Brunswick River – Brunswick Heads 13 February 2021

A fish eating friend asked us over for dinner one Saturday in February – but the invite came with a catch (no pun intended). They had bought enough fish ($49/kilo!!!!!!! fresh flathead fillets) for four but if we were coming, they would need a little more fish – preferably flathead. I checked the freezer and realised all of last week’s flathead was gone. So I decided to accept the challenge. I had about 7 hours to find, catch and clean about 500g of flathead.

It would be like competition angling. I decided the Brunswick River which is just down the road was my best option. I got my gear out and drove to the north bank and climbed down the sloping bank. The tide was running out, it was a few days after the new moon. The water was still fairly murky after the rain we had had earlier in the week.

I was fishing with my Samaki Zing ultralight spinning rod and 12 lb breaking strain braid and about a 1.5 metre long 10 lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader. I picked out a GULP 3 inch Minnow soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour and loaded on to a 1/8th of an ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I cast out in between the remains of the old decrepit oyster lease. I am not sure when this will be re-classified as litter but I have watched as it has gradually deteriorated over the five years that I have been fishing here and never seen anyone tending to it. I am not too worried as the piles of old netting, plastic pipes, floats baskets, ropes and concrete moorings are gradually being covered with oysters and form good fishing structure. After a few casts I got a solid bite and after ten minutes I hooked a decent bream. It was great to get a fish but it was the wrong species.

I swapped over to a GULP 3 inch Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour and cast it out. Letting it bump along the bottom with the run out tide. I soon hooked another fish but again it was a bream.

Conditions were far from peaceful. It was the weekend and the swell was still up so there was plenty of activity on the river. Kayaks, tinnies, and the local tourist cruise boat all ploughed up and down. There was a brief pause and then the local hoons arrived taking it in turns towing everything – wakeboard, surf board, rubber ring, kitchen sink – up and down the river. They looked about 15 and alternated between screaming and vaping – how I longed for them to impale themselves on a submerged rock, but it was not to be.

Brunswick River hoons

Things were looking bleak I had been at it for almost an hour and all I had caught was bream. I moved a little further south, along the bank towards the river mouth. The new ground paid off and on my first cast I pulled up a small flathead. It was just on 35cm – too small. So back he went. I swapped to a brighter coloured 3 inch GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour. Maybe the change of colour did the trick or perhaps I had just stumbled across a group of fish lying together in one spot – either way the line pulled tight and I had another flathead, this time it was a keeper at 43 cm. I despatched it and put it in the keeper bag.

For the next 30 minutes I methodically covered the area with casts and it paid off – providing two more keeper sized flathead – one 38 cm and one 40cm. I now had just about enough flathead to take to the dinner party so I headed home.

This challenge was hard enough for me,so I do not think I will be entering competitions anytime soon.

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Bribie Island – the Seaside Museum drain and flats – 19 July 2013

Friday

A late start on Friday and wet weather again. I drove up to Bribie and passed through several showers on the way. I arrived at Bongaree at about 9.30 am. I stopped in front of the Seaside Museum again and parked up. The tide had been high at 5.45 am, so I could now easily reach and cast over, the coffee rock ledge that runs along, parallel with the road.

Surveyors were measuring up for a new sea wall – the current slope is sinking and sagging after all the wild weather. Hopefully work on the new one will create some new fishy structure.

I started fishing with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was using 8lb leader again. After a few casts I hooked a fish. It made a few runs then I pulled it over the edge. It was a good bream, about 34cm long.

It was not long before I had another fish on. This time it swam under the ledge and soon rubbed me off. I did not get a look but it felt like another decent bream. I carried on in the same spot and after a few more casts, I felt another solid bite, as I lifted the soft plastic off the bottom. On the next cast, I paused a little longer with the soft plastic on the bottom. When I lifted it, a fish struck. It pulled quite hard but I was now level with the ledge and so I could keep the fish away from it. When it came in to view it was only a 25cm Moses Perch!

I moved a bit further south and kept casting. A few more casts and I had another fish on, this time it was a Tailor. It pulled very hard but it was nicely hooked so it could not bite through the leader. I pulled it up to the sand. It was just about 35cm long but I released it after a few pictures.

I checked the leader and thought about upgrading to 12lb, but could not be bothered. On the next cast I wished I had. A fish hit my plastic just a few inches out from the ledge and took off. This fish had weight and power but was not mad like a Tailor. I started swimming north, parallel with the shoreline and I went with it for about 10 metres. I tried to keep it away from the edge but my light spin rod was no match for it. It found a ledge and I could feel the leader rubbing and then it was gone. I suspect it was a jewfish but I will never know.

I fished on as the tide slowed and picked up another respectable 32cm bream on the Gulp 3” minnow in the Sardine colour. On the bottom of the tide the weed was clogging every cast and the sky looked ominous so I packed up.

Iluka – Woody Head – Woody Bay – 8 April 2013

Monday – Morning

I have managed to sneak down to Woody Head for a few days and even though there are plenty of showers around, the wind and swell forecasts look pretty good for some rock fishing.

On Monday I awoke to a cool, light south westerly wind. It was a morning high tide at about 7.00 am. The new moon is due on Wednesday. I could not go far as the family are with me and they apparently think that fishing is not the only activity on offer here. I decided to have a fish around the rock bars on the edge of Woody Bay, in front of the Woody Head camp site.

I was fishing with my light spin rig – a 6’6” Loomis GL 2 rod and Shimano Stradic 2500, 6lb Fireline and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with Gulp 2” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead.

The tide was a fairly big one and by first light it had almost submerged all the rocks in the bay. I had not bothered with my waders, as the water was fairly warm. This was a mistake – as soon as my shorts got wet, the light south westerly had me chilled to the bone.

After a couple casts, a fish grabbed my plastic, next to one of the rock bars and took off. It made two good runs before I tightened the (loose) drag and subdued it. It was a handsome tarwhine, just over 30 cm long. I took a few pictures and threw it back.

A few casts later, I felt and saw a long tom try to grab it. I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour – gold and grey with a black fleck. I felt a good bite, then another, then I was on to a fish, a biggish Pike about 35cm long. I put that back and carried on.

An early morning Woody Head tarwhine

An early morning Woody Head tarwhine

The long toms kept grabbing, but I could not hook one. At about 8.00 am I connected with a small fish that turned out to be a very small trevally. At 8.30 am I gave up and went for a hot shower.

A good sized pike

A good sized pike

Monday – Afternoon

With a lunchtime low tide and clear skies I decided to go and have a look out the front of the Woody Head platform, with my Shimano Catana Coastline light combo. This is a good rod, heavy enough to land school jewfish, but still light enough to feel the bream bite.

I use it with a size 3000 Shimano Sustain reel and 16lb Super PE braid. I started with a 15lb leader. The water is fairly clear and the swell was very light. I decided to start big and colourful and put on a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. I attached it to a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead and started fishing.

The first cast produced nothing but on the second a fish grabbed the plastic and ran with it for a few seconds, before dropping it. As is often the case, it had struck very close to the rocks. On the next cast the same thing happened. I swapped down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. This did the trick and I pulled up a bream – just under 30 cm. In the next 5 casts a caught 2 more, about the same size. Then things went quiet. It was about 3.00 pm and the wind had turned south easterly and was blowing a huge rain cloud in my direction. I caught a small dart and then decided to give up for the day.

As I cleaned the bream for supper, the resident wobbegongs soon appeared. In the end there were five, swimming around trying to figure out where the fish blood was coming from. I had not caught any big fish but I had dinner – not a bad start to the week.

Caloundra – Kings Beach Rocks – 3 November 2011

Thursday

I decided to do a bit more exploring at Caloundra. I only had time for a short session so I decided to have a look at the rocks at the northern end of Kings Beach. I arrived just on low tide at about 10.00 am. There was a light southerly breeze, just enough to keep cool but not enough to make the fishing difficult.

I parked in Anzac Park and took a path down to the rocks. This whole shoreline looks very fishy. Where the rocks meet the sand there are numerous overhangs and small bays. The hard thing is timing. If the tide is too high it will be hard to get your lure / bait into the right spot – just beyond the rocks, where the sandy bottom starts. If the tide is too low the fish won’t be there anymore. I was lucky, I was fishing the couple of hours after low tide, which was pretty much ideal.

I decided to fish a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead, so that I would not get snagged too often. I rigged it on my Loomis GL2 light spin rod with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic to start with. Inevitably, I lost a few jigheads in the first 15 minutes, as I worked out where the submerged rocks where.

After casting and moving, casting and moving – a few times, a fish grabbed the lure, just as it came over the rock ledge. I let it have some line then pulled it over the ledge with a wave. It was a nice Bream – about 30cm. I released it and carried non along the shore.

I thought I might find some Flathead, but as time went by and the tide started running in, it was clear the fish had gone to sleep. I enjoyed walking along the rocks and examining the terrain and made a note to return to this spot at dawn or dusk, soon.