Bribie – Bongaree and the oyster jetty flats – June 2017

As the water cooled in June I enjoyed a few beautiful clear-skied sessions fishing the flats at Bribie. The back end of the run out tide proved the most productive time to fish and I caught five good sized flathead on several occasions.

I was usually using GULP Jerkshad soft plastics rigged on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead.  I use 10-12 lb fluorocarbon leader and 6’6 light spin rod with a ‘fast’ tip. The mainline is usually a 10 to 12lb breaking strain yellow coloured braid. I used the coloured stuff as it is far easier to see in low light.

The GULP Cajun Chicken and Pearl Watermelon colours were both effective. These two could not be further apart in appearance, which confirms my suspicion that when the flathead are around and feeding, they are not fussy about colour. You just have to cover the ground and find them.

When I swapped down to the smaller 3-inch GULP Minnow and Shrimp shapes I started to catch a few bream. I caught quite a few 30cm + sized fish along the drop off from the coffee rock ledge that runs along the shore in front of the Seaside Museum, at Bongaree.

If I am going to keep fish to eat. I kill them on capture and then remove the guts in the saltwater as soon as I finish fishing. I then put the gutted fish in an esky full of ice for the drive home. I then transfer to the fridge overnight and fillet them the next day. I then use a vacuum sealer, to bag the fish into family meal size portions and refrigerate. I find that flathead prepared in this way still tastes very fresh up to 12 days post capture. Not cleaning the fish in fresh water makes a big difference to both the flavour and texture, so avoid it if possible.

June was a good month to be out there.

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Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 25 August 2013

Sunday

I had caught a few good fish around Bribie Island through the week. There was plenty of variety – Estuary Cod, Mulloway, Bream, Flathead, Whiting, and Pike all put in an appearance. Despite some good catches, the fishing had actually been quite tough with a long time between bites.

On Sunday I decided to stay on the mainland, opposite Bribie and fish the old oyster jetty flats. Low tide had been would be at 6.02 am and I arrived just before first light at about 5.30am. There was no wind to speak of. I waded out to a point about half way between the green channel marker and the oyster jetty and started casting with a GULP 4” Minnow in the New Penny colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1/0 hook, jighead. I was sticking with the light 8lb fluorocarbon leader as fishing light had worked well, earlier in the week.

I tried everything; big plastics, small plastics, different retrieve. At one point I thought I had found some fish but the rabbit like bite marks showed they were probably those revolting spiny toad/ puffer fish, which sometimes float around here.

The tide eventually started to run in but this did not stir things up. There is a big trawler moored in this area at the moment and for some reason it was running its engines – perhaps this noise did not help.

The weather has been so good that that by 9.00 am, when I gave up, there were boats and kayaks everywhere. It had been a tough morning but it is always better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all!

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 22 February 2013

Friday

I was back in Brisbane considering the land based fishing options. Next week it looks like mad weather – just about everywhere. It’s a tragedy – I have no work on the horizon so I could go and fish just about anywhere, but it looks like the east coast of Australia, will be washed out.

Friday morning did not look very promising locally, either. The big south-easterly blow was not forecast to drop off until about midday and the Pumicestone Passage was pretty much full of fresh water, after all the recent rain.

But the point about fishing is you must never give up. So at about 8.00 am, as the sun came out, I set off for Bribie hoping to find some sheltered spots, where I could put in a few casts.

I arrived just before 9.00 am and decided to fish the mainland side of the Passage around the old oyster jetty. Despite the major tree clearance that took place last year, this area is still quite sheltered from a southerly wind and is a viable option, especially as the tide runs out. High tide had passed at 7.22 am at 2.2 m. I waded south, under the Bribie Bridge. The water was still lapping at the mangroves, but it was running out fairly fast. Predictably the water was pretty brown and full of sediment but you could still just see your feet through about 60cm of it.

I started by casting all around the bridge pylons. I was using a neutral coloured 3” GULP minnow soft plastic in ‘smelt’on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This produced nothing so I moved further south, to cast alongside and underneath the oyster jetty. I felt a few grabs in this area and soon realised there were some hungry long toms cruising around.

I crossed to the area just to the south of the jetty and swapped to a DUO Ryuki Spearhead hard body which is usually a great bream lure. Unfortunately I sacrificed this in the shallows to a patch of rocky bottom. I moved further south and changed tactics. I swapped back to soft plastics and tied on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the lime tiger colour – still on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I was using about 1.5 m of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader.

By about 11.00 am the tide was about halfway out and I had reached the area where the water drains off the Sandstone Point flats, round the corner. You could not see the bottom but you could tell from the eddies on the surface where the slack water was. I put in a couple of long casts (the southerly wind was helping me). I felt the plastic pull through the see grass but it did not pick up too much. The advantage of all the rain and wild weather is that it washes away any loose stuff.

A few casts later there was a big splash, as the lure hit the water and then a solid tug and run. Line was peeling straight away but as I lifted the rod I clearly felt the jighead pop through the fishes’ lip. This was a sizeable fish so I let it run. There is not much structure in this area, just a line of rocky bottom as you move back towards the mangroves. This fish was too big to tangle with in the water so I would have to walk it back to the shore line. I slowly took back some line and started wading towards the mangroves. The water was now shallower and dirtier, so I had to be careful to steer it over the rocky patches and onto the shore.

It was a solid flathead. I pulled it up on to a ready-made envorimat; a pair of abandoned trawlerman’s waders, that had washed up on the shore. I measured it against the rod and could see it was pushing 70cm. I took a couple of pictures then released it.
Although the water was now very cloudy, there was not much weed floating around so I decided to try out my latest DUO favourite – the Realis Shad MR 59 hard body minnow. It is a small suspending lure and that has caught plenty of flathead for me, but I am sure it will catch good bream over the weed beds. I picked out a white and blue one tied it on and cast out. This lure has a great action but it is the pauses that seem to entice the strikes. So I slowly retrieved it with lots of long pauses. On the second cast my theory panned out as, on the first pause, the lure was first knocked out of the water and then, a moment later, connected to a fish.

The hooked fish was too fast for a flathead – although it may have been a flathead that attacked the lure first. I soon had it subdued – it was a solid 30cm + bream. After a few pictures I released it but I could not find any more.

As the tide level fell I moved further and further south, towards the green channel marker. I was trying to fish the edge of the weed banks but in the dirty water on the bottom of the tide, I was finding it hard to see the edges. I swapped back to a GULP 4” minnow soft plastic in the smelt colour, on the 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This drew the attention of the long toms who I saw follow it in a couple of times. Eventually I got the lure into the right spot and the line started peeling. It was another flathead – just over 50cm. I decided to keep this one and after playing it for a while I managed to grab it with my rag and slip it in my keeper bag.

I swapped to a different colour in the same soft plastic – banana prawn. A few casts later this produced a fish – it was a very lively long tom. It did plenty of leaping around and made a couple of runs straight at me which was not that much fun. Usually these fish will cut through the leader pretty quickly but this one seemed to be hooked on the side of its long snout. I managed to flick it off the hook and carried on prospecting for flathead.

Just before 2.00 pm I caught another flathead who was perched on the edge of the weed line. This one was just under 50 cm. I swapped over to the bigger GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the lime tiger colour. This did not produce a fish but it did pull up two sand crabs. I am not sure if they were hungry or mating – either way they ended up in a right tangle. I had been playing football with the crabs all morning – perhaps they were finding it difficult to see me coming in the muddy water.

Just after a 2.00 pm, a set of squally showers moved through and I decided to give up. Conditions had been very average but the fish were there – and I suppose that is all that really matters!

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole lagoon and south of the oyster jetty – 16 June 2011

Thursday

I could not resist another Flathead session – so I set off for Bribie Island bright and early around 4.45 am. I had checked the lunar phase and saw that the moon was full on Wednesday. When I walked out to the car it looked like a half-moon in the sky. As I drove up to Bribie, I switched on the radio and heard that we were in the midst of a lunar eclipse. By the time I arrived at the car park by Buckley’s Hole, the moon was almost completely in shadow, with just a faint red glow marking its outline. It was now about 5.45 am and the tide was a couple of hours into the run-in phase.

At first light I waded around the mouth of the lagoon, casting out, over the drop off into the Pumicestone Passage. Small bait fish schools kept breaking the surface – running away from something. I was fishing with the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead, with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Every time there was a surface break, I cast at it and just on dawn, I caught a small Bream. I carried on for another hour and got a couple more good bites from Bream or Tailor but then the marauding Dolphins arrived and had a good rummage around in my fishing spot.

There was now too much water to fish over the drop off so I decided to move over to the other side of the Passage where I could also get out of the wind, which was building up from the west. So I parked beside the bridge on the mainland side and waded along south past the old oyster jetty. Things were very quiet through to high water at around 10.00am. I didn’t register a bite for about four hours. I waded all around the area trying different soft plastic lures and experimenting with different jighead weights.

Finally as the tide turned and really started running out I caught a few Pike and then at noon I caught a decent Flathead on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Curry Chicken colour, rigged on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. It was around 54cm – Flathead number one. I carried on wading south along the big sandbank to the south of the jetty. Ten minutes later, I caught a smaller, just legal Flathead on the same lure – Flathead number two. I was casting along the edge of the weed beds into the clear sand and jogging the lure back along the bottom.

I switched to a GULP 5” Jerkshad on the Orange Tiger colour. After a couple of casts there was a good solid bite and a fish slowly swam off with the lure. I counted to ten and then set the hook and at that point – it took off with around ten or twelve metres of line. I slowly walked back towards the sandbank, maintaining the bend in the rod and getting line back as it swam towards me. It was a really solid fish and it made about four more big runs. Eventually it started to tire and I tightened the drag a little, to pull it up on to the sand bank. The leader snapped as I pulled it clear of the water but it was safely on the sand. It was a good size female at around 68cm – Flathead number three.

I waded back out to the same area and after a few more casts I was on to another fish. Again it did not initially realise it was hooked. It made a few small runs and then really went crazy with head shakes and tail slaps and solid long runs. It was safely hooked through the jaw and after another long slow walk back to the sand bank; I pulled it up on to the shore. This was another quality fish at about 73cm long – Flathead number four.

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As the tide ran out further I moved even further south, over the weed beds. I was still using the Orange Tiger Jerkshad. It did not take long, less than ten minutes, in fact, before I had another good fish. This time it was another very respectable Flathead at 62cm – Flathead number 5.

It had ended as a fantastic session but from 5.30 am through to noon all I had caught were a ‘just legal’ Bream and a couple of Pike. I am not sure if the fish were only biting on the run out tide or whether it just took a long time to find them. It was a good feeling to head back to the car with a heavy keeper bag. I was completely knackered but as always, it was worth it!