Iluka – Woody Head – 14/15 November 2020

Very strong south easterlies had been blowing all week. I had tried a few sheltered spots around Iluka, but had only managed a few bream and small trevally. Everything was just too stirred up and finding anywhere safe to stand was too hard.

The winds dropped off on the Friday and the south easterlies were replaced by a strong northerly wind. This flattened out the seas a little and by lunchtime on Saturday I decided to try fishing at Woody Head. It was an early afternoon low tide at about 2.30 pm. The northerly wind was forecast to fall through the afternoon. The moon would be new on Sunday. The wind was still gusty from the north but the swell had flattened considerably.

I started fishing with my heavier set up – 40lb leader, 40lb braid, casting a DUO Drag Metalcast around. This produced nothing. Then a Gulp Jerkshad (various colours). This produced a 45cm trevally and then a 35cm bream. Initially I was fishing with a 1/4 ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and then on a heavier 3/8th ounce, 2/0 hook jighead, to counteract the fairly strong northerly wind.

I had been casting a GULP Lime Tiger coloured jerkshad around and I was thinking of swapping to a more natural coloured soft plastic when something grabbed the plastic very close. It initially turned to swim away but soon rethought its strategy and headed under the ledge. The drag was pretty tight but the fish didn’t even pause. My braid was soon rubbing on the rocks and then – snap! I re-rigged and tightened the drag, but things seemed to go quiet for a while. The tide was now pushing in quite quickly. I kept casting and the next fish on the scene was a trevally, about 45cm long.

At about 3.30 pm I had moved a little south along the ledge. I dropped down to the light rock fishing rig with 16lb leader and 20lb braid. I cast out a GULP Lime Tiger coloured Crazylegs Jerkshad. This was smacked on the drop and taken straight under the rock ledge – the braid snapped almost instantly. I cursed my impatience and swapped back to the heavy rod with 40lb leader and a 3/8th ounce size 2/0 jighead. I put another GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad on. This paid off and after a few casts something whacked the soft plastic on the drop and took off. Fortunately it decided to swim away from the ledge and this gave me some time. It was powerful but after an initial run I seemed to have it under control. I pulled it up with a wave surge and was delighted to see it was a snapper (later weighed in – gutted and scaled – at 3.8kg)

The next day would be an even lower low tide and I started fishing in the same spot at about 3.00 pm. The swell had continued to drop off and the wind was a light south-easterly. The first taker was a bream. I released it and carried on. About 10 minutes later I felt a fish grab then lure then drop it, a few metres out from the ledge. I cast out again and slowed down my retrieve. Something fast grabbed it and took off with a long run. I got some line back but then it ran again. I tightened the drag and wound like mad as it suddenly turned and decided to swim straight for the ledge. Fortunately, by the time it tried to change its mind, I had virtually locked up the drag and pulled it in on a wave. It was a surprising small (50cm) kingfish. I have only ever caught a few of these and their power and speed always surprises me. I released it, hoping for more, but did not get any.

Kingfish fight very hard

I moved further south to where I had caught the snapper the day before. I was temporarily out of the Crazylegs Jerkshads so I found a 6″ GULP Squid Vicious in the New Penny colour and cast that out. It was now almost 5.00pm and the tide was running in. On about the third cast I thought I had the bottom, then it started wriggling and took off. One long solid run and then a couple of head shakes but no real power (compared to the kingfish). It was decent school jewfish and I was able to successfully pull it up to my feet. It was just over 75 cm long and so it joined the snapper in the fridge.

A couple of great sessions once the weather allowed me to get to the fish, lets hope it stays calm for a while.

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Bribie – Stout longtoms -4 January 2016

Monday

The bad weather continued. It had rained heavily over the weekend and most of the night. I decided to try for a few fish on the dawn high tide on the old oyster jetty flats at Bribie. High tide would be at 5.30 am. After all the rain the temperature had dropped to about 20 degrees. I aimed to arrive and start fishing at first light which would be at about 4.30 am.

The wind was forecast to be a 10 knot easterly, but soon after I arrived it was actually blowing at about fifteen knots from the south west. The sky was grey and sunrise was completely smothered by the low cloud. There moon was not doing much and therefore there would be little run on the tide.

Everything looked grey so I decided to use a brightly coloured GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken (red and yellow colour). This soon attracted the attention of the resident longtoms. They, or perhaps a particularly persistent individual, seemed to be everywhere. I think they find it hard to resist a big curly tailed soft plastic. According to the Australian Museum’s website the Stout Longtom, Tylosurus gavialoides (Castelnau, 1873) is “a long slender species, coloured blue to green or grey above and silvery below. The snout and fins of adults are usually dusky. The species is endemic to Australia”.  When I have seen people kill them to eat there are two strange facts that emerge:

  • They have no stomach, so gutting them is a very simple process, if you avoid the teeth
  • They have bright green bones

If you can get past the green bones I am told they taste sweet. Because of their long snouts and sharp teeth they are quite difficult to hook.

At about 6.00 am after several bites and semi-hook ups, I seemed to be attached to a fairly big one. It thrashed about and when I pulled it in, I realised it had probably only stayed on the line as it was hooked under one of its fins. I did not want to keep it for dinner so I unhooked it and released it.

At about 6.30am, it began to rain steadily, so I gave up for the day. A tough session, but at this time of year it often is.

Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 9 September 2015

Wednesday

On Wednesday the forecast was for light winds and a clear day. I could not resist another spell at Bribie on the sand/ mud flats, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. Low tide would be in the middle of the day at 12.36pm.

The wind had dropped off significantly from the day before but it was now cooler and coming from the south west, at about 10 knots. The sky was clear and so was the water. As I walked out under the bridge a couple of Kiwis arrived, one with a fly rod. I politely explained that there were no trout to be had here. I reckon it’s hard enough catching a fish with a regular rod but it seems there is always someone looking for an additional challenge. At least with the wind behind them they were in with a chance.

It was about 9.45am and I started off casting into about 60cm of water, just to the north of the bridge. The tide was running out fast over the weed covered boulders that dot the gravel bottom, in this area. I was fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour loaded onto a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I was using my light spin rod with 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 12lb braid. The first flathead was lying amongst the boulders about 10 metres north of the bridge. It grabbed the plastic and I landed it safely. It was about 44cm long.

I moved south under the bridge and waded under the old oyster jetty, casting as I went. The jetty now has a selection of fairy lights hung along it and a railing down one side. I hope the fairy lights will attract more bait.

I fished around fairly thoroughly in the area just north of the jetty but did not get any bites. It was about an hour before I found another flathead. Just to the north of where the big drain empties out into the main channel. By now I had swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. This soft plastic is a Jerkshad with a prong shaped split tail which flutters as it hops and sinks. It is a great lure. Its only problem is that dart, bream and other small fish often bite the tails off. I cast it out beyond the dark edge of the weed beds and paused for 10 seconds. I slowly hopped it back along the bottom. After a few hops a felt the solid thud as the fish hit it. I dropped the tip and counted slowly to 10. I lifted again and hooked the fish. It was another 45 cm flathead.

I carried on wading the south and fishing with the big GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. I soon found a couple more under sized flathead and released them. At about 11.00 am I was halfway between the jetty and the green channel marker, standing about 3 metre back from edge of the weed beds. I had hooked another flathead and was taking a few photographs of it, as I reeled it in. It suddenly got very animated and started leaping out of the water. As I pulled it closer a sanding coloured shape loomed up on its tale and I understood its concern. It looked like a big wobbegong, about 1.5m long, but its more pointed nose and uniform colour suggested it was some other kind of shark. When it saw me it turned away and decided not to pursue its lunch.

I carried on towards the channel marker and caught 3 more keeper sized flathead and another 4 undersized fish, which were all released. At about noon the tide had slowed and I decided to give up. Another bagful of flathead and a great morning of fishing.

Iluka – Woody Head – 1 October 2014

Wednesday

Many claim it was Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But there is no evidence that he ever said it, thought it or wrote it.  However as with all good clichés, there is an element of truth in it, especially for fishermen.

For this reason I decided not to return to Middle Bluff on Wednesday morning and to go instead to Woody Head – the next headland to the north. When the swell is light and the tide is low or falling, there are few better fishing spots.

I parked up and walked out on to the rock platform at about 5.00 am. The wind had stayed a northerly and the swell was fairly gentle, but there was still the odd large set of waves coming through. Boots with felt soles or studs, or both are essential, if you intend to venture out here, as is a PFD. The tides ensure almost every surface is a suitable home for green and black slimy weed and the barnacles here are responsible for plenty of long term scar tissue. So it is only relatively safe when the swell is under 1 metre and the tide is about half way out and falling.

It was another magnificent sunrise. I wandered out to the front of the rock platform to a spot called the Barnacles. I rigged up the light rod (NS Blackhole) with 14 lb fluorocarbon leader and ¼ ounce, 1/0 size hook jighead and a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad, in the Curry Chicken colour. I lost the first rig to the rocks – fishing is expensive in this kind of terrain. I rigged up again with the same set up. I cast out and let the jig head sink. I left it as long as I dared and then hopped it in a little closer to the rocks. As I lifted it again I felt it stop and then line started peeling. The fish ploughed off to the south, parallel with the rocks. This was tricky as I could not stay lined up with it for long. I Let it run and then fairly quickly took back some line and tightened the drag a little. It turned but tried to bury itself at the foot of the rocks. It was now weakening but the leader was caught on some rocks and I could feel it rubbing. I loosed the drag right off and waited. Fortunately it swam out and freed the leader. Now I tightened again and pulled it up on the next surge of water. After a couple more waves I had it at my feet. A solid mulloway –  it was 76 cm and legal size in both Queensland and NSW. At last we would have a taste of the fish I had been catching all week and releasing.

I dispatched it, gutted and cleaned it. Then I headed back to the rocks for another try. It had destroyed my last GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad so I put on a 4” Minnow in the Green Camo colour. Back to the same spot – bang, first cast and I have a fish on again. The drag was still set too tight from the final stages of the fight with the last one and after a big initial run, before I realised, it found a rock and snapped me off.  I assume it was another mulloway. I re-rigged and continued fishing for another 30 minutes with no result. The swell was building and the tide rising. So at about 7.45am, I gave up and took my prize back to the cabin.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 4 June 2014

Wednesday

After a pleasant but not very successful session at Whitepatch Beach on Bribie Island, it was time to head back to my favourite spot, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, beside the old oyster jetty, just south of the Bribie Bridge.

Low tide would be at 7.37 am and the fishing has consistently been good in the last few hours of the run out tide, in this area. First light is at about 6.00 am, at the moment and I drove up to Bribie so that I would be in position at about 5.30 am. We were about a week into a new moon.

I put my waders on. I have seen a few people trying to brave this area without them, lately. I would not recommend wading around this area without a pair of waders. The crabs often try to nip your heels as you walk past and I have kicked plenty of stonefish. I have stepped on rays and been stalked by a few big wobbegongs and the whole area is littered with oyster covered clumps of rock and debris. To round things off, the water is now cold, so you will get fed up pretty quickly if you are soaked.

It was still dark so I started fishing under the bridge lights with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic, in the Curried Chicken colour.  I had a couple of tugs and follows from the pike, that where circling under the lights and then a grab from a flathead. It suddenly appeared, almost on the surface behind the soft plastic. It snapped at the lure, but perhaps it felt some resistance or saw me standing a few feet away, either way, it turned and disappeared with a tail splash.

I moved towards the jetty following the line where the seagrass gives way to sandy bottom. The sky had turned bright red and it would be a fantastic sunrise. I felt a solid bite and dropped the rod tip for a few moments. Then I lifted it and felt a wriggle and a head shake and knew I had another flathead. It was about 45cm and the first keeper of the day. I caught another fish, a couple of casts later, in about the same place. I noticed a few small squid in the shallows but not much other bait.

I moved to the south of jetty and swapped to the small, hard bodied DUO Realis Shad 62. It was light now and the water was fairly clear. From about the third cast, this little hard body started catching fish. From 6.45 am through to about 8.00 am, it caught a steady stream, probably about 10 to 12 flathead in total, of which more than half would have been big enough to keep.

 

 

At around 8.00 am, the water was calm and shallow all around and it was a very bright and clear morning. The trebles on the Realis Shad were now all bent out of shape so I took it out of service and tied on a MARIA MJ Twitch 90 mm suspending hard bodied bibbed minnow and cast it out.  This is a big lure to throw at flathead but when they are around they seem happy to go after it. I varied the retrieve until I felt I was slowly moving the lure along, just above the bottom, with plenty of pauses. I felt a few aborted strikes and then there was a solid whack. The line started slowly peeling as the fish swam away with the lure, then it took off, as the treble hooks set. The first run was long and powerful, but fairly slow. I thought it might be a ray. Then it started shaking its head and I realised it was a flathead. There are only a few rocks in this area but there is small group that have sprouted tall seaweed clumps.  I soon realised the fish had the line wrapped around one of these. Fortunately the tide was still a low and I waded out to it and freed the line. I gradually tired the fish out and pulled it up into the shallows.

Unfortunately, in the prolonged fight, or perhaps in its initial hard strike, it had got the big hard bodied lure stuck a long way down its throat. I later measured it at 68cm – normally I would release a fish of this size but with the lure lodged where it was, I did not think it would survive the process of removal, so I decided to keep it. I would rather eat it, than let a shark have it!

I decided to give up at about 8.30 am and as I wandered back to the car, there where flathead lies everywhere. It seems the fish are back, in large numbers.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 28 May 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday afternoon was my next free spot for a quick session and I drove up to Bribie to fish the run out tide. I wanted to fish today to see if the New Moon made any difference. It would be a 0.4m low tide, at about 3.00 pm. A 10 knot northerly was forecast but when I arrived, at about 1.15 pm, it was more like a 15 knot south-easterly.

I waded out to the south, under the bridge towards the old oyster jetty. The water was stirred up from the wind and the big tide, but there was not too much floating dead weed and sea grass around. I started with a DUO Realis Shad 62 DR, a small floating hard bodied bibbed minnow lure.

At this point I thought I would clarify that Landangler is not sponsored by anyone and does not own shares in BERKLEY GULP, DUO, RIO, MARIA, LUCKY CRAFT or any other lure manufacturer (although I probably should). From time to time (very rarely) manufacturers send me a few lures to try. If they look like they might work for the type of fishing I do, I will give them a try and see if they catch fish. If I do try them, then I will write about the results – good or bad.  But I will always let you know if I did not have to pay for them. This approach is not always welcomed and I often receive a package only once!

I read a great blog post by Adam Royter, a few weeks ago – it is worth a look, if you have time – http://www.maddogroyter.com/1/post/2014/04/the-truth-be-told.html . I was impressed that he was willing to bite the hand that feeds him by pointing out how disappointingly predictable reviews in Australian fishing magazines have become. I appreciate that the fishing industry is small here and that the ‘pay for advertising in return for a positive review’ model has become normal practice – but that don’t make it right.

Landanglers prediction is that only good quality, current, unbiased content will get read in the future and most of it will not get read in the paper format. Like it or not, the younger generation consider web content as free, so if you want to get paid in some way to be a fishing journalist, your product will need be exceptional and that is how it should be.

Right, it’s time to get off the soap box and get back to the fishing. I tied on the DUO Realis Shad 62DR (purchased with hard earned cash from Tacklewarehouse at Camp Hill – http://www.tacklewarehouse.com.au/). The tide was running out quickly and I was now standing about 30 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty. After about three casts, using a fairly fast, constant retrieve an angry flathead surfaced with the lure lodged in its mouth. It was a good sized fish – about 55cm long. A few casts later, the same lure caught a slightly smaller one.

 

Then things slowed a bit. As the tide got lower, more and more weed started to clog the lure so I swapped back to a soft plastic – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. This found the fish pretty quickly and I caught another 3 small flathead over the next 30 minutes.  I waded a long way towards the green channel marker and caught one more 45cm flathead before turning back.

Just before 4.00 pm I made my way back towards the bridge and stopped to cast a few shots in the area just to the north of the jetty. I had now swapped to the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. This produced another couple of small fish.

It had been another good session with plenty of fish around. They were all released today, so go and catch them again.

1770 – Getaway Beach – Jewfish – 5 May 2013

Monday

A friendly tackle supplier is fed up with reading about my exploits with the very capable Shimano Catana and decided to give me an alternative rod to try out. It arrived on Saturday – a N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod. It is 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb. It will throw up to a 30g lure or ½ oz jighead, for a soft plastic. It is designed for throwing small lures in the surf or off the rocks. NS Black Hole rods are made in Korea and have forged a strong reputation for durability, mainly in the US. It seemed like a good idea to put it to work. So on Sunday I decided to head for Agnes Water and 1770 for a few days.

I arrived in the late afternoon and went straight down to the beach opposite the 1770 Getaway resort, where I like to stay – http://www.1770getaway.com.au . They have great stand-alone cottages and an on-site restaurant / coffee shop which produces a magnificent lamb spit roast, twice a week. The best thing about the resort is that Michael, the owner, is a mad keen fisherman. He has good information on where to fish when the wind is blowing from almost any direction. He is always very willing to share his knowledge, just sit him down over a coffee and pick his brains.
I had matched the new N.S Black Hole Cabin II with my Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I had it loaded with 15lb Super PE braid and decided on a 16lb fluorocarbon leader, to start with. The beach is about a 10 minute walk from the resort and has a number of rocky out crops. It is just round the corner from Workman’s Beach, which is a little more sheltered, if there is a strong south-easterly blowing.

It was about 3.30 pm by the time I was ready to fish. The water was pretty stirred up and the swell was building. The wind was on shore at about 10 to 15 knots and it was bright and sunny. High tide would be at about 5.45 pm and the moon was about three days off new. I walked out on to one of the rocky out crops and loaded up with a Powerbait 4” Ripple Shad on the gold and black colour on a ¼ 2/0 jighead. I fished the lure along the edges of the rocks but after about 15 minutes, I had not had a bite. I decided to change to a heavier 3/8th 2/0 jighead, to make sure my lure was on the bottom. I also swapped soft plastics to a 5” GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour.

I fished around the rocks for another 20 minutes or so and felt a few bumps. The swell was up, I had a new rod and I did not know the terrain, so it was hard to tell if I was bumping into fish or the bottom.

Just before 4.00 pm, I lifted the lure from the bottom and felt a bit of resistance. I dropped it back down for a few moments, then struck. The rod tip started to wiggle and bent over. The new rod behaved well and soaked up the lunges and the Shimano Sustain drag took care of the hard initial runs. The tricky bit was the swell and the rocks – 16lb leader will withstand a Jewfish mouth for a while but it won’t last long if it rubs against the barnacles.

Fortunately the swell was pushing the fish in and there was a nice ledge at water level. I took my time and left the drag alone. The swell pushed the fish on to the ledge and I jumped down and grabbed it.

It was a great looking Jewfish – 77cm long and in fantastic condition. It had completely swallowed the jighead, which was now very obviously lodged in its throat. It had little chance of survival, so I decided to keep it and share it with my hosts at the 1770 Getaway resort.

I continued fishing until dusk but did not find any more. It had been a great opening session and I had successfully christened the new rod which had performed well.

Iluka – Middle Bluff and Shark Bay – 11 February 2013

Monday

The wind started a little cool from the south west but was forecast to move round to the east and north east. The tide would be too full to fish the dawn at Woody Head, so I decided to give Middle Bluff a try again. I arrived in the pre-dawn light, just before 6.00 am and immediately set to work with the heavy rig. I started with 3/8th oz, 3/0 jighead and a Gulp Jerkshad in the Pumpkinseed colour. The bommie, beside which the jewfish lurk, was covered in wash and the sweep took a few of my lures in quick succession. I had done too much of this the day before, so I changed tactics.

The sun was up and I moved right to the north end of Middle Bluff. I switched to the light rod with 16lb leader and put on a 1/6th oz, 3/0 jighead. I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad, in the Lime Tiger colour. I could just about cast the lure out, over the edge of the fringing reef and leave it there for a few seconds. Then I would have to quickly retrieve it with a wave, that was breaking over the reef. After a couple of casts, I lost the tail of the soft plastic, so I put on another. Each time I retrieved, small baitfish leapt ahead of the lure, as it approached the reef edge. After about three casts, a fish grabbed the lure right at the edge of the reef. I let it have some line and looked for a wave to bring it over the reef.

I had not caught much in the few days previously and I was a bit too eager. As the next wave washed over the edge, I pulled a bit too hard and the hook came out. I did not get a good look at it, but I would say it was more likely to have been a tailor or trevally, than jewfish.

I threw a lot of lures at this spot over the next hour, with both the light and heavy rod. After about twenty minutes one of my GULP 2” Smelt Minnows was bitten off right next to the edge, but that was it, I did not hook anything else. By about 10 am the water was surging over the rocks too often and I had to move off. The fish were definitely there, but they had again proved hard to get at.

By late afternoon the north-easterly breeze had picked up. I decided to try fishing at Shark Bay, to the north of Woody Head. This is another spot that is only really accessible around low tide. The rock platform at the southern end of the bay is exposed for a few hours either side of low. There is a large patch of reef just north of the main platform and the channel between is often a good target area.

The sea was fairly flat here. I decided to start with the light rod. I tied on 12lb leader and a 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead and loaded a GULP 2” Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour. I cast north and waited for the lure to sink. As it did so,…….bang, it was hit on the drop. The Shimano Catana Coastline bent over and took the lunges. After a few runs I reeled in another good size bream.

A few casts later I pulled in a tiny Moses Perch and then I started to lose tails to some rapid hit and run attacks. I decided to put a bigger lure on and loaded a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad. On the first retrieve it was slammed. I knew it was a tailor from the mad head shakes. I wound in steadily and soon had it by my feet. It was about 40 cm long. Over the next hour I had several more plastics mangled, but could not hook up. At one point I saw a couple of long toms following the lure in. At about 7.00 pm, exhausted, I gave up for the day.