Brunswick River – Brunswick Heads – Monster at the Mouth – 20/21 May 2021

May 20th was a Friday. The tide was low at 9.50 am and the moon was 6 days away from being full. I was once more fishing midmorning in the Brunswick River, starting at about 10.15 am.

I started down by the river mouth on the northside. I caught a bream on a minnow soft plastic and then the bream pulled it off the jighead, as they so often do. I opened a packet of GULP 4″ Pulseworm soft plastics in the Moebi colour (beige) and put one on my 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using my light spinning outfit and about 1.5 metres of 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

To my surprise the next fish was an ambitious whiting. I released it and moved slowly up river. I lost my plastic again and put on a GULP 2″ Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. The next taker was a small flathead, about 35cm long. I let it go. The tide was now beginning to flood in.

I moved further up the river bank and cast my soft plastic at the sandy patches in between the rocky bottom. I lost a jighead, snagged on one of the rocks that was out of wading distance. I put on another GULP Pulseworm and carried on casting.

I was now keeping the soft plastic moving fairly quickly across the bottom as I did not want to get snagged again. I was fishing in about 30 cm of water. I felt the plastic stop dead and assumed I was snagged again. I pulled hard and there was a little bit of give, so I pulled harder. Suddenly my drag was screaming and a fish was swimming away. It was a big flathead that had been sitting in the shallows between the rocks.

Every fisherman loves that sound

It made a couple of long slow runs. I left the drag alone. I only had a 12lb fluorocarbon leader and a very light rod so I was going to have to play it very patiently. When they get this big their head shakes are slower and less numerous and as long as they are hooked on the outside of the mouth, you have a good chance at landing them. I let her go where she wanted to and took back line whenever I could. After about five minutes I pulled her onto the sand. She was a beautiful fish and by measuring her against my rod I estimate she was about 75cm long. I took a few snaps and turned back into the water. I held her by the mouth and let some water run back and forth over her gills and then she slowly swam away.

This is by far the biggest fish I have found in the river so far. I am delighted they are there and I hope to tangle with a few more.

The next day I went back to see if she was part of a gang. I tried out the GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in my favorite; Lime Tiger colour. I fished around for a few hours in the same area and found another decent 55cm flathead. I also released this one.

Bribie Island – the Seaside Museum drain – Big Flathead – 26 October 2012

Friday

Back to Bribie Island on Friday morning, but I decided I would miss dawn and arrive closer to the bottom half of the run out tide. It was a perfect morning with a light northerly wind and a clear blue sky. High tide had passed at 7.00 am and I arrived at about 8.30 am.

I waded out just south of the main Jetty and cast around in the sand flats. As I drew level with the Seaside Museum a solid fish grabbed my soft plastic lure. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead with about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The fish made a couple of runs but was soon safe on the sand. It was a good size – just under 60cm. I released it and cast out again and, after a few hops I felt another solid fish bite. I brought it in and even got a look at it, but when it realised it was headed for the shore it shook itself free.

I carried on casting in the same area and after about 15 minutes, I felt a good hit and I had another Flathead. This one was a little smaller, about 48cm. I photographed it and released it. Things went quiet for a while so I waded to the south. I caught two more undersized Flathead and one keeper (about 45cm), as I waded along, casting over the ledge. Each time, the fish were sitting on the sand above the ledge.

After about an hour and a half, I had walked down to the south end of the tidal lagoon and back up to where I had started catching fish in the morning, by the museum. It was now about 11.30 am and the tide was much lower. This made it easier to see the ledge and cast the plastic just over it and hop it back in. I was now using a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour.

I was about to give up for the day when I felt a tug, paused and then struck. There was plenty of weight and at first I thought I was snagged on the edge. The rod tip started wiggling and there was a slow steady run. I tightened the drag a little and tried to pull it over the ledge. At this point the fish woke up and put in three blistering runs out towards the middle of the Passage. I slowly got my line back and then tightened the drag some more to make sure I could get the fish over the ledge. I pulled it over and got my first look at a very big Flathead.

By now the fish was pretty tired but it still tried to change direction several times before I grabbed the leader and pulled it gently up onto the sand. It was a Monster. I have a 40, 50, 60 and 70 cm marked on my rod and it was much bigger than these – somewhere between 70 and 80 cm. It was also an unlucky fish because it had my jighead through the left side of its mouth and recent hook wound from what must have been a much bigger hook, on the right side of its mouth. I took a few photos and then released it. It paused in the shallows for a while and then took off at a healthy speed, when I waded closer.

That was it for the day. It has been a while since I have tangled with a really big Flathead and it had been another very successful fishing session. If you want to catch a Flathead on soft plastics, now is the time!

A big Bribie Mother – the old Oyster Farm Jetty and Bongaree – 2 February 2012

Thursday

I could start early on Thursday morning and be fishing on the top of the incoming tide which coincided with dawn, at about 5.30 am at Bribie Island. I started on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at about 4.45am.

Just as I waded out into the shallows it started raining. I sheltered under the bridge. The water was not really running in either direction. I started with a 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The fishing had been tough the day before so I stuck with the very light, 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I rigged the plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I cast around under the bridge lights for about 15 minutes. There were a few surface bust ups and every so often a Pike would jump out of the water.
The rain stopped and I moved a few metres south of the bridge and cast underneath it. I felt a good solid crunch and paused – then lifted the rod and I had a good Flathead. I walked it back to shore – a 55cm fish – good start.

I waded down toward the old Oyster Jetty, casting all around as I went. I passed under the jetty and just south of it I paused to have a few casts, close to the Mangroves. I have often seen some big Flathead ‘lies’ in this area, surprisingly close to the tree line. They must come up to very shallow water on the bigger high tides. It is tricky to fish this area. There is a big rocky patch next to the jetty, that starts about five metres from the high water mark so you can easily get snagged.

I cast out beyond the rocks and slowly retrieved the soft plastic. It stopped abruptly and felt like it had hit a rock. Then it slowly started moving again, but there was tension on the line. Then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz pause zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz pause zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I did not have the drag very tight but this was clearly a big fish. I was only fishing 8lb leader so patience would be the key. First I waded out over the rocks, so that they would not pose a problem. Then I tightened the drag a little. There was another long run and by now the fish was about 50 to 60 metres away heading for the rocks, opposite the end of the Oyster Jetty. I tightened the drag again and started winding faster. The fish slowed and I turned its head and started pulling it towards me. I moved south, away from the rocks near the shore and looked for a gap in the Mangroves. There were a few more runs as the fish came into shallow water. I dropped the rod tip down under the water to make sure I did not pull the fishes head up. A couple of headshakes would probably snap the leader at this stage. Then I slowed everything down. I did not want to pull this fish up on to the shore until it was played out. I kept the tension on but I let it cruise around while I found a nice sandy run up to the shore. Then I tightened the drag once more and slowly moved towards the shore. When I was a couple of metres away I reached down and grabbed the leader. With one long slow pull I pulled the fish onto the shore.

The leader snapped as soon as it had to move the whole weight of the fish, but by then she was on the shore. A beautiful Flathead, just on 75 cm long. I released her after a quick measure and a few snaps and she swam away, ok. A great fish.

It started to rain again, I went and had a cup of coffee to settle my shaking hands. When the sun came out again, I drove down Bongaree and decided to fish the mouth of the drain opposite the new museum. The Japanese lure company DUO have sent me another box of goodies to try out and I picked out one that has been very successful on Flathead – the TETRAWORKS BIVI. It is a 3.8g bibless sinking vibe lure with a very tight vibration action. I chose the orange/ bronze colour. I stuck with the 8lb leader and started working the lure over the sand bank that is on the south side of the drain. I work this lure so that it moves along for about a metre then drops to the bottom. Then I pause for a few seconds and do the same again. After a few casts I caught a really tiny Tarwhine ( 10cm). I moved a bit further out and started casting at the area where the drain runs out over the coffe rock ledge, which forms the edge of the main channel. A fish struck just after a pause in the retrieve. It immediately broke the surface and started shaking its head – it was another Flathead. It was safely hooked and I got it to the shore. It was another good sized fish – just under 60cm.

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That was enough for one day and I headed home. It had been the best fishing session for some time. If you are interested in knowing more about the DUO range and where you can find them, please contact sales@swldistributions.com.au.

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

Tuesday

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!