Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole Flats Jewfish – 19 October 2012


Friday was a very fishy day. I drove up to Bribie and headed straight for Bongaree and the sand flats in front of Buckley’s Hole. The large amount of bait that had been hovering over the flats on Monday and Wednesday had convinced me this was the place to fish.

I arrived just before 4.40 am and it was already light enough. The tide would be a very low one again, at about 5.40am. There was no wind, although it was forecast to pick up from the north, later.

I started at the drain in front of the museum. The water was completely still and the midges were thick. I started the day with another of my favorite DUO finesse lures. A small brightly colored hard bodied bibless lure – the Tetraworks Yurameki. It weighs about 7 grams which makes it about 1/5th of an ounce and DUO describes it as a ‘sinking pencil’. I like to retrieve it with a series of hops just above the bottom, with lots of pauses.

On such a low tide the surface of the ledge was covered by only 30cm of water. At the mouth of the drain this water was very muddy, where the run out from the creek was lifting the sediment. It was in this shallow water that I got the first fish of the day on the Yurameki lure. It was a Flathead – it was just about legal size but I threw it back in hope of a bigger one.

I fished this area for a while. There were several surface bust ups and each time herring or mullet would go flying in all directions. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken color on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and started to move south along the edge. I caught a few Pike in front of the car park, by the tidal lagoon but things went pretty quiet, as the tide slowed and turned in.

By about 7.00am I had reached the new opening at the southern end of the tidal lagoon. I was sure there would be Flathead around the drop off here. The water was clearer so I decided to swap to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn color. I caught a good size Pike and offered it to a fisherman soaking a Pilchard nearby named Kenny. He put it out on three good sized hooks and we swapped a few fishing yarns.

I cast along the top of the ledge, into the run in tide and hopped the lure across the bottom, back towards me. On the third cast the line came up tight on a Flathead. It was just too small to keep – a little under 40 cm, so I let it go. A few minutes later I caught another in the same spot – this one was about 43cm, so it went in the bag. I swapped to a bigger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour and caught three more Flathead about the same size, from the same location.

I swapped to a brighter coloured Satay Chicken Jerkshad and immediately lost the tail to what I think was a small Tailor. I cast out another and this time I landed a keeper size Tailor. Kenny had just pulled in the Pike. It had a chunk out of its tail and had been sucked clean of scales, like a lollipop. We decided the small Tailor would make a good replacement. Hooked through the nose, back and tail, out went the Tailor.

I carried on fishing with the Jerkshad and caught three more Flathead. I added the first to the keeper bag and released the others. A big mullet school was finning around, sometimes just on top of the ledge and sometimes out over the deeper water. Every now and then there would be a swirl and thrash, as something attacked from below.

The Tailor was still kicking then Kenny pointed to his rod tip which was slowly bending over. There were a couple of slow lunges as the fish mouthed the bait. Kenny waited patiently for a few moments. The fish started to pull and he let it have a bit of line, then he struck. The initial run was slow. Perhaps the fish had not realised it was hooked. Then, as it noticed there was a problem with its latest meal, it powered up and started a serious run. This was a big fish but Kenny’s gear was a match for it – good hooks, good knots, a big spool of solid braid and a 50lb leader. He tightened the drag slightly and settled in. Every time he applied pressure the fish did the same and initially it looked like stalemate. Then he started to get back some line and slowly, moved further north, where the drop off is smoother and sandier.

All this had happened in the space of about 4 minutes but it felt much, much longer. Now Kenny was making steady progress but as soon as the fish saw the ledge it put in another blistering run. We still had no idea what it was. It had been so slow initially that I had thought it might be a ray or shark but its subsequent runs had convinced me otherwise.

Kenny stayed calm and got the fish back to the ledge but it was not interested in coming over the top. On the third attempt we saw a great flash of silver and realised it was a big Jewfish. Kenny kept the pressure on. He got it over the ledge and walked slowly backwards towards the beach. The fish still had plenty of kick in it and there was some serious thrashing as it was pulled through the shallows to the sand. The whole process had taken about 8 minutes from start to finish.

It was a beautiful Jewfish that later weighed in at 13kg but looked a good deal fatter than that, lying on the beach. Kenny was stoked and I was delighted to have witnessed the capture. Hands shaking and hearts racing we took photos and then he set out to show the beast off. There is nothing better than converting small fish into big ones.

I had my bag of five Flathead but I carried on fishing for a while. I found a couple more small Flathead. As I was wading back north to the car I saw Pike flying everywhere then clearly saw a good sized green backed Mackerel chasing them up into the shallows. Before I could cast at it, it was gone. It made several more passes causing chaos amongst the bait schools, but it was moving too fast to target.

At about 9.00 am I decided to get the Flathead to the esky. It had been a very fishy day!

Tweed River – The North wall and upstream – 29 November 2011


I decided on a trip down to the north wall of the Tweed River. This spot is another one that only really seems to fire for me on dawn or dusk, so it was another early start. I walked out along the north wall just after first light at about 4.15 am. It was another warm morning with virtually no breeze and a cloudy sky. Low tide would be at about 4.30am (QLD Time).

I was using the Daiwa Demon Blood rod (2.4m) with a Stradic 800 reel, 30lb braid and a 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I started by casting big soft plastics on 3/8th 3/0 jigheads, all around the end of the rock wall. This produced nothing so I switched to a 110mm Popper – nothing again. I put on a 75g slug – nothing. I tried a few hard bodied shallow running minnows – also nothing. By 6.30 am, the sun was beating down and it felt like lunchtime. I decided to swap locations and techniques; put on the waders and try to find some fish in the Tweed River.

I drove down to the Tweed Heads Rowing Club and parked beside the boat hire place, just by the bridge. I wanted to fish the sand banks and weed beds around the north end of Boyds Island. You can wade out to this area, for a few hours, either side of low tide. The rest of the time the creek mouth gets too deep to cross – so keep an eye on the tide.

Tweed Heads - Rowing Club - Flathead Patch

Even with less than a metre of water in the creek mouth there were plenty of small Flathead hanging around. I was back down to my light spin rod – the Loomis GL2 with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel, 8lb braid and about 1.5 metres of 10lb fluorocarbon, for a leader. I started with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. On the first cast I felt a grab but there was no hook up. I slowed it all down and pulled the plastic back past the same spot. This time I felt the bite and paused. A few moments later, as I struck, I saw the white belly of the Flathead roll over under the water but it wasn’t hooked. I moved south west across the mouth of the creek to the weed banks which were now under about 60cm of water.
Over the next hour I caught 11 Flathead from the edges of the weed banks. Unfortunately not one of them was big enough to keep. I move slowly along the shore, casting just over the edge into the main channel and letting the lure pause, in close to the weed.

Another small Flathead snaffles a soft plastic

The Flathead usually find the soft plastic minnow hard to resist

Looking towards Boyds Island

There must be some bigger Flathead close by

I decided to try something different and put on one of the DUO lures – which I have been sent to try out by the manufacturers in Japan. They are beautifully crafted and so far they have proved deadly on the Flathead. I tied on a DUO Tetraworks Yurameki – a small bibless sinking pencil lure that weighs about 7 grams and is just under 5 cm long. I had the Redhead colour. This lure casts like a bullet but also keeps its head down on a long retrieve – this is great when you don’t want to get too close to the area you are fishing.

DUO Tetraworks Yurameki in the Redhead colour

After a couple of casts it was hit, but the angry fish shook the trebles free after a couple of lunges. A few metres further upstream, I caught another and this time it stayed hooked. It was only a small fish but the DUO lure had proved itself again. If you are interested in these lures, they are distributed by – visit the website for more information. I Caught a few more undersized Flathead on the Yurameki.

Flathead on a DUO Tetraworks Yurameki lure

Only just hooked - the Tetraworks Yurameki lure from DUO

I then decided to try another of my recent favourites – the CULTIVA Miravibe. This lure is made by Owner and is another great sinking bibless vibe. It has a tight action, but does tend to rise up if worked too fast. It also has no action if worked too slow. It can often provoke a strike when the plastics are not working and after about five casts, I was onto a fish. It was the best of the day – after more than 20 fish, I finally had a Flathead over 40cm long. Given how long it had taken to find it, I did not fancy my chances of getting another, so I released it.
There had been no big fish but as long as you are catching something, you can’t complain. I had explored a new spot and I am sure that the bigger Flathead will be lurking round there somewhere. I will definitely be back.

The CULTIVA Miravibe also caught a few fish today

Caloundra – Golden Beach – 10 November 2011


Northerly winds again and forecast to be blowing 25 knots by lunchtime. Fortunately the winds would be light from dawn through until about 10.00 am. I chose to fish at Caloundra again.

Pelican Waters Bridge

Still and hot in the Pumicestone Passage

I arrived about 4.00 am – just before first light and decided to put in a few casts under the bridge at the entrance to the Pelican Waters development. There were plenty of herring and other bait fish jumping around. Low tide had been just after 1.00 am so it was now about halfway through the run in phase. The moon was full. I have been fishing with a 2/4 kg 7’6” Nitro spin rod for the last few sessions – just in case I find a good Trevally, Tuna or Queenfish amongst the Flathead. It does not quite have the sensitivity/ flexibility of the Loomis GL2 (my usual estuary rod) but it can apply a little more pressure, if I hook up with a bigger fish. I rigged up with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour and cast it all around the bridge pylons. Finally as the sun was coming up I hooked up with a 28cm Flathead.

The first good Flathead of the day - Caloundra

I released it and decided to cross back over the bridge to fish the weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club. I waded out along the sand bank that was now partially covered with water. There were rays everywhere, scattering in all directions as they felt my feet, coming towards them. I waded quietly down to the southern end of the sand bank and then turned around and cast over the weed beds into the incoming tide. I jumped the soft plastic along the bottom, back towards me. I was now using a GULP 5 “Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts I hooked a fish but, as I pulled it towards me, the line went slack and it was gone. I cast back in the same spot and a few casts later I felt the solid thud of another bite. This time I paused and slowly counted all the way to ten, before I struck. This one was properly hooked. I dragged it back to the sand and photographed it. It was about 55cm long. It was just after 6.00 am.

TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI sinking pencil lure

The water was still and the sun was already hot. I decided to fish with another of the Japanese DUO hard bodied lures I had been sent to try out. The DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI is a small sinking pencil lure, 48mm long, weighing 6.3g. Once again, it is nicely weighted and beautifully finished to produce a clever, wriggling tail action. It casts like a bullet and so it’s ideal for covering large areas, when you are prospecting for fish on the sand banks. I knew there were Flathead around and it did not take long – less than five minutes later I felt the bite and hooked up. The Flathead broke the surface and started shaking its head furiously but the treble hooks were lodged. I took the fish back to shore. It was a 46cm Flathead and it swam away unharmed, after I removed the trebles with some pliers. The DUO lure had produced the goods again – two fish from two try outs – pretty impressive.

This Flathead fell for a DUO TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI hard bodied lure

It was very warm but the northerly breeze was starting to pick up. I decided to move down to Golden Beach and fish the edge of the channel that runs out from Diamond Head. There is a big drop off here and I did not want to lose the TETRAWORKS YURAMEKI lure – I only have one and there are too many snags in this area. So I switched back to a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic lure in the New Penny colour on a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead. I worked the edge of the channel all the way out to the green channel marker. Finally, just as I reached the drop off into the main channel, I got a bite. I paused, and then I struck. I had securely hooked another fish – I brought it in close and released it – a 35cm Flathead.

By now the wind was too strong to cast and there were white caps on the waves, so I waded back to the shore and gave up for the day.