Bribie Island – A bagful of Flathead – 27 May 2011

Thursday

Back up to Bribie Island, in search of Flathead. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived around 5.00 am. It really was not too cold and the south westerly wind was far lighter than the predicted 15 knots. High tide had been at about 4.00 am so there was still plenty of water around the bridge pylons. I decide to start on the island side and as soon as arrived I could see and hear the Pike and Chopper Tailor breaking the surface as they grabbed smaller baitfish/ shrimps.

Small Flathead - under the bridge on Bribie Island side

I started with the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour, rigged on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I was using a 12lb leader and fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod matched with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel. After a couple of casts I caught a small Flathead – just about 40cm. It must have been lying in the shadows beside the first pylon, in no more than 40cm of water. I released it. The next cast gave me a Pike that was bigger than the Flathead and then, a few casts later, a 25cm Chopper Tailor.

Choppers - Juvenile Tailor under the Bribie Island bridge lights

Before the tide got too low I decided to go back over to the mainland side and fish around the pylons under the bridge lights. I stuck with the same soft plastic and jighead and worked my way around the pylons. I waded quietly, stopping frequently to pepper the spots where I have caught fish before. This soon paid off and just south of the bridge, about 6 metres from the mangrove line, I caught another Flathead. It was around 50cm long so it went in the keeper bag.

A Flathead from the mainland side about 50 cm

There was the glow of dawn on the horizon but the sun was still not up. It was cold now, but this area is shielded from the westerly breeze. The water looked fairly clear so I switched to a bigger GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour – basically a flecked combination of pink and yellow with a forked curly tail. After a couple more casts I caught another fish – despite the bigger lure it was a much smaller Flathead at around 42cm – Keeper No.2.

Bigger lure but a smaller fish! around 42cm

The sun came up and I continued wading south, past the old oyster farm jetty. I walked right along the big sand bar – that is exposed at low tide, casting on either side. I reached the pole that warns boats about the remains of the old oyster racks and then turned north again and started wading back, alongside the sandbar, in waist deep water. I swapped back to the Pearl Watermelon Minnow. I was casting back at the sand bar and after about 50 metres I hooked another fish. It was another Flathead, about 48cm long –Keeper No.3. I dragged it up onto the sand and then resumed my course towards the oyster jetty. Over the next half an hour I got two more slightly bigger Flathead (Keepers 4 & 5) and a monster Pike – well over 45cm – which I kept for the cat.

When water covers this spot the Flathead sit along this lip

A bag of five Bribie Flathead and a big Pike for the cat

I now had my bagful of fish and so I decided to call it quits. The forecast wind was really arrived and was starting to blow so I headed back to the car and then the gutting table. It had been another good fishing session in the Pumicestone Passage.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Jewfish/ Tailor Round 2 – 29 Dec 2010

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Wednesday

With rain flooding into all our river systems, the estuaries are full of fresh water, mud and other rubbish. Therefore, the only real fishing option for a land based angler is to look for a river mouth rockwall or rocky headland, where you can still find some cleaner water. This is why I have been so focused on the Tweed River rockwall lately.

I arrived there on Wednesday morning, just before dawn and unfortunately there was a fairly fresh south easterly breeze blowing. As the sun came up I could see the extent of the milky tea coloured cloud that was pouring out from the mouth of the river. I started with a soft plastic but as the sun moved a bit higher in the sky a sizeable flock of birds started feeding on the surface about 125m north east of the wall. There was a school of something busting up out there and the birds started to move nearer with it. I tied on an 95g SPANYID Sniper and started casting as far as I could. It was the usual story – they stayed just out of casting distance.

I decided to put in a few casts off the end of the wall, into the milky tea. Half way through the retrieve I realised I had a small fish on. When I got it to the rocks I was pretty surprised to see a 30cm soapie Jewfish had grabbed the slug. Back he went and I continued to cast at the birds. Eventually after about 30 mins of arm stretching casts the birds came within casting range and after two or three more casts, into the middle of the boil, I was on to a fish. I had switched to an 85g SPANYID Raider by this stage.  The fish did not give me much trouble and I got him safely up the rocks – a Tailor around 40cm. He went back and after another ten minutes I had one more similar sized fish at my feet.

All along the wall land based anglers were picking up similar size Tailor on bait, slugs and even hard bodies. Just one or two every half an hour or so, as the school moved in close. It was great to see that when the fish are there and they are hungry, you can catch them with almost any technique.

At about 8.00 am I walked back to the car. Just as I was leaving a NSW fisheries officer arrived and walked off to the rockwall. The weather obviously meant he could not be out checking boats – there weren’t any, so he had decided to come and spread his good cheer amongst the land based anglers! I hope everyone had their fishing licenses with them!

Bribie Island – Choppers, Snapper & a few Flathead – 7 Sept 2010

Tuesday
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.

Iluka – Browns Rocks – Final Session – 14 August 2010

On Saturday the swell from the big low that was moving past offshore, arrived. This was my last day at Iluka. The rocky headlands were a no go area and the key sign that fishing was out of the question was the arrival of all the surfers. I decided to have a lie in and fish in the afternoon.
At about 2.00pm I headed off up the Clarence to look for a good Flathead spot. I crossed the bridge over to Goodwood Island, at Woombah and drove past Browns Rocks and the Norfolk Island Jetty to a couple of weed beds that have produced good fish in the past. It was the perfect afternoon. The tide was running out, there was a bit of breeze and the water was about 2- 3 feet over the weed beds. The water was very clear and I have been told that the wild colours go best when this is the case – so I put on a 5” Lime Tiger Jerkshad and used a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and 12 lb leader. I would usually go lighter, but with all the choppers around, bite off’s are a common problem.
I put the waders on and wandered out until I was about waist deep and walking through the weed banks, up river, parallel with the shore. I was casting up into the run out tide and letting the plastic sink. I would then bump it along the sand beside the weed, at the edge of the main channel. I walked about two hundred yards like this, before I got a hit. I hooked up with a small (30cm) flathead. I released him and cast back in the same spot a few more times. Third time, I got another one, slightly bigger. I carried on for another 30 feet and got a decent, 48 cm keeper. On the walk back to the car I got bitten off by what I presume was a Chopper. I had to get back for dinner but I had that feeling that all fisherman get – if only I could have stayed a little longer the really good fish would have come on the bite!