Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 11 October 2016

Tuesday

Monday had been pretty good so I decided to go back up to Bribie on Tuesday morning. Low tide would be about an hour later, at 10.30 am. There was not much tidal flow as the moon was not really doing much. This time I chose the oyster jetty flats on the mainland sided of the Pumicestone Passage.

It was another hot, clear morning but with a little more northerly wind, when I arrived at about 8.00am. I was still fishing with my short, fast action G.Loomis trout rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and put on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

I was just south of the bridge and once more the first taker was a long tom. These fish are tricky to hook. They have plenty of teeth and usually the bigger ones thrash around until they slice through your line or shake the hook loose. This on managed to wrap the light line thoroughly around its snout. I untangled it and released it.

I moved south and swapped soft plastics to a GULP Cajun Chicken Jerkshad. This black and pink lure seems to stir things up sometimes probably because it is such high contrast. I was now well to the south of the old oyster jetty. I felt a slid thump, dropped the rod tip and paused. When I lifted it the fish was on and the hook pushed home. It took off and felt like a pretty good flathead. It later measured 58cm. I took a few underwater shots with my new camera. This is a fairly hit and miss operation when you are not swimming with them!

I carried on moving south and caught another 30 cm flathead about 3 casts later. After another 30 minutes I swapped to a GULP Satay Chicken Jerkshad and not long afterwards I caught another 50cm plus flathead. As the tide stopped running the action slowed. I caught three more smaller flathead before giving up at about 11.00 am.

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1770 – Tom’s Creek – 17 May 2016

Tuesday

On Tuesday the wind was forecast to blow pretty hard from the south east so I decided to fish the run out tide in Toms Creek. This is a small shallow creek system that comes off Round Hill Creek. The Town of 1770 is situated on the banks of Round Hill Creek.

The moon was about 85% full and low tide would be at about noon. You can reach Tom’s Creek down a very rough four-wheel drive track that leads off from the showground/ market area. I started fishing from the bank and as the tide receded, I followed it out.

I fished with various soft plastics all on a 1/8thounce, 1/0 hook jighead, using 10 lb fluorocarbon leader and my light spin rod. I caught a few small Moses Perch, one flathead that was just about legal size at 40 cm. It was good to explore this territory on a very low tide and see where the holes and slightly deeper patches of water are located.

I fished until about noon and finished by catching a few tiny trevally that enjoyed attacking my small minnow soft plastics.

Bribie – The old oyster jetty flats – 2 January 2016

Saturday

With Christmas done and dusted and the New Year underway. It was time to find an interesting activity other than eating and drinking. When your waders are getting tight you know you are in trouble. I needed to get moving and a morning fishing session is a great way of doing that.

The weather has been far from ideal for the trailer boat based angler over the Christmas and New Year holidays. High winds and seas have pushed a lot of boats into the Pumicestone Passage. This means things have been fairly busy during daylight hours.

On Saturday I was up at 3.45am and drove up to Bribie Island for a 4.30 am start. Low tide would be at about 8.30 am and the wind was forecast to pick up to a 10 knot south westerly. The moon was waning and had been full about a week earlier. I decided to fish the flats in front of the Sandstone Point Hotel and waded out under the bridge just as the light went out.

I started fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Pearl Watermelon colour, mounted on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. After a couple of tough sessions in this area I chose a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I cast around under the bridge without any luck.

I waded towards the old oyster jetty and swapped to a smaller GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I felt couple of bites from small fish and then a solid thud from a flathead. I struck a bit too soon and missed hooking the fish.

I swapped soft plastic lure again just as the sun broke the horizon. This time I chose a Jerkshad in the BBQ chicken colour. I was now just to the south of the jetty standing about 15 metres form the mangroves casting in to the areas of sandy bottom between the weed beds. There was lots of bait around and every now and then something would smash into it from below. I slowed down my retrieve and paused longer between hops. This worked and at about 5.15 I safely landed a 45cm flathead.

About ten minutes later I caught another. This one was about 50 cm long and things were now looking good. I continued to pepper the area with casts but I could not find another. I moved slowly south casting as I waded. At about 6.00 am the wind started to pick up and by the time I reached the green channel marker at about 7.00 am, it was really blowing. Despite the wind there were now plenty of boats running out into the bay. I caught a tiny bar-tailed (sand) flathead by the green channel marker and then turned to wade back towards the bridge.

I got all the way back to the jetty before I got another bite and infuriatingly, after a brief run the fish slipped off or spat out my plastic. I was now fishing with the GULP 4 “Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Just as I came close to the bridge and was about to wade out of the water, I felt a good bite and dropped the rod tip. I paused for what seemed like eternity but was actually about 5 seconds and then lifted the rod tip. The jig head’s hook set in the fish’s mouth and it took off. After a short run it settled and I pulled it ashore. It was another flathead, about 50cm long.

I had three good fish for dinner. As always the key was getting out early, before the boat and recreational traffic got going. I am looking forward to some more peaceful sessions in the near future.

1770 – Tom’s Creek Barramundi – 6 December 2014

Saturday

After a great capture on Thursday, I had to go back to Tom’s Creek on Saturday. It was pouring with rain in the morning and pretty miserable, so I had a lie in and decided to fish the afternoon run out tide. It would be a big tide with plenty of run, as it was full moon.

Low tide at 1770 would be at 2.12 pm, so I assumed it would be half an hour to an hour later, up in Toms Creek. On previous days there had been plenty of bait in the creek, even on the last of the run out tide. I arrived to fish at about 1.00 pm.

I started with the soft plastic that had been fishing well on previous days – the GULP Jerkshad, this time in the Camo colour. Because it was the middle of the day and the water was fairly clear, I had dropped down to 12 lb fluorocarbon leader. The rain started to fall again and the skies were grey. The midges and mosquitoes were biting. It seems that being very uncomfortable is a prerequisite for a good fishing session.

I started off fishing through the gaps in the mangroves, as the tide was too high to walk along the edge. I caught a few small Moses perch, but my first decent fish was a dusky flathead who was obviously sitting on the bottom, just behind a rock. I let the flathead go and as the tide had now receded I walked up the creek a little.

It is very shallow and by this stage boats could not come up. This means the few hours around the bottom of the tide are very quiet. There are some deeper channels and holes and this is where I focused my efforts. I dropped down to a smaller 2” GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I soon found a few more flathead but these were the bar-tailed variety. They were all too small to keep but it was encouraging to see that the fish were here.

I moved further up the creek, casting into the deeper pools where the water had carved out a vertical bank at the foot of the mangrove roots. On the next corner I found a small cod – about 30 cm long. I was now running out of water to fish so I went back to the car for a drink and a break from the insects.

Refreshed, I decided to give the fishing another try. This time walking south towards the mouth of the creek. I beefed up my leader to 16lb fluorocarbon and put on a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead and a GULP Mantis Shrimp, in the Peppered Prawn colour. There were big yabby holes all along the bank so I felt the mantis shrimp shape was my best match for a yabby.

I slowly moved along the muddy bank casting at the far side. It was about 3.30 pm. I could see a fair bit of bait around and every now and then, something was taking a swipe at it from below. I was moving as slowly and quietly as I could, in the thick mud.

At about 4.00 pm, I was standing in about 30 cm of water and casting into no more than a metre when something engulfed the soft plastic,as it landed, on the surface of the water. The fish took off and launched itself out the water at the end of its initial run. It was a medium sized barramundi. I had a chance with 16 lb leader but I was fishing with my light NS Blackhole Trout rod. There was no possibility of muscling this fish in. It was a long fight but fortunately we were in an area of sandy bottom and the water level was below the mangrove roots. It surfaced a few more times, shaking its head but the hook was firmly set.

After what felt like a lifetime but was actually about 5 minutes. It came to the surface on its side. It was a beautiful looking fish, around 60 cm long. But it was closed season on Barramundi so after a few pictures , it swam back to wonder what had happened and grow bigger.

By now, it was raining again, I was hot, knackered and the bugs were humming. I packed up with a smile on my face and headed home for a cold shower and an even colder beer.

1770 Round Hill Creek – 20 October 2014

Monday – Dusk

On Monday afternoon, the south easterly wind was blowing hard and the beaches south of 1770 were impossible to fish. I decided to fish on the northern side of the 1770 headland, in Round Hill Creek. I drove to the car park by Captain Cooks Monument and followed the path down to the creek.

1770 is one of the few places you can actually see great sunrises and sunsets. I started fishing with small soft plastics at about 4.00 pm. I moved along the shoreline towards the mouth of the creek. At one point a small school of what looked like trevally came by, busting up into some bait on the surface. As is so often the case, they remained just out of casting range.

The shoreline is rocky, interspersed with patches of sandy bottom. As with everywhere in this town it looks very fishy! I swapped to a slightly bigger 4” GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. As I pulled this carefully over the top of the submerged rocks a small cod shot out and grabbed it. It did its best to bury itself in the rocks but I just let the pressure off and waited for it to swim out. It was about 30 cm long – so I sent it on its way.

 

I swapped to a bigger soft plastic a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I was still fishing with my light rig – 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead. After a few casts, I felt a solid bite at the foot of the rocks and was sure I had a fish on for a few seconds. But it must have dropped the soft plastic. I carried on along the shore and turned back as the sun began to drop towards the horizon. I stopped where I had felt the bite previously and put in another cast. I slowed it all down and let the plastic sit on the bottom for a good 10 seconds. I then hopped it back towards the shore. On the third attempt the fish hit the plastic hard.  It hooked itself and started thrashing around in the fairly shallow water. I let it make a few runs then tightened the drag and pulled it up on to the pebbly beach. It was another flathead – but a dusky this time. It was a little bigger the mornings version at about 55 cm. By the time I had photographed and released it, I had a violent red sunset to watch.

Nothing spectacular but a decent fish and sunrise at the beginning of the day and a decent fish and sunset at the end of the day – perfect!

Bribie – the old oyster jetty to the channel marker – 21 April 2014

Monday

I am disappointed to report that once more the curse of paid employment has slowed down my posting and fishing. If the current government has its way, I shall be doing more work, for a lot longer than I had planned. I understand that when the pension was first introduced around 1910, the qualifying age was 65 and life expectancy was 58. So it was the ultimate healthy lifestyle bonus. Rarely did the government have to pay out for more than a few years. Now, most of us will get to our mid 80’s (especially if we eat plenty of fish). So we nearly all qualify for some portion of state funding for 15 years or more. Someone has to pay for it and the woeful performance of most people’s superannuation fund managers, means they will not be making much of a contribution. It’s a mess and it can only mean one thing – the current Australian age pension is probably as good as it will ever be.  So next time you see someone with more grey hair than you, whingeing about the cost of bait, remember you will be working long after they put their feet up, so ask them to shout you a beer. Of course, I can’t imagine who will employ me when I am 65 but that’s a whole another can of worms.

That’s enough social commentary. I was keen to see if the flathead glory days of early March would return. I drove up to Bribie on Monday, to fish the run out tide, which would be low at 8.00 am. It was still school holidays and during my last few visits, there has been plenty boat traffic. The wind has been changing between a light south-easterly and a northerly, with the occasionally cool westerly appearing, in the early morning. On Monday, it was light and cool from the south west. The overnight westerlies will start to bring the water temperature down quite quickly, if they persist. We were about half way between the full and the new moon.

I started in the dark and decided to head straight to the area to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. My last few sessions through the Easter Holidays had produced some quality fish, but the numbers were thinning out.  I decided to fish with neutral/ natural coloured soft plastics, just in case the fish were getting picky. I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I loaded it on to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.  It was 5.30 am and the sky was just beginning to turn orange along the horizon. I cast the plastic a long  way out and after two hops, I felt a good bite. Then the line went slack. I wound up the slack and suddenly, I was in contact with a fish again. It was swimming towards me but now it turned away. As it pulled away, the hook struck home and it took off with a blistering first run. I gradually subdued it, but it was powerful and angry and this area has a big patch of rocky bottom, close to the shore, so I took it slowly. After a few minutes, I pulled the fish on to the sandy beach. It was a big female, just under 70 cm. After a few pictures, I let her go.

The sun came up and I waded further south, following the falling tide. It was pretty quiet and it was not until 6.25 am, that I got another bite. I had swapped to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and hooked another slurping, grunting, spiny puffer fish. I pushed it off the hook and continued fishing. I then caught a couple of undersized flathead in quick succession. Then things went quiet again. I swapped to a longer GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour and this soon attracted a few bites. About 10 minutes after the change, I caught a big (35cm) pike. I was now about half way to the green channel marker.

The water slowed and I turned back towards the jetty. At about 7.20 am I caught an almost legal size flathead, which I released. It was getting frustrating. By low tide at 8.15 am, I found myself back beside the old oyster jetty. I had swapped back to the Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I put in a few last casts and then bang, a big fish grabbed the Shrimp soft plastic, just as it landed. The fish was lying in no more than 20 cm of water. It was big and powerful and as it was so near the surface, it immediately started shaking its head. It ran hard but after about four good runs, it was spent. I waded through the soft muddy weed and pulled it ashore. It was another 70 cm model, or perhaps it was the one I caught earlier. It looked a very different colour in full daylight, but you never know.

I had caught some good fish but I had released them all. It may be time to fish somewhere else for a while.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 4 April 2014

Friday

There had been a few showers and more were forecast. There was also a cyclone forming, up north. The new moon, four days earlier had not really made any difference to the fishing but it had coincided with some heavy rain, which may have limited its effect.

I set off back to Bribie Island. For the last two months I have fished here, exclusively. I apologise to readers who would like a change. But it has been good to fish through a few moon cycles and big weather changes and notice how they the effect what I catch.

Since the first week in March, I have been catching a lot of flathead from the sand flats, on the mainland size of the Pumicestone Passage, to the south of the Bribie Island Bridge. The fish were probably most numerous and at their most aggressive, in the run up to the full moon on the 16th March. The size of the fish and the numbers then gradually dropped off, after the full moon.  We then had some heavy rain which may have pushed them out to saltier water.

Looking back over my archive of fishing reports, I see I have had a number of excellent flathead sessions at this time of the year, in this particular spot.  The large numbers, the aggressive feeding and the fact that a good proportion of the legal size fish I have kept are full of roe, suggests they had gathered to spawn. It seems unlikely that the flathead only schooled up in this one location and I have seen many reports of good flathead catches, through early March, in the fishing press.

According to the sparse research that has been undertaken on flathead (principally in New South Wales – see ‘Reproduction and growth of dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) in NSW estuaries’ – July 2008. NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries Final Report Series No.101 ), they spawn between – September and March.

This would put this particular spawning session right at the end of the window. This is interesting because most fishing pundits will suggest the end of the cooler months – September / November is when you more reliably catch large numbers of spawning flathead. Hopefully I will have time to fish then, as well and I will compare the results.

Back to Friday – low tide would be at 6.28 am and it would be a fairly high low tide, at 0.7 m. I arrived just before first light, at about 5.15 am. It was still warm and I had driven through a couple of showers on the way up from Brisbane. The wind, if there was any, was form the south east.

I waded out into the shallows beside the bridge and cast around with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. It was still dark and a few fish were feeding under the bridge lights. On my second or third cast I felt a solid bite, paused and hooked a good fish. I steered it out of the rocks, which dot the area and dragged it to the shore. It was a solid 50 cm flathead.

The next fish came about twenty minutes later, just to the north of the oyster jetty. I was then treated to a really fantastic sunrise which lit up a rain squall that was coming my way. It was now about 6.00 am. I caught a few more flathead in this spot, but they were all under 40 cm.

I moved to the south of the jetty and pulled out another new favourite of mine. The Lucky Craft 4” Mad Scientist Optishad soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Vairon colour. This is the ultimate shape for a flathead soft plastic. It is a Jerkshad with a huge paddle tail. The slim body accentuates the paddle tail and you can really feel the lure moving as you hop it along the bottom. Thanks to the guys at Jones Tackle for introducing me to these – http://jonestackle.com.au/.  It did not take long to find the fish. Between 6.30 am and 8.15 am, I caught 8 more flathead on this soft plastic. However, only two of these fish were over 40 cm.

At about 8.30 am I was soaked by a rain squall and decided to give up.  There are still plenty of fish out there, but the bigger ones are getting harder to find.