Bribie Island – Flathead and Pike – July 2018

In mid-July I had a great winter afternoon fishing session at my favourite old stomping ground – the flats of the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. It was a beautiful clear afternoon and the tide would be running out. I waded out to the north of the Bribie bridge, to a point where the water was about waist deep. I was fishing with a 2 metre long 12lb fluorocarbon leader and a fast action 6’6” spinning NS Blackhole spinning rod. I was using a GULP 4“Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour which I loaded on to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.

I cast in a semi-circle to the north of me. The tide was running out and I hopped the soft plastic along the bottom with two or three second pauses between each hop. The idea was to make my lure look like a wounded/ drunk baitfish wobbling along the bottom with the run-out tide. After about three casts the strategy worked, and I felt the solid thud of the flathead bite. I dropped the rod tip for a few seconds then pulled it up and set the hook. I let it take some line and the fast action rod absorbed its initial lunges. I slowly walked it back the beach under the bridge where a handy Woolworths shopping trolley provided a good spot to unhook it. It was about 47cm long and would be dinner.

I carried on the technique moving south under the bridge and caught 4 more flathead through the afternoon.  Of these two were just under 40 cm and one was a little bigger. I also hooked a couple of pike who seemed to be hanging around over the weed beds.

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Bribie – The oyster jetty flats – 17 June 2016

Friday

I was back on home turf and I finally had the chance to chase some cold weather flathead at Bribie. I drove up to Sandstone Point at about 9.30 am, to fish the last few hours of the run out tide. I arrived and pulled on my waders and wandered out under the bridge.

Four new large pylons had been installed at the end of the old oyster jetty and a local contractor was surveying the area. He said he had been instructed to clear away any debris from the bottom so that they can put in a large floating pontoon. I have no real objection to this (all structure attracts fish) but I think it will be fairly tricky for any boats get close to the pontoon, as the area is very shallow and littered with rocks and reef.

The moon was 92% full and low tide would be low at 1.10pm. I was fishing with my new Lox Yoshi 7’6” 1-3 kg rod. I wanted to try fishing with a longer rod on the flats to see how it performed. It can put in some nice long casts but is still light enough to soak up the lunges. Unfortunately, after only a few casts I remembered why longer rods are tricky on the flats. Each time I hopped the plastic along the bottom, in the shallows – the slack line would loop around the tip, which soon got very boring. But even worse was to come. As I put in a long cast with a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 jighead the line wrapped around the tip and took it off.

I had only just started fishing so I was going to have to carry on – tipless. The rod proved pretty versatile and I soon hooked a 47cm flathead on a 4″ GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I played it to the shallows, photographed and put it in the keeper bag for supper. I moved to the south of the jetty and soon found another slightly bigger flathead on a GULP BBQ Chicken Jerkshad.. It was now about 12 noon and the tide had about another hour to run. I thought things would really get going but I just could not find the fish.

I waded down towards the channel marker and I noticed the odd school of mullet swimming around. I swapped through a few soft plastics and caught a couple of small pike. Once the tide slowed I turned and waded back towards the bridge. I caught two more undersized flathead but that was it. At about 1.45pm I gave up.

Full marks to the team at BCF Virginia – they took the tipless rod back and quickly ordered in a free replacement which I now have.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 9 September 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday the forecast was for light winds and a clear day. I could not resist another spell at Bribie on the sand/ mud flats, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. Low tide would be in the middle of the day at 12.36pm.

The wind had dropped off significantly from the day before but it was now cooler and coming from the south west, at about 10 knots. The sky was clear and so was the water. As I walked out under the bridge a couple of Kiwis arrived, one with a fly rod. I politely explained that there were no trout to be had here. I reckon it’s hard enough catching a fish with a regular rod but it seems there is always someone looking for an additional challenge. At least with the wind behind them they were in with a chance.

It was about 9.45am and I started off casting into about 60cm of water, just to the north of the bridge. The tide was running out fast over the weed covered boulders that dot the gravel bottom, in this area. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour loaded onto a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using my light spin rod with 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 12lb braid. The first flathead was lying amongst the boulders about 10 metres north of the bridge. It grabbed the plastic and I landed it safely. It was about 44cm long.

I moved south under the bridge and waded under the old oyster jetty, casting as I went. The jetty now has a selection of fairy lights hung along it and a railing down one side. I hope the fairy lights will attract more bait.

I fished around fairly thoroughly in the area just north of the jetty but did not get any bites. It was about an hour before I found another flathead. Just to the north of where the big drain empties out into the main channel. By now I had swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. This soft plastic is a Jerkshad with a prong shaped split tail which flutters as it hops and sinks. It is a great lure. Its only problem is that dart, bream and other small fish often bite the tails off. I cast it out beyond the dark edge of the weed beds and paused for 10 seconds. I slowly hopped it back along the bottom. After a few hops a felt the solid thud as the fish hit it. I dropped the tip and counted slowly to 10. I lifted again and hooked the fish. It was another 45 cm flathead.

I carried on wading the south and fishing with the big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. I soon found a couple more under sized flathead and released them. At about 11.00 am I was halfway between the jetty and the green channel marker, standing about 3 metre back from edge of the weed beds. I had hooked another flathead and was taking a few photographs of it, as I reeled it in. It suddenly got very animated and started leaping out of the water. As I pulled it closer a sanding coloured shape loomed up on its tale and I understood its concern. It looked like a big wobbegong, about 1.5m long, but its more pointed nose and uniform colour suggested it was some other kind of shark. When it saw me it turned away and decided not to pursue its lunch.

I carried on towards the channel marker and caught 3 more keeper sized flathead and another 4 undersized fish, which were all released. At about noon the tide had slowed and I decided to give up. Another bagful of flathead and a great morning of fishing.

Bribie – a bagful of flathead – 2 June 2015

Tuesday

I have concluded that the bottom of the tide is my best chance of catching a fish on the flats around Bribie Island.  The fish must still be around on the higher tides but they seem to disperse over a larger area and it is much harder to know where to look for them. So on Tuesday I decided to only fish the last few hours of the run out tide.

I drove up to Bribie and waded out under the bridge at about 11.00 am. Low tide would be at about 3.00 pm but it was full moon, so it would be a fast running tide and would run out very quickly to a lower than usual low. I was fishing with my new G.Loomis short, light spinning rod with 8lb braid and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I had promised the Mrs a few fish for a family event and she was relying on fresh flathead fillets for her recipe. This is usually the kiss of death for my fishing sessions, but not today.  I decided to try a different soft plastic and had found my last packet of Lucky Craft Mad Scientist Optishad soft plastic lures. Now everybody knows I love my GULPs but they really do not yet have a good paddle tail soft plastic. Their Swimmow shape is pretty good but a little too small and the Shaky shad is very hard to load on to a jighead. The Mad Scientist Optishad is a brilliant shape and size and comes in some great colours. I load it onto a 1/8th ounce size 1/0 hook jighead. As with so many good lures you probably will not find them in the big stores and may need to order them online.

 

By 11.05 am I had my first flathead on the end of the line – just to the south of the old oyster jetty. It was about 38cm,  so I let it go and moved on. I caught another a few minutes later and this one was big enough to go in the bag. The next was about 55cm, close to the mouth of the drain that runs out from the Sandstone Point flats. Things slowed down. There was lots of very small bait around, sitting just over the weed beds. I swapped to a GULP 3“Minnow in the Smelt colour, which pretty closely resembled these small fish. A few casts later I found the biggest fish of the day – a 58cm flathead.

I continued to the channel marker, swapped back to the Mad Scientist Optishad and caught a couple of 45 cm long fish, just beside it.  I now had a full bag so I turned for home. On the way back to the car I caught and released another 8 flathead, most of which were legal size.

It seems that the fish have are now around in large numbers so it’s time to get out there.

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 – The old oyster jetty flats – 31 October 2014

Friday

On Friday I was back on home turf and had a few hours clear in the morning. I set the alarm for 4.00 am and drove up to Bribie to see what I could find. I passed through a few showers on the way up from Brisbane, but by the time I waded out under the bridge, at about 5.00 am, the rain had stopped.  The tide would be running out and would be low at 8.20 am. There was not much of a sunrise but the sky was getting lighter, as I waded south towards the old oyster jetty. I was fishing with my light spin rig – Loomis TSR rod, Shimano Stella 2500 reel, 10lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I started by fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. This is always what I start with when I am not sure what to start with. It’s a consistent performer and looks just like a small pilchard or mullet.  I was using a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0  hook jighead. At about 6.15 am, I was 30 metres to the south of the jetty, I felt the tug of a flathead, dropped the rod tip and paused. I lifted and hooked it. It was a decent fish just over 50cm, I photographed and released it.

The clouds thickened and I got a light soaking. I waded further south. The bites were few and far between. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour and this produced a bite on the first cast. I threw it back in the same direction and paused for a little longer. This time I hooked it. It was a small flounder. I have never really found one big enough to eat here, but I live in hope.

By about 7.00 am I had reached a point about half way to the green channel marker. I was hopping the jerkshad along the bottom towards me. Just as it reached me a flathead popped up and engulfed it. It turned as it tried to swallow and hooked itself. It was a very solid fish, so I let it take some line and started slowly wading back to the sand bank, behind me. It pulled hard but after a few determined runs it gave up and came with me. It was a great flathead probably just under 70 cm. I took a few pictures and released it.

I returned to about the same spot and swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Orange Tiger colour. After a few more cast, this lure caught another 45cm flathead and, a few casts later, a slightly smaller one. It was now about 7.30 am so I waded back towards the bridge. I caught two more very small flathead on the way.

By 8.00 am  with more rain threatening and a slowing tide, I gave up.

Bribie – the bridge and the old oyster jetty flats – 12 September 2014

Friday

Another late report – but it may be relevant for anyone planning to fish at Bribie over the school holidays, to get a feel for what is going on. I am planning to get down to Iluka in the next few weeks, so watch this space for a bit more variety.

So I drove back up to Bribie Island to fish my favourite spot on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived just after first light at about 5.00 am. Low tide would be at 5.25 am. There was a light southerly wind blowing and it was cloudy.

There was a fair amount of bait jumping around under the bridge lights so I decided to start fishing in that area. As I walked out under the bridge I noticed plenty of ‘lies’ showing where the flathead had moved up to feed on the night time high tide.

I started with a small 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt (Grey & white) colour. This plastic looks like just about any small profile bait fish and has a nice soft texture. I cast it towards the edge of the reef, just to the south of the fifth bridge pylon. I waited for it to sink to the bottom and as I lifted, a fish attacked. There was no hesitation and this one hooked itself, as soon as it bit down. It can be a challenge to keep your fish in this area. There are lots of big clumps of weed and rocky outcrops. This fish was a good size and it wrapped itself around a few large weed clumps. Fortunately, the water was shallow enough and I was able to walk up close and free it. After a few minutes of back and forth, I pulled it safely to shore. A solid 57cm flathead, on my first cast – it was a great start.

 

I tried in the same area for another, but I think my wading around had spooked any remaining fish. It was now low tide and the water was not really moving. I waded to the south. I moved past the old oyster jetty and swapped to the paddle tailed Mad Scientist 6” Optishad soft plastic. I was fishing with a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. At about 6.30 am, I found another flathead, about 40cm long. Then about ten minutes later another smaller fish.

As the tide started to run in, I made my way slowly down to the channel marker, casting into the current and found four more fish – all on the Mad Scientist soft plastic. Only two were about 45cm so I added these to the first one for a family supper. At about 9.00 am I stopped for the day.