Bribie and Iluka – Bream – July 2017

July

I agree with the general sentiment that a clear sunny winter day in Queensland is hard to beat. Ok, so the mornings can be chilly but there is something great about needing a beany at sunrise and a cold shower at noon.

July provided some good weather and some great bream. I started the month fishing on the Bongaree side of the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie and I soon found good sized spawning bream. Gulp 3-inch minnow soft plastics in the Pearl Watermelon or Smelt colours worked best, fished on 1/8th ounce, size 1 and 2 hook jigheads and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This set up also caught a few flathead for me.

Later in the month I had a few days fishing at Iluka, in Northern New South Wales. In fact, it was the good bream catches at Bribie that persuaded me I need to get down there. The rocky headlands of the Bundjalung National Park hold plenty of good bream all year round but in the run up to the big winter full moons they can be everywhere.

During my trip to Iluka I fished at Shark Bay, Iluka Bluff, Frazers Reef and Woody Head. Frazers Reef and the Middle Bluff – just to the north, produced solid catches of bream, as did Shark Bay. I tried for some tailor most mornings using 50/ 60 g slugs. I caught a few small choppers but they were very patchy. When I swapped down to big and small DUO hard bodied lures, I just caught more bream.

The swell made things hard at Woody Head and I could not really fish safely off the front. There must have been Jewfish around and I had a couple of bust offs that may well have been jewfish. Beautiful sunrises and loads of birds  and other wildlife to watch made for a great few days.

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Bribie Island – The oyster jetty flats and Pacific Harbour flats – 8 August 2014

Friday

After more than a month away from the water, I was in a hurry to get out and do some fishing. I finally had a morning off on Friday and jumped in to the car and drove up to Bribie. I arrived at about 5.30 am, just as the sky was beginning to brighten. I pulled on my waders and realised I had forgotten my camera  (which turned out to not really be a problem). I admired the new picnic tables the council has installed on the mainland side of the bridge. I presume they realised I needed a proper area to eat my lunch and drink my coffee.

Bribie Island - just before dawb

Bribie Island – just before dawn

 

High tide would be at 6.59 am and full moon was due on Monday. There was virtually no wind – perhaps a slight cold south-westerly. I cast around under the bridge lights and caught a Pike on a small minnow soft plastic. I had a few more bites but did not hook any more. The sun came up and I moved to the south. I fished around the sandy patches, drains and weed banks, hoping to locate a flathead, but it seems the fishing gods were punishing me.

I fished for hours  and watched the tide run out until I could reach all my favorite spots, but I could not raise a bite. At 10.30 am I drove over the bridge to the sandy flats, just north of the entrance to Pacific Harbour. The tide was now more than half way out and I fished all along the coffee rock drop off, that runs along this stretch of shore. I tried everything in my tackle pouch – big and small soft plastics and hard bodies but again, I did not feel a bite.

After seven hours without success I finally gave up at 12-30 pm. No fish – I may have lost my mojo!

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats and the Seaside Museum drain – 2 April 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday was an almost exact re-run of Tuesday, – except I arrived slightly earlier in the run out tide. It was another bright, sunny day with a light northerly wind. The water is still fairly murky on the bottom of the tide.

I waded around the area to the south of the old oyster jetty and caught fish on the Powerbait Rippleshad in a black and gold sparkle colour, the GULP Jerkshad in Pink Shine, The GULP 2″ Shrimp in the Natural colour and the GULP 3″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. I fished everything on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead on 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I fished for about three hours and caught eight fish (all flathead), of which only two were over 40cm long.

At about 4.00 I waded back to the car and drove over the bridge to Bongaree to look at the creek drain in front of the Seaside Museum again. I fished along the drop off for an hour, gradually working my way to the south. I caught nothing.

Fishing in the middle of the day, northerly winds and not much bait around may all have been reasons for not finding many keepers. I released  all the fish, as the family will shoot me if I put another flathead on the table.

 

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – again – 12 March 2014

Wednesday 12th

I paused, reluctantly, to dry out the fishing bag and finish filleting and skinning a few flathead, on Tuesday. By Wednesday I had spotted an opening for another fishing session. I was working around the low tide on the flats at Bribie.

I drove up to arrive at about 10.00am – very civilised. We had the same wind pattern as we have now had for about ten days – a 10 to 15 knot east-south easterly wind. It was a bright, sunny day and the wind was building. The water was clear and running out and the full moon would be on Saturday. Low tide would be at 1.10 pm.

I started to fish the small patch of reef just south of the Bribie Island Bridge, on the mainland side. The rocks were just visible above the receding tide. I started the day with a soft plastic. As you will have noticed I prefer to prospect with a soft plastic lure – once I find the fish I will then start to experiment. Today I chose the GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. I was fishing with 12lb fluorocarbon leader and using a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook, jighead.

I soon found a fish, just to the south of the bridge. This flathead was just below 40cm long. I would release everything I caught today – there is plenty of fish in the fridge. I cast back in the same area and found another, smaller fish.  I moved closer to the jetty and caught 3 more, before wading under the jetty.

As with the previous sessions, the fish kept coming. I swapped from soft plastics to hard bodies and these were even more successful. I caught a 60cm flathead on the MARIA 90 mm MJ Twitch suspending minnow and a 66 cm fish on a RIO Prawn lure, in the 13 g size. The DUO range chipped in with some good flathead on the DUO Tetraworks Toto and, my current favourite – the suspending DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. This one really is a flathead slayer – the action and rattle seems to drive them wild.

I fished from 10.30 am to about 1.30 pm and I rarely went 5 minutes without a fish. I finished the session with some good sized flathead on the Powerbait 5” Rippleshad paddle tail soft plastic, in the black and gold colour (which I usually reserve for chasing Jewfish).

For the fish to be here in such numbers I can only conclude that they are feeding up to spawn. A few of the fish I kept last week were full of roe. It is early but apparently flathead can choose to spawn at any time and do not do it on mass, like bream.

Whatever the reason, I hope they stay for a while –  it’s a great time to be out there fishing.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 3 February 2014

Monday

By Monday the weather looked more promising for a fish at Bribie. A few showers but the wind would drop to about a 10 knot south-easterly, early in the morning. Low tide would be just after 5.30 am, with first light at about 5.00 am.

I decided to fish on the flats around the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. If the flathead are around, this is usually where they are easiest to find. It rained for almost the whole journey up from Brisbane but it was not very heavy. I waded out into the shallows, under the bridge at about 5.00 am. The tide was still running out but slowing down quickly. I left the area under the bridge alone as I wanted to reach the jetty while the water was still running out.

I was fishing my light rig – G.Loomis TSR series light spin rod, Shimano Stella 2500, 15lb Super PE braid and the new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with a soft plastic lure – the GULP Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.  The wind was negligible so I dropped down to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. This would hop over the weed on the shallows, if moved fairly quickly.

It was light enough to see but the sun was not yet up. I was covering the area just south of the jetty with casts. After a few minutes I caught the first flathead, lying in wait, behind a clump of weed. It was a little over 45cm. It destroyed the Jerkshad and I did not have another, so I put on a smaller, 3 inch minnow in the same colour. I cast at the same spot and instantly hooked up again. The smaller plastic had produced a bigger fish – this one was about 55cm long.

I carried on prospecting around the rocky bits of reef and weed clumps that dot this area. I connected with something that turned out to be some abandoned braid. I decided to wind it up. It was probably 50 lb breaking strain and there was plenty of it. I waded up and down, pulling it off the rocks and as it loosened, I could feel something moving in the end of the line. I eventually reached the leader that was also pretty substantial – perhaps 60 lb+ breaking strain. Then I saw the source of movement; two mud crabs – one large, one small, were completely tangled up, but both wriggling.  I took a few pics and gradually untangled them. One looked big enough for dinner but I am not an experienced crabber – so I could not tell if it was male or female. I was also fairly unsure as to how I would grab it! I cut the last bit of line off and they both slipped away. I wound up the remaining leader and found a very substantial – size 8/0 hook on the end of it.

The sun came over the horizon and the run out tide fizzled out. I moved further south. I kept swapping colours and sizes of soft plastic and caught flathead on the GULP Minnow, Shrimp and Jerkshad shapes. The Watermelon Pearl, New Penny, Lime Tiger, Satay and Cajun Chicken colours all worked. I caught six more fish along the stretch of weed beds that run from the end of the jetty to the green channel marker. They were all between about 35cm and 45cm long.

As the tide turned in I waded back towards the bridge and swapped to my favourite DUO Realis Shad 59MR – suspending hard bodied lure. The loose weed now lifted by the run in tide made fishing with the hard body a bit frustrating. I had a few grabs and snatches which I suspect were Bream or Pike, but I did not catch anything.

At about 8.45 am I could no longer reach the area I wanted to castat and the wind had built up to 20 knots, so I gave up for the day. It looks like a few days of solid south-easterly winds have brought the fish back on the bite.

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 12 October 2013

Saturday

On Saturday I drove back out to Fishing Creek so that I could be fishing as the sun came up. There would be a few hours more water in the creek than the day before and I was sure that would mean some better fish.

I used the same tactics as the day before – light spin rod and reel, light leader, light jigheads and small, natural coloured soft plastic lures. The earlier start paid off and on my first two casts, I caught two small flathead.

As I moved down the creek there were plenty of bait schools moving up and down. I paused at a point where the main channel ran over a sandy drop off. I was now fishing with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead. I crossed the channel as quietly as I could and cast back up into the tide, which was running out. I caught two small flathead (about 30cm long) and then another one that was just over 40 cm. They were all sitting along this bank. I was convinced there were some bigger ones somewhere here, so I carried on casting.

It was now about 7.20 am and I think it was still a couple of hours off low tide, at this point in the creek. I had now switched to the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. There was good current flow but a 1/8th ounce jighead gave me just the right sink rate. I kept casting as close as I could to the mangrove roots and the deeper water along the edge of the channel. I let the lure get washed along the bottom for about ten seconds on each cast. On one of these casts, I lifted the lure and felt some resistance. I set the hook with a jerk of the rod tip and there was a long, powerful run back up the creek against the current. I had found a decent fish.

Fortunately this one did not seem to want to go back into the roots but it did start to cause problems when it turned and started swimming with the current flow. I just let it run – with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader, I did not have much choice.

It kept its head down but I gradually tired it out. As I brought it into the shallows it created some big swirls and I saw it was a nice flathead. I grabbed the leader and gently pulled it up the sand. It measured about 77cm on my tape and after a few pictures, I let it swim off.

I moved onto the next likely patch of darker water and loaded a new soft plastic in the same pattern. After a couple of casts something ate it. I could feel the fish trying to wedge itself against the terrain on the bottom and knew it was an estuary cod. Eventually a 40cm cod popped up on the surface.

I was now about 3km from the mouth of Fishing Creek and it was just after 9.45 am. I was still using the 4” Minnow soft plastic and something grabbed it and took off. After a tough fight I pulled up a 30cm Trevally which had completely swallowed the lure.

I turned around and headed back to the car. I looked at my legs and realised I had been monstered by sandflies – I would be itching like hell in a few days’ time. On the way back I caught a few more cod and tiny flathead. The fishing had definitely been better than the day before, but I had probably just timed my session better. I’ll be back!