Mobs Bay and South Ballina rockwall – September 2019

At the beginning of September I fished a couple of sessions at the end of the South Ballina rockwall. I caught a few good bream, chiefly on small minnow shaped soft plastics. I also landed a few luderick and a couple of small trevally. I am sure the tailor come and go around this headland but I have yet to encounter them.

For the rest of the month. I focused on wading the flats and fishing for flathead in South Ballina. I had success in two areas – the mud flats, just to the south of the Burns Point ferry landing and all around the sand banks and weed beds of Mobs Bay. This is a big bay near the river mouth with all the ingredients that flathead love; rockwalls, shifting sandbars, weed beds and good tidal flow.

Research suggests that flathead will spawn throughout the year, apart from in mid to late winter. Despite this I often catch fish full of eggs in August and September. They certainly still seem to school up with the bigger tides in the lead up to the full and the new moons.

I fished Mobs Bay with soft plastic lures. Typically I used a light spin rod and reel loaded with 10lb breaking strain braid and a 10 or 12lb fluorocarbon leader. My favourite brand of soft plastics are still the Berkley GULP range and if I had to pick my ‘go to’ pattern for flathead, it would be the 4″ minnow shape. In the pearl watermelon colour it looks very much like a small pilchard.

I fished about 5 times in September and caught plenty of flathead. The vast majority of the fish I caught were in the 25 cm to 35 cm size range and so they went back to be caught again when they are big enough.

I caught the biggest flathead (about 60cm long) in the lead to the full moon on the 12th, at the base of the rockwall, near the river mouth.

A decent South Ballina flathead from the base of the rocks

Bribie Island – Pacific Harbour Flats – 7 November 2011

Monday

I wasn’t planning to fish today. I couldn’t get away until 8.00 am and thought that might be too late. But it was such a beautiful day that I decided I would go anyway. I drove up to Bribie and dropped in on Nigel at the tackle shop, in Ningi. As usual, he provided some good local knowledge and told me who was catching what, where and when.

I took his advice and decided to fish some new ground, to the north of the mouth of the Pacific Harbour canal development, on Bribie Island. High tide had passed at around 7.00 am and it was now about 9.00 am. This is a great fishing spot. It has everything – weed beds, sand banks and the coffee rock ledge that runs the length of the Pumicestone Passage.

I started just north of the wading bird sanctuary and started casting around with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour. I had been fishing the longer Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastics at the end of the previous session and had left the slightly heavier and wider gape 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead on. I have begun to conclude that anything bigger than a 1/0 hook jighead, can reduce you hook up rate with the Flathead. I don’t think it affects their eagerness to eat the lure but I think the bigger hook does not lodge so effectively in the jaw of the very flat mouth.

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After about ten minutes I felt a bite, paused and struck, I had a good size fish on, but after about twenty seconds, it wriggled off the jighead. I waded a little further south, towards the mouth of the Pacific Harbour development. Just short of the entrance, I was retrieving my lure and about to lift it from the water to cast again. A Flathead launched itself at the lure and grabbed it, just as it came out of the water. I nearly jumped out of my skin. It turned and ran and I tried to set the hook but failed again and it was gone.

I changed down to a lighter and smaller gauge jighead, a 1/8th 1/0 hook, and moved back north, wading and casting, wading and casting. I tripped over an unmarked crab pot and then another. The water is still quite muddy and murky in places, even though there has been no rain for a while. Finally, after more than one hour, I hooked up with a 25cm Flathead. I released it and decided to switch locations.

I drove down to Bongaree, to the mouth of the tidal lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole. It was just about low tide by the time I got there. I cast over the edge of the coffee rock ledge and moved south from a spot just in front of the new museum. After a couple of casts, bait started skipping around and I caught a small Chopper Tailor – about 25cm long.

I decided I had missed my chance of catching a good fish earlier in the day and so, at about 12.30 pm, I gave up and went home.