Bribie – the old oyster jetty & Bongaree – October 2016

October

In the interests of catching up and giving you a feel for what I have been catching over the last few months, I am just going to post a few monthly summaries, so here goes.

In the rest of October 2016, I fished on four more mornings at Bribie – favouring the run out tide. I put in a total of about 14 hours, mostly on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point Hotel but also in front of the museum at Bongaree. It was hard work and I caught only two keeper size flathead at each session and nothing else. The wind was mostly light around dawn and then building to a stronger north or north-easterly by about lunch time.

I fished with my usual assortment of soft plastics including Gulp Jerkshad and Minnow patterns and sometimes I tried my beloved DUO Realis series hard bodied minnows. I caught everything on a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and used mostly 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jigheads.

Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 4 September 2014

Thursday

By Thursday I had time for a morning fishing session. I have been hoping to get down to Fingal Head or Iluka to chase some bream, tailor and mulloway. But I just cannot seem to carve out the time at present, so it was back up to Bribie.

It was another mid-morning low tide at 10.20 am. The moon was about 60% full. Strong southerlies had been blowing for a few days but these were forecast to drop off by lunchtime. It was a bright, sunny morning, when I arrived at about 8.00 am.

I did not really have time for exploring so I waded straight out under the bridge on the mainland side. The tide was already a fair way out and I could see plenty of fresh flathead lies in the sandy area, under the bridge lights. They were not big fish but there were plenty of them. There were also plenty of track marks from cast nets. There must be some prawns or squid around.

The water was very cool but clear. I headed straight for the sandy depressions just north of the old oyster jetty. This area is not as peaceful as it used to be. The new hotel is going up fast just behind the jetty and cement trucks are constantly coming and going.

I decided to start with a small hard body for a change. I selected the DUO Realis Shad MR62. A small diving minnow. After a few casts, something grabbed it, but after a few violent headshakes, it was off. On the next cast I found another fish and this time it stayed connected. It was about 45cm so it went in the keeper bag.

I was feeling confident. I stuck with the hard bodied lure for about another 15 minutes but I could not find any more. I changed to a GULP Jerkshad and then a GULP Shrimp soft plastic, but neither of these got a bite. It was turning into another fairly tough session.

After about an hour, I was using the GULP 3“ Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with about a metre of 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to a 10lb braid. I was now about halfway between the old oyster jetty and the green channel marker. I found a few sandy patches amongst the weed and hooked another flathead. This one was a more significant fish at about 55cm – another one for dinner. It was a confidence boost but I had to wait another 30 minutes to find another fish and this time it was just undersize, at about 38 cm.

At about 11.30 am the dolphins came in close and chased a bit of bait around. I had also seen some quite significant squid through the morning. It’s good to see a plentiful food source in the area.But the tide had turned and not much was happening so I made my way back to the bridge.

Just after noon I reached the bridge and stopped to cast around the pylons. This paid off and I caught another small flathead on the 3” Smelt Minnow. It was just under 40cm so I released it. That was it for the day.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 25 May 2014

Sunday

I could fish for a few hours early on Sunday. So I drove up to Bribie. The tide was not ideal. It would be a 2.1 m high at about 6.30 am – which is just about sunrise, at this time of year. I arrived just after first light, at about 6.10 am and waded out under the bridge. There was no wind and conditions were perfect for boating. There were a few boats out already, collecting live bait under the bridge lights.

I heard a few big splashes and could just make out a dolphin putting on its best ‘Seaworld’ display, out in the middle of the Passage. Miraculously, I caught its silhouette, clear of the water, in a photograph, but there was not enough light to make it a good shot. The boats anchored close to the bridge would have had a fantastic view of the show.

I headed for my usual fishing zone – to the south of the old oyster jetty. But as the tide was in, I would be fishing the shallows, close to the foot of the mangrove roots, rather than the edge of the weed beds, further out.

I started with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. Someone asked me what has happened to my favourite – Watermelon Pearl colour. My problem is that I cannot seem to find them anywhere, at the moment. It is still my favourite colour, but a lack of stock in Queensland is forcing me to try different things. So Berkley Australia – http://berkley-fishing.com.au/company/berkley-australia/ – if you are reading, time to re-stock the retailers with the Watermelon Pearl 4” Minnow soft plastic!

 

The Peppered Prawn Jerkshad did not let me down, however. I was slowly hopping it along the bottom, in less than a meter of water, when I felt a fish grab it.  It was a 45cm flathead. I released this one and moved on. About 10 minutes later, I had reached the gap in the mangroves, just before the shoreline turns west, towards Sandstone Point. There is a drain in front of this spot and a few deeper hollows in the sand. I cast towards these and soon found another flathead –  a good size this time – just under 60 cm.

Things went quiet as the tidal run slackened, so I swapped to a small hard bodied lure – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. I fished this around the same area and had a couple of grabs and knocks – which could have been bream or the long toms.  At about 8.00 am I caught another 45 cm flathead on this lure.

Then things went quiet. I fished for another 2 hours without a touch. It was a perfect day and so there was a constant flow of boats heading out into the bay, which may have slowed the fishing down a little. Beautiful morning but once again, fishing the high tide had been hard.

Bribie – the bridge and the Seaside Museum creek mouth – 19 May 2014

Monday

It would be low tide at Bribie just after dawn. I could not resist a quick fish before work. With the water getting noticeably colder, I was sure the tailor would be around somewhere.

Small ‘chopper’ tailor often hang around under the bridge, just before dawn. The bait fish and prawns are drawn to the bridge lights and the tailor, pike, bream and flathead can’t resist trying to ambush them. To the north of the bridge there are some established weed beds which are good fish habitat. The bait is also drawn to the light of the big street lamp, near the boat hire spot, a little further up.

Low tide would be at 7.06 am. Unfortunately, this side of the Pumicestone Passage gets a bit more breeze when the wind is coming from the south, south-west, or south-east. Today it was a cool south-westerly, initially and then turned into to a much stronger south-easterly, later in the morning. There had been rain over night, but not much.

I arrived at about 5.00 am and the moon was completely blocked by some ominous looking clouds. It was growing smaller in its waning gibbous phase – a bit less than half way between full and new. The water was very clear but the wind had lifted a lot of weed.

The tide was running out, so I went round to the south side, and waded into the shallows, in the dark. I cast up, towards the circle of sandy bottom, lit up by the bridge light, nearest to the shore. I started with a DUO hard body that is perfect for clear, shallow water. The DUO Realis Minnow 80 SP is a suspending minnow. Because it is fairly long at 80mm and light at 4.7 grams, you need to rig it on a light leader (10lb breaking strain or less). This enables you to cast it over longer distances. You need to do this, as it is a fairly shallow diver and it takes a few metres to get down to its running depth, about 10 cm below the surface. I think this will be a great bream lure.

As always at Bribie, the floating sea grass was a pain in the neck. After a couple of casts, I saw the lure get knocked out of the water by a small fish. A few moments later, something grabbed it and started shaking its head. It was a tiny pike.

 

I carried on casting in the same spot and had obviously found a patch of them. I caught 3 more small pike before they decided to leave the Realis Minnow alone. I swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR  – another suspending minnow,  but this one dives a little deeper. I moved closer to the bridge and cast into the shadows underneath it. Once more, it did not take long for the Pike to find this lure. There were a couple of casts when nothing hit the lure, then a tiny flathead grabbed it and came to the surface angrily shaking its head.

It started to rain so I moved north in to the shadows, under the bridge. I cast over the shallows, on the south side and soon foul hooked a tiny bream. It was now about 5.30 am but with the clouds and rain, there was no sign of first light. The surface activity increased as the fish sensed dawn was on its way. I felt a few very aggressive knocks and bumps and decided to increase the speed of my retrieve. This produced immediate results and on the next cast, I saw a small tailor grab the back end of the lure, a few feet away from me. It fell off but on the next cast, I landed one. It was only about 25cm but I was delighted that it had been hanging out just where I thought it would be. I then had a frantic twenty minutes with my lure getting bumped and smashed on almost every cast. I connected with about 8 fish, but only 4 stayed on until they reached the shore. They were all small choppers, the largest of which might just have made 30cm long.

At about 6.00 am a grey dawn started to break and I decided to move down to the drain in front of the old seaside museum, to see what has happened to the terrain there. The works to secure the sea wall are continuing but clearly, the finished, stepped, wall is some months off. I waded out on to the patch of coffee rock that sits in front of the seaside museum. With about an hour to go until low tide, the rocky bottom was completely exposed.

I cast the DUO Shad 59 MR around, but it kept picking up weed so I changed it for GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and loaded this up on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I moved south, along the edge of the coffee rock, casting into the deeper what beyond. I got a couple of strong hits and then, at about 6.30 am I felt a solid bite and set the hook. The fish tried to run away under the ledge but I had the drag set quite tight and the rod absorbed its lunges. I soon saw a flash of silver. It was a chunky bream that I later measured at 34cm. I tried for more and had a few hits but could not land any.

At 7.30 am, the wind was up and another rain shower threatened. It was time to head back to work. But a day of work is always easier to bear, when you have caught a fish before it starts!

Bribie – the Sandstone Point flats – 27 April 2014

Sunday

I am so far behind with my fishing reports that I will make this one short and sweet.

Early Sunday morning I headed for Bribie Island and arrived at about 5.15 am. I waded out under the bridge, fishing in the shallows, on the mainland side of the Bribie Island Bridge. High tide would be at about 8.00 am. There was a cool south-westerly breeze blowing.

I started with a GULP Peppered Prawn Jerkshad soft plastic lure on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader. A 5.25 am I caught a 45cm flathead, that was feeding under the bridge lights.

It was a big high tide at 2.3 m, so I decided to head past the old oyster jetty and round the corner towards Sandstone Point. This area is great to fish on big tides. The water was very clear so I decided to swap to a Gulp 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. At about 7.30am my plastic was knocked around a few times by a Long Tom. Then, about 10 minutes later, I caught a 30 cm Bream. It was followed, a few casts later by another, smaller bream.

I swapped to a DUO Realis Shad 59MR suspending, hard bodied lure. This lure will catch just about anything, but the bream love it. After a few casts it connected with another bream. As I waded back towards the bridge, it caught two more bream – both about 25cm long.

I finished my session at about 8.30 am. It is good to see the bream are back in business.

Bribie -still at the oyster jetty flats – 13/14 March 2014

Thursday – Friday

I accept that these reports are getting predictable but it is very hard to stay away when the fish are so prolific. So on both Thursday and Friday, I returned to Bribie to fish the last few hours of the run out tide.

The tides would be low at 1.50 pm on Thursday and 2.36 pm on Friday.  The tides were getting bigger, as we headed for the full moon on Saturday. The water was therefore running in and out faster. It was the same wind pattern – east-south-easterly, building through the day. A northerly change was forecast to raise temperatures and blow up on Sunday.

On Thursday, I started at about 10.15 am. There was plenty of water at the base of the mangrove roots, so I started off by casting in to the shallows, just north of the bridge. There is a nice weed bed here and a few sand banks. I started with the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was fishing with 12lb leader and my light spin rod. After a couple of casts, I found my first flathead at about 10.20 am. It was just about 40cm long. I released it and five minutes later I had a much more aggressive bite. I reeled in a tiny moses perch, which had been hovering close to the first bridge pylon.

I moved south past the old oyster jetty and at about 10.45 am, I caught a bigger flathead – about 50 cm long,  on a Gulp 3” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. It was about three hours from low tide and the band of sandy hollows and weed beds, where I have been catching most of the fish in recent sessions, was now within casting range.

I caught a few more fish on the Gulp 4” Minnow and Jerkshad soft plastics and at about 11.30 am, I decided to give the DUO Tetraworks Toto a work out. This is a 2.8 gram, 42mm sinking minnow. It has a tight rolling action. You just cast it – count to five to let it sink, then start a slow and steady retrieve, hop it along the bottom in short bursts like a soft plastic.

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My first cast with the Toto connected with a fish. This lure caught 5 more flathead over the next 30 minutes. The largest was just over 60 cm. At about noon, I swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR – a slightly larger, suspending minnow. This really is a great flathead lure and will also catch bream, if they are around. It has a good rattle and the buoyancy balance is perfect. It will suspend in the water column for about 5 seconds, before slowly floating upwards – giving a bottom dwelling predator plenty of time to strike.

First cast with the Realis Shad also produced a fish and over the next hour it produced a fish every 3 or four minutes. On average the hard bodies seemed to attract slightly bigger fish than the soft plastics had done.

Just before 1.00 pm, I was playing a decent flathead that had locked on to the DUO Realis Shad. It was a big fish – well over 60cm, so I decided to pull it in to the shoreline to unhook and photograph. I was a bit impatient and had the drag set a little too tight. When it saw that we were heading for the mangroves, it turned, shook its head and snapped the leader. When you are catching plenty of fish the leader gets worn very quickly, so it pays to keep checking it. At this point I gave up for the day.

On Friday it was a similar story. The fish were a little less plentiful, but the wind was far stronger, which may have made them a little harder to catch. I focused my efforts on an area further to the south of the oyster jetty and again found that the hard bodies – particularly the Rio Prawn lure, found the bigger flathead of the day.

I must go and explore if the fish are everywhere or just clustered over on this side of the Passage. Maybe next time.

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.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 10 December 2013

Tuesday

I arrived on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at 4.30 am, just after first light. I waded straight out to the area just south of the old oyster jetty, where I had done well on the flathead, during my last session.

The tide was on its way out. It had been a 1.8m high, at about 3.30 am. There was not much flow as the moon was in its first quarter. It was a building northerly blowing with a stronger, south-easterly forecast to take over, later in the day.

There was not much weed moving around, so I decided to give one of my DUO hard-bodied lures an outing. My latest favourite is the Realis Shad 59 MR. This is a shallow diving, suspending, 59mm minnow, with a great rattle and the usual superb DUO finish. It is perfect for fishing over the weed beds and I was keen to try it with the new G.Loomis TSR series light spinning rod that I am now using. I picked out a gold/ bronze coloured one and tied it on.

The sun broke over the horizon just before 5.00am. There were a few mullet jumping around and as a few cormorants flew over, they spooked a large school of whiting/ mullet in the shallows. I started casting the Realis Shad 59 MR all around in a semi-circle in front of me.

I felt a few nudges and a couple of real bites. After about ten minutes a fish attacked hard and swam away with it. It too a bit of line but soon settled. It was a nice Bream – about 30cm long that had been cruising above the weed. About 10 minutes later, there were a few more knocks on successive casts and I hooked another smaller one.

I had made my way south, towards the green channel marker. It was just about 6.00 am and I could now cast over the edge of the major weed bank that runs along here. I felt an angry bite and then another. I pulled the trebles home and saw a Pike leap out of the water. I pulled it up close and shook it off the hooks.

The tide was now lifting a lot of sea grass so I decided to switch lures to a soft plastic. I chose the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I loaded it on to a 1/8th ounce, 2/0 jighead and started fishing it along the edge of the weed.

I waded back towards the bridge but did not get a bite for more than hour. About 60 metres from the end of the old oyster jetty, I felt a grab, but I did not hook up. I cast back in the same spot six more times – slowing my retrieve down to a crawl. On number seven…. thud. I dropped the rod tip and slowly counted to ten. When I lifted it, I felt the hook slide home and I had a flathead on the line. This one was a keeper, about 45cm, but I was releasing everything today. It was just before 8.30 am.

Five minutes later and ten metres closer to the jetty, I found another slightly bigger one. Just before 9.00 am, I cast into the shallows – between me and the mangrove lined shore and the line went tight, immediately. It was the best fish of the day, about 60cm long. It was diminishing returns from then on. I caught two more fish, but both were around 35cm long.

By 10.00 am, the wind was blowing hard and I had Christmas shopping to get on with, so that was it for the day.

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.

Bribie – Under the bridge – again – 7 March 2013

Thursday

The rain is moving off but the strong south-easterly winds are persisting. The brief lull in the wind around dawn is the only time to fish. Back to Bribie and the same area as Tuesday. The tide was bigger and higher as we moved towards the new moon. It would be a 2.2 m high, at 5.44 am.

I arrived at about 4.30 am and found local expert – Colin, rigging up with the same idea. We both thought we would get a bit of shelter from the wind in this area and take advantage of the bait that is drawn to the bridge lights. I started on the north side but after 20 minutes, I had not had a bite so I moved to the south.

There was more bait jumping around on the south side, but nowhere near as much as there had been on Tuesday – no idea why. We both cast around for about 40 minutes but neither of us got a bite.

Colin decided to go off and try another spot. I moved a little further to the south. I swapped to a DUO Realis Shad 59 MR – a small suspending hard bodied minnow lure. I chose one with a white belly and blue back. I put in a couple of casts close to the bridge pylons, working the lure back against the wind. On about the third cast, a fish hit the lure on the pause, but did not connect. Three casts later, with the same lure in the same spot, the trebles lodged and I had the fish. It was a small Flathead, a little under 40cm.

I hoped there were more but I could not find them. I waded a long way south, past the oyster jetty, casting all the time. I swapped back to soft plastics, as the floating weed kept clogging the hard body. I fished for another hour before the wind became too annoying.

It was a pretty disappointing session but DUO had at least saved me from scoring a duck!

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 22 February 2013

Friday

I was back in Brisbane considering the land based fishing options. Next week it looks like mad weather – just about everywhere. It’s a tragedy – I have no work on the horizon so I could go and fish just about anywhere, but it looks like the east coast of Australia, will be washed out.

Friday morning did not look very promising locally, either. The big south-easterly blow was not forecast to drop off until about midday and the Pumicestone Passage was pretty much full of fresh water, after all the recent rain.

But the point about fishing is you must never give up. So at about 8.00 am, as the sun came out, I set off for Bribie hoping to find some sheltered spots, where I could put in a few casts.

I arrived just before 9.00 am and decided to fish the mainland side of the Passage around the old oyster jetty. Despite the major tree clearance that took place last year, this area is still quite sheltered from a southerly wind and is a viable option, especially as the tide runs out. High tide had passed at 7.22 am at 2.2 m. I waded south, under the Bribie Bridge. The water was still lapping at the mangroves, but it was running out fairly fast. Predictably the water was pretty brown and full of sediment but you could still just see your feet through about 60cm of it.

I started by casting all around the bridge pylons. I was using a neutral coloured 3” GULP minnow soft plastic in ‘smelt’on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This produced nothing so I moved further south, to cast alongside and underneath the oyster jetty. I felt a few grabs in this area and soon realised there were some hungry long toms cruising around.

I crossed to the area just to the south of the jetty and swapped to a DUO Ryuki Spearhead hard body which is usually a great bream lure. Unfortunately I sacrificed this in the shallows to a patch of rocky bottom. I moved further south and changed tactics. I swapped back to soft plastics and tied on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the lime tiger colour – still on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. I was using about 1.5 m of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader.

By about 11.00 am the tide was about halfway out and I had reached the area where the water drains off the Sandstone Point flats, round the corner. You could not see the bottom but you could tell from the eddies on the surface where the slack water was. I put in a couple of long casts (the southerly wind was helping me). I felt the plastic pull through the see grass but it did not pick up too much. The advantage of all the rain and wild weather is that it washes away any loose stuff.

A few casts later there was a big splash, as the lure hit the water and then a solid tug and run. Line was peeling straight away but as I lifted the rod I clearly felt the jighead pop through the fishes’ lip. This was a sizeable fish so I let it run. There is not much structure in this area, just a line of rocky bottom as you move back towards the mangroves. This fish was too big to tangle with in the water so I would have to walk it back to the shore line. I slowly took back some line and started wading towards the mangroves. The water was now shallower and dirtier, so I had to be careful to steer it over the rocky patches and onto the shore.

It was a solid flathead. I pulled it up on to a ready-made envorimat; a pair of abandoned trawlerman’s waders, that had washed up on the shore. I measured it against the rod and could see it was pushing 70cm. I took a couple of pictures then released it.
Although the water was now very cloudy, there was not much weed floating around so I decided to try out my latest DUO favourite – the Realis Shad MR 59 hard body minnow. It is a small suspending lure and that has caught plenty of flathead for me, but I am sure it will catch good bream over the weed beds. I picked out a white and blue one tied it on and cast out. This lure has a great action but it is the pauses that seem to entice the strikes. So I slowly retrieved it with lots of long pauses. On the second cast my theory panned out as, on the first pause, the lure was first knocked out of the water and then, a moment later, connected to a fish.

The hooked fish was too fast for a flathead – although it may have been a flathead that attacked the lure first. I soon had it subdued – it was a solid 30cm + bream. After a few pictures I released it but I could not find any more.

As the tide level fell I moved further and further south, towards the green channel marker. I was trying to fish the edge of the weed banks but in the dirty water on the bottom of the tide, I was finding it hard to see the edges. I swapped back to a GULP 4” minnow soft plastic in the smelt colour, on the 1/8th 1/0 jighead. This drew the attention of the long toms who I saw follow it in a couple of times. Eventually I got the lure into the right spot and the line started peeling. It was another flathead – just over 50cm. I decided to keep this one and after playing it for a while I managed to grab it with my rag and slip it in my keeper bag.

I swapped to a different colour in the same soft plastic – banana prawn. A few casts later this produced a fish – it was a very lively long tom. It did plenty of leaping around and made a couple of runs straight at me which was not that much fun. Usually these fish will cut through the leader pretty quickly but this one seemed to be hooked on the side of its long snout. I managed to flick it off the hook and carried on prospecting for flathead.

Just before 2.00 pm I caught another flathead who was perched on the edge of the weed line. This one was just under 50 cm. I swapped over to the bigger GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the lime tiger colour. This did not produce a fish but it did pull up two sand crabs. I am not sure if they were hungry or mating – either way they ended up in a right tangle. I had been playing football with the crabs all morning – perhaps they were finding it difficult to see me coming in the muddy water.

Just after a 2.00 pm, a set of squally showers moved through and I decided to give up. Conditions had been very average but the fish were there – and I suppose that is all that really matters!

Bribie Island – old oyster jetty flats – 6 January 2012

Sunday

Between the wind and the increased traffic, finding the fish has been far from easy over the Christmas period at Bribie. All you can do is keep trying your favourite spots, on your favourite tides and hope things improve. As I look back over the blog and my dairies, which precede it – I see that December and January have been my toughest fishing months in the Pumicestone Passage for the last few years. Partly because if this, I have often run away to fish the rocks at Iluka or elsewhere, at this time of year.

The only spot that has been consistently producing fish for me is the area to the south of the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Passage, so this is where I started on Sunday morning. To add to the challenge high tide was just on dawn (3.57 am at 1.9m) and there would be a fairly strong south-easterly blowing at about 10 to 15 knots. This had the advantage of frightening off the boat traffic but would make casting less simple.

I started with a hard bodied lure as there was not much weed around. I love the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. It is another of DUO’s finesse range, probably designed with bass in mind, but it annoys the hell out the flathead. It is 59mm long and weighs a little less than 5 grams. This is rapidly becoming my favourite suspending lure. It casts a mile and it seems to be able to just hang for ages in the water column. It’s great in this terrain, where you want to stay off the bottom. I was using an olive coloured model.

I was fishing a stretch of sandy bottom about 6 metres out from the edge of the mangroves. It was covered in about 80cm of water. I was retrieving the lure over the edge of a weed bed when suddenly something grabbed it. First it ran away from me and then it changed direction and hurtled back towards me. This must have left some slack in the line and as it came tight again, the drag screamed and the lure pulled free. Not sure what it was but it seemed a bit fast for a flathead – who knows?

I carried on working the same area and about 10 minutes later, there was a tug and a splash and an angry flathead appeared, shaking its head on the surface. After a brief fight I had it subdued and pulled it over to a gap in the Mangroves. It was about 55cm with a small open wound on its back and a pattern on its scales that looked as if it had been mauled by something with a broad mouth. Perhaps a wobbegong had had a go at it. I have seen some big ones cruising these flats.

I let the fish go and carried on peppering the area with casts. I felt another tug and lunge but again the hook pulled after a brief fight. The weed was starting to become a nuisance so I decided to swap to a soft plastic lure. I picked out a GULP jerkshad in the lime tiger colour, which has been doing quite well lately. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. On the first cast I saw a flathead appear from the weed, grab the lure and immediately roll over, flashing its white belly, to release itself. I kept going and soon hooked it again. This time I kept it on the line. It was another nice fish, about the same size as the first.

As the tide started to run out strongly I gradually followed it, casting over the weed and sand banks. The gradually increasing high tides and big south-easterly blow had lifted a lot of sea grass and this was now clogging almost every cast. I reached the green channel marker and walked slowly back towards the oyster jetty. About half way along I connected with another fish, but it shook out the hook. I carried on casting in the same area for about 10 minutes until I felt another solid thud. I paused and then lifted the rod. It was another flathead about 45cm. I released it and battled the wind and weed for a further 30 minutes before giving up. I had found a few fish but also lost a few – not a bad session.

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 4 November 2012

Sunday

Sunday was a grey and rainy morning. The early starts and drives south had worn me out so I had a lie I, until 4.15 am and then decided on a quick wading session at Bribie.

I drove through a few showers on the way up and decided to stay on the mainland and fish the weed banks and mud/ sand flats, south of the old oyster jetty. The jetty is now out of bounds pending re-development but it has been repaired and made safe. The complete removal of the tree cover in the area has made the light quite different and I have been wondering if it will affect the weed growth and therefore the fishing. The terrain has flattened out a quite considerably but I think that has more to do with the change of wind and current, as we settle into a more obvious summer weather pattern.

I arrived just after 5.00 am and the sun was up, but buried behind the grey clouds. I waded past the jetty and had a look around. It was just about slack water on low tide. There was no surface action and the water was pretty murky. I tied on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour – red and yellow. Unfortunately the bright dry sunny days have encouraged the growth of the ‘snot weed’ or algae. This takes particular hold in the areas where there is not much current flow. It means you get a jighead full of slime if you hit the bottom.

Once you reach the edge of the weed beds you can cast parallel with them and avoid it. But don’t go past the sandy patches between the weed as these often harbour a few fish and this was where the first Flathead came from today. It slammed the plastic as soon as it hit the water and I hooked up without really trying, as it tried to swim off with it. It was just under 50cm.

I let the fish go and swapped to a another small hard body from DUO that I have been wanting to try out – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. This is a small suspending lure designed for bass but suitable for plenty of other species. It is finished to the usual superb standard and I chose one in the olive colour to try out. I had upgraded the trebles and split rings for saltwater work – the Flathead don’t take prisoners!

I was pretty sure there was more than one Flathead in the sandy patch in front of me and my first cast with the Realis Shad confirmed it. After two quick hops of the lure, a fish knocked it out of the water and then swiped again with a splash. But I did not hook up, so I wound the lure back in and cast out again. This time I let it sit for about 10 seconds – and then gave it a short pull. A fish attacked again and this time it was hooked. But the fish was only about 30 cm long.

I let it go and tried again. After about three more casts, the line pulled tight and a really angry fish surfaced. I pulled this one over to some exposed reef and landed it. This time good Flathead about the same size as the first of the day. I sent it on its way and moved south.

The tide was now flowing in strongly. I waded along casting over the weed beds. I caught two more Flathead – both about 45cm long, on the Realis Shad. The incoming tide had now lifted lots of strap weed and this was starting to clog the hard bodied lure. I swapped back the GULP curry chicken Jerkshad and this tempted two more 45cm fish before I gave up at about 8.30 am.

As I waded back along the shoreline there were Flathead ’lies’ everywhere. Many were very close to the Mangrove roots, showing that the fish will move up into very shallow water on the higher overnight tides.

You have a very good chance of catching dinner at the moment, especially if you get up early!