Brunswick River – Brunswick Heads – 24 April 2021

On Saturday I had another session fishing land-based at Brunswick Heads. I started at 1.30 pm on a Saturday afternoon. This is pretty much breaking every rule in my fishing book. ‘Fish at dusk and dawn’, I am always telling everyone. But the last couple of days had produce lots of fish and I had other commitments at dusk and dawn. I was enjoying a good red wine at dusk and sleeping it off at dawn, so I decided to get some fresh air and put in a few casts.

It was a cloudy day and there was a light south easterly wind blowing. I was fishing the beginning of the run in tide. Low tide had been at 12.08 pm. The water was clear and once again there were small schools of tiny baitfish close to the shore line and around the various rocky outcrops.

I was using my light spinning combo and I put on a 4 inch GULP Pulseworm in the Moebi colour. This was another of GULPs short lived shapes in Australia. I found it was pretty good for flathead but it obviously did not sell very well and is now disappearing. However Pure Fishing/Berkley Gulps’ loss is my gain and I picked up an armful of packets for for $5 dollars each to feed my habit.

The first taker was a 20 cm flathead that must have been sitting in the shallows. It was about 30 cm from the shoreline. It had been buried in the sand and grabbed the soft plastic lure just as I was about to cast again. I cast around the rocks and lost a few jig heads by hooking the river bed.

I moved further down towards the river mouth and kept casting. Just before 2.00 pm my line pulled up tight and I caught another flathead – it was probably just 36 cm long. I released it. Almost immediately I caught and released another one, about the same size. I carried on fishing and swapped through a few different soft plastics. At 2.06 pm I caught yet another, This one was about 43 cm so I decided to keep it.

I kept casting. I was now fishing the GULP 4″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. The bream kept trying to pull this one off the jighead. Eventually one of them struck and hooked itself. Just after 3.00 pm I caught the best flathead of the day on a GULP 2″ Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. It was about 50 cm long.

At about 3.30 pm I gave up and cleaned up the two biggest fish to take home for supper. So you can catch fish in the Brunswick River on a Saturday lunchtime – but probably only when the river is teeming with bait and it’s not the school holidays.

Iluka – Shark Bay – Jewfish – 19 March 2016

Saturday would be my last morning in Iluka for a while. Despite praying for calmer weather the wind was forecast to pick up. I had a lie in as low tide would not be until 2.30 pm. I arrived at Shark Bay at about 10.30 am.

All week I had been expecting the stirred up seas to reveal a few Jewfish/ Mulloway. There was lots of bait around and previous trips, at this time of year have nearly always produced a few. The big seas had made it difficult to reach my favourite spots – perhaps the fish were there but I just could not get to them.

With this in mind I decided to start on the southern side of the Shark Bay rock platform. I would be casting straight in to the south-easterly wind so I needed to fish with something fairly heavy. There are lots of rocks on this side of the platform so I was not confident I would keep my lure.

I have a couple of Rapala 13g, 6cm Clackin Raps, lipless vibe lures which have been rattling around the bottom of the tackle bag for ages. I have never caught anything on these lures so I was not too worried about losing them. I rigged up the lighter of my rock fishing rods (the Daiwa Air Edge) and tied the lure on to my Aldi braid and 20lb fluorocarbon carbon leader. I cast the lure into the surf and waited for it to sink. The sea was very lively and I could only just feel the juddering vibrations as I yanked the lure along. After about three casts the lure pulled tight on something and I thought I had hit some kelp. I pulled the rod tip up and then line started peeling. I knew it was a Jewfish straight away. It made three long powerful steady runs and then started swimming back towards me. The game of cat and mouse continued for about 10 minutes. The rod was not powerful enough to force the issue, so I just had to be patient. After a couple more minutes the fish popped over on its side, a few meters from the shore. It looked as if it was beaten, so I tightened the drag a little and tried to pull it over the rocks with the next surge. Either the wave or sense of impending doom caused it to suddenly wake up and it put its head back down and tried to bury itself. The leader slipped down between the cunjevoi and I could not free it. I could see the fish and lure hanging on by just the single big hook on the front treble, a few metres in front of me, but could not get to it. Another big wave came over and when it receded the fish was gone and the lure was lodge firmly in the cunjevoi. They always getting bigger in your memory but I think it was about a 6kg fish. I realised I did not have my camera with me – perhaps that’s why I could not hold on to the fish.

Rapala

I had another, bigger Clackin Rap and I cast this around without success. As the tide lowered I moved to the front of the rock platform, also on the southern side. I swapped to a soft plastic on a ¼ ounce 2/0 jighead. I needed the weight to cast against the wind. I put on a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. I lost the first to the rocks and tied another one on. After a few casts this was slammed in the surf, close in. The fished pulled hard and when I finally subdued it, I was surprised to only see a small Trevally.

The challenge in this spot was losing gear to the rocks and I lost a few more rigs over the next hour or so. I swapped to a Gulp Jerkshad soft plastic in the Sweet and Sour Chicken colour and when I got this one in to a good foamy patch of water just beyond the rocks, I almost instantly hooked up. This time it was a 55cm tailor and I managed to pull it in.

I finished the session casting the long DUO Pressbait Saira hard body off the northern end of the rock platform. As it had done all week the lure found lots of long toms and a few more small tailor.

Just after low tide I stopped for the day. It had been another great week of fishing at Iluka.

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 – the old oyster jetty flats – 23 April 2014

Wednesday

It was a late start for me again on Wednesday – juggling work and fishing is hard.  But then most of my readers are probably well aware of that!

I arrived at the Bribie Bridge at about 9.00 am and waded out towards the flats to the south of the old oyster jetty. The sun was shining and there was a light south westerly wind. It is definitely getting cooler and the wind had some bite in it. The moon was 37% full and waning. It would be a 0.6m low tide at about 10.30 am.

I started fishing with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and this soon found a fish. It was a Flathead – just over 40 cm. I released it and went looking for more.  The water was clear but there were still a lot of black clumps of ‘snot’ weed floating around. There were sand crabs everywhere. Plenty of them seemed to be in romantic embraces.

As the tide slowed, I moved further south. In one of the sandy hollows, I caught another fish. This flathead had the brightest coloured tail I have ever seen. I released it and carried on wading south. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour and as the tide started to run in, I caught another 45cm flathead.

 

 

I briefly tried fishing with a few small hard bodied lures, but they kept getting clogged with weed. I swapped back to a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger (orange and green colour) and at about 11.00 am I found a couple more small flathead that were probably just under 40 cm.

This had not been a bad fishing session – especially as the school holidays have just finished and this area has been fished pretty hard. All fish were released today.

Yeppoon – Emu Park – 27 October 2013

Sunday

Finally a morning with virtually no wind forecast. I decided to head for Emu Park to fish the rocks. Low tide would be around 9.30 am and the moon was in its last quarter. I started at one of the headlands towards Zilzie and climbed out on to the rocks just after first light, at about 5.00 am.

There was virtually no wind and the sea was still. The water was not particularly clear and there was the bad smell of a recent algal bloom on the rocks. I was fishing light – actually I did not have a choice – as I had noticed, the night before, the tip on my heavier rod had snapped off during my recent travels.

I rigged up with 12lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I was using my trusty Loomis GL2 light spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500. I have fished here a few times in the cooler months and found some good Bream. This morning the first taker was a tiny greedy estuary cod. I caught a few of these and swapped through a few colours and styles of soft plastics.

After about 45 minutes the cod where the only thing biting, so I moved round to the rocky outcrop in front of the ‘Singing Ship’ at Emu Park. It was now about 6.15 am and already getting warm. I stuck with the same light rod but swapped to a lighter, 1/12th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. I put on a 3” GULP Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour. I positioned myself right on the end of the outcrop and cast to the north of a large bommy that sits a few metres offshore. If you are fishing land-based, you can only reach this spot for a few hours either side of low tide.

After a couple of casts in various directions, I felt a very solid and obvious thud as the lure sunk. I paused and then lifted the rod tip fairly quickly. I had hooked the fish and now it took off for the submerged rocks and caves, which are all over the seafloor in this area. I could not really muscle it in with my light rod, so I let it take line when necessary and very slowly tightened the drag. I gradually started to move it towards me. It managed to get behind the rocks a couple of times but, on both occasions I let it swim out and then successfully took up the slack.

It was soon in the wash at my feet and I could see it was a good sized Fingermark with the tell-tale black dot on its side. I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear of the water. I recovered the soft plastic with the aid of my pliers. It was a long way down its throat. The fish was about 50 cm long and it looked like the perfect size for dinner, so I put it in a nearby rock pool that was big enough to act as a live well.

I re-loaded the soft plastic on the jighead and cast into the same area. Just a few retrieves later, I was on to another fish. This one was bigger and put up a more spirited fight. My 2 to 4 lb Loomis rod was working pretty hard. I saw a big tail flap over and thought I had it, but as I increased the pressure the jighead came free.

I re-rigged – same small 1/12th ounce jighead, same small soft plastic. 12lb leader was all I had with me, so that had to do. Things went quiet for 30 minutes and I mover around the rocks in either direction looking for more good spots. I had another solid bit but did not hook the fish.

Just after 7.00 am I was back where I had caught the first fish. I lobbed out a long cast and again, as I lifted the plastic off the bottom I felt that very solid whack! This was another good fish. It did not do much initially but as soon as it realised something was wrong, it went mad and leapt clean out of the water. It remained on the line but tried to bury itself under a weedy ledge. After a few minutes I pulled it clear with a great lump of weed on its nose. It was about 55cm – so I added it to the live well. I decided to stay in this spot and was soon rewarded with another smaller Fingermark – about 40cm. I let this one go and carried on fishing.

It was now about 7.30 am. I lobbed a cast up close to the edge of the bommy and let it sink. I paused and gave it a couple of slow lifts and then paused again. Next time, I felt a very light tap as I lifted the rod tip and then a solid whack! The fish took the lure and turned for open water. It stripped perhaps 25 metres of line in two long, straight runs and I began to think it might be some kind of pelagic. I held on, tightened the drag as much as I dared and held the spool to slow it ever so slightly, each time it to tried run again. I gradually tired it out and fortunately it had stayed clear of the worst structure. After a few minutes it was close to the sloping rock where I had pulled the other fish ashore. Bit this would be tricky. Its tail flapped over and I could see it was a big Fingermark. I waited for a surge in the light swell and heaved the fish up. Crack! My beloved G.Loomis GL2 light spin rod made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. It snapped just above the join but the leader was intact and still attached to the fish. I grabbed the line and pulled the fish up the rocks and it just reached safety before the leader also snapped.

I sat clutching the fish with one hand and broken rod in the other, with my heart still pounding from the fight. It had been a fantastic capture and it was a marvellous fish. We do not get to sample much reef fish in my house, so I decided to keep the three in the live well. The big one measured in at 63cm and it probably weighed in somewhere between 3 and 4 kg – maybe more.
Needless to say that was the end of the session – but what a session it had been!