Bribie – the old oyster jetty & Bongaree – October 2016

October

In the interests of catching up and giving you a feel for what I have been catching over the last few months, I am just going to post a few monthly summaries, so here goes.

In the rest of October 2016, I fished on four more mornings at Bribie – favouring the run out tide. I put in a total of about 14 hours, mostly on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point Hotel but also in front of the museum at Bongaree. It was hard work and I caught only two keeper size flathead at each session and nothing else. The wind was mostly light around dawn and then building to a stronger north or north-easterly by about lunch time.

I fished with my usual assortment of soft plastics including Gulp Jerkshad and Minnow patterns and sometimes I tried my beloved DUO Realis series hard bodied minnows. I caught everything on a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and used mostly 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jigheads.

Advertisements

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 – 15 June 2014

Sunday

I love my trips away – up and down the Queensland and New South Wales coasts, but this year I have not had much time for them. This has given me the chance to fish my home turf, at Bribie Island, more often. People ask if I get bored fishing the same spots and the answer is always, a resounding no. The main reason is that every day and every tide change brings you a different set of variables. You may be very familiar with the geography of the area but as the water runs in or out, faster or slower, depending on the moon phase and as the weed grows or dies off, with shifting water temperatures, everything is constantly changing. Then you add the wind direction, weather and shifting sand banks and there is always plenty to consider.

So as you may have guessed on Sunday, I decided to fish the old oyster jetty flats at dawn. Low tide would be at 5.15 am, so I would be fishing the first part of the run in tide. It was a couple of days after the full moon and the forecast was for a 12 knot south-westerly. I arrived at 5.45 am just after low tide and waded out under the bridge. The water was calm and the wind was hardly blowing, but it was cold. More importantly the water was really cold. A few days of very cold nights had really brought the temperature down.

I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. I find this is good to fish before the sun comes up. It has plenty of action and the high contrast often attracts a bite. Just north of the jetty I found my first fish of the day. It was just after 6.00 am and it was a 45cm flathead. I cast around the same area and then moved in, closer to the jetty, where I picked up another, slightly smaller flathead, about 20 minutes later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The sun took a long time to come over the thick band of cloud that was sitting along the horizon. I kept moving south, as the run in tide picked up pace. I swapped to the GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook, jighead. At about 6.45 am, I caught another flathead, just over 40 cm.

I swapped soft plastics again. This time I chose a GULP  2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. It took a while, but after another 30 mins I caught my final fish of the day – another 45 cm flathead. It had been a good but tough fishing session with some long gaps between fish. Perhaps it was the cold weather/ water or maybe I just had trouble locating them today.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 4 June 2014

Wednesday

After a pleasant but not very successful session at Whitepatch Beach on Bribie Island, it was time to head back to my favourite spot, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, beside the old oyster jetty, just south of the Bribie Bridge.

Low tide would be at 7.37 am and the fishing has consistently been good in the last few hours of the run out tide, in this area. First light is at about 6.00 am, at the moment and I drove up to Bribie so that I would be in position at about 5.30 am. We were about a week into a new moon.

I put my waders on. I have seen a few people trying to brave this area without them, lately. I would not recommend wading around this area without a pair of waders. The crabs often try to nip your heels as you walk past and I have kicked plenty of stonefish. I have stepped on rays and been stalked by a few big wobbegongs and the whole area is littered with oyster covered clumps of rock and debris. To round things off, the water is now cold, so you will get fed up pretty quickly if you are soaked.

It was still dark so I started fishing under the bridge lights with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Curried Chicken colour.  I had a couple of tugs and follows from the pike, that where circling under the lights and then a grab from a flathead. It suddenly appeared, almost on the surface behind the soft plastic. It snapped at the lure, but perhaps it felt some resistance or saw me standing a few feet away, either way, it turned and disappeared with a tail splash.

I moved towards the jetty following the line where the seagrass gives way to sandy bottom. The sky had turned bright red and it would be a fantastic sunrise. I felt a solid bite and dropped the rod tip for a few moments. Then I lifted it and felt a wriggle and a head shake and knew I had another flathead. It was about 45cm and the first keeper of the day. I caught another fish, a couple of casts later, in about the same place. I noticed a few small squid in the shallows but not much other bait.

I moved to the south of jetty and swapped to the small, hard bodied DUO Realis Shad 62. It was light now and the water was fairly clear. From about the third cast, this little hard body started catching fish. From 6.45 am through to about 8.00 am, it caught a steady stream, probably about 10 to 12 flathead in total, of which more than half would have been big enough to keep.

 

 

At around 8.00 am, the water was calm and shallow all around and it was a very bright and clear morning. The trebles on the Realis Shad were now all bent out of shape so I took it out of service and tied on a MARIA MJ Twitch 90 mm suspending hard bodied bibbed minnow and cast it out.  This is a big lure to throw at flathead but when they are around they seem happy to go after it. I varied the retrieve until I felt I was slowly moving the lure along, just above the bottom, with plenty of pauses. I felt a few aborted strikes and then there was a solid whack. The line started slowly peeling as the fish swam away with the lure, then it took off, as the treble hooks set. The first run was long and powerful, but fairly slow. I thought it might be a ray. Then it started shaking its head and I realised it was a flathead. There are only a few rocks in this area but there is small group that have sprouted tall seaweed clumps.  I soon realised the fish had the line wrapped around one of these. Fortunately the tide was still a low and I waded out to it and freed the line. I gradually tired the fish out and pulled it up into the shallows.

Unfortunately, in the prolonged fight, or perhaps in its initial hard strike, it had got the big hard bodied lure stuck a long way down its throat. I later measured it at 68cm – normally I would release a fish of this size but with the lure lodged where it was, I did not think it would survive the process of removal, so I decided to keep it. I would rather eat it, than let a shark have it!

I decided to give up at about 8.30 am and as I wandered back to the car, there where flathead lies everywhere. It seems the fish are back, in large numbers.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 25 May 2014

Sunday

I could fish for a few hours early on Sunday. So I drove up to Bribie. The tide was not ideal. It would be a 2.1 m high at about 6.30 am – which is just about sunrise, at this time of year. I arrived just after first light, at about 6.10 am and waded out under the bridge. There was no wind and conditions were perfect for boating. There were a few boats out already, collecting live bait under the bridge lights.

I heard a few big splashes and could just make out a dolphin putting on its best ‘Seaworld’ display, out in the middle of the Passage. Miraculously, I caught its silhouette, clear of the water, in a photograph, but there was not enough light to make it a good shot. The boats anchored close to the bridge would have had a fantastic view of the show.

I headed for my usual fishing zone – to the south of the old oyster jetty. But as the tide was in, I would be fishing the shallows, close to the foot of the mangrove roots, rather than the edge of the weed beds, further out.

I started with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. Someone asked me what has happened to my favourite – Watermelon Pearl colour. My problem is that I cannot seem to find them anywhere, at the moment. It is still my favourite colour, but a lack of stock in Queensland is forcing me to try different things. So Berkley Australia – http://berkley-fishing.com.au/company/berkley-australia/ – if you are reading, time to re-stock the retailers with the Watermelon Pearl 4” Minnow soft plastic!

 

The Peppered Prawn Jerkshad did not let me down, however. I was slowly hopping it along the bottom, in less than a meter of water, when I felt a fish grab it.  It was a 45cm flathead. I released this one and moved on. About 10 minutes later, I had reached the gap in the mangroves, just before the shoreline turns west, towards Sandstone Point. There is a drain in front of this spot and a few deeper hollows in the sand. I cast towards these and soon found another flathead –  a good size this time – just under 60 cm.

Things went quiet as the tidal run slackened, so I swapped to a small hard bodied lure – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. I fished this around the same area and had a couple of grabs and knocks – which could have been bream or the long toms.  At about 8.00 am I caught another 45 cm flathead on this lure.

Then things went quiet. I fished for another 2 hours without a touch. It was a perfect day and so there was a constant flow of boats heading out into the bay, which may have slowed the fishing down a little. Beautiful morning but once again, fishing the high tide had been hard.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 4 April 2014

Friday

There had been a few showers and more were forecast. There was also a cyclone forming, up north. The new moon, four days earlier had not really made any difference to the fishing but it had coincided with some heavy rain, which may have limited its effect.

I set off back to Bribie Island. For the last two months I have fished here, exclusively. I apologise to readers who would like a change. But it has been good to fish through a few moon cycles and big weather changes and notice how they the effect what I catch.

Since the first week in March, I have been catching a lot of flathead from the sand flats, on the mainland size of the Pumicestone Passage, to the south of the Bribie Island Bridge. The fish were probably most numerous and at their most aggressive, in the run up to the full moon on the 16th March. The size of the fish and the numbers then gradually dropped off, after the full moon.  We then had some heavy rain which may have pushed them out to saltier water.

Looking back over my archive of fishing reports, I see I have had a number of excellent flathead sessions at this time of the year, in this particular spot.  The large numbers, the aggressive feeding and the fact that a good proportion of the legal size fish I have kept are full of roe, suggests they had gathered to spawn. It seems unlikely that the flathead only schooled up in this one location and I have seen many reports of good flathead catches, through early March, in the fishing press.

According to the sparse research that has been undertaken on flathead (principally in New South Wales – see ‘Reproduction and growth of dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) in NSW estuaries’ – July 2008. NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries Final Report Series No.101 ), they spawn between – September and March.

This would put this particular spawning session right at the end of the window. This is interesting because most fishing pundits will suggest the end of the cooler months – September / November is when you more reliably catch large numbers of spawning flathead. Hopefully I will have time to fish then, as well and I will compare the results.

Back to Friday – low tide would be at 6.28 am and it would be a fairly high low tide, at 0.7 m. I arrived just before first light, at about 5.15 am. It was still warm and I had driven through a couple of showers on the way up from Brisbane. The wind, if there was any, was form the south east.

I waded out into the shallows beside the bridge and cast around with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. It was still dark and a few fish were feeding under the bridge lights. On my second or third cast I felt a solid bite, paused and hooked a good fish. I steered it out of the rocks, which dot the area and dragged it to the shore. It was a solid 50 cm flathead.

The next fish came about twenty minutes later, just to the north of the oyster jetty. I was then treated to a really fantastic sunrise which lit up a rain squall that was coming my way. It was now about 6.00 am. I caught a few more flathead in this spot, but they were all under 40 cm.

I moved to the south of the jetty and pulled out another new favourite of mine. The Lucky Craft 4” Mad Scientist Optishad soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Vairon colour. This is the ultimate shape for a flathead soft plastic. It is a Jerkshad with a huge paddle tail. The slim body accentuates the paddle tail and you can really feel the lure moving as you hop it along the bottom. Thanks to the guys at Jones Tackle for introducing me to these – http://jonestackle.com.au/.  It did not take long to find the fish. Between 6.30 am and 8.15 am, I caught 8 more flathead on this soft plastic. However, only two of these fish were over 40 cm.

At about 8.30 am I was soaked by a rain squall and decided to give up.  There are still plenty of fish out there, but the bigger ones are getting harder to find.