With the SSE wind gusting to at least 25 knots this morning; I really should have stayed in bed. However there is something in all diehard fishermen that makes us think it might not really be that bad.
When I arrived at Bribie Island at 4.45 am it really was that bad. In fact, it was probably worse! The wind was howling from the south east, so the only option was to try and fish the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I waded out under the bridge at Bribie, on the island side, just before the first glow of dawn. There was no surface activity under the bridge lights – not a good sign. However things looked up after a couple of casts, as I caught a few Pike. I was using the 4” Gulp Minnow in Pearl Watermelon on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
There is some good submerged structure in this area. Between the third and the sixth bridge pylons there are some rocky outcrops. These are just visible at low tide. In amongst them are a few channels with a sandy bottom, dotted with clumps of tall sea weed. This area is just below the bridge lights and at night it is often a hive of activity. There are usually Flathead on the sandy bottom looking for the Pike and other baitfish that are drawn to the lights, on the surface. The dolphins often come surging in here, following the Pike.
This morning I walked round to the south and then cast up, into the run out tide, so that my lure was floating back with the current. I got snagged a few times in the weed and rocks but always managed to pull the jighead free. Just on dawn there was some surface commotion and I flicked the soft plastic straight into a jumping boil of Pike. A fish hit the lure instantly and the mad shaking and running indicated a chopper Tailor. I was right and I wound him in quickly. I did not want him to munch his way up through the leader. As soon as I got him to shore he shook the hook free. He was probably just legal size, but I released him after a couple of pictures. We are all still eating Flathead (see previous posts).
The wind was building as was the swell and after an hour or so, I had really exhausted my fishing options in this area. I headed home, cursing the weather gods all the way.
I headed north from Brisbane very early on Tuesday. I wanted to get fishing under the Bribie Bridge an hour before first light. I was on the road at 3.45am and in position on the island side right under the bridge lights by about 4.30 am. As usual there was plenty of surface action with Chopper sized Tailor and Pike feeding on the smaller bait that is drawn to the lights. Unfortunately the rain and westerly breeze had washed a huge amount of weed up against the beach but this gradually moved away as the tide started to really get running. Low tide had been at about 3.30 am.
Perhaps predictably the first fish I caught was a Pike. I was using my usual light estuary rod and reel (see previous posts) and fishing a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure in the Peppered Prawn colour on 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I cast out again and found another one. I moved north along the bank and put in a long cast towards the foot of the third bridge pylon. I let it sink for about ten seconds then jerked the plastic up. Smash – it got hit on the drop and the ferocious jerking and splashing indicated Tailor. Sure enough, a minute or so later, I had a 30cm Tailor on the sand – I took it up to the light and pavement for few snaps and off it went. I decided to move further north to the sand banks that sit beneath the lights of the seaside path. If there is enough water here it is an excellent flathead spot. Unfortunately, today it was covered with a floating mass of weed in the shallows. I waded a bit further out and cast out into the current. The first glow of light was showing over my shoulder. As I retrieved the lure it was slammed just metres from my feet. The fish took off but the self contained, persistent head shakes suggested snapper and so it was. Despite the rod bend and solid fight, when I finally subdued it and got it too the sand, it was just too small – so back it went. The fishing was good but there was nothing for dinner yet.
As dawn broke I jumped in the car and moved up to Whitepatch and fished the sandbanks until the top of the tide. I waded up and down casting out so that the plastic was landing just on top of the coffee rock ledge, at the edge of the main channel. The Pike were consistent all the way along but, after a while I decided to switch to a 1/5th oz blade lure. Predictably, the Pike loved it and I had a hit, but no hook up with something larger. The weed was a problem so I dumped the blade and put the GULP Shrimp plastic back on. As the tide got higher I walked closer to the shore. I was now casting into 70 – 90 cm of water. At the edge of a drain I hooked a just legal flathead at 40 cm. I carried on peppering the area with casts and after about 5 more, I caught another, better fish at 50 cm. It was a two metre high tide which meant that the water was right up to the tree line. As I walked along I caught another three undersize Flathead on the same soft plastic before things seemed to slow down.
As the high tide peaked and the weed started to stand still in the water, I decided to give up for the day. Although I only had a couple of keepers, the fishing had been very varied and entertaining! Once more the Snapper capture had coincided with the start of the run in tide and the first glow of dawn.