Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 23 August 2016

Tuesday

On Tuesday I drove back up to Bribie for another early morning fish before the forecast wind picked up. I arrived just after low tide and sunrise at about 6. 30 am. The moon was on the wane and about 70% full.

I had given up on the LOX Yoshi Rod for this type of fishing. It is fine on a windless day, but there are very few of these. I was finding my casts kept tangling around the end of the rod unless casting with the wind directly behind me. I swapped back to another bass rod – my G Loomis SJR6400 5’4” Mag Light/ Extra Fast. This is a short rod but still casts a loaded 1/8th ounce jighead a long way. Once you have a fish on it does not have a long enough tip to have the subtlety of the LOX, but it still soaks up the lunges.

This morning I had to cast for a while to find a flathead. In fact, I was fishing for more than an hour before I had my first bite. I was using a GULP 4 inch Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead.  I was standing well south of the jetty casting over the weed, aiming to land the soft plastic on the sandy patches beyond. As I hopped the soft plastic towards the weed edge, the fish grabbed it. It was a solid 50 cm flathead.

I cast around to see if there were more nearby but I could not find them. I carried on wading south as the tide rolled in. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour. At the spot where the water first comes over the big sand bank I found another fish. It was a little larger than the first and had only taken ten more minutes to locate.

I thought things were looking up but it took 45 minutes to find another flathead and this one was quite a bit smaller at only just over 40cm. By about 9.30 am the incoming tide had forced me away from my favourite spots and the wind was really blowing, so I gave up for the morning.

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Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 20 July 2015

Monday

On Monday the weather looked windy and unsettled but it was forecast to get worse through the week, so I thought I would try an early morning session on the Bribie oyster jetty flats, in front of the new Sandstone Point Hotel.

The wind was a cold south-westerly forecast to turn northerly around lunch time. In a south-westerly it is better to fish the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, as the land gives you some shelter.

Low tide would be at 6.00 am. So I could probably stay fishing the best areas until about 9.00 am. By then the incoming tide would push me back away from the edge of the weed beds, where the flathead seem to congregate.

I waded out just after 6.30 am and the sky was very cloudy. The water was fairly dirty and not really running in yet. The sun came up at about 6.45 am and briefly showed beneath the clouds. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour rigged on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using 12lb leader.

I found the pike first, just to the south of the old oyster jetty. They were actually pretty hard to get past. They were also big and aggressive – several were over 40cm long. They finally seemed to leave the lures alone as I moved further south.

I found the first flathead of the day at about 7.10 am. It was a solid fish about 55cm long. I carried on wading south and found a steady stream of fish. The pike kept up turning up and a couple of times I was bitten off clean (could have been tailor or perhaps just really big toothy pike).

At 7.30 am I found another slightly smaller flathead. Then I came across several more. I soon had 4 keeper size flathead in the bag all form the same soft plastic. Then a big nasty grey cloud came over and gave me a good soaking.

The wind picked up and I was cold so I turned around and waded back towards the bridge. I kept casting and found a couple more undersized flathead. Fortunately I found one more 45cm fish just short of the end of the jetty, so I managed a full bag.

The weather was dodgy but the fish are definitely there at the moment.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty – a bagful of flathead – 10 May 2015

Sunday

In to May and time to get back on to the flathead at Bribie. Big wind and rain were forecast for later in the week so I decided I had to get out on Sunday morning. It was going to be bright and cool with light south westerly winds.

I waded out under the bridge at Bribie Island just before dawn and despite the cooler nights the water remains surprisingly warm. I cast around in the shallows under the bridge but there was not much going on so I moved slowly to the south.

I was fishing with a GULP 4“Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour, initially. This did not seem to stir any interest so I swapped to a similair sized Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was fishing with my new light rod – a G.Loomis SJR6400. This is a very short, very fast action, light spinning rod. It is only 5’ 4” long which should make it easier to use in the smaller creeks that I hope to fish later in the year, up north. Loomis describe it as a ‘magnum ultralight’ rod which sounds more like a diet ice cream to me.  It is designed to have slightly more strength than their ultra-light series, while retaining its sensitivity. I was using it with my Shimano Stella 2500 loaded with 12lb braid and about a metre of 10lb fluorocarbon. The tide was slowly running out so I was using a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and aiming it at any spot where the sand met the weed.

It was hard work. I disturbed a few sting rays and eventually hooked one, which dragged me around for a while before breaking the light leader. I had now been fishing for 2 hours without connecting with a flathead. The water was getting dirtier as we approached low tide, which would be just after 8.00 am.

I move along towards the green channel marker. It was now right on low tide. I had been joined by a few more keen fishermen on the edge of the sand bank. Just as I was beginning to think the new rod was cursed, I felt the tell-tale thud of the flathead bite. I was now using the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I paused then struck. It is always a little tricky catching your first fish on a new rod. You have to calibrate the drag setting to the rod bend and this can take a while. The fish hardly managed to take any line, which meant I had it too tight. It was a flathead about 42cm long and I soon had it in the keeper bag. I loosened the drag a little and carried on casting. A few minutes later I caught a small Pike then things went quiet for about 20 minutes.

The water was still and dirty. I moved slightly north, back towards the old oyster jetty. I felt a bite but did not hook up. This happened twice and each time the fish was a little nearer to me. I moved back a few paces and tried again with a short cast and a long pause. When I lifted the rod the fish was on the soft plastic. It was another flathead about the same size as the first. Over the next 30 minutes I caught two more – one more over 40cm and one just under.

I carried on moving south. The tide was starting to turn and flow in. I kept casting at the edge of the weed beds and was rewarded with another flathead. This time it was a bigger one at about 55 cm. I now had a family dinner in the keeper bag.

I kept casting as I waded back towards the car and I was rewarded with another flathead, just before I passed the jetty. After a slow start it had turned into a great morning. The new rod had proved itself and I had my bag limit for the day.

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 27 April 2015

Monday

Another big gap between fishing sessions but by the end of April I was back in Brisbane for a few days and the weather was calm, cool and bright. As soon as I had time, I drove up to Bribie Island to see if the flathead where around. March and April always seem to produce plenty of good flathead from the flats around the island.

I hit my favourite spot – the muddy, weedy, sand flats to the south of the old oyster jetty, in front of the Sandstone Point Hotel, which is currently under development. This will be a huge pub when it is finished. I think it is great to see a development that seems to fit in with the natural landscape. My only disappointment was the wholesale removal of the native gum trees behind the mangrove line, to make way for the project. These used to provide a good break when the cold south-westerly winds blow.

I started a little after first light and a bit before dawn at about 6.00 am. I think this short window between getting light and the sun coming over the horizon is an excellent time to fish. The change in light triggers the feeding response and the low intensity means they are bold enough to chase lures and baits into the shallows.

A 2.0m high tide had passed at 4.09 am, so I was fishing the run out tide. The moon was about half full which meant that the tidal flow would not be that significant. There was about 50cm of water at the base of the mangroves, as I waded towards the old oyster jetty.

I was fishing with my very light spin rod – NS Blackhole 6’ SGII 602L Trout rod I picked up in Tumut last year. It is rated for 2 to 8lb line and 2 to 10 gram lures. My beloved Loomis GL2 had a fatal accident in 1770 and the gang at Jones Tackle are seeking out a replacement for me. In the meantime this light, fast action rod is great for flathead, bream and other estuary targets.

It was now about 6.45 am, I had rigged a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead and I was using just over a metre of 10lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader.  I was casting ahead of me in to the shallows. The water was clear but a little cooler than it had been fishing at 1770, a few weeks before. I had just passed the cable crossing warning sign when I felt a faint grab at the soft plastic. I dropped the rod tip and paused but did not entice a strike. I cast back at the same spot and felt the same slight grab. I cast to the right – nothing. I cast to the left – nothing. Then I cast back along the original trajectory and paused with the soft plastic on the bottom, for a good ten seconds. When I lifted it the fish struck. It was a flathead – a little over 50cm. It was good to know persistence pays off.

I waded under the jetty and slowly fished my way to the point where the shoreline turns the corner towards Sandstone Point. I paused here and threw a few casts along the drain that channels the run out tide round the corner and over the flats. I felt a couple mad grabs and swipes and realised that the Long Toms must be snapping at the soft plastic. I could not find a flathead in the drain so I moved on.

I waded along the gradually emerging sand bank until I was almost at the green channel marker. I stuck with the same soft plastic all the way. I then turned back to walk along the edge of the weed beds, in the direction of the jetty.

About half way back to the jetty, I felt a solid hit and paused. When I lifted it, the fish was hooked. It was another, slightly smaller 45cm flathead. I now had two in the bag, but would need at least one more to feed my mob.

I slowly moved north, casting and casting. After another 1 hour I still only had two fish. I was back at the jetty and the water was clear and almost still. It was now about 9.30 am and nearly low tide. I out in a few casts alongside the jetty. On about the third cast a very angry flathead slammed my soft plastic.  I subdued it and carefully pulled it ashore.

That was enough for me. Three fish, four nice fillets from each, that’s twelve good pieces of fish – which makes a very decent family meal. It took 3 hours to catch and about 12 minutes to eat. Good to be back on my home turf.

1770 – Tom’s Creek – 4 December 2014

Thursday

On Thursday morning I drove down to Wreck Rock to fish through dawn. When I arrived the wind and swell was up and the tide was higher than I had expected. After an hour and a spectacular sunrise, I decided to give up and look elsewhere for some fish.

I stopped in town for a quick breakfast and decided to go back to Tom’s Creek. I wanted to know what had bitten me off the day before. By the time I drove down the four wheel drive track to Tom’s Creek, it was about 10.30 am. I rigged up the light rod with relatively tough, 16lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this around in the same area I had been fishing the day before.

The tide was about half way out and was running quickly. I used the same technique as previously. I was casting at the base of the mangrove roots on the far bank. Inevitably I lost a couple more jigheads but when I finally put the soft plastic right up against the roots, something slammed it again. I tried to pull it out but the rod did not have the power and with the aid of the current the fish slipped into the rock bar and that’s where I left the jighead.

I re-rigged using a heavier ¼ ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and the same 16lb fluorocarbon leader. This enabled me to cast more accurately at the base of the mangroves, and helped the soft plastic get down in the water column faster. The first taker was a small grunter bream. I released it and carried on casting.

I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. There were big yabby holes all over the banks, so I thought this might be a good shape to offer up. After a few casts I was on again, but after a short and furious fight I got half the yabby back with a bent jighead, but no fish.

It was now just after 11.00 am. I re-rigged with another ¼ ounce jighead, but I had no more Mantis Shrimp soft plastics, so I went back to a Jerkshad – this time in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Just a few casts later, a solid fish grabbed it. This time I had the drag tight and I pulled hard straight away. The fast running current helped me get the fish away from the rocks. It put in a few more determined runs but after a few minutes, I had the fish subdued at my feet. It was a great looking crimson coloured mangrove jack. I measured it at about 47cm, took a few pictures and released it to fight another day.

I fished on for about half an hour but could not find another fish so, at about noon, I gave up for the day.

1770 – Getaway Beach and Tom’s Creek – 3 December 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday was a beautiful morning but a disappointing one, from a fishing point of view.  I was still at 1770 and I decided to walk round from the beach that has the desalination plant intake to Getaway Beach. There is some really fantastic looking fishy terrain along here but apart from small dart and Moses Perch I have yet to catch anything decent here. I started at about 4.30 am and witnessed a beautiful sunrise but after a couple of hours of casting hard bodies and soft plastics all I had caught was a tiny sand flathead.

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I decided to retire and do something different for the afternoon session. I drove down to Tom’s Creek which is a tributary of Round Hill Creek. The boats can only get up to it for an hour or so, either side of high tide, but there are a few spots where you can fish it from the shore. I have had some powerful hit and runs, whilst fishing with soft plastics here but, apart from a few good grunter bream (javelin fish), I have landed very little.

It was now about 9.30 am and I started fishing with my light rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I fitted a 1/8th  ounce, 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 4” Minnow in the New Penny colour. I lost a few rigs working out where the snags were located.  I kept getting fast, aggressive bites but was struggling to hook up. I slowed things down and after about twenty minutes I connected with a mad fish – it was a Tarpon about 35 cm long, and it leapt around all over the place. I photographed and released it. I had a couple more bites from its mates, but could not hook up.

The tide was running out fast and so I swapped to a slightly heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead, but continued with the same soft plastic lure. This soon produced results and I caught a couple of grunter bream, the largest of which was about 35cm long.

I swapped to a bigger GULP jerkshad soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was casting as close as I could to the mangrove roots, on the far bank. At about 10.30 am something slammed the soft plastic, as it sank. It immediately headed for some rocks and after a couple of runs, it unhooked itself.

By about noon the water was fairly shallow and the tide had slowed, so I gave up for the day.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 20 December 2013

Friday

I was beginning to get fed up with the Christmas madness. Every time I have dropped into the supermarket in the last fortnight, there have been people stuffing trolleys with food that will surely end up in the bin in ten days – bags of assorted nuts in their shells, icing sugar dusted Stollen logs, massive hams & huge frozen turkeys, those huge square Italian sponge cakes that taste like cardboard and enough mangoes and cherries to sink a battleship.

Big W / Target / Kmart and the rest have crammed aisle upon aisle with cheap, useless crap that nobody wants or needs. Buckets of Margarita mix (without the alcohol), Brut deodorant combined with bonus Brut aftershave in a gift pack (not sure it really is a bonus). There are enough bath salts, crystals, foams, creams, milks, lotions, serums and bombs to make Wivenhoe Dam fizz. In almost every case, the packaging probably cost several times as much as the rubbish inside it. I am half expecting to see the old ‘soap on a rope’ make a comeback.

Only fishing could lift my spirits. I decided to set the alarm and fish the morning low tide at Bribie. The bottom of the tide was 4.24 am, just after first light and just before dawn. There was a slight northerly wind forecast. It was three days after the full moon. I chose the flats on the mainland side of the bridge, as these have been fishing well.

I arrived about 4.15 am and then waded out to the area south of the old oyster jetty, where the flathead have been hiding. I started with the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and was using my usual 10lb fluorocarbon leader and G.Loomis TSR light spinning rod. The water was still and the sky was cloudy. I was about level with the end of the jetty, where there are a number of sandy hollows, amongst the thick weed.

At about 4.40am, I caught my first flathead. It was just under 40 cm. I released it and then I cast into the same hollow and caught another. This one was bigger – perhaps 45cm. I couple of casts later; I caught another, about the same size. I had another fish on my line from this spot, but it spat my jighead on the surface.

I moved on to the next hollow and decided to change colours. I chose the orange and yellow GULP Orange Tiger Jerkshad. At about 5.30 am this did the trick and I had another flathead. It was also about 45cm.  It had chewed through the plastic, so I replaced it with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour.

I kept moving towards the south. The tide was starting to run in now. At 5.40am, I caught another small flathead – approximately 35cm long. The sky had turned grey not long after sunrise and now I could see the rain clouds coming towards me. It started spitting and then really raining but it was only a short shower.

I fished along the edge of the weed beds for another hour without a bite. At about 8.00 am another shower was threatening so I gave up. The best action has definitely been around dawn in the last few sessions – not good news if you like sleep!