bream and other small fish often bite the tails off. I cast it out beyond the dark edge of the weed beds and paused for 10 seconds. I slowly hopped it back along the bottom. After a few hops a felt the solid thud as the fish hit it. I dropped the tip and counted slowly to 10. I lifted again and hooked the fish. It was another 45 cm flathead.

I carried on wading the south and fishing with the big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. I soon found a couple more under sized flathead and released them. At about 11.00 am I was halfway between the jetty and the green channel marker, standing about 3 metre back from edge of the weed beds. I had hooked another flathead and was taking a few photographs of it, as I reeled it in. It suddenly got very animated and started leaping out of the water. As I pulled it closer a sanding coloured shape loomed up on its tale and I understood its concern. It looked like a big wobbegong, about 1.5m long, but its more pointed nose and uniform colour suggested it was some other kind of shark. When it saw me it turned away and decided not to pursue its lunch.

I carried on towards the channel marker and caught 3 more keeper sized flathead and another 4 undersized fish, which were all released. At about noon the tide had slowed and I decided to give up. Another bagful of flathead and a great morning of fishing.

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Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 September 2015

Tuesday

It looks like winter maybe behind us and we are in to the sub-tropical spring which usually lasts all of two weeks. I was back in Brisbane and decided to drive up to Bribie Island on Tuesday, to look for some flathead.

I chose to fish the flats in front of the old oyster jetty at the newly opened Sandstone Point Hotel. I thought it would be easy but initially at least, the fish were quite hard to find. I started at about 8.45am with low tide set for about 11.30 am. The wind was forecast to be light at first rising quickly to 15 knot north easterly. However, within 20 minutes of my arrival the wind was gusting 15 to 20 knots and the water was weedy and very stirred up.

I moved south from the bridge fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce size 1 hook jighead with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This yielded absolutely no bites. After an hour, I was south of the old oyster jetty battling the weed and wind. I decided to swap to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts, I felt a solid bite but pulled the rod tip up too quickly and did not connect with the fish. I slowed things down and cast out to the same spot. I paused and let the plastic stop for a while, just where I thought the fish was. This time it worked. I lifted the rod tip and the fish was there. It was a small flathead just over 40cm long.

It was now 10.10 am and I was wading steadily to the south as the tide ran out. I followed the edge of the weed beds but as the water got shallower and murkier it became difficult to see where to cast. Gradually I started to find the fish. I caught a couple more small flathead at about 10.30 am and then a 50cm fish just before 11.00 am.

I had now reached the green channel marker. I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and this almost instantly got a bite. It was another smaller flathead. I waded slowly back to the bridge and caught another six flathead on the journey. They were fairly spread out but seemed easier to tempt at the bottom of the tide.

I ended up with 4 fish over 40cm which is a good dinner. But the wind and weed had made it hard.

Dune Rocks – Tailor – North Stradbroke Island – 15 July 2015

Saturday

I was still on North Stradbroke Island and delighted with my first session, the day before. It was still cold and fairly breezy on Saturday morning. The wind was blowing from the south-west but it would slacken off through dawn before turning south-east and picking up, mid-morning. Low tide had passed at about 3.00 am. It had rained overnight.

I walked down on to Deadman’s Beach just after first light and headed for Dune Rocks. It was about 5.45 am. I had decided that I would fish the pre-dawn period with a popper. It is my experience that the fish are more comfortable attacking a surface lure in the pre-dawn light. I stayed slightly to the north of where I had been fishing the day before.

There was already a keen fisherman in position reeling in a tailor on a metal slug, as I came round the corner. I joined him on the rocks and threw out the River2sea 110mm Dumbbell Popper in a pink colour. I had upgraded to 40lb fluorocarbon leader. Almost as soon as I started the retrieve, the lure was being pulled in all directions by a number of different fish, I kept up the pace of the retrieve and eventually solidly hooked one of them. It was a tailor about 35cm long. I threw it back and cast again. For the first few casts the fish whacked the popper as soon as it hit the water. Then they eased off a little. I slowed the retrieve and added a few long pauses after each big bloop of the popper. This got them fired up and they would hit the lure each time it paused. In the 30 minutes between first light and dawn I had tangled with 12 fish but landed only 4. They were all between 35 cm and 45 cm.

Post dawn by about 6.30 am the popper was no longer working. I tried a soft plastic jerkshad which was grabbed by something close to the rocks but I could not set the hook – cold have been anything – bream/ butter bream/ dart.  There were now a few fisherman on the rocks and they were still catching tailor from time to time. A curious Kangaroo also appeared to watch the fishing show.

I cleaned up my fish and walked back to the car at about 7.15 am.

North Stradbroke Island – Tailor – Dune Rocks – 14 August 2015

Friday

I had managed to arrange a weekend away at Stradbroke Island with the family. Although there would be the inevitable expectation that I would spend some time with them, in the usual holiday fashion, I felt confident of sneaking off at dawn each day for a quick fish.

Thursday had been clear and sunny but with a strong, cold westerly wind. On Friday morning I woke just before first light. It was pretty cold – around 9 Celsius. I put on a few layers and pulled on my Cabela’s stocking foot chest waders. I then put on my felt-soled rock fishing boots, also from Cabela’s http://www.cabelas.com/ . Cabela’s seem to be one of the few retailers that produces excellent quality own label gear. I have yet to find these in Australia, so if you want some you will have go online. This combination works well on both the rocks and the beaches. The felt soles give excellent grip on wet rocks and from the chest down, they keep me completely dry. The water is rarely very cold in Queensland but once you get wet on a breezy day, it feels a lot colder.

I walked down to Deadman’s Beach as the horizon started to glow, just after 6.00 am. It was still cold but the westerly had dropped off and flattened the sea. I was fishing with my light rock/ beach fishing rig. The NS Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod matched with a Shimano Sienna 4000 (a substitute for my Sustain 4000 which is in for an overdue service). Just to prove I will try anything I had loaded the Sienna with ALDI 15lb yellow braid. This stuff looks like you could pull a tractor with it and the breaking strain must be way above 15lb.

I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 jighead tied on with a 14lb fluorocarbon leader. I cast around the rocks and into the gutters as I walked along the beach towards Dune Rocks. At the submerged rocks, about half way along Deadman’s Beach something quick had a couple of grabs at the soft plastic, but did not take it.

As the sun gradually broke the horizon I saw a big flock of birds feeding just out in front of the rocks. I could not cast that far but perhaps there were also fish closer in. I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the lime tiger colour and cast out as far as I could. Something grabbed the soft plastic just after it hit the water and I soon had it hooked. I assumed it was a tailor and I wound it to a few metres away. But as the swell pulled back and forth the jighead fell out of its mouth. I cast straight back out and was soon connected to another fish. However the line suddenly went slack and I wound in my leader minus my jighead and soft plastic.

I went back to the rocks to re-rig. I tied on some 30lb fluorocarbon leader (the heaviest I had) and a 55g HALCO Twisty metal slug. After a few long casts and a fairly slow and steady retrieve I felt a couple of hits on the lure and then hooked up. This time the fish stayed attached and I had a 35cm tailor at my feet. I released it and cast out again in the same spot. I hooked six fish on the same slug over the next thirty minutes but only managed to get 2 to the shoreline. They were all about 35cm to 40cm long. After a while one of them chewed through the leader and I lost the Twisty. I tied on a YOZURI suspending hard bodied Crystal Minnow lure and cast it around for a while, but this drew a blank.

I did not have another HALCO Twisty but I did have a 65 gram SPANYID Raider metal slug. I tied this on and put in another long cast. It took about three casts to find the fish again. I caught another couple and then things slowed right down. I looked out beyond the rocks and could see the birds had stopped feeding and moved on.

I tried moving around the rocks and tried a few different spots but by about 7.30 am the fish also seemed to have moved on. It had been a great introduction to land-based fishing on Stradbroke Island.