Bribie & Mooball Creek – fishing the shallows – May 2017

May saw me out on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point hotel at Bribie Island wading in the shallows. Winter took a long time to arrive and the water styed stubbornly warm all through the month.

The flounder arrived to supplement the flathead and the odd bream. I fished with my light spinning rod and reel, 10lb fluorocarbon leader and generally GULP Jerkshad soft plastics in various colours on 1/8th 1/0 jigheads. I filled a bag with five keeper size flathead in the run up to the new moon on the run out tide.

I also continued my search for fish around Pottsville and found a few tiny flathead and Bream in Mooball Creek. These grabbed the smaller soft plastic minnows.

1770 Getaway Beach and Wreck Rock – 24 October 2014

Friday

With the wind and swell dropping and turning into a light north-easterly, Friday looked like the perfect fishing day. I was awake at 4.00 am and decided to fish at Getaway Beach. I walked down to the small bay in the pre-dawn light.

I started at the north end of the beach on the rocky promontory. The tide was coming in and would be high at about 8.30 am. I cast at a semi-submerged bommie. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour on a 1/8th 2/0 jighead. I was still hoping there might be a jewfish/mulloway lurking somewhere around here. The first taker was a small stripey perch – not much longer than the jerkshad. I cast out again and got another. I moved further round and caught another. After about 30 minutes I had caught and released about 10 fish – all too small for a meal. The tide was coming in and I had to get off the rock if I wanted to avoid getting stranded.

I walked back to the south side of the rocky headland. I was now fishing with a GULP 4“ Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I cast it at a bommie and let it sink. N.B – The word ‘bommie’ is unique to Australia and is derived from a local aboriginal word – ‘bombora’ which can be loosely translated as coral reef outcrop. The sea was settling down but it was still not very clear and I could smell and see the algal bloom in the water. As I lifted my rod tip a fish attacked and hooked itself. It turned and tried to bury itself in the rocks. I pulled it out and landed it. It was a chunky stripey perch about 35cm long – I kept it. I believe these fall under the ‘all tropical sea perch’ category and have a minimum size of 25cm (but please correct me if I have misinterpreted the current Queensland rules).

I did not find another one but I did pull out small, bream, dart and trevally, after swapping down to smaller 3” GULP Minnows in various colours. I swapped to a small DUO hard bodied vibe lure and this caught also caught a few small dart. By about 9.00 am, as we passed the top of the tide, the sea was calm and the fish seemed to stop biting. I decided to go for breakfast and a sleep.

At about 2.00 pm I drove back down to Wreck Rock to fish the bottom of the tide. This was another good session. I caught plenty of dart and small bream and the catch rate picked up as the afternoon moved on and the tide started to run in. At about 3.30 pm, I upgraded to 15lb leader and swapped to a slightly heavier 1/6th ounce jighead, to counter the strong afternoon north-easterly wind, which had picked up. I was now fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow, in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

Just on 4.00 pm I felt a sudden hit and line started peeling. It felt like a chunky fish but in the swell it was hard to tell. It was fast and trying get down into the rocks. I felt more confident with the 15lb leader and I tightened the drag and put some pressure on. It fought hard but after a few minutes I pulled it up on a wave and grabbed it. It was another decent trevally, about 50cm long. They must cruise up and down these rocks. I have seen some much bigger shapes in the waves out front but they could be anything in this spot. By 4.30 pm the incoming tide pushed me off the rocks so I gave up for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

1770 – Getaway Beach – 21 October 2014

Tuesday

On Tuesday, I was up early to fish the rocks at Getaway Beach. This can be reached from Springs Road along a walking track, or by walking north around the headland from the new road that was constructed for the desalination plant inlet.

I have caught and dropped a few jewfish/mulloway here in the past. There are lots of spots that look promising, in fact it is pretty much perfect with rocky overhangs and sea caves all around the headlands. But I am much less confident in my ability to find them here than I am down south, in Southern Queensland or Northern New South Wales. They are very much creatures of habit but the more I think about it and the more I fish for them, I realise that there must be ready supply of bait for them to hang around. The moon and tides are also important. The run up to the full and new moons both seem to make them more active but, like most fish, it is a constant food supply that they are most interested in. I agree that they also prefer the water to be stirred up and foamy but not necessarily dirty.

The new moon was only a few days away.  The tide was running in. I started fishing about 5.30 am, a little after sunrise (late for work again!). I started with my lighter rock and beach fishing combo, based on the N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. I match this rod with a Shimano Sustain 3000 reel. This is rigged with 15lb braid and I usually fish it with a 12lb to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. Today I had some 14lb. When I am looking for a jewfish I start with the lightest jighead that will sink in the swell. That varies between a 3/8th ounce, down to a 1/8th ounce. A ¼ ounce was perfect for the conditions – a light south-easterly swell. I started with some big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshads and then regular Jerkshads, then 4” Minnows and finally 3 “ Minnows. Nothing produced a jewfish.

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I caught plenty of stripey perch and lost tails to small dart/ whiting. At one point, I hooked the resident turtle – who set off for New Zealand, before unhooking himself. I moved around the rocks and cast into every crevasse and at every bommy – but nothing produced what I was looking for.

The wind started to build and by 9.00 am it was a 25 knot south-easterly so I gave up. No fish pictures because you all know what a dart and stripey perch look like by now.

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!

Iluka – Middle Bluff – 28 September 2014

Sunday

On Saturday, I packed up the car and drove 3 hours south, from Brisbane, to Iluka. It is about a year since I was here last and it feels like much longer. At last I had the opportunity to get away and fish for some different species. The weather was forecast to be pretty good for most of the week – with limited swell and wind and plenty of sunshine.

I arrived on Saturday night and ate at the Sedgers Reef Hotel. The food in here continues to go steadily downhill, while the prices go up. Everything is deep-fried (mostly from frozen) and hot chips are really the only thing worth eating. Still, the beer is cold and the location is fantastic. It’s a great place to watch the sunset across the mighty Clarence River.

The Clarence River empties into the ocean between Iluka to the north shore and Yamba to the south. The Clarence is a huge river and there is always activity at its mouth and on the rocky headlands, on either side. I prefer to fish the Iluka side of the river mouth, as it is quieter and has the beautifully unspoiled Bundjalung National Park.

This time I was staying at the Anchorage Holiday Park www.anchorageholidaypark.com.au in one of their deluxe cabins. I love to camp at the Woody Head camp ground, but they were booked out for the school holidays and its nice to have a proper fridge and running water, if you are planning to keep a few fish, to take home. There is also good fishing on the river, right in front of the park.

I went to bed early on Saturday night and as usual I found it hard to sleep. At about 4.00 am I woke before the alarm, had a quick cup of tea and set off for the rocks. I decided to start by fishing just to the north of Frazers Reef, at what is known as Middle Bluff (or sometimes Second Bluff). This is a rocky headland in between Woody Head and Iluka Bluff. I walked along the beach in the pre-dawn light and I was relieved to feel only a very light south easterly wind blowing. As the sky grew lighter I could see there was not much swell, which would make things much easier (and safer). I arrived at the northern end of Middle Bluff at about 5.15 am and started to rig up.

I had two rod and reel combos with me. The first – my heavy rig – is a Daiwa Demonblood 962H rod matched with a Shimano Stradic FJ 8000 reel. This is rigged with 20lb braid and I usually fish it with a 25lb or 30 lb fluorocarbon leader. The second is the much lighter, N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. I match this rod with a Shimano Sustain 3000 reel. This is rigged with 15lb braid and I usually fish it with a 12lb to 16lb fluorocarbon leader.

Around dawn I tend to fish with the heavy rig and try a few hard bodied lures or poppers. This morning I tied on a small but fairly heavy (31g) sinking bibbed minnow from Maria – called the Duplex. It is designed for long casts and high speed retrieves and it is ideal for casting from the rocks. I threw it out about 15 times and felt a few bumps. The sun was just coming over the horizon when I felt my first solid hit. I had the drag set quite tight as I did not want to get dragged down into the rocks. I did not hook up, so I cast out again and cranked up the retrieve. This time the hit was much more solid and the rod bent over, there was a fairly slow initial pull followed by a massive yank and the lure pulled free. When I got it back the rear treble had been completely pulled out – not happy.

I continued to fish with another Maria Duplex for about 15 minutes, but I could not find that fish again. I decided to switch to a soft plastic and chose the trusty GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I started fishing on a ¼ ounce, 2/0 hook jighead. The swell was light and the ¼ ounce jighead ensured the lure would drift around in the water column, before it reached the bottom. I tried to keep the jighead on the bottom for as long as possible without getting snagged. After about five casts a felt a faint bite, very close to the rocks. I dropped the plastic straight back down, only a meter or so away from the rock ledge. I paused for about 10 seconds as it sank to the bottom. When I lifted the rod, the line pulled tight and the rod tip started wriggling. I had the drag set tight as I was fishing very close to the barnacle covered rocks, but the fish predictably tried to swim under the rock ledge. It was no match for the heavier Daiwa rod and 25lb leader and I muscled it out and up on to the rocks beside me. It was a small Jewfish/ Mulloway – I estimated it at just under 50cm – a long way off the new NSW legal size limit. I let it recover in the rock pool for a bit, so that it might avoid becoming a shark snack. Then I speared it back in to the water. I continued with the same rig for about another half hour and had another faint hit, but did not hook up.

I decided to swap to the lighter fishing rig with a 14lb fluorocarbon leader. I had tried a number of bigger soft plastics but none of these had created any real interest. I now swapped down to a GULP 3” Sardine Minnow which I rigged on a ¼ ounce, size 1/0 hook, Nitro breampro fine wire jighead. I lost a few of these to the rocks but at about 8.30 am I felt a solid bite in very close to the rocks. This was a stronger fish but the swell had dropped off a little, which made things easier. I could not muscle this one in, so I let it play itself out and then landed it with the help of a good wave surge. It was bigger than the last at about 55cm – but still not big enough to keep. I took some photos and threw it back in.

I continued fishing for another 90 minutes without any more success, but the birds were working a few hundred metres away. The dolphins came through a couple of times – so I assume that there was some bait around. At about 10.00 am, I gave up for the morning. There was no fish for supper but it was a great start to the week.

Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 11 August 2014

Monday

After a disappointing outing on Friday I was up earlier on Monday.  It was full moon. In fact, it was a super moon. That is probably why I could not sleep. I did not have much time, so I drove up to Bribie Island for a quick morning session.

The fish are always out there somewhere, so when they are elusive, it is not a bad idea to go back to basics. I decided to drop the leader down to 8lb fluorocarbon, use the fine wire Bream Pro 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jigheads and start with 2” and 3” GULP soft plastics in natural colours – Peppered Prawn, Banana Prawn, Smelt, Pearl Watermelon, etc. This set up should at least attract a few pike and bream.

I started under the bridge lights, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. There was a very light south-westerly wind blowing and the moon was amazing. It was so bright that the fish would certainly have been confused by it. It was just after 5.00 am and low tide had passed at 3.53 am. It had been one of the years lowest at 0.2 metres. The tide was running in fast but there was no sign of any bait under the bridge lights. I cast around with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I felt a couple of grabs and half hooked a couple of pike, but they both wriggled off. I had one solid bite, that might have been a small flathead, but it let go before I could find out.

At about 5.30 am, I decided to swap back to the mainland side of the bridge. I drove back over and waded out into the shallows. I stayed about 10 metres north of the bridge and cast towards it. I soon found the pike hiding in amongst the weed clumps and rocks.

I gradually moved south, under the bridge. The mad moon was creating a fantastic bright orange sky, as dawn was breaking. I think the sunrises on the east coast of Australia are the best in the world and this one was as good as they get. My camera does not do it justice – but I am sure if you are as mad about fishing as I am, you will have seen a few of these.

The tide was moving in quickly and the water coming in from the bay was very cold.  I made my way south to the fast disappearing sand bank and fished around this area. It is tough to fish here when the sun is low in the sky, as you cannot see where the sandy patches and weed beds are. You just have to slowly and methodically cover the ground.

I swapped up to slightly bigger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. After just a few casts this produced results with a definite hit. I paused but there was no fish there. It was just about 7.00 am. I did not have much more time in this spot as the tide was running in very quickly. I slowed everything down and tried to put the next cast back in exactly the same spot. I left the lure on the bottom for a good ten seconds. I hopped it slowly back towards me – nothing. I cast about a metre to the left and repeated the process. This time after my second pause on the bottom, whack, another solid flathead bite. This time I dropped the rod tip and counted (fairly quickly) to ten. When I lifted the rod the fish was hooked. It felt much bigger than it was (about 45cm) but it was a relief to finally get one.

As the morning progressed the wind picked up a little. The scenery was fantastic and the weather very good but I just could not find the fish. I swapped from small plastics to big plastics, jerkshads to paddletails to grubtails. I tried my DUO hard bodies but nothing worked.

At about 9.00 am I had to give up. It looks like I am going to have to put in a lot of practice to find my form again!

Tumut – Jounama Creek and the Goobarragandra River – 10 May 2014

Saturday

I woke to a cold grey morning in Tumut. I am used to fishing early but I had been advised that dawn is less good for trout fishing than dusk. I took the advice to heart and had a lie in …. until 7.30 am. By then I had to test the theory. I drove down to Junction Park on the Tumut River, parked and walked back across the bridge. This spot is where the Tumut and Goobarrangandra Rivers meet. There is a bridge across the river and a small park. The Tumut River is wide and fairly shallow but there are some deeper pools, near the bridge.

You can fish a fair way along the Tumut side of the river and I climbed the steps over the fence and set off along the bank. The sun was trying to come out and it was about 5 degrees. I had a warm hat on and a couple of layers of fleece, but soon everything felt cold. I fished from the bank with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Rainbow colour and then swapped to a GULP 3” Jigging Grub in the Peppered Prawn colour. The latter provoked a few bites but I could not hook up. By about 9.00 am I was still fishless, so I drove back in to Tumut for a bacon sandwich and a coffee.

At about 10.00 am I had warmed up, so I drove further up the Snowy Mountains Highway in the direction of Yarrangobilly.  The road runs alongside Blowering Reservoir. At Talbingo I noticed a small creek running down in to the reservoir. I turned off on to the track and followed it up hill, as it ran parallel to the stream. I later figured out this was Jounama Creek. I walked up it for about an hour, casting around, first with soft plastics and then with a few small hard bodied lures, but I could not find any fish. There were lots of pools, but there was not much water over the rocky bottom in places – perhaps there was not enough water for the trout to get up here. I am still very much a novice at this type of fishing, but I work on the principle that any body of water is worth casting at. At about noon, I turned around and walked back to the car. The scenery was fantastic but the fish were elusive.

 

 

I drove back down through Tumut and out, along the Goobarragandra River again. Through the afternoon I fished a selection of spots. I had a couple of hits on the soft plastics but did not catch anything. Then I found myself on what looked like very fishy section of river. The bank had turned rocky on both sides, channelling fast flowing water in between.  I gave up on the Rapala F3 and switched to the DUO Tetra Works Toto 48. This is a 48mm sinking, bibbed minnow, from my favourite Japanese lure manufacturer. It has the usual DUO hallmarks – brilliant finish and colours, great balance for casting and a startling action. The first one I tied on was in the zebra glow rainbow colour (white stripes on silver). Almost as soon as it hot the water, I watched a fish come out from beside a rock and follow the lure all the way back to me. This happened three times. On the next cast, I jerked the lure a bit more aggressively and bang, the trout struck. It was on, it jumped….,it was off. I was getting frustrated and a couple of casts later, I lost the lure to the trees, on the far bank.

I looked through the tackle bag – one more DUO Tetra Works Toto 48 left – in the red gold colour. I tied it on and moved upstream. I was in the right spot now or I had finally selected the right lure. I saw a few more fish follow the lure and once more, by speeding up, I triggered a strike. This time the fish stayed on. It was only a small brown, but I was delighted to bring it ashore.

I carried on upstream and caught another brown, about 10 metres further on. This time I hooked myself as well as the fish. I found my pliers, released the fish and then bit hard as I pulled the treble out. It had clouded over and fortunately my hand was numb from the cold water.

It slowly started to rain and as I moved up stream, I caught another small brown on the same lure. Then disaster struck – the lure caught on a tree branch, on the far bank. It was out of reach so I had to leave it. The rain was picking up and I was knackered so I gave up for the day.

That was it for me, as I was on the early flight back to Brisbane, the next morning. I had thoroughly enjoyed catching my first trout on mainland Australia.

Tumut – the Goobarragandra River – 9 May 2014

Friday

Every cloud has a silver lining and last weekend work left me in Tumut, at the base of the Snowy Mountains, about 2 ½ hours drive from Canberra, on Friday afternoon. The weather forecast was for a few showers over the weekend and it was cold – about 3 Celsius, up to a top of about 20. But Friday afternoon was beautiful, with bright sunshine and no wind.

I have never traveled down here before. At this time of year, the trees form a bright tapestry of colours that brought back memories of Octobers in England. I have not experienced a real autumn for a while. I do not miss the rain or cold but the colours are fantastic.

I changed my flights home, found a motel in Tumut and decided to fish the nearby streams. First stop was the local tackle shop – to buy everything (I had not planned to fish). When I say I had not planned to fish, I do always have a packed bag of small DUO lures, soft plastics, and an old spooled up Shimano Stradic 2500, that goes everywhere – just in case. Barry from Tumut Fishing, Camping and Outdoor, on Wynyard Street, soon sorted me out. He is a helpful and friendly cove and has a full range of tackle. I ended up a few hundred dollars lighter with a nice, light 6’ NS Blackhole Trout rod, some thigh waders and few other bits and pieces. I do this quite often when I am on the road. It is my way of directly supporting regional small business. Joe Hockey should really give me some kind of regional development grant. I suppose, theoretically it would be a tax deduction, but I would have to make enough money to pay tax, from my fishing exploits, first. At present, that seems fairly unlikely.

Barry suggested the Tumut River or any of the other local streams and explained that the trout should be sitting near the fast, oxygenated water, at this time of year, looking for whatever prey comes by. When I pressed him for more specific locations he said they could be pretty much anywhere along the river. Although the local rivers were quite low they were, apparently, still deep enough to hold fish.

 

 

I had a look at the map and did a quick survey of fishing forums for any local advice. I decided to drive out of Tumut and fish in the Goobarragandra River, which is only 30 minutes away. At this time of year it is a shallow, fast running, rocky bottomed stream that pelts down a narrow valley.  I wanted to fish the fast water in the upper reaches. There a number of points where you can access the water from Goobarragandra Road. I drove upstream and stopped at the first point where I could park. near the river bank. I surveyed the stream and cast a small Rapala F3 floating hard body, at some likely looking pools. I got the hang of the new rod and moved slowly upstream. The water was bracingly cold but the sun was out and the scenery was fantastic. I fished for about an hour with no luck. So I went back to the car and drove further upstream.

I stopped at an accessible stretch of river just before the trout farm. When the river got wider, I would wade in the shallows. When it was narrow, I tried to stay on the bank. I saw I couple of fish following the Rapala F3, but I could not get them to strike.

I reached an area where the stream narrowed and ran fast, against some big rocks on the far bank. I swapped to a soft plastic – a GULP 3” Minnow in the Rainbow colour. I put it on a 1/12th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with 6lb fluorocarbon leader. It was about 4.15 pm. There was a big boulder mid-stream. As I hopped the soft plastic past it, a fish came up on the lure and I saw its tail break the surface. A few casts later, I was hopping the lure past the boulder again and this time, the fish grabbed it.

I had forgotten how ballistic trout go and I was instantly worried about the 6lb leader. Once I pulled the fish out of the main flow it was easier to control and I soon got it into the shallows, at my feet. It was a nice small brown trout between, 30 and 35cm long.

I now had only about 30 mins of good daylight. I moved further upstream to an area of very shallow fast moving water and started casting and hopping the plastic down along the bottom. The water was moving so fast that I did not need to do much. I just took up the slack after each cast and flicked the rod tip up a few times. I got snagged often but was usually able to move up stream and release the jighead from the rocks.

Just as I was about to give up, a small rainbow trout leapt out of the white water with the minnow soft plastic firmly lodged in the corner of it mouth. I landed it, took a picture of it and let it swim away.

It was the perfect end to my session and I headed back to the motel to thaw out.

Bribie – the channel marker to the bridge – 31 March 2014

Monday

With massive downpours all along the Sunshine Coast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was concerned that the recent flathead bonanza might come to an end. On Monday, I found myself driving up to Bribie to see how the big flush of freshwater had affected things.

I have been doing well fishing the last few hours of the run out tide, over the last few weeks. But after a major rain event this is not ideal. The water is at its freshest and cloudiest in the estuaries, as the tide runs out. All of the water that is running off the surrounding land changes the salt levels quite dramatically and this can force the fish or what they are eating, out to sea.

The trouble is the best drains and hiding spots around Bribie are hard to reach at high tide. So even though the incoming tide makes the water saltier and more comfortable for the fish, you cannot get at them from the shore.

I decided to fish as close as I could to the mouth of the Passage, next to the green channel marker, on the mainland side. This involved a long walk from the Bribie Bridge. I arrived at the sand spit, beside the channel marker at about 1.30 pm. Low tide would be at 4.00 pm. It would be a very low low tide at 0.3m, as we were only a couple of days off the new moon.

I tried a few GULP soft plastics – the 4” Minnow in Pearl Watermelon and the 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, with no luck. The water was running out quickly, but it was very dirty. I swapped to a 5” Powerbait Minnow in the Pumpkinseed colour and started casting close to the green channel marker pole. This worked and just before 2 pm, I got my first flathead of the day. It was a decent 55cm fish.

I slowly moved back towards the bridge, casting into the run out tide and following the fringing weed beds. It took almost an hour to find the next fish. By this time, I had swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. It was another flathead, just over 40cm.

As the tide ran out, the fishing got harder and harder and the water got dirtier and dirtier. I dropped another fish, closer to the old oyster jetty but, by low tide I had really only had three serious bites in 3 hours.

Finally, I picked up a few tiny (under 30cm) flathead near the bridge, but overall it was a disappointing session. It is too soon to say that the fish are gone for good. I suspect that if there is no more rain, we may well see them build up again after the new moon.

 

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 – 16 December 2013

Monday

Back up to Bribie to play with the flathead again. Usually the flathead fishing goes off a bit after November, during the hotter summer months. But my last two sessions had showed there were still plenty of lurking lizards hanging around on the sand flats.

The sunrise is gradually working its way towards a more reasonable hour, but it has a long way to go. First light was due at about 4.15 am and I like to ready to fish by then. Low tide had been at about 2.00 am, so I would not be able to fish my favourite spots for long. Over the years I have caught good fish at all stages of the tide, but the last few hours of a big run out tide are probably my favourite time to fish around the Pumicestone Passage.

It was the day before full moon, so the tide would be running in fast. I headed a favourite spot, just south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. There was a light south–easterly wind blowing which was forecast to pick up significantly.

Just before the sun came over the horizon I had my first bite, but no hook up. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The same thing happened on the next cast.

I swapped to the bigger GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour. A few casts later a flathead struck. In fact, it cleared the surface to make sure it hit the plastic. I subdued it and could see it was about 45cm long. I was not keeping today so I loosened the tension on the line, grabbed the leader and the fish and released it.

I caught two more in the next ten minutes, in the same spot just after the sun had come up. Both were about the same size. I waded south trying to fish in the gaps between the weed beds but with a low bright sun, it was difficult to see where the fish might be.

After a fruitless hour, the weed was everywhere and the tide was coming up fast, so I turned back towards the shoreline and started casting at the large exposed sand bank. There was now about 20cm of water on the sand patch between the bank and the weed beds. I cast at this patch. It was about 5.40am, almost four hours after low tide. This patch of sand had been covered with water for only about 20 to 30 minutes.

After working my way along about ten metres of the sand bank, my lure was slammed as it hit the water. I thought I had picked up a big clump of weed but then the rod tip started wiggling and realised it was a fish. It was a good flathead, about 55cm long. I released it and marvelled at just how quickly these fish will move up, into the shallows, on a rising tide.

I tried for more but the big tide had lifted so much weed that I eventually got fed up and gave up at about 7.00 am. The fish are still around!

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 14 October 2013

Monday

Last morning in Yeppoon for a while and yes, of course I was heading for Fishing Creek. I had wanted to fish some of the headlands on this trip but the wind was up to 15 knots everyday by 10.00 am, so it had been out of the question. In hindsight, I was glad I had been forced to explore. I was enjoying fishing in this estuary system.

It was the same basic plan as Monday – walk down the creek from the top end, following the receding tide, casting into the pools and channels. I started at the shallow end with the GULP 3” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was using my light spin rig, 2.8kg Fireline, 12lb fluorocarbon leader and 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook, jighead. This is the perfect size jighead for this size soft plastic. The weather was overcast but there had been no rain. There was a light north-easterly wind blowing but it was gradually picking up. I started just before the sun came over the horizon.

It took a while to find some fish, first some small flathead, then one that was big enough to keep, then a couple of small cod. Then I caught a magnificent spotted ray. I was tempted to let him keep my soft plastic but managed to safely remove it.

I swapped up to a GULP 5 inch Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. After a few casts, this got slammed and I thought I might have another barramundi. Then I realised this fish was too frantic to be a barramundi. After some spirited runs I saw a flash of silver and realised it was a small Trevally – these fish always pull surprisingly hard. I released it and moved on.

I reached the spot where I had caught the barramundi, the day before and decided to try one of my DUO hard bodies. I pulled out a Spearhead Ryuki 70S in a pink silver and black colour. This is really a trout lure but I have found it works well in a shallow estuary situation. The bream like it and so do the flathead. It weighs 9 grams and is effectively a sinking minnow. It is designed to maintain its action in fast flowing water and that is why it was ideal in this situation. I put in a few casts and immediately felt a few bumps. After fifteen minutes of casting, up and down current, I connected with a fish, but it spat the lure out. I cast back in the same spot and this time there was no hesitation – as soon as I took up the slack, the fish was attached.

It pulled pretty hard and the current helped it. After a minute or two it settled down and I pulled it ashore. It was a chunky grunter bream. I released it and continued casting the DUO Spearhead Ryuki 70S. I had a few more touch ups from interested fish before the inevitable happened – I lost the lure to the mangrove roots. Yet another lure to add to the very long shopping list I am collating.

It was now about 11.00 am and the wind had started howling, so I made the long walk/ wade back to the car – keeps you fit this fishing lark!