Bribie Island – Sandstone Point flats – 26 March 2013

Tuesday

A good run of predominantly south-easterly winds and not much rain had me feeling confident on Tuesday morning. It was also full moon which meant plenty of tidal flow. It would be a 2.3m high tide at 8.46 am, at Sandstone Point, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island. The wind was forecast to switch from east-south-east to north easterly in the middle of the middle of the morning.

I arrived at about 4.45 am and found the water lapping around the feet of the third set of bridge pylons and just covering the patch of reef to the south of the fifth set. The pylons are smooth and polished and the cleaning / survey process has created a few new holes around the footings.

I started with soft plastics – the GULP 2” Shrimp in the peppered prawn colour on a 1/8th, size 1 hook jighead. I cast around north and south of the bridge without result. There was not really enough water here yet.

I moved south, past the old oyster jetty and stuck with the shrimp soft plastic. The tide was not moving very fast so I dropped back to 1/16th oz , size 1 hook jighead. I aimed at the sandy drain area, just south of the jetty. I was casting at around in just less than a meter of water. The sun came over the horizon at about 6.00 am and I immediately started to get a few hits. I caught a small bream about 25cm and then another two. The peppered prawn shrimp was hanging off the jighead, so I swapped to a banana prawn coloured version.

After a few casts, this produced a big Pike – perhaps 35cm long. Then, at about 6.45 am I felt a bigger fish attack the shrimp, as it sank. It took a little bit of line and then settled down. It had a strange tail beat and I could not figure out what it might be. After a few lunges I pulled it in closer and could see it was a nice tarwhine – about 35 cm long. It’s strange action in the water was probably due to the fact that it only had half a tail. I kept the tarwhine and caught a few more bream, all in the same spot, before the incoming tide pushed me back towards the mangrove line.

On a full moon the flats towards Sandstone Point are covered in a metre of water for a solid couple of hours around the high tide. This gives the fish plenty of time to move up in to the area looking for bait. I decided to wade along the mangrove line, in the direction of Sandstone Point and see if I could find them. I stuck with small GULP soft plastics in the natural colours, smelt, pearl watermelon, peppered prawn and banana prawn. There were plenty of long toms cruising around and they were the first takers. They are hard to hook but once they are solidly connected they put on an impressive aerial display – thrashing and leaping around. More often than not their sharp teeth just sliced through my 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

By about 8.00 am I had waded all the way round to Sandstone Point and the water was so deep that it was only just possible to continue fishing along the mangrove line. I turned around and started wading back to the north east. I pulled up one small (less than 35cm) flathead, who was lying close to the edge of the mangroves but the rest of the fish interaction was with the long toms. By the time the tide turned at 8.45 am I was back on the corner at the sandy drain.

As the tide started to run out I focused on this area. I tried a few brightly coloured GULP jerkshads but these did not produce anything so I swapped back to a natural coloured offering – the GULP 2” shrimp in the banana prawn colour. I also swapped to a heavier 1/8th 1 jighead, as the tide started to run out. This did the trick and after a few long tom hits, I connected with a sold fish that turned out to be a 55cm flathead. I kept casting around this area and after another ten minutes, I found two more 45cm versions.

By about 9.45 am I was close to the old oyster jetty again. I was now using a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The water is still full of sediment on these big tides and the bridge cleaning barge was out again, further stirring things up. I was fishing from memory, aiming my casts at areas where I thought the weed beds thinned out and dropped off to sandy bottom. I pulled up another good flathead, about 60cm.

As I reached the bridge area I put in a few final casts with the same soft plastic and found my fifth keeper – a flathead – about 50cm long. My apologies, I did not have my camera with my while I was fishing today. You will have to make do with a couple of pictures of the bagful that I took with my phone, when I got back to the car.

It looks like the south-easterlies are gradually bringing the water temperature down which is firing up the traditional winter species. If the weather behaves there should be some great fishing over Easter.

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole and the old Oyster Jetty – 20 October 2011

Tuesday and Thursday

Back in Brisbane and time to zip up to Bribie Island for some local land-based fishing. But the wind had other ideas. I arrived at around 4.30 am on Tuesday and it was blowing hard from the south-east. It was only about 15 knots on dawn but it soon picked up to about 25 knots.

I started fishing at the mouth of the Buckley’s Hole tidal lagoon. The water from this ever changing land mark now comes out almost level with the new Bribie Island seaside museum. Low tide was around 6.00 am and I started fishing here just after first light, at around 5.00 am. I was using my Loomis GL2 light spin rod, Shimano Stradic 3000 reel, 10lb braid, 12lb fluorocarbon leader, a 1/6th oz 1/0 jighead loaded with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour.

I moved along the edge of the drop off casting up, into the falling tide and jerking the plastic slowly along the bottom, back towards me. The jighead kept slowing and as it got lighter, I realized there were large blue jellyfish everywhere. I was casting the plastic on top of the ledge in no more than 30cm of water. Suddenly I felt a tug and then saw a swirl in the water, then I had a fish on. I played it for a while and after a couple of runs, I started to pull it slowly back towards the sand. But the fish had other ideas and with a couple of furious headshakes it dislodged the jighead and swam slowly back towards the deeper water.

As I stood wondering what went wrong, I was surprised to see a couple of good sized Tuna leap clear of the water right at the edge of the drop off. I cast all around but they were gone in seconds. I am not sure how I would have subdued one if I had hooked up! Back to the Flathead – I cast in every direction but as the sun rose, so did the wind and by about 9.00am it was just too hard.

On Thursday I was back in the same spot just after dawn. The wind had dropped considerably and low tide would be around 8.00 am this time. I started with the same soft plastic – the 5” Pumpkinseed Jerkshad. I waded out to the same area where I had lost the fish on Tuesday and after 20 minutes of peppering the terrain with casts, I was onto a fish. It was a Flattie, I played it very carefully back to the sand and where it measured in at around 55cm. I waded back out and caught another 35 cm Flathead about ten minutes later.

I then decided to move south along the beach towards the southern tip of the island. As a walked across the mouth of the big drain, I caught another undersize Flathead, but spooked a much bigger one, that took off across the sand.

I walked down the beach casting as I went. I swapped through a few different soft plastics but did not get a touch. Finally just as I reached Beach Flag No.1, I sent a large Flathead skittering off across the sandy bottom. I was in ankle deep water and there was absolutely no structure around at all. It was right on low tide. I stopped and cast all around. I swapped down to a 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, still nothing. I turned and walked back towards Buckley’s Hole. I cast inland, in to the shallower water. Infuriatingly, I almost stepped on another three Flathead, who went flying off passed me into the depths. I could see them, but I could not seem to catch them.

I found myself back where I had started and decided to dump the subtle approach. The tide had now just started to run in. I put on a GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. After three or four casts it paid off and I had another fish on. I safely steered it back to land – it was a 42 cm Flathead.

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I decided it was time to try the other side of the Pumicestone Passage. I drove over to the old oyster jetty and waded out onto the muddy flats. The sea grass is now growing quickly and most of the ‘snot’ weed seems to have died off. I stuck with the GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad and after a few casts, just south of the jetty, I saw a decent Flathead roll over onto the lure just after it hit the water. I paused, then struck. I had it on for a bit and then it spat the lure out. I moved south and after wading for about 50 meters, I cast out and hooked up with another. This time I dragged it carefully, all the way back to the sand. It was a 45cm Flathead.

By now the water was getting to high to fish the edge of the weed banks so I decided to call it quits. I had only landed three fish but encountered many more. There are obviously plenty of Flathead around – but I need to get better at catching them!!

Bribie Island – The old Oyster Jetty & Buckley’s Hole drain – 17 July 2011

Not much to say – a crap mornings fishing. I started about 6 am. I waded down to the big sandbar south of the old oyster jetty. Low tide had been at 4.15 am – so the tide was running in, strongly. The wind was low at first but gradually built to a 15 knot south-westerly as the sun came up. It had been blowing a south easterly the day before and we had had a bit of rain. There were tufts of algae weed floating around everywhere.

It was the day after full moon. The Bream should have been in full swing and there should have been a few Flathead and Tailor around. But after 3 1/2 hours of fishing, I had only had one serious bite, which I think was a Chopper Tailor. I was fishing with my trusty GULP soft plastics and tried every colour and shape in the bag. The weed and wind did not help and perhaps the ABT competition, the day before, may have slowed things down, but it was no fun at all.

I eventually gave up and went for a coffee and a bacon sandwich – scoring a duck is never a good feeling!!

Bribie Island – Large Easter Sunday Flathead – 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

I had a big Easter BBQ planned for Monday. Four Good Friday Flathead was a good start but I would need a bit more fish to make sure my guests didn’t go hungry. That was my excuse for getting out on Easter Sunday!

I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge at 5.00am and parked on the bank, on the mainland side. I put on my waders and had a few casts around the rocks under the bridge. I caught a small Moses Perch and released it.

Just as it started to get light I moved off to the south. There was lots of surface feeding going on and the tide was running out strongly. Low tide was at around 8.00am. I waded past the oyster jetty with no more bites and then started to fish the drain that runs round from Sandstone Point. I fished all along it without a touch. I moved out to a point where the water was waist deep and started to move north, back towards the bridge.

I was fishing with a new favourite, the GULP 3” Smelt Crazylegs Grub soft plastic. It is a short version of the Crazylegs Jerkshad that has proved so useful. I had it rigged on a 1/6thoz 1/0 jighead. I was using my light spin rod and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I got a couple of solid bites but could not keep the fish on. Then as I moved towards the oyster jetty a fish grabbed the plastic about a metre away from me. I struck with rod and stepped back. It was a good fish but it did not do much, initially. I decided to walk it back to the shore. I loosened the drag a little, as I did not want a bust off. I started to tow it towards the bank and about half way there it really woke up and made a few powerful runs. As I dragged it up onto the muddy shore the leader snapped, but it was clear of the water.

It was a healthy female Flathead, just under 70cm long. I fished around this area for another hour and caught and released several Flathead that were around the legal size limit of 40cm. At about 8.30 I gave up. It had been great morning land-based fishing in the Pumicestone Passage.

70cm Flathead

Bribie Island – Bridge and Oyster Jetty – 5 March 2011

Saturday

After a stinking hot week – but some pretty good fishing Flathead fishing, the rain was back. A south-easterly change and big wind and seas were forecast but it did not look as if it would get up until around lunchtime, so I decided on a quick early morning Saturday session. I headed for Bribie Island and was out under the bridge lights, on the island side by 4.15am.

A word on waders – I use the A S Horne waders which have a tough Blundstone gum boot. With postage, they are around A$ 120/30 but they are definitely worth the price premium. Before I bought them I went through 7 sets of cheap ones; Wilson, Mojiko, Shakespeare, and various other BCF/ Anaconda offerings, in just under two years. I was constantly patching up holes on these cheap ones. I have now had my A S Horne waders for 2 years and they have no leaks, despite lots of run ins with oyster covered rocks. They are pretty hot at this time of year but with so many jelly fish, Wobbegongs and various other creepy crawlies in the water – I am prepared to suffer the heat.

At 4.15 am this morning it was cool and wet. The tide had just started to run in and the rain had made the water even more murky than usual. I decided to started with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – yellow on top and pumpkinseed underneath. I was standing in 30cm of water casting in close to the pylons. After a few retrieves I was on to a fish. I brought him to the shore – a Flathead just on 40cm. The family decided they will go on hunger strike if I bring another Flathead to the table – so it was released. I got a few more hits from what I think where Pike, but as the sun came up an hour later I had not landed anymore fish.

I moved across to the Oyster Jetty on the other side of the Passage. It was now around 5.45am and the tide was running in strongly. I waded out beside the jetty to a point about ¾ of the way along and started putting casts out in a semicircle. I was casting into the run in tide and hopping the plastic along the weedy bottom. After two or three casts I was on to something. After a few short runs, I could see it was a small Flathead, again around 40 cm long. I did not want to wade back to the bank with it so I grabbed it with a cloth and released it.

I could not find any more in that area so I moved further south. I fished the drain, just before you turn the corner for Sandstone Point, but apart from a few Long Toms, I did not get another bite. The wind was now beginning to howl and it was spitting rain again so I waded back to the car and headed home.

Bribie Island – Bridge and Sandstone Point – 1 March 2011

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Tuesday

Up at 3.45 am and back up to the Pumicestone Passage in search of more Flathead. I decided to start by fishing the Bribie Island side of the bridge, this morning. There is always plenty of surface action in this area with Jew, Pike, Moses Perch, Bream, Tailor, Flathead and even juvenile Snapper, all drawn in to feed on the jelly prawns and small baitfish that gather under the bridge lights.

In recent sessions, I have noticed the small jelly prawns are everywhere and the Flathead that I have caught and gutted, generally have a belly full of them. I therefore grabbed a bag of the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Jelly Prawn colour and decided to try these out. The tide was running in so I decided to start by casting my soft plastic at the base of the first bridge pylon, on the north side of the bridge and jigging my plastic along the bottom , all the way back to the edge of the rock wall. On the first cast, just as it reached the base of the wall, in about 30cm of water, the lure was grabbed. I was using a 1/8th 1/0 jig head and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. The fish took a bit of line but I soon subdued it and swung it up, over the rocks. At 42cm it was the first keeper Flathead of the day. It went in the bag and I cast back out. A couple of casts later, I had another – this one was just on 40 cm so I let it go. I moved to the south side of the bridge and carried on. I had a couple of bites from Pike and dropped a better fish, which was probably a Flathead and then I decided to move over to the mainland side of the bridge.

I put on a GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour, waded out and cast to the south of the bridge. The tide was now rushing in and a few Pike grabbed the bigger plastic but usually released it just before they reached me. There were some big surface bust ups erupting, in close to the Mangroves, so I cast straight into one and the line came up taught. I brought the fish in – the headshakes were too rapid for a Flathead and as it came close there was a flash of silver. It was either a Bream or a juvenile Snapper, but it spat out the lure so I will never know.

With the dawn I decided to change positions again and I drove round to Pebble Beach. I walked out onto the beach and turned left. I walked to the end of the beach and along the rocky area that fronts the Mangroves. I was casting in to the sandy areas amongst the rocks and although I lost a fair amount of jigheads, the strategy paid off. Over the next couple of hours, I caught nine more Flathead in this area – between about 25cm and 48cm. I experimented with different colour and size plastics and they did not appear to be fussy. I caught fish on the GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in Lime Tiger and Pink Neon, the 2” Shrimp in Jelly Prawn and Banana Prawn, the 3” and 4” Minnow in Pearl Watermelon and the 4” Minnow in Vader. The Long Toms were a constant menace – slashing through the soft plastics and often wrecking the last few cms of the leader.

I kept the first four fish over 40cm, to add to the one I had kept at the bridge, so I had another bag full. It was another good session and as there was a Northerly wind blowing the whole time, it did not really support my idea that the fish don’t like it!