Brunswick River – Flathead, Bream – March 2018

It was back to work in February so there was little time for fishing. In March the hot days continued with no sign of autumn on the horizon. The usual wind pattern was a light south easterly or south westerly in the morning, turning around to a strong northerly in the afternoon. The water stayed pretty warm.

The Brunswick River was crystal clear. In the transparent warm water, I resorted to casting out almost unweighted 3 inch minnow soft plastics on very light 6lb leader, in order to entice the bream to bite. I caught a few keepers this way but I lost plenty of soft plastics to either bigger bream, cod or perhaps mangrove jacks. There were a few flathead around but most were about 30cm to 40 cm long, so I released them.

There was about a week of heavy rain later in the month. The water running off the surrounding swamps turned the Brunswick River brown for all but an hour around high tide. This increase in fresh water in the system changed things and I had a few sessions where all I caught were grunter bream. I caught them all on 3 inch soft plastics, using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. They were mostly too small to keep, but one or two were close to 35 cm.

So there were plenty of fish in March and the river had plenty of bait but there were not many big enough for supper.

 

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1770 – Tom’s Creek – 4 December 2014

Thursday

On Thursday morning I drove down to Wreck Rock to fish through dawn. When I arrived the wind and swell was up and the tide was higher than I had expected. After an hour and a spectacular sunrise, I decided to give up and look elsewhere for some fish.

I stopped in town for a quick breakfast and decided to go back to Tom’s Creek. I wanted to know what had bitten me off the day before. By the time I drove down the four wheel drive track to Tom’s Creek, it was about 10.30 am. I rigged up the light rod with relatively tough, 16lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this around in the same area I had been fishing the day before.

The tide was about half way out and was running quickly. I used the same technique as previously. I was casting at the base of the mangrove roots on the far bank. Inevitably I lost a couple more jigheads but when I finally put the soft plastic right up against the roots, something slammed it again. I tried to pull it out but the rod did not have the power and with the aid of the current the fish slipped into the rock bar and that’s where I left the jighead.

I re-rigged using a heavier ¼ ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and the same 16lb fluorocarbon leader. This enabled me to cast more accurately at the base of the mangroves, and helped the soft plastic get down in the water column faster. The first taker was a small grunter bream. I released it and carried on casting.

I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. There were big yabby holes all over the banks, so I thought this might be a good shape to offer up. After a few casts I was on again, but after a short and furious fight I got half the yabby back with a bent jighead, but no fish.

It was now just after 11.00 am. I re-rigged with another ¼ ounce jighead, but I had no more Mantis Shrimp soft plastics, so I went back to a Jerkshad – this time in the Pearl Watermelon colour. Just a few casts later, a solid fish grabbed it. This time I had the drag tight and I pulled hard straight away. The fast running current helped me get the fish away from the rocks. It put in a few more determined runs but after a few minutes, I had the fish subdued at my feet. It was a great looking crimson coloured mangrove jack. I measured it at about 47cm, took a few pictures and released it to fight another day.

I fished on for about half an hour but could not find another fish so, at about noon, I gave up for the day.

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 14 October 2013

Monday

Last morning in Yeppoon for a while and yes, of course I was heading for Fishing Creek. I had wanted to fish some of the headlands on this trip but the wind was up to 15 knots everyday by 10.00 am, so it had been out of the question. In hindsight, I was glad I had been forced to explore. I was enjoying fishing in this estuary system.

It was the same basic plan as Monday – walk down the creek from the top end, following the receding tide, casting into the pools and channels. I started at the shallow end with the GULP 3” Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was using my light spin rig, 2.8kg Fireline, 12lb fluorocarbon leader and 1/8th ounce, size 2 hook, jighead. This is the perfect size jighead for this size soft plastic. The weather was overcast but there had been no rain. There was a light north-easterly wind blowing but it was gradually picking up. I started just before the sun came over the horizon.

It took a while to find some fish, first some small flathead, then one that was big enough to keep, then a couple of small cod. Then I caught a magnificent spotted ray. I was tempted to let him keep my soft plastic but managed to safely remove it.

I swapped up to a GULP 5 inch Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. After a few casts, this got slammed and I thought I might have another barramundi. Then I realised this fish was too frantic to be a barramundi. After some spirited runs I saw a flash of silver and realised it was a small Trevally – these fish always pull surprisingly hard. I released it and moved on.

I reached the spot where I had caught the barramundi, the day before and decided to try one of my DUO hard bodies. I pulled out a Spearhead Ryuki 70S in a pink silver and black colour. This is really a trout lure but I have found it works well in a shallow estuary situation. The bream like it and so do the flathead. It weighs 9 grams and is effectively a sinking minnow. It is designed to maintain its action in fast flowing water and that is why it was ideal in this situation. I put in a few casts and immediately felt a few bumps. After fifteen minutes of casting, up and down current, I connected with a fish, but it spat the lure out. I cast back in the same spot and this time there was no hesitation – as soon as I took up the slack, the fish was attached.

It pulled pretty hard and the current helped it. After a minute or two it settled down and I pulled it ashore. It was a chunky grunter bream. I released it and continued casting the DUO Spearhead Ryuki 70S. I had a few more touch ups from interested fish before the inevitable happened – I lost the lure to the mangrove roots. Yet another lure to add to the very long shopping list I am collating.

It was now about 11.00 am and the wind had started howling, so I made the long walk/ wade back to the car – keeps you fit this fishing lark!

Yeppoon – Fishing Creek – 11 October 2013

Friday

On Thursday, I found myself with time off for a few days. I was in Central Queensland and decided to drive out to Byfield National Park, just north of Yeppoon. I stayed at the Rainforest Ranch Cabins in Byfield (which are very comfortable, but more focused on providing a romantic getaway than fish filleting facilities) and intended to drive over the sand hills, to fish in Corio Bay, as I have done before.

I was up early and reached the foot of the big sand hill that leads over to Nine Mile Beach, at about 6.15 am. I lowered my tyre pressures to about 22 PSI and put the FJ Cruiser into low range. Last time it had floated up this hill – but that was after months of rain. This time it was like wading through treacle. The sand was soft and dry and the track had no doubt been torn up by previous drivers, who had found it as tough as I had. I tried three times and stopped when I started to sink and rolled back down to try again. After three attempts I gave up. I was on my own and I was concerned I would get stuck and not be able to simply roll back down. I need a bit more practice at this sort of thing.

I turned around and looked at my options. It was now just about low tide. I decided to drive back through Byfield and towards Yeppoon. I would go to the end of Fishing Creek and walk down it, towards Corio Bay, fishing in the pools and mangrove lined channels. This spot had produced a few fish for me in the past but it looked like it had potential for far better things.

By the time I got going it was about 8.30 am. Low tide was about 7.30 am in Yeppoon, so I assumed it would be about 1.5 hours later, this far up Fishing Creek. The moon was a somewhere between new and full and it was not a particularly big tide. It was hot – already about 28 degrees. It was still but a northerly wind was forecast to pick up later in the morning.

I was fishing light – 2.8 kg Fireline and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader, Loomis GL2 Fast Action spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500 reel. I started with small soft plastics in natural colours on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. The locals had recommended the GULP 2” Shrimp and 3” Minnow, in the Banana Prawn colour, for flathead and grunter bream.

I waded through the shallows and paused to cast wherever there looked like there was a bit of a hole or drain. There were plenty of schools of small mullet (or perhaps blue salmon) cruising the shallows. I was hoping the bigger predators had followed them up the creek.

I passed plenty of flathead lies on the exposed sand banks, but most looked like the fish would have been under the legal size. My first fish of the day was a tiny flathead that was sitting a metre from the bank, in about 15 cm of water. It was now just after 9.00 am and I expect we were nearly at low tide, as the water was slowing.

I found a slightly deeper channel, on a mangrove lined bend and concentrated on putting my casts in close to the mangrove roots. I lost plenty of jigheads to the trees and roots – but that’s where the fish live so if you are not pretty close, you will not catch them. I had some solid bites and caught another small flathead. At about 9.30 am something grabbed the GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic and dragged it down into the roots. I could not pull it out so I let the drag off and eventually it swam out and I pulled it up on to the sandbank. It was an estuary cod, but only a small one. I let it go but as it swam away another predator – an eagle, swooped down and grabbed it. It did not have a good grip and dropped it on the sand. It soon swooped for another attempt and this time it was successful. It disappeared into the mangroves to eat its breakfast.

I continued along the creek and caught several more cod, the largest of which would have been just over 40 cm long. At about 11.00 am the tide turned in and I decided I had better head back to the car. I was delighted to be catching fish, even if they were small. I decided to try and get back here a little closer the high tide next time.

1770 – Eurimbula Creek – 8 May 2013

Wednesday

With the weather showing no signs of improving, I decided it was futile to keep trying on the rocks, so on Wednesday, I drove back out to Eurimbula Creek. I arrived a little after first light and the tide was running in. The water was not quite so dirty here. I went back to basics and started by fishing with small, lightly weighted soft plastics, first a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger and then a 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After an hour with no luck I switched to a DUO Tetraworks Bivi, small, hard bodied vibe lure. This did not stir anything up either.

I decided to try a slightly bigger soft plastic and put on a GULP 4” Minnow, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The tide was running in fast, so I also upped the weight to a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. The water had now come over the sandy edge of the main channel. I dropped the lure over the edge and then retrieved it, pausing for as long as I could, right at the edge. I felt the small bait fish attack the lure on each retrieve and then, after about 10 casts, a bigger fish grabbed it. It was a dusky Flathead – just over 40 cm. After a few pictures it went back.

I moved nearer to the mouth of the creek and put on a GULP 3” Jigging Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour. I lost a few of these to the fast flowing current and the fallen trees. I rigged up for the third time and aimed the soft plastic at eddies around one of the snags. It was hit on the drop and the fish went straight into the tangle of roots. With the Loomis GL2 light spin rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader, I really did not have the power to fight a determined fish in heavy current – the fish was in charge. I backed off the drag a little and it swam out. I let it move about a metre away from the snag, tightened the drag and then increased the pressure again. It headed straight back in. We repeated this process 3 times until I eventually pulled out a 45 cm estuary cod. It was perfect cod terrain with overhanging mangrove roots and plenty of snags.

The rain showers kept coming. At about 10.00 am, I caught a couple of small grunter bream (javelin fish) – about 30 cm long. I had swapped back to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I have caught plenty of these in the creeks around here, especially after heavy rain. I put them back and carried on fishing, up and down the creek bank, as high tide came and went.

By about 11.00 am I had had enough and drove back to Agnes Water.

Caloundra – Bulcock Beach, Golden Beach and Diamond Head – 7 February 2012

Tuesday

Caloundra was my destination. I drove up from Brisbane, leaving just before 4.00 am and arriving at the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, just before 5.00am. The moon was full and it would be a very big high tide – 1.9m, just before 8.00am.

The tide was running in strongly and the sea was fairly choppy – there was a lot more breeze than the forecast 10 knots west south-west. It was too wild to fish the mouth of the Passage so I walked Bulcock Beach, flicking a soft plastic lure along the edge. About half way along the beach, I felt a solid bite – but did not connect. I was using the 4” Gulp Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and still using the 8lb leader. I cast out in the same spot and this time the fish hit the lure on the drop. After a brief fight I pulled it on to the sand – a 40cm Grunter Bream – snorting away. I looked for more but could not find any, so at about 6.00 am, I moved on.

I drove down to the sand bank in front of the Power Boat Club at Golden Beach. The tide was really moving now and the water was really stirred up. There was a very obvious line were the clearer, incoming saltier water met the brown-stained fresher water. The big tides have also started to spread the loose sea grass around, making fishing with the hard bodied lures trickier. I flicked around with a small bibless vibe lure but it kept getting clogged, so I swapped back to a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I fished for about an hour without a bite and covered a lot of ground. Eventually I caught a 36cm Flathead on the edge of a weed bed. As I was wading back out, the bait scattered and a good-sized Queenfish lept clear of the water. I cast all around the area but it did not come back. This was turning into hard work, so I decided to move again.

I drove down to Diamond Head and waded out onto the sand flats just to the north of the creek mouth. I swapped to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast at the weed beds, using a slow ‘lift and drop’ retrieve. I felt a few bumps and nudges on the first few casts, in each location. I kept moving and after a few minutes I connected with a fish. It hit the lure hard, but it was a Bream – about 25cm long. I caught 3 more, around this size, over the next 30 minutes, then it all went very quiet.

I carried on until about 10.00 am and then gave up. The rain has obviously brought the Bream out to feed, but the big tides and dirty water are still making the fishing difficult.