Bribie and Iluka – Bream – July 2017

July

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.

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Iluka – Frasers Reef/ Middle Bluff – 9 February 2013

Saturday/ Sunday

I woke at about 4.30am on Saturday, to a big storm. I must be getting less keen. In the past I would have put my wet weather gear on and headed straight out to fish the dawn. Instead, I rolled over and slept for another hour. When I woke up the rain had stopped so I pulled on my fishing boots and drove down to Fraser’s Reef.

As I pulled in to the car park the sun was well and truly up. My late arrival was underscored when a local acquaintance – John, appeared with a bag full of Blackfish. He had caught them all using the green string weed and had already finished for the day. He did not tap his fingers on his watch but he may as well have. It was about 8.30 am and I was only just starting.

I walked out to Middle Bluff, which is the headland to the north of Fraser’s Reef. The swell may have herded the Blackfish into a few holes where they could be easily extracted, but it made fishing for anything else pretty difficult. I started with the heavy rod and a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour , which I rigged on a 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead. I cast out a few times but the sweep and swell threw the lure around and I could not really control it. I worked through a few more soft plastic lures in various colours and shapes. I tried the heavier, ½ oz, 3/0 jigheads, but these just kept getting snagged.

In a repeat of the conditions of the day before I just could not get the lure into the area close to the base of the rocks where, I was pretty sure the school jewfish would be hiding. While I was trying, I had to retreat a couple of times to avoid a soaking but, inevitably, I soon copped a drenching from a big wave set. You cannot run across these rocks and the recent rain and big seas means there is a thick coating of black green slippery, slimy weed. If you have barnacles under foot you are ok, but the black and green stuff is like ice. I use felt soled rock boots from Cabelas in the US, but even these can slip in the slime.

I swapped down to the light rig and put on a GULP Jerkshad, in the Pumpkinseed colour on a ¼ oz, 2/0 jighead. I threw this into the foamy swell and hoped it would sink a few feet before getting washed against the rocks. It did and as I took up the slack I felt a fish on the line. I did not have to do much, as the swell more or less threw the fish at me. It was a good sized Bream, just over 34cm long. I moved along the headland trying to fish in a few spots but as the morning went on, the swell got worse and I gave up at about 10.30 am.

In the afternoon, the tide was low at about 3.40 pm so I tried to fish around the Frasers Reef headland, but this yielded nothing except a lot of lost gear. I could see bait in close to the rocks, jumping ahead of my lure but I could not leave the lure in the strike zone long enough. I had caught dinner and avoided a duck but only just.

I tried the same spots on Sunday morning. This time I was in position to see the sunrise. The swell had eased a little but it was still making it pretty tough to fish. The wind dropped off around dawn but then gradually built up again until it was blowing at about 15 knots from the east. I tried a few spells with some big hard bodies and slugs but these did not tempt the fish.

In the afternoon I tried fishing off the rock platform at Woody Head but the wind and swell made it impossible. So after an hour of trying and losing gear, I gave up. So on Sunday I scored a duck and went for dinner at the pub. I went to bed on Sunday night hoping that the wind and swell would ease off soon.

Iluka – Frasers Reef – 30 Nov 2010

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Tuesday
I am just back from a week down at Iluka. There were fish around but the weather did its best to stop me catching any. The consistent northerly winds created a constant swell at most of the rock fishing spots and the rain just kept coming.
I arrived last Tuesday, 30th Dec and, in hindsight, the conditions that day were the best. I started early in the morning, just on dawn, looking for some jewfish from the rocks around Frasers Reef. The swell was just fishable but every now and then I got soaked by a surge that slapped up against the rocks and came straight down on top of me – at least it was warmer than June and September. The tide was about half way in.
Any plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour is a firm favourite with the locals and I rigged a GULP 5” Jerkshad which has worked well for me in this spot. The swell was big and after a few casts with a 3/8 oz jighead, I switched to a heavier ½ oz jighead. Soon after sun up I got a few bites and nudges at the foot of one of the bommies that I like to cast at from the shore. As always, it is very difficult to get a plastic down on the bottom and leave it there for any length of time. If you jerk it off the bottom too quickly the fish don’t find it and if you leave it too long you get snagged. Add in the swell and the murky water and things did not really look promising.
I persisted and got soaked and snagged a few times and then switched to a smaller GULP. I also changed down from 30lb to 20lb fluorocarbon leader. It started to rain. A couple of casts later I had a fish on. I played it for a bit and then noticed a huge wave building, about fifty metres offshore. I tightened the drag and made an effort to get the fish up on the preceding, smaller wave, but I just could not pull it up. I crouched and the wave smashed against the rocks. The plume of water went straight up for 5 metres or so before absolutely soaking me. But as the water receded, I was delighted to hear some tail slapping and just beside me there was a small school jewfish, just about legal in NSW, at a little more than 45cm. I decided to release this fish in the hope of finding a better one. I removed the jighead without too much trouble and speared the fish back into the foam.
About twenty minutes later I had another one on and despite the strong current, it felt a bit bigger. I decided to walk it round to a more sheltered landing spot and got another soaking in the process. I managed to hold on and let the swell lift it onto a ledge. I then grabbed the leader and pulled it up. It was a better fish at around 50cm long, but it was no monster. This one I kept for dinner and after cleaning it up in the rain I decided to give up at around 9.30 am.