Caloundra – Gemini Towers sand flats – 27 August 2012


The forecast was for wind and that’s what we got. I decided to try the flats at Caloundra to avoid the worst of the blow. I arrived just after first light at about 5.45 am. I was struck by an icy blast as soon as I got out of the car. It was a north-westerly wind and probably blowing 10 to 15 knots already.

Cold and breezy on the sand flats

I rugged up and waded into the shallows in front of the Power Boat Club. The water was really cold and felt colder because of the westerly wind chill. I was fishing the run out tide. Low would be at 10.20 am. I started by fishing all around the weed beds with a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead.

Permanent fixtures

This did not produce anything so I switched to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I kept fishing with this one and after about 30 minutes I felt a solid bite but did not connect. Next cast I hooked up. Mad head shakes and skittering runs – it was a Tailor. Now I was stuck – I caught sight of the fish it was a decent size – about 45cm, but I was a good 35 metre wade from the sand. I loosened the drag a little but the 10lb fluorocarbon leader was not going to hold and about 10 metres into my walk the leader snapped and the fish was gone.

I changed directions and started wading over the weed beds in front of the Gemini Towers resort. I was seriously cold now but the loss of the fish had annoyed me too much to allow me to give up, just yet.

It took a while

This area was a little more sheltered from the wind and the recent weather has hollowed out a nice area full of weed on the edge of the channel. I was casting over into the channel and pausing just at the weed edge. This eventually produced a 45 cm Flathead. I caught a few more, smaller Flathead, a bit further along. The wind was howling and I was too cold so at about 10.30 am, I gave up.

Hard work

Caloundra – Golden Beach – 1 July 2012


I decided to give Bribie a rest and head up the Pumicestone Passage to Caloundra, to fish on Sunday morning. The weather looked good and it would be a run out tide all morning. High tide was just after dawn at about 6.45am and there was not much wind forecast for the early morning.

I wanted to see if the Flathead would be as thick up here as they have been down at the Bribie Island end of the Passage. I started on the sand flats, in front of the Bribie Island Power Boat Club. The terrain has changed quite a bit in the short time since I last fished here. A few weeks of windy wild weather can change the position of the sandbanks very quickly. I was not the only one surprised by the change. I saw three boats come to a shuddering halt as they ploughed into a sandbank that was not there a month ago. One skipper very nearly ended up thrown out of his boat! So take it easy if you have not been out here for a while.

The sea grass beds are also developing around this area, giving lots of cover for the fish. There was not much bait around which is not usually a good sign. I started with soft plastics and chose the 4” GULP Smelt Minnow, which I loaded onto a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This is a very natural looking soft plastic that closely resembles a Pilchard. I waded along the edge of the sandbanks casting and slowly retrieving the lure with hops and jumps, across the bottom.

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Well, it was a beautiful morning and a fantastic sunrise but it was hard work, to say the least. I cast and waded, cast and waded. The tide was dropping which gave me access to a lot of area but it took me until 10.00 am to find a patch of fish. I had almost reached the channel markers in the centre of the Passage by the time I discovered them. Just after 10.00 am I caught a 30cm Flathead in about 50cm of water, close in to a weed bed. About 100m further on, I found a few more, of which perhaps 1 was legal size.

At about noon I was knackered and cooked so I gave up and waded back to the car. I expect this area has been fished fairly hard during the school holidays and there was plenty of boat traffic about. I am sure the fish are here somewhere but the ones I found today were not as big or easy to catch, as those at the south end of the Passage.

Caloundra – Power Boat Club & Diamond Head – 3 May 2012


I was back on home turf and decided Caloundra was the best bet for Thursday morning. It’s getting a bit colder but the bonus is that you don’t have to get up quite so early to fish the dawn.

I arrived in front of the Power Boat Club at about 6.00 am, just after first light. High tide had been at 5.20 am and it was close to full moon. Light south easterly winds were forecast but around dawn the water was completely flat.

I was fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500, now loaded with 6lb braid and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The water temperature feels like it has dropped considerably since I was last fishing up here, a few weeks ago.

It was a fairly crisp sunrise on Thursday

It was a fairly crisp sunrise on Thursday

I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. There were a few schools of bait in close to the shore and these scattered as I pulled the plastic through them. Sometimes they would scatter in all directions but I could not get a bite. I swapped to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I worked the plastic along the edge of the weed beds and just after 7.00am, I came up tight on a small Flathead – just under 40cm long.
I tried a small DUO Tetraworks Bivi vibe lure for a while and I felt a few hits but could not hook anything. I swapped back to a GULP Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn Colour and caught another Flathead that was just too small.

The GULP Shrimp got them going today

The GULP Shrimp got them going today

I gave up and drove down to the flats in front of Diamond Head. I waded out to the weed beds and started to cast around. The water was running out fast and it had turned pretty dirty. I think there must have been some pretty heavy localized rain over night.

Angry Flathead - Caloundra

Angry Flathead – Caloundra

Another small Flathead slammed the GULP Shrimp. I pulled it in. This one was just over 40cm, but one fish would not feed my mob so I let it go. With no more action I packed up at about 9.30 am went back to the car.

They were all just the wrong side of 40cm

Maundy Thursday – Caloundra – Golden Beach – 5 April 2012

Maundy Thursday

Rain, wind, swell, wind, swell – well at least the rain seems to have moved on, but the wind and swell look like they will be sticking around for the whole of Easter. Unfortunately that means that we keen fisherman are all herded in to the few sheltered stretches of estuary that exist along the coast. There are a lot of people looking to wet a line or put the boat, jetski, kayak, dinghy in the water over this weekend and the next one.

My tip for increasing you chances of catching something – start early. Fortunately not everyone is willing to get up in the middle of the night to catch a fish. Most people don’t consider a 4.00 am start relaxing! This means the water is less likely to have been disturbed before you get to it and also means you usually get to fish the calmest few hours of the day – around sunrise.

With all this in mind I set off for Caloundra at about 4.30 am on Thursday morning. It was full moon so it would be a big high tide at around 8.15am. When I arrived, the wind was already starting to rustle the trees and cast a ripple on the surface of the Pumicestone Passage. It has been a while since I have fished here. The water was considerably cooler but much clearer on the top of the tide.

DUO, the Japanese lure manufacturer has sent me some more lures to try out, including the Tetraworks Bivi in a few more colours. This a great lure that has caught a few Flathead for me and with the cooler weather on the horizon, I am sure it will also prove to be a great Bream lure.

It is a hollow body microvibe lure and the colour I was using today was almost black with some rainbow colouring. It is a sinking lure, 3.8 grams and 40mm long. I was back to fishing with my lightest spin rod and reel combo – the Loomis GL2 with a Shimano Stella 2500 reel. I had the reel loaded with 8lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

DUO TETRAWORKS BIVI - Great lure in this darker colour

I started on the sand flats in front of the Caloundra Powerboat Club. The tide was still coming in. I cast all around the area of weed banks that line the edge of the various channels, where the boats are moored. It wasn’t long before I felt a nudge and then a solid hit. I was on to a fish. It took a bit of line and it was moving quite fast. It was a decent Bream – perhaps just under 30cm, but it was only just hooked. I started back towards the shore but just as I got a good look at it – it wriggled free and was gone.

Small Flathead - big soft plastic

I trudged back to the weed beds and carried on peppering the area with casts. About 10 mins later I had another solid knock – so I let the lure drop back down. When I lifted it I had a fish on. It was a small Flathead just under legal size. I took a few pictures and released it. A few cast later I hooked up with a bigger one – but again it wriggled free before I could walk it back to shore.

I decided to swap to a soft plastic and put on a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. This worked but again the fish was too small. I carried on until around 9.15 am but by then the wind was howling again so I gave up.

Caloundra - Pelicans

Caloundra – Bulcock Beach, Golden Beach and Diamond Head – 7 February 2012


Caloundra was my destination. I drove up from Brisbane, leaving just before 4.00 am and arriving at the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, just before 5.00am. The moon was full and it would be a very big high tide – 1.9m, just before 8.00am.

The tide was running in strongly and the sea was fairly choppy – there was a lot more breeze than the forecast 10 knots west south-west. It was too wild to fish the mouth of the Passage so I walked Bulcock Beach, flicking a soft plastic lure along the edge. About half way along the beach, I felt a solid bite – but did not connect. I was using the 4” Gulp Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and still using the 8lb leader. I cast out in the same spot and this time the fish hit the lure on the drop. After a brief fight I pulled it on to the sand – a 40cm Grunter Bream – snorting away. I looked for more but could not find any, so at about 6.00 am, I moved on.

I drove down to the sand bank in front of the Power Boat Club at Golden Beach. The tide was really moving now and the water was really stirred up. There was a very obvious line were the clearer, incoming saltier water met the brown-stained fresher water. The big tides have also started to spread the loose sea grass around, making fishing with the hard bodied lures trickier. I flicked around with a small bibless vibe lure but it kept getting clogged, so I swapped back to a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I fished for about an hour without a bite and covered a lot of ground. Eventually I caught a 36cm Flathead on the edge of a weed bed. As I was wading back out, the bait scattered and a good-sized Queenfish lept clear of the water. I cast all around the area but it did not come back. This was turning into hard work, so I decided to move again.

I drove down to Diamond Head and waded out onto the sand flats just to the north of the creek mouth. I swapped to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast at the weed beds, using a slow ‘lift and drop’ retrieve. I felt a few bumps and nudges on the first few casts, in each location. I kept moving and after a few minutes I connected with a fish. It hit the lure hard, but it was a Bream – about 25cm long. I caught 3 more, around this size, over the next 30 minutes, then it all went very quiet.

I carried on until about 10.00 am and then gave up. The rain has obviously brought the Bream out to feed, but the big tides and dirty water are still making the fishing difficult.

The Jetty to Diamond Head – Caloundra – 17 January 2012


Finally, time for a fishing session and then the heavens opened. The rain just kept coming on Monday and more was forecast for Tuesday. It had to be Tuesday morning, so I drove up to Caloundra. High tide would be about 4.00 am, so I would have a few hours of fishing in the salty water, around dawn, before the run out tide, mixed with rain run-off, turned the water dirty and fresh.

It would be a big high tide for Caloundra at 1.8m. I decided to head straight for Diamond Head and to try my luck wading on the flats. I arrived, just after 5.00 am and watched the sun rise. The passage was lit up briefly but then the sun disappeared again behind some angry looking clouds.

The water was already a dirty brown colour and pretty murky. I decided to use a hard body, as I thought a soft plastic would be hard to distinguish. I picked out a 14g Strikepro Vibe that looks like a Herring. It’s the loudest lure I own and it is far from subtle but it usually annoys the fish into biting.
The tide was running out so I decided wade from the Jetty back towards Diamond Head, casting into the run out tide and pulling the lure back along the bottom in jumps and jerks. It was hard work as the big tide had picked up plenty of sea grass. It is also harder to know when you get a bite on a hard bodied lure, as the way it sticks in the sea grass feels just like a fish.

After about 40 minutes of slow wading and casting, I caught a Flathead on the Strikepro – just legal at 42cm – so it went in the bag for supper. I have been whacking on the kilos over Christmas – so a diet of steamed fish and vegetables is on the cards for a few weeks. Fortunately, catching them uses plenty of calories when it’s this hard.

I swapped to a 7g Berkly Frenzy Sinking Rattler in the Chrome Black colour. These lures look good but, so far they have not really produced the goods for me. I think their action is a little limited – which is often a problem with cheaper lures. They cast a good distance but seem to take a long time to find their rhythm on the retrieve. After a few casts, I felt a definite hit, so I persisted in the same area, on the edge of a weed bed. After about five casts in the same spot – I had a fish. It felt bigger than it was – a small bream, foul hooked through the back and above the eye. I released it and carried on.

I tried a 3″ Gulp Lime Tiger minnow soft plastic for half an hour and caught an undersized Flathead then switched back to the Strikepro, just as I reached the big drain at the mouth of the creek, by Diamond Head. The water was now a very dirty brown and getting cloudier as the tide got lower. I peppered the area with long, loud casts and eventually, after covering every inch of the area, the rod tip started wiggling. It certainly was not a trophy fish but it felt like it – another Flathead – this time a little bigger at 45cm.

I had dinner but it had been very, very hard work.

Caloundra – Golden Beach and Diamond Head – 9 January 2012


I was back in Brisbane and decided I needed to give the new Shimano Stella 2500 reel a saltwater workout. A warm northerly wind was forecast and it would be a big morning high tide. I decided to go for the top end of the Pumicestone Passage at Caloundra.

Start of another hot day at Caloundra

I waded out on to the sandbank in front of the Power Boat Club, just after dawn and fished a soft plastic all the away along it. I was using a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, on a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead. After about 30 minutes, I caught a very small Flathead.

I carried on wading north, towards the Gemini Towers apartments. There was plenty of bait around, small schools of Garfish and bigger schools of Mullet. I swapped to a Halco Scorpion 35 hard bodied lure. I have a few of these left over from my recent Tasmanian Trout fishing adventure and they have a great action in about 1 metre of water. As the soft plastics were not proving very successful, I thought I would see what the Flathead made of them.

As I moved away from the edge of the sand bank and into the shallows I could see the Whiting following the Scorpion in on almost every cast. After a few minutes an angry splash broke the surface and another tiny Flathead latched on to the Scorpion. On the next cast, an even smaller Whiting grabbed it. I thought I had invented a new sport – micro-fishing!

It was now about 7.30am and already stinking hot – fortunately the northerly was beginning to pick up and it provided some relief. The top of the tide would be at about 8.15 am so I decided to move to another spot.

Pike are always suckers for the Halco Scorpion

I drove down to Diamond Head and walked along the shore, casting along the edge of the weed banks with the Halco Scorpion. The big tide had thrown quite a bit of weed and the lure kept snagging. Then I started casting over the weed into the channel and on the second or third cast there was a tug and I caught a Pike.
I swapped back to a Lime Tiger Jerkshad soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with the 8lb Nanofil line and a 10lb Fluorocarbon leader. I waded out on to the big sand bar and cast into the lumps and bumps on its southern side. After about twenty minutes, I finally felt the solid crunch of a Flathead bite. It took some line and but there were no obstacles for it to swim at. It made a few good runs and as it came into the shallows, it shook its head in a last attempt to escape. I pulled it up onto the sand – it was 56cm long.

55cm Caloundra Flathead

It was now about 9.30 am and I was cooking in my waders so I took them off, had a swim and then drove home. It was good to catch something and see so much bait around. I think the key to catching a feed at this time of year is to get out early and keep moving. By 10.00 am the Passage looked like Pearl Harbour – with boats, skis, kayaks, windsurfers, paddlers and swimmers all over the place.

Caloundra – Dirty water, a big tide & elusive fish – 27 November 2011


After a rubbish session at Bribie Island on Thursday morning, I decided to go back to Caloundra again on Saturday. It would be the usual wind pattern – virtually no breeze pre-dawn, building to a solid 15 to 20 knot north-easterly by about 11.00 am.

The view from Bulcock Beach - just after dawn

The new moon had risen on Friday, so it would be a big, fast running tide. High was due at 8.40 am and would be 2.1 metres. I arrived at Bulcock Beach at about 4.00 am to find the water just starting the run in, with some force. The blowy weather and rain of the previous few days has stirred the water up and visibility is very poor. There is also a bit of sediment and floating around. I started off fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was walking along the shore, under the board walk, casting close in to the shore. Just on first light, I caught a small Flathead – about 35 cm long. I carried on up to the rocks at the mouth of the Passage and caught nothing else.

Bulcock Beach - Small Flathead by the boardwalk

I moved down to the flats and weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club, just south of Golden Beach. The water was flooding over the flats when I arrived. I tried a Strikepro hard bodied, bibless vibe lure for a while, but there was a lot of sea grass floating around and the lure was getting fouled up on every cast, so I switched back to a soft plastic lure. I chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I hoped the fluttering tail might draw a strike.

I moved further north across the flats in ankle deep water. I cast along the edge of the channel, bouncing the soft plastic along the bottom. The water was still very murky, with the strong tidal flow washing around a lot of debris as it approached high.

Flathead grabs a Crazylegs soft plastic - Caloundra

After about an hour of fishing this area with the hard bodied lure, I had not found a fish. Three casts with the soft plastic – and I had one. It was no monster – a Flathead, about 45cm long. I released it and spent the next few hours trying, in vain, to find another.

A bit of a frustrating session – but the fish are there.

Caloundra – Lots more Flathead but not quite a bagful – 22 November 2011


Caloundra again – an early morning high tide at about 5.00 am. The wind was forecast to be from the north – but starting off light and then building up to 15 knots, by about 10.00 am. It looks like a south-easterly wind change will bring some heavy rain and big seas on Thursday or Friday.

My level of excitement before a fishing day is just like the excitement before Christmas day, when I was a small boy. You get all you gear ready and load the car and then try to force yourself to sleep at 8.00 pm – you can’t sleep because instead of “visions of sugar plums”, etc – you are imagining huge fish or thinking about where to throw that first cast. By the time 2.45 am comes I am usually awake before the alarm goes off. I know, I know – it sounds ridiculous but it’s a powerful addiction.

I arrived just before 4.00am while it was still dark at Bulcock Beach and decided to target the areas under the lights, by the boardwalk. The tide was almost high and the water was close to the sea walls. Sure enough, the bait had come to the lights and the bigger fish had followed. It is fairly snaggy along here, so you have to keep the lure moving. I rigged a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour – black on top and pink underneath. I was using a 1/8th/1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to a reel of 8lb braid. I caught a few small Flathead and then eventually one that was big enough to keep.

The GULP Cajun Chicken coloured soft plastic lure works well in the dark

The rocks near the mouth of the Passage were almost covered and there was a bit too much swell washing around them, so just after first light, I decided to move down to the flats at Diamond Head. I waded along to the edge of the channel. I decided to start with a hard bodied bibless lure – the Cultiva MIRAVIBE which looks very like the small leatherjacket and herring that are floating around at the moment. As I waded along the channel, I skipped the hard body along the edge of the weed banks and soon caught a few small Flathead – between 25 and 35cm long. Then right at the point where the sand flats drop into the Diamond Head channel, a better fish grabbed it, just as it came over the bank. This one was around 44cm so I kept it.

A Flathead takes the lure from the sea grass beds at Diamond Head

By about 6.30 am the tide had properly turned and I waded to the shallow drains and weed banks that lie just north of Diamond Head. These were now covered by less than a metre of water in most places. I swapped over to a soft plastic lure as there was too much sea grass floating around to continue with the hard body. I put on the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. After a couple of casts I found a fish – another small Flathead. I carried on wading north as the tide started to run out. Just short of another weed bed, a Flathead grabbed the plastic and took off. It was only about 30 cm long. I wound it in and released it. I cast back in the same spot and this time caught a bigger one – big enough to keep at about 42cm.
The water was now too shallow to fish so I moved up to the flats and channels at Golden Beach. I swapped back to the hard bodied MIRAVIBE. This lure is effective but suffers from the same problem as many of its competitors in this category – a poor action when retrieved at a low speed. It is ok in very shallow water but becomes a problem in anything more than about 50cm. To get the right action, you need to pull it quite quickly and inevitably; it then rises too high in the water column. It is perfect in about 40cm of water over a sandy bottom and that is where my next Flathead nailed it. This was another fish for the bag at about 45cm.

This one went for the GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic

The Flathead are often in the shallowest water

A few casts later the lure was slammed at the edge of a weed bed by a heftier fish. There was a flash of silver – and then a strange looking fish came into view. I towed it to shore photographed it and carefully released it. The helpful folk on identified it as a Striped or Silver Scat – which has a nasty set of spikes but tastes pretty good, so it was a lucky escape for both of us.

A Silver / Striped Scat

I carried on for a little while longer and caught another couple of undersized Flathead. I ended the day with four keeper fish – two on the hard bodied lure and two on the soft plastic lures. I could not find five legal fish for a full bag – but there were plenty of smaller ones around. The Whiting are everywhere and so are the Garfish. When I filleted the Flathead later, only one had food in its stomach – the remains of Whiting and a recently swallowed Leatherjacket. This was the first fish I have opened in the last few weeks, that has had anything in it.

Contents of a Flathead's stomach - Whiting and Leatherjacket

We will see what a burst of south-easterly breeze brings, later in the week.

Caloundra – Lizards and Lures – 19 November 2011


The pattern of wind has been the same now for nearly three weeks – a calm morning followed by a gradually rising north, or north-easterly breeze. We have had no rain or big weather events and there is plenty of bait around. The fish should therefore settle into some regular habits and spots and that seems to be the case. The Flathead are where you would expect them to be, on the edges of sand bars and weed beds, moving up and back with the tides.

Caloundra - the rocks and drains around Bulcock Beach

On Saturday I went back to Caloundra to see if I could find the Trevally again, but with low tide at about 8.00 am, there was a bit to much water for me too cast over, to get to the main channel. The Flathead where still around though, and I caught three in amongst the rocks at Bulcock Beach between first light and just after 6.00 am. I dropped a couple more as I tried to steer them to the beach. I was using the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Pink Shine and Black Shad colours, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. Three of the Flathead were over 40cm and a couple where a bit smaller. It was Saturday morning and the Jetskis, boats, swimmers and boarders were stirring things up a bit, so I decided to move down to Golden Beach.

Bulcock Beach Flathead

It was time to feed my new hard bodied lure addiction. I pulled out the latest try out – the CULTIVA MV 60S-06 Miravibe, 9.5g, 60 mm long – a bibless sinking vibe lure. CULTIVA is and Owner brand, so not surprisingly, the treble hooks are tough, sharp and a bit larger than the lures I have been trying out recently. There is no rattle in this one, but the vibe action is so tight that it almost sounds like there is, as it travels through the water. It looks very like a small Herring and I chose a yellow/bronze colour that seems to work well in the Pumicestone Passage.

CULTIVA Miravibe lure from Owner

I walked out in front of the Gemini Towers apartment complex and found the edge of a small channel. I cast the lure parallel with the bank, hopping it along the bottom in short bursts. The problem with this lure is that you have to move it slightly faster than I would like, to keep up the wobble. As they often say ‘no wobble, no gobble’ – so you have to keep it moving all the time.
I covered a fair bit of ground, travelling south and casting along the edge of the channel. Suddenly I felt a bite and short run but then the fish was off. I stopped and cast back in the same spot, pulling the lure across the bottom in shot sharp jerks – to get the maximum vibration. This worked and the fish (or another fish) grabbed it. It was another Flathead about 45cm long and it had thoroughly inhaled the lure. After a pretty complex extraction I released it. Another lure had passed the test and caught another fish. I suppose they all work in the right circumstances but I found this one a bit difficult to fish with. It seemed to take a while to find its rhythm in the water and I am not sure if bigger trebles help or hinder the hook up. More tests required.

Caloundra Flathead swallows a CULTIVA Miravibe lure

At about 9.30 am I gave up and went for a dip on Kings Beach. A few fish, a swim in the ocean and a fresh cup of coffee overlooking the surf – life’s good!

Caloundra – Trevally, Flathead and a few more old lures – 17 November 2011


Back up to Caloundra for another very early start. The same wind pattern, early morning calm followed by a building northerly. The best thing was that the low tide would be after first light, at about 5.45 am.

I walked down onto Bulcock beach at about 4.15 am as the horizon started to glow. After a few casts with a soft plastic – a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, I had a 40 cm Flathead. It was lying close to the rocks waiting for breakfast to wash by on the outgoing tide. I carried on in the shallow for a while and then turned my attention to the deeper water in the main channel. I swapped to a heavier 1/6th 1/0 jighead – to get a better cast and faster sink rate in the strong current. I had to keep the retrieve fast, so as not to get snagged in the rocks.

I was back to the 7’6” 2-4kg Nitro rod and fishing with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader – so I would have a little bit more power to play a bigger fish, if I found one. I cast out into the main channel with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Pink Shine colour. Not long after it hit the water I felt a bump and then a solid bite. It was not a Flathead out there, so I struck after a short pause. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – I was on to a fish. After catching only Flathead for a week or two, I was blown away by the pace. It was a Trevally and not a particularly big one, but it charged around, all over the place and I had to tighten the drag several times to subdue it. I towed it back to the beach. It was a Big Eye, a bit less than 40cm long but in the current, it had felt much bigger.

I cast back in the same spot and a few seconds later I was on again. I caught about 8 more over the next 30 minutes, all in the same spot and then as the tide turned, they were gone. They were not fussy about colors and had eaten all of the soft plastics that I threw at them – Pumpkinseed, Pearl Watermelon, Camo, Pink Shine, Vader, Satay Chicken.

I decided to head down to Golden Beach to try out some more hard bodied lures. Inspired by the DUO range I have been trying out, I rummaged through my lure boxes to see what else might catch fish. With these northerly winds I think the Flathead are not feeding very aggressively and the vibes and rattles can stir them into a strike, even when they are not really feeding. I found an old, small shallow diving minnow with a good rattle in it and I decided to give it a try. I walked on to the sand banks in front of Gemini Towers and waded out, casting along the edge of the channels and drains, after 5 minutes, I felt a bite but no hook up and after 10 minutes, I was on. It was a small Flathead, just over 40cm but perhaps my theory was right. I released it and a few minutes later I was on to a much bigger one. Unfortunately, I was now about 80 metres from the nearest sand bar and on the walk back it wriggled free. The problem with a lot of hard bodied lures, is the small, puny treble hooks.

I decided to switch to a Strikepro Vibe lure that looked very like the Herring that were floating around the weed beds. It was a 14g, 70mm bibless sinking lure with a decent rattle and good action. Not as refined as the DUO REALIS that I had lost on Tuesday, but pretty close. The first cast travelled 20 metres and sploshed above the weed, on the edge of the channel. A few metres into the retrieve it was rattling along nicely and I could feel the vibrations in the rod tip. Suddenly, it stopped there was splash and I had another Flathead on the line. This was another fish around 40cm long.

It was now around 11 am and as predicted, the northerly was picking up. I decided to give up for the day. I was impressed that both of the ‘noisy’ hard bodies, I had selected had caught fish. The trouble is, I may be about to swap a soft plastic lure addiction for a much more expensive, hard bodied lure addiction!

Caloundra – Bulcock & Golden Beaches – a big Flathead and a runaway – 15 November 2011


Ok – forget about the wind, I told myself. Yes it would be from the north – but the fish must still be there – somewhere, and it was not forecast to pick up until about 9.00 am. Low tide would be at 4.00 am at Caloundra and the top end of the Pumicestone Passage is a little more sheltered than the bottom end, in a Northerly – so that was my destination.

It would have to be an early start – first light would officially be at about 4.15 am , but over the last few weeks, the fish appear to be out hunting for their breakfast as soon as the horizon starts to glow – from about 3.45am. So I set out from Brisbane at 2.45am and reached the rocks on Bulcock Beach at about 3.50 am.

There was no wind and the tide was still running out, but beginning to slow. I started with a GULP 5” Lime Tiger Jerkshad on a 1/6th 2/0 jighead. I cast around the base of the rocks and then waded a fair way out into the shallows. The sand gives way under foot and is constantly moving so you have to watch your step. I was casting just on the edge of the rock bar, which skirts the bank beneath the boardwalk and the car park. I got snagged and re-rigged.

A couple of seconds after the soft plastic hit the water a fish hit it. It must have been slowly sinking down the water column. Unfortunately, after a few days fishing with my heavier spin rod (Nitro 2-4kg) I had swapped back to the light one – the Loomis GL2. It was bent over and the reel was screaming. I had a 12lb leader and the knots would probably hold but I could not exert any pressure on the fish, through the rod. It was running all over the place, out in the middle of the channel. I tightened the drag but it made little difference. It went where it wanted. After about a minute and a half, it changed tactics and headed back in towards the rock bar. As soon as it got next to the rocks, the line went slack and it was gone. I think it had just knocked the jighead and plastic loose on the rocks. Given the powerful runs and its speed, I would think it was a Trevally – who knows?

I cast around hoping there might be a school of them but there were no more takers. I moved into the shallows and decided to try another of the DUO lures I have been sent from Japan. This time I would be using the REALIS VIBRATION 62. It is another beautifully crafted lure. It is a blade shaped vibe lure made of resin with a clever weighting system that means a really consistent swimming action, even when retrieved quickly. The rattle is loud and effective – I think it annoys the hell out of the Flathead – and can stimulate a strike from a fish that would not otherwise be feeding. It weighs 11 grams and is 62mm long, so it can be cast a fair distance and hugs the bottom, even on a fairly fast retrieve.

I carefully worked the REALIS lure over the sandy patches, I could hear the rattle from several metres away. I felt a bite – or was it a snag? I kept it moving pretty fast as I did not want to lose it. The next cast, across the same piece of sand was definitely grabbed and then dropped. Third time lucky – I cast back out and this time the fish made no mistake. There was a splash and head shake as it realized it had eaten something prickly, but it was solidly hooked. I pulled it up on the sand, it was a 52cm Flathead.

I went back to the same area and worked the lure closer and closer to the rocks until, inevitably, it got caught amongst the rocks and that was that. This seems to happen to a lot of my lures!

I took the hint and moved down the Passage to fish amongst the weed beds and sandbanks around Diamond Head. The water had just started to cover the weed along the edge of the channel. I walked across the sand bar to the green channel marker that marks the deeper water in the main channel. There were small flathead lies all over the sand bar, clustered in little groups. I cast around and caught a few small Flathead on a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour – between 25 and 35 cm.

After an hour of wading along the edge of the main channel, I decided to drive back up to Golden Beach and try my luck there. The tide was now almost high and the weed banks in front of the Powerboat Club looked like a good target. I waded north from the club, casting along the edge of the sand banks. It was now about 10.30 am and the Northerly wind was starting to pick up, roughening the surface of the water. I waded slowly, changing the soft plastic lure regularly and making sure I moved carefully and quietly. It may be choppy on the surface but it is calm down below. After 45 minutes of this I felt a nice solid bite close in to a clump of weed. I paused, counted to ten, then struck. There was a long slow pull, then a pause, then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I checked the drag, it was set right with a fair bit of pressure – this was a decent fish. I started to get some line back and moved towards the shore. There were plenty more solid runs but eventually I got a look at a very good Flathead. I kept the rod tip bent and slowly dragged the fish up on to the sandy beach. It was a big female that measured in at just under 75cm. I thought about it, but she was too good-looking to keep for dinner. The lure was now a long way down her throat so I decided to cut the line and leave it to be digested. After a few snaps, she swam away. She had been caught on GULP Lime Tiger coloured 5″ Jerkshad on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

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Despite the northerly wind it had been a good session with a cracker of a fish to finish up. I’ll be back!

Caloundra – Golden Beach – 10 November 2011


Northerly winds again and forecast to be blowing 25 knots by lunchtime. Fortunately the winds would be light from dawn through until about 10.00 am. I chose to fish at Caloundra again.

Pelican Waters Bridge

Still and hot in the Pumicestone Passage

I arrived about 4.00 am – just before first light and decided to put in a few casts under the bridge at the entrance to the Pelican Waters development. There were plenty of herring and other bait fish jumping around. Low tide had been just after 1.00 am so it was now about halfway through the run in phase. The moon was full. I have been fishing with a 2/4 kg 7’6” Nitro spin rod for the last few sessions – just in case I find a good Trevally, Tuna or Queenfish amongst the Flathead. It does not quite have the sensitivity/ flexibility of the Loomis GL2 (my usual estuary rod) but it can apply a little more pressure, if I hook up with a bigger fish. I rigged up with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour and cast it all around the bridge pylons. Finally as the sun was coming up I hooked up with a 28cm Flathead.

The first good Flathead of the day - Caloundra

I released it and decided to cross back over the bridge to fish the weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club. I waded out along the sand bank that was now partially covered with water. There were rays everywhere, scattering in all directions as they felt my feet, coming towards them. I waded quietly down to the southern end of the sand bank and then turned around and cast over the weed beds into the incoming tide. I jumped the soft plastic along the bottom, back towards me. I was now using a GULP 5 “Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts I hooked a fish but, as I pulled it towards me, the line went slack and it was gone. I cast back in the same spot and a few casts later I felt the solid thud of another bite. This time I paused and slowly counted all the way to ten, before I struck. This one was properly hooked. I dragged it back to the sand and photographed it. It was about 55cm long. It was just after 6.00 am.

TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI sinking pencil lure

The water was still and the sun was already hot. I decided to fish with another of the Japanese DUO hard bodied lures I had been sent to try out. The DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI is a small sinking pencil lure, 48mm long, weighing 6.3g. Once again, it is nicely weighted and beautifully finished to produce a clever, wriggling tail action. It casts like a bullet and so it’s ideal for covering large areas, when you are prospecting for fish on the sand banks. I knew there were Flathead around and it did not take long – less than five minutes later I felt the bite and hooked up. The Flathead broke the surface and started shaking its head furiously but the treble hooks were lodged. I took the fish back to shore. It was a 46cm Flathead and it swam away unharmed, after I removed the trebles with some pliers. The DUO lure had produced the goods again – two fish from two try outs – pretty impressive.

This Flathead fell for a DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI hard bodied lure

It was very warm but the northerly breeze was starting to pick up. I decided to move down to Golden Beach and fish the edge of the channel that runs out from Diamond Head. There is a big drop off here and I did not want to lose the TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI lure – I only have one and there are too many snags in this area. So I switched back to a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic lure in the New Penny colour on a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead. I worked the edge of the channel all the way out to the green channel marker. Finally, just as I reached the drop off into the main channel, I got a bite. I paused, and then I struck. I had securely hooked another fish – I brought it in close and released it – a 35cm Flathead.

By now the wind was too strong to cast and there were white caps on the waves, so I waded back to the shore and gave up for the day.

Caloundra – Bulcock Beach and Golden Beach – 8 November 2011


Strong northerly winds were forecast, but not until around 10.00 am. I decided to fish at my new favorite spot – Caloundra – at the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, about 1 hour north of Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast.

High tide would be at 7.40 am and it would be a nearly full moon. There would be plenty of power in the tidal flow and it would come up very high. I arrived at first light, just after 4.00 am. I started fishing at the mouth of the Pumicestone Passage, at the southern end of Bulcock Beach, on the rocks. The wind was blowing and it was already fairly choppy. The tide was rushing in, so I focused on casting my soft plastic lure at the eddies, behind the rocks. After a few casts, I caught a 45cm Flathead on a GULP 3” Minnow lure, in the Lime Tiger colour.

It was too windy to stay in this location so at about 6.00 am, I moved south along the Pumicestone Passage to Golden Beach, to fish the weed banks in front of the Power Boat Club. This is a good spot on high tide as the Flathead move up over the weed beds, looking for something to eat. After half an hour of casting I found one, another 45cm Flathead on the same lure. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 1.5m long 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I let the fish go and few casts later I got a better one. This time, on a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic., in the Satay Chicken colour. As soon as I felt the initial bite, I had dropped the rod tip and counted to 10. The waiting nearly killed me but when I jerked the rod tip up, the lure lodged firmly in the fish’s throat. The fish was too big to grab in waist deep water so I had to tow it all the way back to the sand – about 100 metres. Luckily, it stayed on and did not saw its way through the leader.

I fished for a few more hours, wading up and down the weed banks. But, by about 9.00 am, it was just too hot to carry on, so I put the fish on ice and went for a swim.

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Caloundra – Kings Beach Rocks – 3 November 2011


I decided to do a bit more exploring at Caloundra. I only had time for a short session so I decided to have a look at the rocks at the northern end of Kings Beach. I arrived just on low tide at about 10.00 am. There was a light southerly breeze, just enough to keep cool but not enough to make the fishing difficult.

I parked in Anzac Park and took a path down to the rocks. This whole shoreline looks very fishy. Where the rocks meet the sand there are numerous overhangs and small bays. The hard thing is timing. If the tide is too high it will be hard to get your lure / bait into the right spot – just beyond the rocks, where the sandy bottom starts. If the tide is too low the fish won’t be there anymore. I was lucky, I was fishing the couple of hours after low tide, which was pretty much ideal.

I decided to fish a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead, so that I would not get snagged too often. I rigged it on my Loomis GL2 light spin rod with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic to start with. Inevitably, I lost a few jigheads in the first 15 minutes, as I worked out where the submerged rocks where.

After casting and moving, casting and moving – a few times, a fish grabbed the lure, just as it came over the rock ledge. I let it have some line then pulled it over the ledge with a wave. It was a nice Bream – about 30cm. I released it and carried non along the shore.

I thought I might find some Flathead, but as time went by and the tide started running in, it was clear the fish had gone to sleep. I enjoyed walking along the rocks and examining the terrain and made a note to return to this spot at dawn or dusk, soon.

Caloundra – Some new ground and a new lure – 1 November 2011


I started early and I could see from the rustling trees that the strong southerly wind had not really dropped off. I set off at 3.30 am, from Brisbane, arriving at Caloundra at about 4.30 am. My trip up here last week had got me interested in the land-based fishing opportunities at this end of the Pumicestone Passage, so I was back to do a little more exploring.

Low tide would be at 7.20 am, with first light just before 5.00 am. The low tide would be better for establishing where the possible fish hiding places would be. I was looking for the rock bars, sand banks and sea grass beds.

I started at the far northern end of the Passage, where it runs out into the ocean. The Caloundra side of the mouth has lots of exposed rocks at low tide. It has a few shallow tidal lagoons, that you need to cross to reach the main channel, nearer to the northern tip of Bribie Island. The water was running out much too fast to fish the main channel.

At about 4.45 am I started casting a 4” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic lure, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead back, against the run out tide and then retrieving it along the sandy bottom, close to the submerged and semi-submerged rocks. I could not stop for long as the plastic would get wedged into the rocks by the quick running water. I lost of few jigheads, but that is the price of exploration. I moved a bit further out on to the sandy area and cast into the eddies, where the water had slowed down a little. This paid off and suddenly I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. I paused and forced myself to count to ten, then I struck. I had hooked it and played an angry fish back to the shoreline, It was a 63cm Flathead. As it grew gloomier and the wind picked up, the sky started to spit big splashing rain drops. I decided to wade back to the car and wait until the squall blew over.

It only took about 10 minutes and then I was back out on the rocks, this time I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I moved back along the Pumicestone Passage in the direction of Golden Beach. I was casting around in the shallow water – about 20 cm to 1 metre deep. Every now and then, I would lose a jig head to a patch of rock. I gradually found patches of smaller Flathead and caught 5 fish that were about 35cm long, over the next hour.

Another shower threatened so I decided to move round to the sand flats, just north of the Power Boat Club – near Golden Beach. The rain had passed by the time I arrived. Just in front of the club there a few clumps of sea grass, in a line, about 25 metres from the shore. The tide was now running in and the water was beginning to cover them. I waded out and cast all around them. I was using the 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I soon caught another fish – a Flathead about 55 cm long. It was lying a metre off the weed beds in about 40cm of water.

Those of you who are regular readers will know that I am hopelessly addicted to soft plastic lures, but I also fish with blades and, more recently, with hard bodied lures. A nice gentleman from DUO Lures in Japan recently asked if I would try some of their products and I agreed. I explained my usual rules which are – if I have been given something for free, to try out, I let my readers know and I will also let them know how the try out goes, good or bad. He was happy with that and confident that his products would catch fish.

He sent me a few lures and I particularly liked the look of one called the TETRAWORKS BIVI. It is basically a nicely weighted 3.8g resin blade. It has a bit more substance than a metal blade but seems to retain the traditional vibe action. As I now knew there were fish in the area, I decided I would give it a try. The colour was a semi-transparent silver on top and a bright yellow underneath. It looked good in the clear water and skittered nicely over the sandy bottom.

I decide I would give it 30 minutes to prove itself. I waded along the weed beds casting all around and trying a few different retrieves. There was a still a bit of sea grass floating around and the wind was now blowing strongly from the south east, but I kept the lure in the water and it did not get clogged up very often. After about 20 minutes I felt a bit of resistance. I thought it might be a clump of weed but then the line went taught and there was some furious splashing. It was another good Flathead about 60 cm long. When I landed it, I saw the lure had got a good grip through the corner of the fishes mouth. So full marks to DUO for this one – you can have a look at the range on their website and now I know they work, I will find out who supplies them in Australia and let you know.

Bribie Bridge – Caloundra Golden Beach – 27 October 2011


On Thursday I was relieved to see that the wind would be from the south, but disappointed that it would be up to 20 knots by 10 am. I drove up to Bribie Island for first light, at around 4.30 am and started on the mainland side under the bridge. It would be a big high tide – 2.5m at about 9.30 am. That meant it would run in very quickly, covering my favorite fishing spots in a couple of hours. Most of the places I like to fish are at their best two hours before and after low tide.

I put on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Black Shad colour and fished it around the rocks, which sit just to the south of the bridge, about 5 pylons from the shore. There was plenty of surface action with the mullet and herring getting attacked under the bridge lights. Every now and then a mullet would skitter by with something fast in hot pursuit. I swapped down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The tide was running in strongly but I did not want to fish any heavier than a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead – it is too easy to get snagged in this terrain with a 1/6th oz jighead. There is a channel that runs through the middle of the rocks and it has produced a few good fish for me. I cast to the south and hopped the plastic along – pretty quickly, with the current, through the channel, back towards the bridge. There was a tug then a pause then a solid, angry bite and I had hooked up. It came straight up and shook its head angrily then swam away again taking some line. It was a good Flathead about 55cm long.

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I waded south but again the weed started to cause problems. There is a point when the tide runs in, just as the water submerges the previously exposed sea grass that you just cannot cast without your lure getting instantly clogged up. I had reached that point.

With not many good high tide options available, I decided to drive up to Caloundra and explore the land-based fishing further up the Pumicestone Passage. I parked by the Power Boat Cub and decided to wade north. It was almost high tide, not the best time to be surveying new ground. The big tide had also loosened the weed here. I cast at the edges of the sand banks and after half an hour, I caught a 45cm Flathead on a GULP 4 “ Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

There were big schools of Mullet everywhere, drifting over the sand banks close to the mangroves. There were also smaller schools of Garfish that followed the plastic right to my feet on the retrieve. I decided to move a further south and drove down to Jensen Park. The park is beside another creek off the Pumicestone Passage and has a small boat ramp. I waded along the shore and found a few more undersize Flathead. At around noon the wind was howling even in this sheltered spot so I decided to give up.

I had caught the best fish in my first 30 minutes of fishing, but I had explored some new ground and caught a few more along the way – not a bad day.