Bribie flats & Mooball Creek, Pottsville – January 2017

In January I fished a couple of dawn sessions on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point Hotel jetty, at Bribie. I caught a few flathead, mainly on the bottom half of the run out tides. I also fished the mouth of Pacific Harbour which produced a few good sized flathead on various coloured jerkshad soft plastics.

Later in  the month I spent some time at Pottsville and Hastings Point. The Hastings Point headland always looks very fishy, but during the holidays it is a pretty busy spot. I tried a few daytime sessions with small soft plastics there, but only caught a few Butter Bream on light line.

On the bigger tides I fished in Mooball Creek (behind the beach). This is a sandy bottomed shallow creek that has a few holes and bends with some deeper water. I found plenty of small flathead, fishing with a 3″ GULP Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th and 1/12th ounce, size #1 hook jighead. I stuck to 10lb leader and eventually found a couple of flathead that would have been been big enough to keep. There were also plenty of small bream and whiting in the clear water.

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South Golden Beach – Marshalls Creek – 23/24 December 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning I was up before dawn to have another shot of catching something decent in the surf. The wind had changed to a strong northerly over-night. When I walked out on to South Golden Beach at about 4.45 am, I could see the water was pretty stirred up.

The wind was up and gusting between 10 and knots. As the water hit my feet I noticed it had cooled down considerably overnight. I was fishing with my Daiwa Air Edge rod and Shimano Sustain reel combination again. This time I tied on about 1 metre of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The wind and surf was going to make it very hard to cast a lightly weighted soft plastic lure any distance, so I decided to rig up a hard bodied lure.

I chose the DUO Realis Vib 62. This is a Bass lure made by my favourite Japanese lure manufacturers DUO – http://www.duo-inc.co.jp/bass/en/realis/vibration62/ . I have tried plenty of cheaper imitations but I keep coming back to this one. It is an 11g sinking vibe lure with a loud rattle and comes in some great colours. There is something about its action and its ability to instantly find its rhythm that I really love. Even when bumping along a shallow, sandy bottom it keeps vibrating. The other advantage in the surf is that it casts like a bullet. I have found these lures at Jones Tackle http://jonestackle.com.au/ and also at Motackle http://www.motackle.com.au/. I understand that DUO has just secured a new Australian distribution deal so I hope this means they will become more widely available.

I wandered south as the horizon started to light up. I felt a few bumps and nudges in each new gutter but did not connect. At about 5.00 am the sun came over the horizon. I was now standing at the south end of a very long gutter that had a pronounced sand bank lip. I could see the small dart shadowing the lure as I pulled it towards me. I put in a long cast and started to jerk the lure back towards me. After about three pulls something smashed into the lure. I struck hard but the line felt slack. Then I realised the fish was just swimming towards me. It changed direction and I could feel that it was solidly hooked. It travelled sideways for a bit. I had the drag fairly loosely set. This is important in the surf as the pull of the waves will snap a light leader very easily.  I soon had a respectable 30 cm bream at my feet. I released it and looked for some more without any luck.

On Christmas Eve I decided to fish the big incoming morning tide in the section of Marshalls Creek that is open to fishing. This is a very beautiful stretch of water just off the Brunswick River. Its lower reaches are closed to all types of fishing but there is a section opposite the New Brighton shop where fishing with rod and line is still permitted. This area is fairly shallow on all but the biggest tides but it looks very fishy. There are big sand bars, overhanging trees and dense mangroves. I waded around through the early morning high tide and got a few bites. I saw plenty of bream, luderick and mullet swimming around but I could not hook any. It was peak holiday time and there was a constant flow of small boats which did not improve my chances of catching anything. After a few hours I gave up, but I will definitely be back.

Happy Christmas to all

New Brighton beach fishing – 22 December 2015

Tuesday

In the run up to Christmas I spent a few days fishing on the beach at New Brighton, just north of Brunswick Heads.

On Tuesday I wandered out for an afternoon fish and decided to walk towards New Brighton from South Golden Beach. I started at about 3.00 pm. 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. The moon was building up to full around Christmas Day, so the tidal flow was quite big. The wind was a fairly lively south-easterly, but the water was warm and still fairly clear.

This beach has very little structure apart from a few rocks half buried in the sand near New Brighton. However there are plenty of deep clearly defined gutters that are formed by the wind, tide and strong rips.

I cast around into the incoming tide. I was fishing with a GULP 3” minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and I concentrated on the areas at the entrances and exits to the gutters. Each time I moved, I would get faint bites on the first couple of casts and then nothing. As the waves rolled over I could see these were coming from tiny dart.

I paused at the exit to another gutter and cast my lure so it would come back past as it was washed out to sea. After a couple of hops a fish grabbed it. There was a brief fight but I soon pulled it ashore. It was bream about 28 cm long.

I moved south and eventually arrived at the small patch of rocks in front of New Brighton.  I swapped to a GULP 3” Shrimp soft plastic in the neutral grey flecked peppered prawn colour. I cast around the rocks and again felt a few small bites.

The wind was now blowing very hard so I moved to the south side of the biggest rock and put a few casts in around its base. This paid off and on about my third one I felt the unmistakeable solid thud of a flathead bite. After another fairly brief fight I landed a 43 cm flathead. I took a few pictures and sent it on its way.

By 4.30 pm the wind was a howling southerly so I decided to give up. As I walked back to South Golden Beach I noticed a young gent throwing a small slug into the surf and witnessed him catch some small dart, as his hungry dog looked on.

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.

Brunswick Heads – Birds Working – 3 August 2015

Monday

People often ask me about birds and what do fishermen mean by “look out for the birds working”. Whilst fishing off the beach at Brunswick Heads recently I managed to film a good example.

It is hard to say exactly what was going on but the most like scenario is that there is a large school of bait – mullet, anchovies or something similair, that has drawn the attention of a big school of tailor that are migrating north to spawn. The tailor are attacking the bait school from below whilst the birds are dive bombing from above. Pretty soon this leads to a lot of blood and fishy residue in the water and the larger predators, sharks, trevally, mackerel will start to get involved.

The key challenge for the land based fisherman is getting a cast out to where the action is. You can watch this type of activity going on all day but it often is just out of reach. My advice is to make sure you tie on a very tough leader and a heavy metal lure and then hurl it out in the direction of the fish. There is often a big school under the water that you cannot see and it could be a hundred metres ahead of where the birds are.

If you can get you lure in amongst this kind of action you are definitely going to hook something.

Brunswick Heads – tailor time – 3 August 2015

Sunday – Monday

I had managed to get a few days down at South Golden Beach in Northern New South Wales and was very keen to see if the Tailor where around on the beaches.

On Sunday morning I was up before dawn. I wrapped up in warm clothes and pulled on my waders. The house we were staying in was right behind the beach and I had seen a few fisherman pull in some small Tailor the night before, using pilchards.

As I came out on to the beach conditions were very calm. I had noticed a long wide gutter the day before so I tied on a 55g HALCO Twisty in the brassy/ gold colour and started putting in long casts towards the mouth of the gutter. I was doing a fairly fast steady retrieve and this soon warmed me up. Just after first light I briefly hooked a fish but it shook itself free after a few seconds. I carried on for another 30 minutes and just before the sun came over the horizon, I felt the rod tip bend over. It was a fair way out but I gradually pulled it in. It was soon at my feet in the surf, but as I pulled it clear of the water the treble pulled out of its lip and it was gone. I put in a few more casts before changing to a jerkshad soft plastic but I did not find another fish.

On Monday morning I decided to explore the mouth of the Brunswick River. I picked the rock wall on the north side and arrived just after first light at about 5.45 am. It was another fantastic sunrise with the whole horizon glowing a rich orange colour. I walked to the end of the rock wall with my light rock fishing rig. The NS Blackhole rod and Shimano Sustain 4000 reel, 15lb braid and 30lb fluoro-carbon leader. I tied on a 55g HALCO Twisty and cast it diagonally across the river mouth. I cast about 15 times in various directions with no luck. I swapped to a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow hard bodied lure and cast this across the same area. On my third cast a fish hit the lure and I set the hooks. It was a small (approx.35cm long) tailor. I photographed and threw it back. On the next cast a fish hit the lure again but I did not connect. I continued for another 20 minutes in this spot with no further action so I decided to swap to a small soft plastic lure.

I moved a little way back along the rock wall, up river. I dropped the fluorocarbon leader down to 12lb, tied on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/ hook jighead and loaded it with a GULP 2.5 cm Crabbie in the Chocolate sparkle colour. This immediately attracted the attention of some Bream, I caught a couple and threw them back, both were between 25cm and 30 cm long.

The wind had picked up but I could see a big flock of birds dive bombing a little way up the beach. I decided to go and investigate. They were about 300 metres offshore but gradually moving in closer around the small rocky platform, just north of the rockwall. There was clearly a big school of bait with something feeding on it from below, which had attracted their attention. I walked along the beach and found a long gutter that runs up to the rocky platform. This looked about 1.5m deep at its deepest point and the main channel was very well defined. When I got level with the birds I started casting my soft plastic. The first takers were a few small dart, close to the beach. Then something bigger grabbed the soft plastic and started shaking its head. It presume it was a tailor and it soon chewed through the leader. I tied on the 30lb leader again and rigged up a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour and threw this out. A fish grabbed it almost as soon as it hit the water. This time I pulled it almost to the wave break, then it wriggled free.

I decided treble hooks would give me a better chance of landing a fish so I swapped back to the suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow. My strategy paid off. The lure was slammed as soon as I started the retrieve. I managed to get this tailor, safely up the beach. Now the fish were clearly feeding in the gutter and almost every cast hooked up. I caught somewhere between 10 and 15 fish over the next 40 minutes. The largest was 48cm long. I dropped plenty before they reached the beach, but kept a couple of bigger ones. Then just after 9.00 am, I hooked up again but the YOZURI Crystal Minnow was bitten clean off after just a few reel turns. I tied on the HALCO 55g Twisty again and landed a couple of smaller tailor with this lure, but then the same thing happened.

At about 9.15 am I swapped to a larger floating YOZURI Tobimaru 130mm hard bodied bibbed minnow. I tied this on with a 40lb rated wire trace and threw it out. More or less as soon as it landed I felt the fish bashing it around and about 2-3 metres into the retrieve I hooked up. I turned the reel a couple of times and then the line went slack. Clearly there was now something very toothy out there and I am not sure I really wanted to catch it, so at about 9.30 am I gave up for the morning.

It had been a great tailor session and confirmed for me that they will eat anything when they are feeding in big schools like this. I think lure choice was fairly unimportant but I did get the slightly larger fish on the hard bodied minnows, rather than the metal slugs.