Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 18 December 2012

Tuesday

It was great to wake up at 4.00 am and only have a few minutes’ drive to wherever I wanted to fish on Bribie Island. My problem was that I was struggling to find fish. Was it the northerly winds or increased fishing and boating activity or was I just not looking in the right places?

Sunday and Monday had been dismal days. I had put in the hours in spots where I have often found fish and caught very little. There definitely was not much bait around. I have often found fishing at this time of the year tough and the last few days had been evidence of that.

I decided to try the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, around the old oyster jetty, just south of the Bribie Island bridge. This is an area of mud and sandbanks with extensive weed beds. It usually fishes quite well on the bottom of the run out tide. Low tide would be at about 0.5m at 6.32 am.

I arrived at about 4.45 am and waded out across the mud flats. The tide was still running out slowly but the water was dead calm and it was already stinking hot. I started with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I waded south, casting at the edges of the weed beds.

At first, there was a little cloud in front of the sun as it came over the horizon but when it emerged, it was already white hot. The water was so shallow and warm that it provided no relief. I fished my way south and was encouraged to see a few patches of very tiny squid (about 3cm long) swimming around.

The northerly winds had blown hundreds of blue jellyfish in from the ocean and these were now dotted all over the sandbanks, like cake decorations. I walked down to the green channel marker and fished around but did not feel any bites. As the tide turned in, I turned back and walked parallel with the sandbanks. I slowly waded back towards the oyster jetty.

As the tide picked up pace it washed the loose weed away and the water became clearer. It was now easier to see the edge of the weed beds and that’s where I kept casting. I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Lime Tiger colour. Suddenly I felt the tell-tale ‘thud’ and I immediately dropped the rod tip. I paused and then struck. The rod tip started wriggling but the drag was silent. I realised it was working but the clicking mechanism was buggered. It was surprisingly disconcerting to play the fish without the noise of a clicking drag. I slowly waded back to the sand bank, playing the fish very gently – it hard been hard to find. It was a dark green, carefully camouflaged flathead – about 50cm long and I was very glad to see it.

I took some photos, bagged it then followed my muddy footsteps back to the edge of the weed beds. A few more casts, in the same area and bang, I had another. I still was not going to risk grabbing it, so I waded back to the sand bank again. It was another flathead, about the same size. I repeated this process three more times along the edge of the weed banks and caught three larger Flathead – the biggest was just over 60cm. I got them all on the same GULP Jerkshad in lime Tiger.

So I had fished for three days and caught the only five legal size fish, all within about 30 minutes. They had all been on the same 50 metre stretch of shoreline. And this was the same stretch I had covered in casts an hour before.

It was a relief to have a bag of fish for Christmas entertaining and even more of a relief to know there must be a few more out there. At that point I decided it was time for a cold shower, so I gave up for the day and waded back to the car.

Bribie Island – More Flathead from around that jetty – 31 May 2011

Tuesday

When you are catching fish in a particular spot, it is difficult to tear yourself away. So at sunrise this morning I found myself back to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island.

I started at about 6.00 am, just on first light. High tide would be just after 8.00 am. The wind was a very light south-westerly. From 6.00 am to 8.00 am, all I could find were a couple Pike. I often find the last hour of the run in tide is difficult. I think the fish need a bit of current to get them in feeding mood. When the water is completely still, at high tide, they just stop biting. Around high tide I was also limited by the water depth, to within 30 metres of the Mangrove fringed shoreline.

Around 8.30 am, as the tide started running out, I caught my first Flathead of the day – 42cm long, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead loaded with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed Colour. As the run out tide grew stronger and the water level dropped, I walked further and further south, catching Flathead all the way along the big sandbar. I turned around when I reached the green channel marker and waded back up the Passage, casting into the run out tide. I swapped between the Pumpkinseed and Pearl Watermelon colour soft plastics and both caught fish. In total I caught 11 Flathead, of which 7 were over 40cm – the biggest was 61cm. I caught 4 fish on the sand right next to the green channel marker. All the fish were caught in less than a metre of water.

I finished up back at the bridge by about 11.00 am. All the fish caught today were released, so get out there and catch them!

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Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole Sand Flats – 5 Oct 2010

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Tuesday
I could not get to Bribie Island to start fishing until about 9.30 am on Tuesday. I decided to head back to the sandbanks to the south of Buckley’s Hole. This area has consistently been producing fish for me –no monsters but plenty of fish.
The wind had turned around from a northerly to a south easterly and unfortunately, it had brought the weed with it. The tide was running out so I walked down to the bottom of the island then turned around and waded back north. Despite the weed and recent rain, the water was fairly clear and the sun was out. I decided to rig up a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th 1 hook jighead. I was told once that in clear water and bright conditions the weirder colours often do well, so I chose the Lime Tiger colour which is an orange and green combination. This theory is counter intuitive but it certainly seems to work – especially on a sandy bottom.
I moved forward slowly, putting out long casts in a semicircle, in front of me and then slowly hopping the soft plastic along the bottom. After half an hour of constantly pulling weed of the jighead, I finally hooked up. It was a Flathead but he was around 35cm long so I released him.
The weed was a pain but I could not really find a solid pocket of fish. On the last few occasions fishing here, I have tended to find the fish in groups of two or three. Over the next hour and a half I caught three more Flathead but they were all too small and they were all caught in separate spots. At noon I had to give up what had been a bit of a frustrating session and head for home.

Bribie Island – Wild & Windy – 30 Sept 2010


Friday
With the SSE wind gusting to at least 25 knots this morning; I really should have stayed in bed. However there is something in all diehard fishermen that makes us think it might not really be that bad.
When I arrived at Bribie Island at 4.45 am it really was that bad. In fact, it was probably worse! The wind was howling from the south east, so the only option was to try and fish the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I waded out under the bridge at Bribie, on the island side, just before the first glow of dawn. There was no surface activity under the bridge lights – not a good sign. However things looked up after a couple of casts, as I caught a few Pike. I was using the 4” Gulp Minnow in Pearl Watermelon on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
There is some good submerged structure in this area. Between the third and the sixth bridge pylons there are some rocky outcrops. These are just visible at low tide. In amongst them are a few channels with a sandy bottom, dotted with clumps of tall sea weed. This area is just below the bridge lights and at night it is often a hive of activity. There are usually Flathead on the sandy bottom looking for the Pike and other baitfish that are drawn to the lights, on the surface. The dolphins often come surging in here, following the Pike.
This morning I walked round to the south and then cast up, into the run out tide, so that my lure was floating back with the current. I got snagged a few times in the weed and rocks but always managed to pull the jighead free. Just on dawn there was some surface commotion and I flicked the soft plastic straight into a jumping boil of Pike. A fish hit the lure instantly and the mad shaking and running indicated a chopper Tailor. I was right and I wound him in quickly. I did not want him to munch his way up through the leader. As soon as I got him to shore he shook the hook free. He was probably just legal size, but I released him after a couple of pictures. We are all still eating Flathead (see previous posts).
The wind was building as was the swell and after an hour or so, I had really exhausted my fishing options in this area. I headed home, cursing the weather gods all the way.