I agree with the general sentiment that a clear sunny winter day in Queensland is hard to beat. Ok, so the mornings can be chilly but there is something great about needing a beany at sunrise and a cold shower at noon.
July provided some good weather and some great bream. I started the month fishing on the Bongaree side of the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie and I soon found good sized spawning bream. Gulp 3-inch minnow soft plastics in the Pearl Watermelon or Smelt colours worked best, fished on 1/8th ounce, size 1 and 2 hook jigheads and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This set up also caught a few flathead for me.
Later in the month I had a few days fishing at Iluka, in Northern New South Wales. In fact, it was the good bream catches at Bribie that persuaded me I need to get down there. The rocky headlands of the Bundjalung National Park hold plenty of good bream all year round but in the run up to the big winter full moons they can be everywhere.
During my trip to Iluka I fished at Shark Bay, Iluka Bluff, Frazers Reef and Woody Head. Frazers Reef and the Middle Bluff – just to the north, produced solid catches of bream, as did Shark Bay. I tried for some tailor most mornings using 50/ 60 g slugs. I caught a few small choppers but they were very patchy. When I swapped down to big and small DUO hard bodied lures, I just caught more bream.
The swell made things hard at Woody Head and I could not really fish safely off the front. There must have been Jewfish around and I had a couple of bust offs that may well have been jewfish. Beautiful sunrises and loads of birds and other wildlife to watch made for a great few days.
I promised to take a friend fishing and introduce him to soft plastics on Monday. Unfortunately the weather was far from perfect and we arrived at Bribie to find the wind blowing from the south-east at about 15 Knots.
I decided to start at White Patch, as it is sometimes just a little less exposed to the elements. I showed my mate the basic plastics rig and set him to work with a 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I started with the same.
Why is it always so bloody hard to catch a fish when you need to? I tried all the usual spots and swapped through a load of different soft plastics. I don’t think I managed to prove it was worth getting him up at 4.00 am by catching one small Pike in 3 hours.
The wind did drop off a little, so we moved down to Bongaree to fish around the Seaside Museum drain until low tide. This was a bit more exciting as after about 20 minutes there was a big swirl and splash in between us, as something slammed into the bait just in front of the drop off. This process was repeated every few minutes, as whatever it was moved up the edge, heading north. The angler a bit further north, thought it was a small group of Tuna – difficult to say, as I did not get a look.
Whilst it made interesting viewing I still had not caught anything and nor had my mate. I was about to give up when I felt the solid ‘thud’ of a Flathead. In the end he had grabbed the lure I had started the day with – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. It was a decent fish – approximately 50cm long and it was immediately donated to my patient, but cold, fishing guest.
Finally a fish
At about 10.30 am we gave up – I take my hat off to fishing guides everywhere – and will not be calling myself a ‘Gillie’ any time soon.