Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 7 December 2015

Monday

I had time for a quick fishing session on the flats at Bribie Island. School holidays had not really started so I was still hopeful that I would find dinner. I wanted to fish the run out tide. Low tide would be at 12.40 pm. It had been fairly windy with strong northerlies blowing for the few previous days. Today a strong south-easterly was forecast and it was blowing at about 20 knots from that direction, when I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge.

I parked on the mainland side and walked out under the bridge.  The new café is now open at the old oyster jetty so there is now plenty of space to observe the fishing opportunities in this area. I don’t think there will be a sudden flood of anglers, as the mud and oyster covered rocks will put all but the diehard flathead hunters off.

I was fishing with my light rod and reel spinning combination. I have swapped back to the NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod. This rod picks up even the slightest of bites and although it does not have any grunt it can handle a good sized flathead. I was using the 2500 size Shimano Stella reel with it. I think the braid on the reel is about 8lb breaking strain Sunline Super PE in the bright green colour. I was using about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I started fishing with a large GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. After twenty minutes, I had passed the jetty with no bites, so I swapped down to GULP 4” Minnow in the green camo colour. Perhaps I had just found the fish or the change of lure and the fresh scent it contained, woke the fish up, but I almost immediately got a bite. I thought I had the fish hooked but after a couple of runs it was gone. I cast back at the same spot and slowed things down. On about my sixth repeat cast the fish grabbed the soft plastic again. I paused and dropped the rod tip for a few seconds. It took off again and I was sure it was hooked but unfortunately it wriggled off again.

I waded slowly south. Just before I reached the green channel marker, I saw a couple of big squid hovering in the shallows. I cast my plastic at them and managed to hook one through the wing. I slowly pulled it in, relieved that I would at least bring home something for supper.

The tide slowed and then started to run in. The wind made things very tough but I just could not find the fish. I swapped through lots of different shaped and coloured soft plastics but did not stir up any interest.

Finally at about 1.50 pm, with the tide running in and the water very stirred up, I felt an obvious bite. I was now fishing with the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour (probably my all-time favourite flathead soft plastic). This time the jighead pulled home and I reeled the fish in. It was only a 30cm flathead – but at least it was a fish! I photographed it and let it go.

I waded slowly back across the exposed flats. There were soldier crabs everywhere so there is plenty of food for the fish here. I did not see any flathead lies so maybe the persistent northerly winds have blown them off to another spot for a while. The northerlies seem to have flattened out the terrain quite a bit in the last few months. At about 2.30 pm I gave up for the afternoon.

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New Brighton – the beach – 19 October 2105

Monday

On Monday I decided to fish the beach a little further north of the Brunswick River mouth, between South Golden Beach and New Brighton. When there is a fairly regular wind pattern some good gutters form along this stretch of beach. There are also a few small patches of exposed rocks which are good to fish on the higher tides.

This time I woke before first light and walked out onto the beach about 20 minutes later. I was hopeful that something big might be hanging around so I started fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The dart were everywhere. I felt hits from the first cast. They were small but this did not stop them attacking the big jerkshad. I caught a few but they were all tiny.

As the sun came over the horizon I decided to drop down to a smaller 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour. The dart attacked this but they were still only an average of 15 cm long.

I reached a small patch of exposed rocks and swapped to GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this around the rocks and felt a few bites. I started to let the plastic sit on the bottom, between hops for longer periods – hoping there might a flathead lurking nearby.

After a few casts there was suddenly some dead weight on the end of the line. Then the rod tip started to wiggle and I realised it was a fish. I thought it might be a ray of some kind as it was moving very slowly. I let it take line initially but soon turned its head and had it swimming towards the beach. As I pulled it clear of the surf and up the beach I could see it was a very strange looking fish called a stargazer. As soon as it was clear of the water it gradually buried itself in the soft sand. I had to wait for another wave to cover it, so that I could dislodge it from the sand. I am told these fish taste delicious (often referred to a ‘poor mans lobster’) but they just look far too weird to eat. I took a few snaps and then sent it on its way.

That was it for another tough beach/ surf fishing session. I am not much good at this type of fishing but that just gives me a good excuse to keep at it, until I am.

Brunswick Heads – the beach – 18 October 2015

Sunday

Half way through October, I managed to get down to Brunswick Heads for the weekend and had a few mornings fishing on South Golden Beach. Earlier in the year, in the cooler water, I had found plenty of tailor and bream down here.

The moon was in its first quarter and the tides were not big. The wind was a light south easterly, turning northerly in the afternoons. As you all know I love to fish with soft plastics lures. On the beach, success with plastics requires a bit of persistence – especially in the warmer months.

As usual you have to be up early or be prepared to fish through dusk. I prefer the dawn session, as I am an early riser and you know the water has not really been fished/ surfed/ disturbed overnight.

In spring and summer I fish with very light gear. The predominant summer species; dart, whiting, bream can be very picky and the water is often clear. I rarely use more than a 12lb fluorocarbon leader and will often go down to 8lb to get the bites. This means you have to have a good, functioning drag on your reel and make sure it is set correctly. You will certainly lose a big bream/ or dart in the surf, if your drag is set to tight. If you get a fish hooked you have to bring it in patiently, using the rhythm of the surf. If a big mackerel is passing through, your are doomed, but that is fairly unlikely.

I like to use small brightly coloured soft plastics when the water is clear. My favourite for dart is the GULP 3” Minnow in the lime tiger colour. If the water is stirred up I swap to paddle and grub tailed soft plastics in darker colours. In these conditions it is often the vibration that will bring the fish to the lure.

On Sunday, I decided fish the rocks and beach on the north shore of the Brunswick River mouth. There is often a nice big gutter here and the rocky/ reefy area on the north side of the river rock wall also provides some good structure to fish around. I arrived at the carpark at about 5.30 am, just after first light.

The water was a little stirred up so I started with a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was using my Daiwa Air Edge 96L light surf rod and initially fishing with a 1/6th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader. After a while I was not getting any bites, so I swapped down to a lighter 1/8th ounce jighead. I moved a little closer to the rocks.

The fishing was tough. I had a couple of bites from what I assume were dart. Low tide had passed at about 5.40 am and the water was now starting to run in. Perhaps this was the catalyst for action and I hooked a small bream (about 25cm long) and then another.

There was a pause of about 20 minutes then I caught a few more. At about 8.15 am the sun was high in the sky – and my fishing spot was right at the start of the surfer route out to their favoured spot. They kept, very politely, swimming through the fishing zone, so I decided to give up for the morning.

Brooms Head – 3 October 2015

Saturday

On Saturday we were heading back to Brisbane. The looming thought of returning to work forced a right turn at Brooms Head. This coastal area in the Yuraygir National Park is a land-based fisherman’s paradise. There are plenty of estuaries, rocky headlands and beaches to choose from. You can catch all the common species; tailor, kingfish, mulloway, trevally, dart, bream, whiting and flathead.

We drove up to the Brooms Head lookout. It was a beautiful day and just as we arrived a whale and its calf swam by, stopping for a brief tail slapping session.

Brooms HeadBrooms Head fishingMagnificent view from the lookout

It was just about lunch time but I could not resist getting the fishing rod out and clambering down the rocks for a quick cast. I put on a small soft plastic and felt a few small bream bites, close to the foot of the rocks. After about twenty minutes, I pulled up a tiny wriggling tusk fish of some kind.

The sun was out, the water was crystal clear and I could have stayed here another week – but unfortunately there are bills to pay.

Hat Head – Connors Beach – 1 October 2015

Thursday

Thursday was another clear warm morning. It had rained overnight but the wind had disappeared and there was only a light northerly blowing when I woke up.

I walked round to the corner of Connors Beach again. I started at about 5.30 am with a large River2Sea Dumbbell Popper. This produced nothing so I swapped down to a 65g Raider metal slug. This also could not find any fish.

I swapped down to my Daiwa Air Edge Surf 96 L rod and put on a 1/6th ounce, #1/0 hook jighead and dropped down to 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I loaded the jighead with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour. After a few slow retrieves I felt some good bites. The tide was running out and there was a strong current pushing water along a pronounced gutter, at the base of the rocks. I let the soft plastic sink in the fast moving current and the when I lifted the rod tip I had a fish on it. It was a 25 cm bream. The next cast yielded another one – slightly bigger.

Things went quiet for a few casts. Then, at about 6.15 am something grabbed the soft plastic at the base of the rocks and tried to bury itself. It was not particularly quick but it was much more powerful than the bream. It wedged itself down between some rocks so I loosened the drag and gave it some slack. A few moments later, it swam out and I landed it. It was a fairly solid Spotted Hind – a pretty fish that does not taste much good – so I let it go. By about 7.30 am I was not getting any bites so I gave up for the morning.

At about 3.30 pm I came back for an afternoon session. After a few casts the first taker, on the same light rig and soft plastic, was another bream. It was followed by two more – neither was much more than 25cm long and the third one looked like it had been in the wars.

As the sun dropped and we moved closer to 5.00 pm, I tied on a small 45g cheap, cream painted metal slug. I cast out to the north east, in the direction of a patch of semi-submerged rocks. I wound it in fairly quickly and saw a couple of swirls come up behind it, about 15 metres from the shore. I carried on casting for about 20 minutes, varying the speed of the retrieve. I could now see the tailor following the slug in, but they would not bite.

Just as the sun was setting at about 5.30 pm I felt a solid bite and then the rod tip bent over. I dropped the first tailor a few metres from the shore. A few casts later I had another on and this time it was solidly hooked. I landed it and released it. I connected with a couple more but did not land them and at about 6.00 pm, I gave up.

It had been a great week of fishing at Hat Head. The scenery is truly fantastic and I will certainly be back.

Hat Head – Connors Beach– 30 September 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday conditions where calm again with a light northerly wind blowing. First light was about 5.00 am. I could not face another tramp out to the spinning ledge so I decided to try fishing the rocks at the north eastern corner of Connors Beach.  This area always looks very fishy and there is often a long gutter that drains out through a group of rocky bommies, from the northern corner of the beach.

There are a couple of rocky outcrops that you can safely stand on in light seas. About 45 metres to the east of these ledges there is a circle of large rocks which are riddled with overhangs and caves. They are pretty hard to cast at, but they are full of fish.

I started with a 65g Raider, tied on to the main line with 30lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader. I was using the heavy rod – Daiwa Demonblood, and I was casting a metal slug about 40 to metres out towards the edge of one of the semi submerged rocky outcrops. I was reeling in line pretty quickly on my retrieve.

The sun was not yet over the horizon, at about 5.20 am, when I hooked and landed the first tailor of the day. This was quickly followed by a few more. Then, as the sun up and the glare started to build, the bites slackened off and having caught four 40 cm tailor in quick succession, it took an hour to catch another.

By about 7.30 am all was quiet. The water was crystal clear and my metal slugs, hard bodied minnows and poppers could not rustle up a bite. I decided to give up for the morning.

At about 5.00 pm I came back and carefully climbed down the rocky headland that sticks out between Gap Beach and Connors Beach. There is a small inlet here that looks very fishy and with a fairly light swell I could cast right into it.

I started with a 40g HALCO Streaker metal slug. I cast it out into the foamy water around the rocks.  After a few casts, I hooked a fish but it wriggled off at the base of the rocks. I hooked a couple more that also got off. At about 5.30 pm, just as the sun was dropping to the horizon I finally held on to one. It was another 35cm tailor. As the sun set I hooked what felt like a smaller fish. After a short fight I was surprised to see a solid bream on the end of the Streaker.

I fished on through the amazing sunset but did not catch anything else.