Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 28 April, 2016

Thursday

I was back in Brisbane and it was time to get amongst the flathead. This has traditionally been a very productive time on the flats around Bribie Island. But this year I have fished far less in this area than usual. The weather has also been very warm and fairly dry, which may have affected the movement of the flathead.  In my last few sessions I had found fish, but not in the big groups that have been around in the last few years. I think this may change as the water cools down.

The moon was 67% full. The day would start with a light south-westerly wind, that would turn south-easterly later in the day. Low tide would be at 7.17 am and I was fishing with my light spinning rod and reel (Shimano Stella 2500 and NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod). This was loaded with the ALDI 8lb yellow braid and I had tied on a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I arrived, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage at about 5.30 am and waded out on to the sandy/ muddy flats under the bridge. The horizon was beginning to glow and the water had a slight ripple on the surface from the cool breeze. The tide was running out quickly. I cast some big and small GULP soft plastics around the reefy area, just to the south of the bridge, without success.

As dawn approached I moved south and started fishing the area south of the old oyster jetty. I was now using the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. It was 5.50 am. A fish grabbed the lure and scurried off. Then it felt like it was stuck. This is typical estuary cod behaviour. I loosened the drag and dropped the rod tip. After about 30 seconds the leader started moving and the fish swam out. I re-tightened the drag and soon had a 40 cm cod on the surface. I released it and moved on.

About thirty minutes later I was casting around the weed beds by the drain that comes off the Sandstone Point flats and I felt a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip, paused and hooked a 43cm flathead. It went in the bag for dinner. There did not appear to be much bait around.  I put on a bigger GULP soft plastic Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour.  I connected and then dropped what I thought was a flathead, just after 7.00 am.

I continued to the south. The sun came up through the clouds and I moved along the edge of the weed beds. I felt another good bite but did not hook up and then things went quiet. The tide was slowing and the water was now fairly murky. I waded all the way down to the green channel marker without another bite.

At about 7.30am as the tide turned back in, I turned around and walked back towards the bridge. I was now fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead.  My next catch was a blue swimmer/ sand crab that took a swipe at the soft plastic.

About half way back to the bridge I caught another, bigger flathead about 50cm, which I also kept. I kept moving and stuck with the same soft plastic. Frustratingly, I dropped two more flathead before hanging on to a third, just north of the bridge. At about 10.00 am I left the water with three keepers in the fishing bag.

It had felt like hard work but on reflection, there were plenty of fish around.

Advertisements

Bribie – the bridge and the old oyster jetty flats – 12 September 2014

Friday

Another late report – but it may be relevant for anyone planning to fish at Bribie over the school holidays, to get a feel for what is going on. I am planning to get down to Iluka in the next few weeks, so watch this space for a bit more variety.

So I drove back up to Bribie Island to fish my favourite spot on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived just after first light at about 5.00 am. Low tide would be at 5.25 am. There was a light southerly wind blowing and it was cloudy.

There was a fair amount of bait jumping around under the bridge lights so I decided to start fishing in that area. As I walked out under the bridge I noticed plenty of ‘lies’ showing where the flathead had moved up to feed on the night time high tide.

I started with a small 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt (Grey & white) colour. This plastic looks like just about any small profile bait fish and has a nice soft texture. I cast it towards the edge of the reef, just to the south of the fifth bridge pylon. I waited for it to sink to the bottom and as I lifted, a fish attacked. There was no hesitation and this one hooked itself, as soon as it bit down. It can be a challenge to keep your fish in this area. There are lots of big clumps of weed and rocky outcrops. This fish was a good size and it wrapped itself around a few large weed clumps. Fortunately, the water was shallow enough and I was able to walk up close and free it. After a few minutes of back and forth, I pulled it safely to shore. A solid 57cm flathead, on my first cast – it was a great start.

 

I tried in the same area for another, but I think my wading around had spooked any remaining fish. It was now low tide and the water was not really moving. I waded to the south. I moved past the old oyster jetty and swapped to the paddle tailed Mad Scientist 6” Optishad soft plastic. I was fishing with a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. At about 6.30 am, I found another flathead, about 40cm long. Then about ten minutes later another smaller fish.

As the tide started to run in, I made my way slowly down to the channel marker, casting into the current and found four more fish – all on the Mad Scientist soft plastic. Only two were about 45cm so I added these to the first one for a family supper. At about 9.00 am I stopped for the day.

 

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.

Caloundra – Dirty water, a big tide & elusive fish – 27 November 2011

Saturday

After a rubbish session at Bribie Island on Thursday morning, I decided to go back to Caloundra again on Saturday. It would be the usual wind pattern – virtually no breeze pre-dawn, building to a solid 15 to 20 knot north-easterly by about 11.00 am.

The view from Bulcock Beach - just after dawn


The new moon had risen on Friday, so it would be a big, fast running tide. High was due at 8.40 am and would be 2.1 metres. I arrived at Bulcock Beach at about 4.00 am to find the water just starting the run in, with some force. The blowy weather and rain of the previous few days has stirred the water up and visibility is very poor. There is also a bit of sediment and floating around. I started off fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was walking along the shore, under the board walk, casting close in to the shore. Just on first light, I caught a small Flathead – about 35 cm long. I carried on up to the rocks at the mouth of the Passage and caught nothing else.

Bulcock Beach - Small Flathead by the boardwalk


I moved down to the flats and weed beds in front of the Power Boat Club, just south of Golden Beach. The water was flooding over the flats when I arrived. I tried a Strikepro hard bodied, bibless vibe lure for a while, but there was a lot of sea grass floating around and the lure was getting fouled up on every cast, so I switched back to a soft plastic lure. I chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I hoped the fluttering tail might draw a strike.

I moved further north across the flats in ankle deep water. I cast along the edge of the channel, bouncing the soft plastic along the bottom. The water was still very murky, with the strong tidal flow washing around a lot of debris as it approached high.

Flathead grabs a Crazylegs soft plastic - Caloundra

After about an hour of fishing this area with the hard bodied lure, I had not found a fish. Three casts with the soft plastic – and I had one. It was no monster – a Flathead, about 45cm long. I released it and spent the next few hours trying, in vain, to find another.

A bit of a frustrating session – but the fish are there.

Bribie Bridge – Caloundra Golden Beach – 27 October 2011

Thursday

On Thursday I was relieved to see that the wind would be from the south, but disappointed that it would be up to 20 knots by 10 am. I drove up to Bribie Island for first light, at around 4.30 am and started on the mainland side under the bridge. It would be a big high tide – 2.5m at about 9.30 am. That meant it would run in very quickly, covering my favorite fishing spots in a couple of hours. Most of the places I like to fish are at their best two hours before and after low tide.

I put on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Black Shad colour and fished it around the rocks, which sit just to the south of the bridge, about 5 pylons from the shore. There was plenty of surface action with the mullet and herring getting attacked under the bridge lights. Every now and then a mullet would skitter by with something fast in hot pursuit. I swapped down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The tide was running in strongly but I did not want to fish any heavier than a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead – it is too easy to get snagged in this terrain with a 1/6th oz jighead. There is a channel that runs through the middle of the rocks and it has produced a few good fish for me. I cast to the south and hopped the plastic along – pretty quickly, with the current, through the channel, back towards the bridge. There was a tug then a pause then a solid, angry bite and I had hooked up. It came straight up and shook its head angrily then swam away again taking some line. It was a good Flathead about 55cm long.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I waded south but again the weed started to cause problems. There is a point when the tide runs in, just as the water submerges the previously exposed sea grass that you just cannot cast without your lure getting instantly clogged up. I had reached that point.

With not many good high tide options available, I decided to drive up to Caloundra and explore the land-based fishing further up the Pumicestone Passage. I parked by the Power Boat Cub and decided to wade north. It was almost high tide, not the best time to be surveying new ground. The big tide had also loosened the weed here. I cast at the edges of the sand banks and after half an hour, I caught a 45cm Flathead on a GULP 4 “ Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

There were big schools of Mullet everywhere, drifting over the sand banks close to the mangroves. There were also smaller schools of Garfish that followed the plastic right to my feet on the retrieve. I decided to move a further south and drove down to Jensen Park. The park is beside another creek off the Pumicestone Passage and has a small boat ramp. I waded along the shore and found a few more undersize Flathead. At around noon the wind was howling even in this sheltered spot so I decided to give up.

I had caught the best fish in my first 30 minutes of fishing, but I had explored some new ground and caught a few more along the way – not a bad day.