Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 6 December 2013

I was delighted to be back on home turf but shocked at just how early sunrise is. With first light just after four you have to be up at three. Low tide at Bongaree, on Bribie Island would be at 5.10 am. At first light, I would just catch the last of the run out tide – which is usually a very good time to fish.

As I pulled into the car park beside the bridge, on the mainland side, I saw Colin’s car already parked up. Colin is the local flathead specialist -great minds think alike! I pulled on my waders and wandered out for a chat. He was chucking a few hard bodied lures around under the bridge and soon found a small flathead. He gave me an update on what has happening in the Passage and, as always it was a comprehensive briefng.

It was now about 4.45 am, so I set off to fish the weed beds, to the south of the old oyster jetty. It was a big tide so I had a good view of how the drains and channels had changed in the the 3 months that I have not fished here. The weed beds are thick and healthy but the drain that used to run out round the corner from Sandstone Point, is now much less well defined. The persistent northerly winds may have flattened the sand banks, a little.

The breeze was light but quite cool, from the south-west. I started fishing at about 4.45am and the tide was still running out. I was fishing with my new G.Loomis Trout Series (TSR) spinning rod. I was using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 10lb Super PE braid. This rod is excellent but I am still getting used to its sensitivity. Pulling a soft plastic through the weedy bottom was confusing at first, I thought I was getting bites but was not sure. Then I saw a few skid dart past and I realised they had been biting the plastic.

I kept moving south. The sun came up behind the clouds. I started fishing with a GULP 4″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. This caught a couple of small flathead just after 5.00 am. Then there was a pause, as the tide turned. I swapped over to a GULP 5″ Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.

Flathead

An esky full of Bribie flathead

At about 5.45 am the incoming tide picked up pace and I found a patch of keeper size fish. Over the next hour, I caught 12 fish along a 50 metre stretch of the weed beds. I kept five but forgot my camera. So all I have is the full esky to show you. The smallest fish was 44cm and the largest 59cm. I caught most of the keepers on the 5″ GULP Jerkshad but also found a few with the Zman Minnowz in the Redbone colour.

It was great to have such a successful first session back on home turf.

Bribie – The oyster jetty flats – 14 March 2013

Thursday

The wind had finally blown the rain away. It had turned round to a south-westerly and was quite cool on Thursday morning. It had been forecast to drop right off but was still pretty persistent in the trees as I drove up to the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived at the small car park, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at about 4.30 am. The sky was clear for a change.
The tide was still running out but had slowed right down. Low tide would be at 4.52 am. I waded out under the bridge lights to find Colin (a local Bribie fishing expert) in position again – there are some big advantages to living 5 minutes away.

He was fishing to the north of the bridge so I took the south side. The water was murky and still and there was no sign of any bait. At this time, there is usually a fair amount jumping around, but there was not much water under the bridge lights and it was now almost still. The water was very dirty – as you would expect it to be on the bottom of the tide. I realised that I have not seen a dolphin in the area for a few weeks which may mean there is no bait for them to chase, but it could also be that the water is still a little too fresh for their liking.

I tried a white coloured GULP Jerkshad and then a more natural coloured smaller, 3” Smelt Minnow soft plastic. I rigged both on 1/8th, 1/0 jigheads and I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader down to 6lb Fireline in the luminous green colour. There are now a number of different colours available in Fireline but this green colour is the easiest to see in low light. I got snagged a couple of times and re-rigged with various soft plastics.

I did not get a touch from any fish but for the first time in weeks, I was treated to a magnificent sunrise. This is a great time of the day to be out and about. I waded south and fished along the edge of where I thought the weed beds would be. It was hard to see where I should put the lure with the sun low on the horizon and the water so murky. The tide started to run in and gradually picked up pace. As it did so it lifted bits of loose weed and debris so I could not swap to fishing with small hard bodies. I thought these might have a more success in the shallow dirty water.

Just after 7.00 am, I was half way between the end of the old oyster jetty and the green channel marker, in about waist deep water. Having tried a few brightly coloured plastics and few natural coloured plastics, I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. This is a black colour with a bright pink underside. The tide was running in so quickly that I had put on a heavier 1/6th oz, 1/0 jighead. This also helped me figure out quickly where the edge of the weed bed was. I carried on casting up, into the incoming tide and bouncing the lure along the bottom, with lots of long pauses. At about 7.20 am I felt a pretty solid hit and saw some bait fish go flying. I cast back in the same spot about 6 or seven times – nothing. On cast number eight, there was a surge and splash and the fish took the lure, almost on the surface. It was a small flathead – under 40cm. I was relieved to find it. I took a few pictures and released it.

I continued south and stuck with the same soft plastic. Perhaps the dark silhouette was the only thing that was working in the sediment filled water. It was a big tide and now it was a little short of half way in to the run in and the water was getting too deep to stay close to the edge of the weed. Just short of the green channel marker, there is an exposed sand bank and just to the north-west, there is a drain where water from the bay floods in. This must be why the fish congregate here. Without looking, I knew I had reached it because the water temperature dropped a few degrees and I instantly felt the change, through my waders. I turned back towards the oyster jetty and kept moving. After about another 15 minutes I found another flathead of about the same size. It did not put up much of a fight. I photographed and released it.

I waded slowly back to the bridge, casting as I went, but I did not catch any more fish. I arrived at the bridge at about 8.45 am and the wind had picked up again. A tough session – the fish may be reluctant, but they are there.