Brunswick River – Flathead, Bream, Mullet – December 2017

In December Brunswick Heads started to fill with holidaymakers and the river became much busier. I had found the beaches north of the river mouth pretty hard in the warmer weather. There were still dart and whiting around but they were very small. I tried fishing in the few areas of Simpsons Creek where it is allowed and caught a couple more flathead. The bait continued to multiply in the river and big schools of juvenile mullet started to appear. On a couple of hot days, I snorkeled around in Simpsons Creek and took a few photos of the food chain underwater.

Fishing with the small minnow soft plastics in natural colours worked best. Every now and then, the bait would fly in all directions as schools of small trevally moved through. Occasionally I would catch one but none were bigger than about 25cm long. Down at the river mouth I had some luck catching some better sized bream at the base of the rocks.

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Fingal Head – More Jewfish – 30 November 2012

Friday

A northerly wind to flatten the seas, a full moon and plenty of bait around the rocks – what more could a fisherman want? A few more hours of sleep, perhaps. Low tide would be at 3.20 am at Fingal Head and that is where I decided to go.

I arrived just before 4.00 am and walked out onto the rocks to find a few good size piles of scales – jewfish scales. The moon was still very bright in the sky. I started with soft plastic lures. I was sure the jewfish would still be around and I am convinced that their favourite food is big Jerkshads. So I started with a big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Blackshad colour – black and white, with a split curly tail. I was using my heavy rig and cast it out on a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead hook. I had 30lb leader on.

After a couple of casts I hooked a fish in the half light – a small Tailor about 35cm long. By the time I released the fish, there was only about an inch of the plastic left, I put on a new one and carried on fishing. It was only 4.25 am and the sun had not yet crossed the horizon. I was concentrating on the area at the south end of the rock platform. There has been a big school of small baitfish sitting here for a few weeks and the jewfish have never been far away.

Con arrived and confirmed that he had found some good jewfish the day before – around the 85cm mark. He had caught one on a soft plastic, but had been surprised when one took his Shimano Waxwing hard bodied lure, the previous afternoon. Steve, another local arrived and finally decided to give the plastics a go. His was a cheapy from Kmart which included the jighead. As we were talking fishy rubbish he cast it out a few times, to the south of the rock platform. On about his third attempt a fish grabbed the plastic and took off. After a quick run around it tried to wedge itself under the rocks but Steve played it patiently and let it swim out. He lifted it clear and was delighted with his first jewfish. It looked about 60 to 70cm long and was in great condition.

Now Steve found his rhythm and over the next hour he land two more good jewfish. I was getting just a little jealous and beginning to wish I had never mentioned soft plastics. I had been fishing all through and had had a few bites but could not seem to hook up. I put on a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Smelt colour and just dropped it straight down beside the rocks and counted to 10. My lure would either be snagged or get a fish and luckily for me, it was the latter. It fought hard initially but I had the heavy rod and it soon tired. With the sea fairly flat I climbed down the stepped rocks to the water and lifted the fish clear. It was another jewfish, just on 65cm.

I continued fishing around that same ledge. I lost a few jigheads and plastics to the rocks and swapped down to a lighter, 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I was now using my old favorite GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. At about 5.50 am there was a tug and then another and then line started peeling. This one wanted to swim out to sea initially and then turned north. I went with it and followed it round to the eastern edge of the platform. It was about the same size as the first and I soon had it up they rocks.

I swapped to a RAPALA SXR 12 for a bit and felt a few knocks from small Tailor but by 6.30am, the jewfish had gone off the bite. I fished on until eight, trying lighter gear but then, with the sun beating down, I cleaned the fish and went in search of a cold drink.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – 26 Jan 2011

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Australia Day – Wednesday

Although I did not catch anything yesterday, I was encouraged by the conditions in the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. I love estuary fishing in Queensland but Bribie Island is by far my favourite spot near Brisbane. So this morning I was up early and wading out from the shore, on the mainland side, under the Bribie Island bridge at around 4.15 am.

There was virtually no breeze and the tide was about half way out. Low tide would be at about 8.40 am, at around 0.6m. The area that is lit by the bridge lights always attracts bait and this morning was no exception. There were surface bust ups all around with prawns and bait fish jumping everywhere. The bottom is a mixture of sand, weed and rubble so you cannot fish too heavy. The run out tide starts to run fast over the rubble areas as the water gets shallower and this forms a few ridges, channels and drains that hold the Flathead. A 1/6th oz jighead with 1/0 or 2/0 hook is perfect in these conditions. I decided to fish my favourite soft plastic for Flathead – the GULP 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour. I rigged up my light spin rod and waded along the edge of the mangroves heading south, so I could come back up and cast from the darkness up into the area lit by the bridge lights.

I was standing in about 400mm of water casting up into the run out tide. The plastic was spooking the bait schools and they would burst out of the water each time I jerked it off the bottom. After a few casts a felt a good crunch and let the rod tip drop. A few seconds later I lifted it and had a small Flathead around 30 cm. It was now about 4.30 am and the sky was brightening very slowly. I continued casting around the same area and about ten minutes later a caught another one on the same plastic – this time it was around 35 cm.
I continued casting – I still could not clearly see the colour of the water but it looked a lot dirtier on the run out tide, than it had when I fished the run in tide, yesterday. I moved into slightly deeper water and lost a couple of jigheads to the snaggy bottom. I re-rigged and on my first cast a Flathead more or less caught the lure as it hit the water. There was a good deal of tail splashing and head shaking but when I got it to the bank, I could see it was not much bigger than the others at around 40cm. I let it go, hoping for something better.
As the sun cleared the horizon the surface activity gradually slowed and I started to walk down to fish around the old oyster farm jetty. My plastic was getting plenty of hits but they were not Flathead and I could not seem to hook up. Finally I set the hook on one of the bites and pulled up a tiny Moses Perch. They certainly have an appetite for a decent sized lure (see photo).

I spent another hour fishing the end of the run out tide and as the water got lower, it got dirtier and dirtier. Finally at about 7.30 am I decided there was not enough water in this area, so I packed up. It was good to find a few fish – even though they were small. Hopefully the good weather will continue and the water quality will gradually improve.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Another Duck

My lure arsenal for the Tweed rockwall

Saturday

Oh dear , oh dear , oh dear – another morning with no fish. As I have said before, this is the worst time of the year for me. The main estuary species – Flathead & Bream – have long finished spawning and as the water temperature climbs and weather patterns get more unpredictable they get harder to find. Add to that – flooded river systems and constant changes in wind patterns and I get stuck focusing on the ocean rock walls and ledges.

In these locations the fish come and go with the bait and the wind. Tailor, Trevally, Kingfish, Queenfish and even good sized Mackerel and Tuna will all come in close to the rocks if the bait is around. The Tailor are particularly voracious in these situations and you can catch them on almost any type of lure or bait. The Trevally are sometimes harder to please, often limiting their feeding period to an hour or so either side of dawn and dusk. The other species require you to be in the right place at the right time and this means putting in the casting hours – and it can be a long time between fish!

This morning I arrived at the north rockwall, at the mouth of the Tweed River at around 4.00 am. The horizon started to glow just as I rigged up and I started by fishing soft plastic lures through the last of the run out tide. I switched to a surface popper for about 30 casts and put in 50 casts with an 85 gram metal slug. Nothing I used produced results. At one point a fellow fisherman caught a 30cm Tarwhine on a fresh beach worm, but that was the only fish I saw caught.

Apparently a few decent Trevally had been caught at dusk, on Friday and everyone was hopeful that this mornings session would produce fish – But it didn’t! I gave up around 7.30 am as another of this summer’s rain showers arrived.