Bribie – Stout longtoms -4 January 2016

Monday

The bad weather continued. It had rained heavily over the weekend and most of the night. I decided to try for a few fish on the dawn high tide on the old oyster jetty flats at Bribie. High tide would be at 5.30 am. After all the rain the temperature had dropped to about 20 degrees. I aimed to arrive and start fishing at first light which would be at about 4.30 am.

The wind was forecast to be a 10 knot easterly, but soon after I arrived it was actually blowing at about fifteen knots from the south west. The sky was grey and sunrise was completely smothered by the low cloud. There moon was not doing much and therefore there would be little run on the tide.

Everything looked grey so I decided to use a brightly coloured GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken (red and yellow colour). This soon attracted the attention of the resident longtoms. They, or perhaps a particularly persistent individual, seemed to be everywhere. I think they find it hard to resist a big curly tailed soft plastic. According to the Australian Museum’s website the Stout Longtom, Tylosurus gavialoides (Castelnau, 1873) is “a long slender species, coloured blue to green or grey above and silvery below. The snout and fins of adults are usually dusky. The species is endemic to Australia”.  When I have seen people kill them to eat there are two strange facts that emerge:

  • They have no stomach, so gutting them is a very simple process, if you avoid the teeth
  • They have bright green bones

If you can get past the green bones I am told they taste sweet. Because of their long snouts and sharp teeth they are quite difficult to hook.

At about 6.00 am after several bites and semi-hook ups, I seemed to be attached to a fairly big one. It thrashed about and when I pulled it in, I realised it had probably only stayed on the line as it was hooked under one of its fins. I did not want to keep it for dinner so I unhooked it and released it.

At about 6.30am, it began to rain steadily, so I gave up for the day. A tough session, but at this time of year it often is.

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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.

Iluka – Shark Bay – More bream and jewfish – 13 June 2015

Saturday

Once more low tide would be in the middle of the day, at around 11.25 am. The wind had dropped considerably over night but showers were still passing through. It was now blowing from the south-east, at about 10 to 12 knots. The new moon was still three days away but it would be a pretty low, low tide, at 0.3 metres.

After a successful session the day before I decided to revisit Shark Bay at Iluka, just north of Woody Head. It was perfect jewfish/ mulloway weather with stirred up seas, grey skies and plenty of tidal run.

When you have a formula that is catching fish it is best to stick with it. I estimated that the rocks I had fished the day before would be accessible from about 8.00 am, so I did not get up for sunrise. I walked out on to the rocks and found a dry spot to leave my gear on. I rigged the light rod with 16lb fluorocarbon leader and put on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I chose the soft plastic that had worked the day before – the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour.

I flicked it out in to the breaking surf and let it sink. The first cast lodged firmly in the rocks and I could not free it. If you are not losing gear you will never catch fish but it always hurts. There is a lot of kelp in this area which is also confusing when retrieving a fairly lightly weighted soft plastic. Initially you think you have found a fish but as it turns to dead weight, you realise it is just vegetation.

I re-rigged with the same terminal tackle and cast out again. This one wafted around for a few seconds and was slammed by a hungry fish. It pulled hard initially but I soon realised it was a big bream, not a small mulloway/ jewfish. It was another solid broad shouldered fish that measured 36cm.

I carried on fishing the same area and after about 10 minutes I felt another solid bite. The fish took off on a long initial run but at a much slower pace than the bream. I let it go and left the drag alone. As soon as it paused I started winding and gradually turned its head. A few minutes later I had a nice school jewfish mulloway at my feet. It was too small to keep at about 65cm – so I photographed it and dropped it in to a large deep rock pool to recover. Once it had calmed down and looked like it had recovered, I picked it up with two hands and speared it back into the surf.

I was not going to change the winning combination but the plastic was pretty mashed up so I swapped it for a new one. After a few more casts. The new plastic was grabbed by another solid bream. I landed it took a few pictures and let it go, I was sure there was another jewfish out there.

The wind had picked up and another shower came over. It was now almost 10.00 am and I was putting long casts out beyond the breaking waves. Suddenly the line pulled tight and I felt a solid fish on it. This one took plenty of line and initially headed straight out to sea. It took three long straight runs before I could turn its head. It started to swim back towards the kelp and the rocks. I used the surf to gradually steer it towards a good landing spot and after a few minutes, I reached down and grabbed it behind the gills.

It was a solid mulloway/ jewfish about 85cm long and it weighed about 6.5 kg.  The jighead was still lodged in the corner of its mouth. This would make several dinners so I dispatched it and cleaned it up in the salt water.

I fished on for an hour or so but the rain kept coming in heavy squalls and I could not find any more fish so at 11.00 am, I decided to pack up for the day.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 75cm flathead – March 29, 2015

Sunday March 29, 2015

I had the bit between my teeth now, so I woke up early on Sunday and drove up to fish the run out tide, on the flats beside the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, beside the Bribie Island Bridge.

Last year, March had been a fantastic month for flathead in this location, so I was hopeful. I had planned to arrive in the dark and fish the high water under the bridge but I woke up too late. When I waded out under the bridge, it was already getting light at about 5.30 am. There was virtually no wind and there had been some rain overnight. High tide had passed at 5.05 am.

Local fisherman Colin had beaten me to it and already had a 55cm flathead in his bag. He explained the recent heavy rain (following the cyclones) has slowed things down a bit and the fishing around Bribie is very patchy.

I put a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and started casting around. There were plenty of prawns skipping on the surface so I dropped down to GULP 2” Prawn in the Banana Prawn colour. Neither of these interested the fish by the bridge so I waded south.

The tide was now slowly running out. I moved along the edge of the mangroves, casting my soft plastic in to a few feet of water and slowly bouncing it along the bottom.  A couple of long toms soon found it and kept snapping at it. They seem to like cruising the shallows in this area.

I was now at the drain that runs round the corner from Sandstone Point, in to the Passage. The terrain has flattened out considerably here and the drain is much less pronounced than it was last year, but there is still a nice sandy hollow in the middle of it.  I was fishing with a new favourite – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Green Camo colour. I had dropped down to a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The long toms where still attacking the lure every so often. I briefly hooked one and it started leaping around before it unhooked itself.

I cast at the centre of the drain and let the plastic sink. Something grabbed it as I lifted it off the bottom, but I struck a little too quickly and missed it. I dropped the rod tip back down and left the plastic on the bottom for about 15 seconds. When I lifted it again the fish slammed it and hooked itself. It slowly took some line, not realising its meal was not all it seemed. As soon as it felt the hook it took off on a long initial run. It paused and then took off again. It was a solid fish and I only had a 10lb leader so I would need to take my time.

This spot is tricky as there are plenty of oyster covered boulders and as the water level drops the tide seems to run faster over them. The fish slowed but the fast running current was helping it. I slowly waded back toward a gap in the mangroves and after a few minutes pulled a big female flathead up on to a pile of washed up seagrass.

I put the tape to her and she was somewhere between 72cm and 76cm (she was not much interested in sitting still). I removed the jighead and soft plastic with my long nosed pliers and then sent her on her way. She paused and then took off.

I snipped off the end of the leader, which was quite frayed and then re-rigged with the same jighead and soft plastic and waded back to the same area to continue casting.

I soon found another 30 cm flathead, hiding on the edge of the weed. I released and carried on wading to the south. I slowed things down and methodically started to cast around in a semicircle. On about my fifth cast a fish hit hard and took off. It soon slowed and turned towards me. It was a 50cm flathead and I safely manoeuvred it into the keeper bag.

I carried on towards the green channel marker. It was now about 7.45 am. I passed by a few cunningly hidden stingrays and a couple of blue bottle jellyfish (this is why I sweat it out in waders). I dropped down to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. This instantly produced results and I found a patch of hungry bream. I caught three fish in the next ten minutes. One had had a very hard life and appeared to have half his back missing. All the bream were legal sized but I had flathead for dinner, so I released them.

As the water ran out, it gradually deteriorated in quality and by about 9.00 am it was very murky. I did not get any bites on my way back to the car and at about 9.30 am, I gave up for the day.

Bribie Island – the old oyster jetty flats – 18 June 2014

Wednesday

Here is a very old report that I forgot to post. I am ashamed to say that I did not wet a line in July. It was not just because I was afraid of freezing my nuts off.  The requirement to find some money briefly diverted me from my true purpose. I was out again yesterday, at Bribie and things were very tough and cold. I will post that report later.

So here is a report for 18th of June. I arrived early – about 5.30 am and there had been some very could south westerlies in the preceding days. The forecast was for a 15 knot south-westerly, first thing, but the wind was actually much lighter.

I ran into Dave, a keen local fisherman who works for fisheries. He told me about the fisheries Keen Angler programme – you can find out more at http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/fisheries/monitoring-our-fisheries/recreational-fisheries/get-involved-in-fisheries-monitoring/keen-angler-program. The program website has links to research updates and species population structures, which are quite interesting.

It was a bright clear morning. The water was fairly clear but the big night time high tide had lifted the weed. I waded past a dead flathead carcass in the shallows. Perhaps it was a fish that had not survived a release. The pelicans, kites, cormorants and wobbegongs usually tidy these up pretty quickly. There were a couple of Pelicans cruising the flats and it looked like they were chasing the tiny squid that I keep coming across.

 

Low tide was at 7.37 am. In theory it should have been perfect session. I could access all the fish holding areas at the bottom of the tide and the wind was not strong enough to make things difficult. But, in practice it was pretty tough.

After cycling through a few bigger soft plastic jerkshads I swapped down to a 2” GULP Shrimp (floating) in the grey colour. I understand these new floating GULPS are designed for targeting Bream in the upper water column – but that only works if you put them on zero weight jigheads, which I have always found impossible to cast. I picked them up because I could not find any in my favorite Peppered Prawn colour. The floating ones are made of a different material (to make them more buoyant) and they do not look as appealing.

But Flathead will eat anything and about 30 metres south of the end of the old oyster jetty, I caught a 43cm model. I gradually waded all the way along the big sand bar to the green channel marker and after swapping back to a GULP Pearl Watermelon coloured jerkshad, I found a slightly smaller flathead. I turned back and about half way between the jetty and the marker I caught another, similar sized Flathead on the same soft plastic.

As I waded back to the car the dolphin family arrived and started hurling themselves around under the bridge.  Beautiful day, fantastic scenery but the fish were hard to find.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 16 April 2014

Wednesday

On Wednesday I drove up to Bribie and arrived just before first light at about 5.30 am. On Tuesday night we had a lunar eclipse and the full moon was huge and bright in the west. There was a surprisingly cool south-westerly wind blowing. Low tide had passed just after 4.00 am so by the time I waded out on to the flats, the tide was really running in.

Just before dawn there was some surface action under the bridge lights so I cast a GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour around the pylons. This soon produced a couple of small Pike. I witnessed another beautiful sunrise and then continued wading south.

The big moon and meant a fairly big tide. The big tide had lifted all the storm debris from the previous week and it was soon clear that this would be the major obstacle to fishing the incoming tide. Seagrass, weed clumps, bait bags, floats and plastic bottles all started to passed by.

The only advantage of all the floating debris was that it allowed me to examine the water currents in the area. There is obviously a slightly sheltered area just to the south of the old oyster jetty and this is often where you find fish. It is protected by a couple of patches of rocky reef to the east and the tree line, on shore, to the west. At certain points in the tide cycle the water in this area slows right down and the debris gathers in a big clump.

I cast around the edges of this slow moving water looking for fish but I got virtually no bites. Just before 8.00 am it was getting too hard to fish into the strike zone, so I started back for the car. I was casting a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce , size 1/0 hook jighead. Suddenly the line went tight and the rod tip started to wriggle. I set the hook but the fish took a while to register – this often means it’s a big one. It swam towards me for a few seconds and then realised something was amiss. It took off with a long, blistering run towards the jetty. I let it take line and then gradually started to get some back. There were a couple more long runs but after a few more minutes I caught site of a very decent flathead. I steered her up to the beach and took a few photos.  She was just under 70 cm but I let her go. They really can be a bit tough to eat at this size and if I want to still be catching plenty of fish in future seasons, it makes sense to let these big breeding females go.

This final fish rescued what would have been a pretty dismal session. They seem to be far easier to find on the run out tide in this area. The sudden cool south westerly wind may also have put them off their food.

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 31 October 2013

Thursday

Time for one last session at Fishing Creek before heading back to work. It would be a late morning low tide with not much wind to start with. There was no need for very early start as the creek would be too full of water to wade along, until about 7.30 am.

I was back to fishing light. I was using my recently acquired Berkley IM6 Dropshot GEN IV 6’6″ Light Spin two piece rod, rated 2-4 kg. I paired it with the Shimano Stella 2500 loaded with 8lb Fireline and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I had a few of my favorite GULP soft plastics and small DUO hard bodied lures, in my chest pack.

I started with the trusty GULP 3″ Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. This soon found a few small flathead. Wherever I found flathead lies in the sand I cast around until I found the fish and it usually worked.

I swapped to a 3″ Minnow soft plastic in the newly available Red Green Sparkle colour. GULP have recently released a few new colours in Australia and this is my favorite amongst the newcomers. The new colours fill in a few gaps in the range. I will not try to describe the colour but have a look at the photos attached to this post. The new colour did not seem to have much trouble and after a few casts, I christened it with a small flathead.

As the tide ran out I followed it about 3.5 kms down the creek. My constant companion was an eagle looking for a free lunch. I kept catching small flathead but there were not many keeper size ones around. I swapped back to the more natural coloured Watermelon Pearl Minnow and this produced a decent estuary cod.

At about 11.30 am, as the wind picked up and I was about to give up for the day, I found a reasonable sized grunter bream. I released it and made the long trek back to the car. Not many big ones, but plenty of fish – which I think makes for a good session.