Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 21 December 2013

Saturday

Saturday morning was clear, but hot and humid. I set off for the Bribie sand flats at about 3.30am and was wading out in the pre-dawn light, just after 4.30 am. Low tide was due at 4.58 am. Then it would be another big run in tide – getting up to 2.3 metres.

Pre-dawn there was virtually no breeze but the wind had been a fairly persistent northerly the day before and was forecast to pick up again later. On the still water, at the bottom of the tide there were clumps of seagrass everywhere. The big tides have been lifting it up and spreading it all around. This always makes the fishing tricky. As soon as your lure lands it starts collecting seagrass.

At 4.45 am, I caught my first flathead of the day on a Gulp Orange Tiger 5” Jerkshad soft plastic. Just to the north of the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. It must have been lurking in a sandy depression. I could not find any more in this location, so I waded further south, while I waited for the tide to start running in.

The weed got worse as the tidal flow picked up. I was restricted to casting into patches of weed free water, which meant I could not really put my lures where I wanted them to be.

After an hour of frustrating fishing I thought I was attached to another clump of weed, but suddenly it started wriggling. It was another flathead about 50cm long. It had felt much bigger.  I swapped to a smaller GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic and after another 30 mins I caught another slightly smaller flathead.

I continued to battle the weed but decided to wade back to the bridge. The tide was running in fast and I disturbed a few small flathead in the shallows. The northerly winds had brought the usual herd of blue jellyfish the stingrays were everywhere.

At about 8.00 am I reached the bridge. I fought the weed for a few more casts and then gave up for the day.

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!