1770 – Baffle Creek – Deepwater Creek – 4 September 2013

Wednesday

From Gayndah I drove north to Agnes Waters/ 1770 for the important part of the trip. Unfortunately the weather messed up my plans. No rain this time but a howling south-easterly blow.

I decided to do some exploring around Baffle Creek. I started on Wednesday morning at Flat Rock on Baffle Creek. There are a few submerged rock bars in this area. I walked out onto one in the pre-dawn light and cast a few soft plastics along the edge of the Mangroves.

Just after first light I caught a decent Bream – about 32 cm long, but as the sun came up everything went quiet. I moved down to the flats to the south of the boat ramp and cast around with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I had a few hits in the shallows but I could not hook up. I slowed the retrieve and caught a small flounder.

I carried on for an hour but I could not catch anything more, so I decided to switch locations. I drove into Deepwater National Park and decided to stop and fish along Deepwater Creek. This is a long meandering waterway that works its way out to the sea near Rules Beach. It is fresh at the top end but then flows over a small weir to meet the salty water. It is shallow and tannin stained but there are a few deep holes.

I swapped down to very light gear – 8lb leader and 1/8th, 1 hook jighead and a 3” GULP Crazylegs shad in the smelt colour. After all the rain earlier in the year, there was plenty of water in the system, but it was not running over the weir. I stopped at a few breaks in the vegetation on the bank and put in a few casts – no luck.

I followed a track off the road, down to the weir itself and decided to cast at the snags along the banks. There was plenty of bait close to the bank and something was lunging at it, periodically. I cast in close to the snags and lost a few jig heads.

After about an hour of peppering the area, I had not had a touch. I was about to give up. I cast in, under an overhanging branch, a few inches from the bank. The lure started to sink and there was a tail splash as something engulfed it. It took off hard for mid-stream. Then it leapt out of the water and I could see it was a small Barramundi.

It calmed down and I pulled it up onto the concrete. I was delighted to have my first barramundi. It was sitting on the salty side of the weir and was a golden bronze colour. I did not measure it but it was about 40 cm long. I took a few photos and sent it on its way. It was just before noon.

The wind had forced me to spend time exploring and it had paid off.

Bribie Island – White Patch – Unexpected Jewfish – 23 August 2013

Friday

Another cold fine morning and I decided to try Whit Patch on Bribie Island again. As you will see from recent reports fishing can be hit and miss here. The coffee rock ledge structure that appears at various points all along either side of the Pumicestone Passage creates several holes and submerged mini rock bars along this stretch of shore.

I started early in the cold at White Patch

I started early in the cold at White Patch

There is a lot more sediment around after two years of floods, followed by a very wet period at the beginning of winter. This means that water clarity is not very good at the bottom of the tide. It also means that the weed/ sea grass beds that clump on the sand above the ledge, are taking longer than usual to spring up. But there must be something to eat in the area, as the first thing I saw, as I walked out in the pre-dawn light at the north end of White Patch beach, was the bristly snout of a Dugong. It was cruising along the ledge surfacing every now and then, to blow.

Great minds think alike and Bribie Island local – Colin was already out flicking some soft plastics further up the beach. I saw him pull up a legal Flathead, so I was enthused. I rigged up with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I was sticking with the 8lb fluorocarbon leader.

An ambitious pike was my first customer

An ambitious pike was my first customer

Low tide was at about 5.30 am – just on first light. There was no wind to speak off and I was starting fishing in the slack water just on low – which is not ideal. The first half an hour was uneventful – apart from the Dugong sighting. At about 6.15 am an ambitious pike grabbed the soft plastic but it was only about 15cm long. I wandered up and down casting diligently, but I had to wait another hour for a decent bite. I connected with the fish, which felt like a Flathead, but after a few moments it was gone.

At about 7.15 am, I caught a Flathead that was not much bigger than the pike and was sitting in only about 10 cm of water. I always forget just how quickly these fish will move up the beach with the tide. I decided to swap to the Zman range and put on a Minnowz paddle tail shape soft plastic, in the Houdini colour. I cast in all directions but this did not produce anything.

This one was only 20cm long

This one was only 20cm long

At about 7.30 am I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the flecked New Penny colour. I cast it over the ledge and let it sink. I paused until I was sure it was on the bottom then hopped it up and paused again. On the second lift the rod bent over and then line started peeling – something decent had eaten the soft plastic. It mad a solid and long initial run. My drag was not very tight and I need to re-spool this reel, so I quickly found myself down to the backing line. Patience is the key at moments like this. I left the drag alone and wound every time the fish paused. I kept the rod tip up and maintained the fairly light pressure. I gradually covered the backing line with braid and felt more comfortable.

The fish did not have very much power left after that first initial long run and so I had an inkling it was a jewfish/ mulloway. Now I tightened the drag just a little so that I could pull the fish cleanly over the ledge. As I did so I saw the silvery blue spots along its lateral line and confirmed it was a Jewie. A gentle stroll backwards and I had it up on the sand.

I measured it – 68cm – still not legal in Queensland, but a cracking fish nonetheless. I took a few photos in the shallows then sent it on its way. I fished on for a while but I could not find anymore. I looked back through my archives and realise this is the farthest up the Pumicestone Passage that I have caught a Jewfish/ Mulloway – it’s a very encouraging sign and more evidence of a healthy fishery.

68cm - still not a legal Jewfish - it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year

68cm – still not a legal Jewfish – it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year


I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I stopped for a coffee at Scoopys and ran into an old friend – local Brisbane children’s author – Julie Fison. Her Hazard River series of adventure stories are a great tool for engaging both reluctant and accomplished young readers. She has also just launched a series for teenage girls. I should warn my readership to check their pacemakers before they delve into these! Its book week in Queensland, so she was spreading the word about the wonder of reading, at the Bribie library. I would think there are some sections of our community where children don’t know what a book looks like! So full marks to Julie for taking this on. For more about the books visit http://www.hazardriver.com/. or Julie Fison visit http://juliefison.wordpress.com/. She also has an amazing and painful tale related to a Garfish encounter – but that is for another time.

Bribie Island – Oyster Jetty to the channel marker – 18 April 2013

Thursday

At last the cooler (and hopefully drier) weather is beginning to show itself. I love this time of year. Dawn is later so I become slightly less nocturnal and the fishing improves exponentially with the cooling water temperatures and the more consistent south-easterly winds.

It was back to Bribie Island – my home fishing territory. I was in position under the mainland side of the Bribie Island Bridge at 5.00 am, about an hour before dawn. Low tide would be just before 9.00 am. This is the ideal tide situation for fishing these flats. The tide is about halfway out and running nicely. The fish have moved up into the shallows during the night with the high tide and are now gradually retreating. They stay in shallower water in the pre-dawn light, as they still feel fairly safe.

I cast around but the water was already too shallow directly under the bridge lights, to warrant fishing that area, so I gradually moved up, past the old oyster jetty and concentrated on an area of weed banks, about level with the end of the jetty. There are sandy hollows in the weed and when the water depth is just right the flathead like this spot.

I started with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and my Loomis GL2/ Shimano Stella 2500 spinning outfit. It was still dark. It was now just before 6.00 am. There was just a faint glow on the horizon. I put a few casts out into the shallows and the fun started. The first fish was a good one – a flathead, just over 55cm long. I was going to release them all today but this one had half a tackle shop hanging out of its mouth, so I put it in the keeper bag. It looked like it had swallowed at least one hook and had some pretty heavy trace with another broken hook hanging off it.

I cast out again and felt another bite, but did not connect. On the next cast, I caught it – another Flathead – but this one was just a baby – about 30cm long. I kept going in the same spot and about 5 minutes later, I felt a good fish connect. This was another good fish, a little over 60 cm.

The sun was now up and I gradually moved further to the south. There were a few long toms around and these would occasionally attack the soft plastic. I caught another undersized flathead at about 6.30 am and then things went quite for about an hour.

By 7.30 am I was about half way to the green channel marker. I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Cajun Chicken colour. The water had started fairly clear but as we got closer to low tide it became murkier. Suddenly I felt a solid bite and I was on to another fish. I pulled it on to the sand. It was about 45cm. I then caught a couple more, of about the same size, on the same soft plastic.

I was sure there were more fish in the area but after another 20 minutes of casting, they seemed to have calmed down or perhaps, grown wary of the soft plastic. I swapped over to a small hard-bodied lure – the DUO Realis Shad 59MR. I have had success with the lure in this area before, but today I was using a new colour – purple/ silver called HD Gill. It is a 4.7 gram, 59mm suspending minnow with a great action. It will hover for a few seconds at the end of a swim and maintain its depth, to about 1.5 metres below the surface.

This soon stirred the fish up. I worked it along the edge of the weed beds, out by the channel marker and soon started hooking up. The first couple of fish were small. I turned back and covered the same ground I had been over with the soft plastic jerkshad and after an hour and half, I had caught six more flathead. They were all over 45cm and had all attacked the Realis Shad 59MR.

By about 9.45 am I was back at the bridge. I had three of the better fish in the keeper bag for a meal and I had really enjoyed the session. Early in the tide the water had been very clear and there had been no rain – let’s hope the fishing and weather stays this good.