Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 7 December 2015

Monday

I had time for a quick fishing session on the flats at Bribie Island. School holidays had not really started so I was still hopeful that I would find dinner. I wanted to fish the run out tide. Low tide would be at 12.40 pm. It had been fairly windy with strong northerlies blowing for the few previous days. Today a strong south-easterly was forecast and it was blowing at about 20 knots from that direction, when I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge.

I parked on the mainland side and walked out under the bridge.  The new café is now open at the old oyster jetty so there is now plenty of space to observe the fishing opportunities in this area. I don’t think there will be a sudden flood of anglers, as the mud and oyster covered rocks will put all but the diehard flathead hunters off.

I was fishing with my light rod and reel spinning combination. I have swapped back to the NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod. This rod picks up even the slightest of bites and although it does not have any grunt it can handle a good sized flathead. I was using the 2500 size Shimano Stella reel with it. I think the braid on the reel is about 8lb breaking strain Sunline Super PE in the bright green colour. I was using about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I started fishing with a large GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. After twenty minutes, I had passed the jetty with no bites, so I swapped down to GULP 4” Minnow in the green camo colour. Perhaps I had just found the fish or the change of lure and the fresh scent it contained, woke the fish up, but I almost immediately got a bite. I thought I had the fish hooked but after a couple of runs it was gone. I cast back at the same spot and slowed things down. On about my sixth repeat cast the fish grabbed the soft plastic again. I paused and dropped the rod tip for a few seconds. It took off again and I was sure it was hooked but unfortunately it wriggled off again.

I waded slowly south. Just before I reached the green channel marker, I saw a couple of big squid hovering in the shallows. I cast my plastic at them and managed to hook one through the wing. I slowly pulled it in, relieved that I would at least bring home something for supper.

The tide slowed and then started to run in. The wind made things very tough but I just could not find the fish. I swapped through lots of different shaped and coloured soft plastics but did not stir up any interest.

Finally at about 1.50 pm, with the tide running in and the water very stirred up, I felt an obvious bite. I was now fishing with the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour (probably my all-time favourite flathead soft plastic). This time the jighead pulled home and I reeled the fish in. It was only a 30cm flathead – but at least it was a fish! I photographed it and let it go.

I waded slowly back across the exposed flats. There were soldier crabs everywhere so there is plenty of food for the fish here. I did not see any flathead lies so maybe the persistent northerly winds have blown them off to another spot for a while. The northerlies seem to have flattened out the terrain quite a bit in the last few months. At about 2.30 pm I gave up for the afternoon.

Advertisements

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 September 2015

Tuesday

It looks like winter maybe behind us and we are in to the sub-tropical spring which usually lasts all of two weeks. I was back in Brisbane and decided to drive up to Bribie Island on Tuesday, to look for some flathead.

I chose to fish the flats in front of the old oyster jetty at the newly opened Sandstone Point Hotel. I thought it would be easy but initially at least, the fish were quite hard to find. I started at about 8.45am with low tide set for about 11.30 am. The wind was forecast to be light at first rising quickly to 15 knot north easterly. However, within 20 minutes of my arrival the wind was gusting 15 to 20 knots and the water was weedy and very stirred up.

I moved south from the bridge fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce size 1 hook jighead with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This yielded absolutely no bites. After an hour, I was south of the old oyster jetty battling the weed and wind. I decided to swap to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After a few casts, I felt a solid bite but pulled the rod tip up too quickly and did not connect with the fish. I slowed things down and cast out to the same spot. I paused and let the plastic stop for a while, just where I thought the fish was. This time it worked. I lifted the rod tip and the fish was there. It was a small flathead just over 40cm long.

It was now 10.10 am and I was wading steadily to the south as the tide ran out. I followed the edge of the weed beds but as the water got shallower and murkier it became difficult to see where to cast. Gradually I started to find the fish. I caught a couple more small flathead at about 10.30 am and then a 50cm fish just before 11.00 am.

I had now reached the green channel marker. I swapped to a GULP Mantis Shrimp soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and this almost instantly got a bite. It was another smaller flathead. I waded slowly back to the bridge and caught another six flathead on the journey. They were fairly spread out but seemed easier to tempt at the bottom of the tide.

I ended up with 4 fish over 40cm which is a good dinner. But the wind and weed had made it hard.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – A bagful of flathead – 28 July 2015

Tuesday

I could not get away for dawn and it has been so cold lately that I was glad I did not have to. But I could make it to Bribie to fish my favourite spot, for a few hours, mid-morning. High tide had passed at about 6.30 am and it would be low at 12.30 pm. The wind was a light south-westerly.

I arrived at about 9.00 am, pulled on my waders and wandered out under the bridge. The full moon was three days away, but the bigger of the daily high tides had been in the morning. This sometimes helps the fishing. On the bigger overnight high tides the fish have deeper water, to follow the bait up into the shallows and feed. Flathead will often remain in the shallows until they are only covered by 10 cm of water as the tide runs out.

I was fishing with my NS Blackhole light spin rod and Shimano Stradic 2500 reel. I was using 10lb braid and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I was trying out my new favourite GULP soft plastic – the 5 inch Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour. I had it rigged on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.

I soon found a flathead just to the north of the jetty on the edge of the weed. It was about 45cm long. I then found the pike who seemed to also like the jerkshad. They were clustered around the larger weed clumps.

I moved south and kept catching flathead. I caught 8 more fish over 45cm in the next three hours and a few that were too small. I kept the bag limit of five and released the rest. They were spread all along the edge of the weed beds and the pike were everywhere. As the run out tide slackened towards low, the bite dropped off a little. I finished up at 12.30 pm after another great session.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 20 August 2014

Wednesday

Apologies for another long gap between reports – no excuse is adequate for neglecting ones passions, so I wont offer one.

On Wednesday the rain would take a break and it looked like the south westerlies would drop off a little, in the morning. I have not had much time to fish lately, so this small window was good enough for me. Low tide would be at 0.7 m at 11.00 am, so I did not need to rush out too early.

I arrived at the west end of the Bribie bridge just before 9.00 am. I pulled on my waders. The wind was up but the sky was an amazing blue. The sun was out and this took the edge off the cold westerly wind.

It was about a week after full moon. It had been raining fairy constantly over the last week but it had not been very heavy. The water still looked clear. I was expecting the fishing to be pretty tough so I started with an 8lb fluorocarbon leader and a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure in the Peppered Prawn colour. I waded towards Moreton Bay, casting my soft plastic back towards the bridge.

I felt a few grabs and swipes from what I assume where pike or small Moses perch, but I could not find any flathead to the north of the old oyster jetty. By 9.30 am, I was about 50 metres to the south of the jetty and I felt a bite from a sandy patch in the shallows. I did not hook up so I put the soft plastic back in the same place. On about the 5th cast in the same area, I connected and this time I successfully set the hook. It was a 35cm flathead which I released, after a couple of photos.

After 20 minutes more in this area I decided to move further south and swapped to a 5 inch, GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. At about 10.10 am, I caught the first keeper size fish of the day. It was lying close to the edge of the large sand bank, which is gradually exposed in this area, on the run out tide. It was about 45cm long and went in the bag for dinner.

I hoped I had now found the fish but it was not to be. In fact, it took almost hour to find another flathead that was big enough to keep. Just after 11.00 am, I had almost reached the green channel marker. The tide had slowed right down and was about to turn. I cast out towards a patch of sandy bottom beyond the weed and let the plastic sink. Just as I hopped it over the edge of the weed, a flathead shot up and grabbed it. After a good initial strike and long run, I was very conscious of the 8lb leader, but I soon had the fish subdued and slid it into the keeper bag. Having caught so few fish of late, it felt much bigger than it was – it measured just 46cm.

That was it for the day I kept casting on the way back to the car, but caught nothing more.

Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 11 August 2014

Monday

After a disappointing outing on Friday I was up earlier on Monday.  It was full moon. In fact, it was a super moon. That is probably why I could not sleep. I did not have much time, so I drove up to Bribie Island for a quick morning session.

The fish are always out there somewhere, so when they are elusive, it is not a bad idea to go back to basics. I decided to drop the leader down to 8lb fluorocarbon, use the fine wire Bream Pro 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jigheads and start with 2” and 3” GULP soft plastics in natural colours – Peppered Prawn, Banana Prawn, Smelt, Pearl Watermelon, etc. This set up should at least attract a few pike and bream.

I started under the bridge lights, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. There was a very light south-westerly wind blowing and the moon was amazing. It was so bright that the fish would certainly have been confused by it. It was just after 5.00 am and low tide had passed at 3.53 am. It had been one of the years lowest at 0.2 metres. The tide was running in fast but there was no sign of any bait under the bridge lights. I cast around with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I felt a couple of grabs and half hooked a couple of pike, but they both wriggled off. I had one solid bite, that might have been a small flathead, but it let go before I could find out.

At about 5.30 am, I decided to swap back to the mainland side of the bridge. I drove back over and waded out into the shallows. I stayed about 10 metres north of the bridge and cast towards it. I soon found the pike hiding in amongst the weed clumps and rocks.

I gradually moved south, under the bridge. The mad moon was creating a fantastic bright orange sky, as dawn was breaking. I think the sunrises on the east coast of Australia are the best in the world and this one was as good as they get. My camera does not do it justice – but I am sure if you are as mad about fishing as I am, you will have seen a few of these.

The tide was moving in quickly and the water coming in from the bay was very cold.  I made my way south to the fast disappearing sand bank and fished around this area. It is tough to fish here when the sun is low in the sky, as you cannot see where the sandy patches and weed beds are. You just have to slowly and methodically cover the ground.

I swapped up to slightly bigger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. After just a few casts this produced results with a definite hit. I paused but there was no fish there. It was just about 7.00 am. I did not have much more time in this spot as the tide was running in very quickly. I slowed everything down and tried to put the next cast back in exactly the same spot. I left the lure on the bottom for a good ten seconds. I hopped it slowly back towards me – nothing. I cast about a metre to the left and repeated the process. This time after my second pause on the bottom, whack, another solid flathead bite. This time I dropped the rod tip and counted (fairly quickly) to ten. When I lifted the rod the fish was hooked. It felt much bigger than it was (about 45cm) but it was a relief to finally get one.

As the morning progressed the wind picked up a little. The scenery was fantastic and the weather very good but I just could not find the fish. I swapped from small plastics to big plastics, jerkshads to paddletails to grubtails. I tried my DUO hard bodies but nothing worked.

At about 9.00 am I had to give up. It looks like I am going to have to put in a lot of practice to find my form again!

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 16 April 2014

Wednesday

On Wednesday I drove up to Bribie and arrived just before first light at about 5.30 am. On Tuesday night we had a lunar eclipse and the full moon was huge and bright in the west. There was a surprisingly cool south-westerly wind blowing. Low tide had passed just after 4.00 am so by the time I waded out on to the flats, the tide was really running in.

Just before dawn there was some surface action under the bridge lights so I cast a GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour around the pylons. This soon produced a couple of small Pike. I witnessed another beautiful sunrise and then continued wading south.

The big moon and meant a fairly big tide. The big tide had lifted all the storm debris from the previous week and it was soon clear that this would be the major obstacle to fishing the incoming tide. Seagrass, weed clumps, bait bags, floats and plastic bottles all started to passed by.

The only advantage of all the floating debris was that it allowed me to examine the water currents in the area. There is obviously a slightly sheltered area just to the south of the old oyster jetty and this is often where you find fish. It is protected by a couple of patches of rocky reef to the east and the tree line, on shore, to the west. At certain points in the tide cycle the water in this area slows right down and the debris gathers in a big clump.

I cast around the edges of this slow moving water looking for fish but I got virtually no bites. Just before 8.00 am it was getting too hard to fish into the strike zone, so I started back for the car. I was casting a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Cajun Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce , size 1/0 hook jighead. Suddenly the line went tight and the rod tip started to wriggle. I set the hook but the fish took a while to register – this often means it’s a big one. It swam towards me for a few seconds and then realised something was amiss. It took off with a long, blistering run towards the jetty. I let it take line and then gradually started to get some back. There were a couple more long runs but after a few more minutes I caught site of a very decent flathead. I steered her up to the beach and took a few photos.  She was just under 70 cm but I let her go. They really can be a bit tough to eat at this size and if I want to still be catching plenty of fish in future seasons, it makes sense to let these big breeding females go.

This final fish rescued what would have been a pretty dismal session. They seem to be far easier to find on the run out tide in this area. The sudden cool south westerly wind may also have put them off their food.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 3 February 2014

Monday

By Monday the weather looked more promising for a fish at Bribie. A few showers but the wind would drop to about a 10 knot south-easterly, early in the morning. Low tide would be just after 5.30 am, with first light at about 5.00 am.

I decided to fish on the flats around the old oyster jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. If the flathead are around, this is usually where they are easiest to find. It rained for almost the whole journey up from Brisbane but it was not very heavy. I waded out into the shallows, under the bridge at about 5.00 am. The tide was still running out but slowing down quickly. I left the area under the bridge alone as I wanted to reach the jetty while the water was still running out.

I was fishing my light rig – G.Loomis TSR series light spin rod, Shimano Stella 2500, 15lb Super PE braid and the new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with a soft plastic lure – the GULP Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.  The wind was negligible so I dropped down to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. This would hop over the weed on the shallows, if moved fairly quickly.

It was light enough to see but the sun was not yet up. I was covering the area just south of the jetty with casts. After a few minutes I caught the first flathead, lying in wait, behind a clump of weed. It was a little over 45cm. It destroyed the Jerkshad and I did not have another, so I put on a smaller, 3 inch minnow in the same colour. I cast at the same spot and instantly hooked up again. The smaller plastic had produced a bigger fish – this one was about 55cm long.

I carried on prospecting around the rocky bits of reef and weed clumps that dot this area. I connected with something that turned out to be some abandoned braid. I decided to wind it up. It was probably 50 lb breaking strain and there was plenty of it. I waded up and down, pulling it off the rocks and as it loosened, I could feel something moving in the end of the line. I eventually reached the leader that was also pretty substantial – perhaps 60 lb+ breaking strain. Then I saw the source of movement; two mud crabs – one large, one small, were completely tangled up, but both wriggling.  I took a few pics and gradually untangled them. One looked big enough for dinner but I am not an experienced crabber – so I could not tell if it was male or female. I was also fairly unsure as to how I would grab it! I cut the last bit of line off and they both slipped away. I wound up the remaining leader and found a very substantial – size 8/0 hook on the end of it.

The sun came over the horizon and the run out tide fizzled out. I moved further south. I kept swapping colours and sizes of soft plastic and caught flathead on the GULP Minnow, Shrimp and Jerkshad shapes. The Watermelon Pearl, New Penny, Lime Tiger, Satay and Cajun Chicken colours all worked. I caught six more fish along the stretch of weed beds that run from the end of the jetty to the green channel marker. They were all between about 35cm and 45cm long.

As the tide turned in I waded back towards the bridge and swapped to my favourite DUO Realis Shad 59MR – suspending hard bodied lure. The loose weed now lifted by the run in tide made fishing with the hard body a bit frustrating. I had a few grabs and snatches which I suspect were Bream or Pike, but I did not catch anything.

At about 8.45 am I could no longer reach the area I wanted to castat and the wind had built up to 20 knots, so I gave up for the day. It looks like a few days of solid south-easterly winds have brought the fish back on the bite.