Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 16 December 2013

Monday

Back up to Bribie to play with the flathead again. Usually the flathead fishing goes off a bit after November, during the hotter summer months. But my last two sessions had showed there were still plenty of lurking lizards hanging around on the sand flats.

The sunrise is gradually working its way towards a more reasonable hour, but it has a long way to go. First light was due at about 4.15 am and I like to ready to fish by then. Low tide had been at about 2.00 am, so I would not be able to fish my favourite spots for long. Over the years I have caught good fish at all stages of the tide, but the last few hours of a big run out tide are probably my favourite time to fish around the Pumicestone Passage.

It was the day before full moon, so the tide would be running in fast. I headed a favourite spot, just south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. There was a light south–easterly wind blowing which was forecast to pick up significantly.

Just before the sun came over the horizon I had my first bite, but no hook up. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The same thing happened on the next cast.

I swapped to the bigger GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour. A few casts later a flathead struck. In fact, it cleared the surface to make sure it hit the plastic. I subdued it and could see it was about 45cm long. I was not keeping today so I loosened the tension on the line, grabbed the leader and the fish and released it.

I caught two more in the next ten minutes, in the same spot just after the sun had come up. Both were about the same size. I waded south trying to fish in the gaps between the weed beds but with a low bright sun, it was difficult to see where the fish might be.

After a fruitless hour, the weed was everywhere and the tide was coming up fast, so I turned back towards the shoreline and started casting at the large exposed sand bank. There was now about 20cm of water on the sand patch between the bank and the weed beds. I cast at this patch. It was about 5.40am, almost four hours after low tide. This patch of sand had been covered with water for only about 20 to 30 minutes.

After working my way along about ten metres of the sand bank, my lure was slammed as it hit the water. I thought I had picked up a big clump of weed but then the rod tip started wiggling and realised it was a fish. It was a good flathead, about 55cm long. I released it and marvelled at just how quickly these fish will move up, into the shallows, on a rising tide.

I tried for more but the big tide had lifted so much weed that I eventually got fed up and gave up at about 7.00 am. The fish are still around!

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 6 December 2013

I was delighted to be back on home turf but shocked at just how early sunrise is. With first light just after four you have to be up at three. Low tide at Bongaree, on Bribie Island would be at 5.10 am. At first light, I would just catch the last of the run out tide – which is usually a very good time to fish.

As I pulled into the car park beside the bridge, on the mainland side, I saw Colin’s car already parked up. Colin is the local flathead specialist -great minds think alike! I pulled on my waders and wandered out for a chat. He was chucking a few hard bodied lures around under the bridge and soon found a small flathead. He gave me an update on what has happening in the Passage and, as always it was a comprehensive briefng.

It was now about 4.45 am, so I set off to fish the weed beds, to the south of the old oyster jetty. It was a big tide so I had a good view of how the drains and channels had changed in the the 3 months that I have not fished here. The weed beds are thick and healthy but the drain that used to run out round the corner from Sandstone Point, is now much less well defined. The persistent northerly winds may have flattened the sand banks, a little.

The breeze was light but quite cool, from the south-west. I started fishing at about 4.45am and the tide was still running out. I was fishing with my new G.Loomis Trout Series (TSR) spinning rod. I was using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 10lb Super PE braid. This rod is excellent but I am still getting used to its sensitivity. Pulling a soft plastic through the weedy bottom was confusing at first, I thought I was getting bites but was not sure. Then I saw a few skid dart past and I realised they had been biting the plastic.

I kept moving south. The sun came up behind the clouds. I started fishing with a GULP 4″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. This caught a couple of small flathead just after 5.00 am. Then there was a pause, as the tide turned. I swapped over to a GULP 5″ Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.

Flathead

An esky full of Bribie flathead

At about 5.45 am the incoming tide picked up pace and I found a patch of keeper size fish. Over the next hour, I caught 12 fish along a 50 metre stretch of the weed beds. I kept five but forgot my camera. So all I have is the full esky to show you. The smallest fish was 44cm and the largest 59cm. I caught most of the keepers on the 5″ GULP Jerkshad but also found a few with the Zman Minnowz in the Redbone colour.

It was great to have such a successful first session back on home turf.