Evans Head Goanna Headland – 10 Aug 2020

I have always wanted to fish at Evans Head and with a light swell forecast and a mid-morning low tide, Monday looked good. I wanted to fish off the front of Goanna Headland and with a south-westerly breeze this looked possible. I arrived well after sunrise at about 8.00 am and parked in the carpark at Chinamens Beach.

As it would be my first time fishing here I decided to just take my lighter rock fishing rig with me. This is presently the 3.2m Daiwa Crossfire CFS 1062 rod and my Shimano Stella 4000, rigged with 30lb braid and usually a 16lb leader to start off with. I like to look around any new spot with this setup. The relatively light leader will not stop a really big fish but it will also get you more hook ups, so that you can figure out who the local residents are.

I walked around the headland, found a good spot and watched the swell for a while . The water was clear and fairly calm – it was sheltered from the south-westerly wind by the headland. I started with a 1/6th ounce jighead and a GULP 3″ minnow soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour. My second cast was hit hard by a fish that tried to head straight down into the rocks. I tightened the drag and pulled it out, fairly easily. It was a bream about 30 cm long. A found a couple more over the next few casts.

The bream had pretty much destroyed the minnow so I swapped over to a 2″ GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. The tide was rising and starting to wash over the ledge, so I could not stay in this spot for much longer. I cast out and let the plastic flutter down until I felt it was on the bottom. As soon as I lifted it a fish hit. It was bigger and faster than the bream and it pulled quite hard. It tried to take me under the ledge, but soon tired. It was a small silver trevally. I released the fish and cast straight back out. I caught three more small silver trevally in pretty quick succession and then something bigger hit the soft plastic on the drop and took off, straight under the rock ledge. After a few seconds I could feel my leader rubbing and then it snapped – cod, groper, wrasse, bigger bream, snapper or trevally – could have been anything. I re-rigged with a completely new 16lb fluorocarbon leader. This time I tied on a 1/6th ounce jighead but with a bigger size 1/0 hook and loaded it with a GULP 5″ Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour. After a few casts I hooked up again. This time it was another silver trevally – a little bigger than the others.

I had to change spots now so I moved a little south, to fish in a horse-shoe shaped bay. I looked like it was only a few metres deep but there were overhanging rocks on all sides and few bommies in the middle.

I cast the jerkshad out into the middle of the horse shoe mouth and let it sink to where I thought the bottom would be. I then hopped it back towards me. I repeated this for about an hour. I hooked a few small bream. It was now around 1.00 pm. The wind was picking up and turning south-easterly, so it was getting hard to cast straight out in front me. I was casting as close as I could to the overhanging rocks. As I started another retrieve of the soft plastic I felt a quick tug and then a real take. I set the hook and the fish took off. It was not quick like a tailor or trevally. My rod did not really have the power to slow it down but I kept the pressure on. It arched left, then came back to the right and I got some line back. I felt I was making some headway and tightened the drag a little. It arched over to the left again and then felt like it was beaten and was about to pop up. There was not obvious landing spot and just as I was thinking where to drag it to, it turned the thrusters on and took off again. I tried to hold slow the spool a bit with my hand and then I felt the jighead pull out.

I had found a great spot and had a great session. I will be back at dawn or dusk when the swell permits and I am sure I will encounter some great fish.

New Brighton – the beach – 19 October 2105

Monday

On Monday I decided to fish the beach a little further north of the Brunswick River mouth, between South Golden Beach and New Brighton. When there is a fairly regular wind pattern some good gutters form along this stretch of beach. There are also a few small patches of exposed rocks which are good to fish on the higher tides.

This time I woke before first light and walked out onto the beach about 20 minutes later. I was hopeful that something big might be hanging around so I started fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The dart were everywhere. I felt hits from the first cast. They were small but this did not stop them attacking the big jerkshad. I caught a few but they were all tiny.

As the sun came over the horizon I decided to drop down to a smaller 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour. The dart attacked this but they were still only an average of 15 cm long.

I reached a small patch of exposed rocks and swapped to GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I cast this around the rocks and felt a few bites. I started to let the plastic sit on the bottom, between hops for longer periods – hoping there might a flathead lurking nearby.

After a few casts there was suddenly some dead weight on the end of the line. Then the rod tip started to wiggle and I realised it was a fish. I thought it might be a ray of some kind as it was moving very slowly. I let it take line initially but soon turned its head and had it swimming towards the beach. As I pulled it clear of the surf and up the beach I could see it was a very strange looking fish called a stargazer. As soon as it was clear of the water it gradually buried itself in the soft sand. I had to wait for another wave to cover it, so that I could dislodge it from the sand. I am told these fish taste delicious (often referred to a ‘poor mans lobster’) but they just look far too weird to eat. I took a few snaps and then sent it on its way.

That was it for another tough beach/ surf fishing session. I am not much good at this type of fishing but that just gives me a good excuse to keep at it, until I am.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty – a bagful of flathead – 10 May 2015

Sunday

In to May and time to get back on to the flathead at Bribie. Big wind and rain were forecast for later in the week so I decided I had to get out on Sunday morning. It was going to be bright and cool with light south westerly winds.

I waded out under the bridge at Bribie Island just before dawn and despite the cooler nights the water remains surprisingly warm. I cast around in the shallows under the bridge but there was not much going on so I moved slowly to the south.

I was fishing with a GULP 4“Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour, initially. This did not seem to stir any interest so I swapped to a similair sized Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was fishing with my new light rod – a G.Loomis SJR6400. This is a very short, very fast action, light spinning rod. It is only 5’ 4” long which should make it easier to use in the smaller creeks that I hope to fish later in the year, up north. Loomis describe it as a ‘magnum ultralight’ rod which sounds more like a diet ice cream to me.  It is designed to have slightly more strength than their ultra-light series, while retaining its sensitivity. I was using it with my Shimano Stella 2500 loaded with 12lb braid and about a metre of 10lb fluorocarbon. The tide was slowly running out so I was using a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and aiming it at any spot where the sand met the weed.

It was hard work. I disturbed a few sting rays and eventually hooked one, which dragged me around for a while before breaking the light leader. I had now been fishing for 2 hours without connecting with a flathead. The water was getting dirtier as we approached low tide, which would be just after 8.00 am.

I move along towards the green channel marker. It was now right on low tide. I had been joined by a few more keen fishermen on the edge of the sand bank. Just as I was beginning to think the new rod was cursed, I felt the tell-tale thud of the flathead bite. I was now using the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I paused then struck. It is always a little tricky catching your first fish on a new rod. You have to calibrate the drag setting to the rod bend and this can take a while. The fish hardly managed to take any line, which meant I had it too tight. It was a flathead about 42cm long and I soon had it in the keeper bag. I loosened the drag a little and carried on casting. A few minutes later I caught a small Pike then things went quiet for about 20 minutes.

The water was still and dirty. I moved slightly north, back towards the old oyster jetty. I felt a bite but did not hook up. This happened twice and each time the fish was a little nearer to me. I moved back a few paces and tried again with a short cast and a long pause. When I lifted the rod the fish was on the soft plastic. It was another flathead about the same size as the first. Over the next 30 minutes I caught two more – one more over 40cm and one just under.

I carried on moving south. The tide was starting to turn and flow in. I kept casting at the edge of the weed beds and was rewarded with another flathead. This time it was a bigger one at about 55 cm. I now had a family dinner in the keeper bag.

I kept casting as I waded back towards the car and I was rewarded with another flathead, just before I passed the jetty. After a slow start it had turned into a great morning. The new rod had proved itself and I had my bag limit for the day.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 15 June 2014

Sunday

I love my trips away – up and down the Queensland and New South Wales coasts, but this year I have not had much time for them. This has given me the chance to fish my home turf, at Bribie Island, more often. People ask if I get bored fishing the same spots and the answer is always, a resounding no. The main reason is that every day and every tide change brings you a different set of variables. You may be very familiar with the geography of the area but as the water runs in or out, faster or slower, depending on the moon phase and as the weed grows or dies off, with shifting water temperatures, everything is constantly changing. Then you add the wind direction, weather and shifting sand banks and there is always plenty to consider.

So as you may have guessed on Sunday, I decided to fish the old oyster jetty flats at dawn. Low tide would be at 5.15 am, so I would be fishing the first part of the run in tide. It was a couple of days after the full moon and the forecast was for a 12 knot south-westerly. I arrived at 5.45 am just after low tide and waded out under the bridge. The water was calm and the wind was hardly blowing, but it was cold. More importantly the water was really cold. A few days of very cold nights had really brought the temperature down.

I started with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. I find this is good to fish before the sun comes up. It has plenty of action and the high contrast often attracts a bite. Just north of the jetty I found my first fish of the day. It was just after 6.00 am and it was a 45cm flathead. I cast around the same area and then moved in, closer to the jetty, where I picked up another, slightly smaller flathead, about 20 minutes later.

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The sun took a long time to come over the thick band of cloud that was sitting along the horizon. I kept moving south, as the run in tide picked up pace. I swapped to the GULP 4” Minnow in the Watermelon Pearl colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook, jighead. At about 6.45 am, I caught another flathead, just over 40 cm.

I swapped soft plastics again. This time I chose a GULP  2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. It took a while, but after another 30 mins I caught my final fish of the day – another 45 cm flathead. It had been a good but tough fishing session with some long gaps between fish. Perhaps it was the cold weather/ water or maybe I just had trouble locating them today.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty to the channel marker – 21 April 2014

Monday

I am disappointed to report that once more the curse of paid employment has slowed down my posting and fishing. If the current government has its way, I shall be doing more work, for a lot longer than I had planned. I understand that when the pension was first introduced around 1910, the qualifying age was 65 and life expectancy was 58. So it was the ultimate healthy lifestyle bonus. Rarely did the government have to pay out for more than a few years. Now, most of us will get to our mid 80’s (especially if we eat plenty of fish). So we nearly all qualify for some portion of state funding for 15 years or more. Someone has to pay for it and the woeful performance of most people’s superannuation fund managers, means they will not be making much of a contribution. It’s a mess and it can only mean one thing – the current Australian age pension is probably as good as it will ever be.  So next time you see someone with more grey hair than you, whingeing about the cost of bait, remember you will be working long after they put their feet up, so ask them to shout you a beer. Of course, I can’t imagine who will employ me when I am 65 but that’s a whole another can of worms.

That’s enough social commentary. I was keen to see if the flathead glory days of early March would return. I drove up to Bribie on Monday, to fish the run out tide, which would be low at 8.00 am. It was still school holidays and during my last few visits, there has been plenty boat traffic. The wind has been changing between a light south-easterly and a northerly, with the occasionally cool westerly appearing, in the early morning. On Monday, it was light and cool from the south west. The overnight westerlies will start to bring the water temperature down quite quickly, if they persist. We were about half way between the full and the new moon.

I started in the dark and decided to head straight to the area to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. My last few sessions through the Easter Holidays had produced some quality fish, but the numbers were thinning out.  I decided to fish with neutral/ natural coloured soft plastics, just in case the fish were getting picky. I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I loaded it on to a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.  It was 5.30 am and the sky was just beginning to turn orange along the horizon. I cast the plastic a long  way out and after two hops, I felt a good bite. Then the line went slack. I wound up the slack and suddenly, I was in contact with a fish again. It was swimming towards me but now it turned away. As it pulled away, the hook struck home and it took off with a blistering first run. I gradually subdued it, but it was powerful and angry and this area has a big patch of rocky bottom, close to the shore, so I took it slowly. After a few minutes, I pulled the fish on to the sandy beach. It was a big female, just under 70 cm. After a few pictures, I let her go.

The sun came up and I waded further south, following the falling tide. It was pretty quiet and it was not until 6.25 am, that I got another bite. I had swapped to the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and hooked another slurping, grunting, spiny puffer fish. I pushed it off the hook and continued fishing. I then caught a couple of undersized flathead in quick succession. Then things went quiet again. I swapped to a longer GULP Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour and this soon attracted a few bites. About 10 minutes after the change, I caught a big (35cm) pike. I was now about half way to the green channel marker.

The water slowed and I turned back towards the jetty. At about 7.20 am I caught an almost legal size flathead, which I released. It was getting frustrating. By low tide at 8.15 am, I found myself back beside the old oyster jetty. I had swapped back to the Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I put in a few last casts and then bang, a big fish grabbed the Shrimp soft plastic, just as it landed. The fish was lying in no more than 20 cm of water. It was big and powerful and as it was so near the surface, it immediately started shaking its head. It ran hard but after about four good runs, it was spent. I waded through the soft muddy weed and pulled it ashore. It was another 70 cm model, or perhaps it was the one I caught earlier. It looked a very different colour in full daylight, but you never know.

I had caught some good fish but I had released them all. It may be time to fish somewhere else for a while.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats and the Seaside Museum drain – 2 April 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday was an almost exact re-run of Tuesday, – except I arrived slightly earlier in the run out tide. It was another bright, sunny day with a light northerly wind. The water is still fairly murky on the bottom of the tide.

I waded around the area to the south of the old oyster jetty and caught fish on the Powerbait Rippleshad in a black and gold sparkle colour, the GULP Jerkshad in Pink Shine, The GULP 2″ Shrimp in the Natural colour and the GULP 3″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. I fished everything on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead on 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I fished for about three hours and caught eight fish (all flathead), of which only two were over 40cm long.

At about 4.00 I waded back to the car and drove over the bridge to Bongaree to look at the creek drain in front of the Seaside Museum again. I fished along the drop off for an hour, gradually working my way to the south. I caught nothing.

Fishing in the middle of the day, northerly winds and not much bait around may all have been reasons for not finding many keepers. I released  all the fish, as the family will shoot me if I put another flathead on the table.

 

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 March 2014

Saturday

After an extraordinary session on Friday, I had to get back up to Bribie again to fish the low tide. Fortunately, I could squeeze in a session on Saturday morning. The wind was forecast to be pretty lively again, with a couple of tropical cyclones hovering off the coast, up north. Low tide would be at 8.40 am. The moon was a week away from full.

I arrived just after first light at about 5.30 am. I ran into Matt, another keen fisho who had had the same idea. We walked out towards the old oyster jetty and swapped a few fishing stories. He headed south along the sandbank towards the channel marker and I settled on a spot just to the south of the jetty.

It took a while to find the fish. The sun came over the horizon and the wind started to pick up. The tide was running out quickly. I started by fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken on a 1/8th 2/0 jighead. I was using my G.Loomis TJR fast action, light spin rod and a 15lb Super PE braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. At about 6.20 am I dropped a small flathead, but on the next cast, I felt the bite and paused. When I lifted, the fish was attached.

Now I had found the fish and I caught a fish on almost every cast for the next 30 minutes.  A hot bite is a great time to experiment. A gent named Charles Talman from Mount Gambier in South Australia makes his own soft plastics and recently was kind enough to send me some to try out. There were plenty of prawns jumping so I decided to start by rigging up one of his 4” Shrimp soft plastics. These plastics do not quite have the finesse of the major brands, but as you will see from the pictures, they are cleverly designed and have good actions and texture – both essential characteristics. I rigged the first one on a 1/8th ounce, 2/0 jighead and cast it out. I knew the fish were here but I wasn’t sure they would go for it. There was no need to worry – half way into the retrieve a fish hit it. I dropped the rod tip and paused. About five seconds later, I struck and I pulled up a flathead, about 45cm long. A few casts later, I caught another. Over the next hour, they kept coming. I cycled through a couple more of Charles’ lures and then put in a GULP 4” Shrimp in the Natural colour. There was no difference in the catch rate between the two types of shrimp soft plastic.

I now decided to try the DUO Tetraworks Koikakko tiny hard bodied squid imitations. These are made with the usual DUO care and attention to detail. They can be used in deep water as a jig or hopped across the bottom like a traditional sinking hard body. They are only 34mm long and weigh 4.6g. They are ideal to cast across the flats in crystal clear water, on light leaders and will tempt almost any species.  I knew there had been a lot of small squid around this area so I thought they would be perfect. My only concern was that perhaps they would be too small for the flathead to notice. I checked my knots and decided to slow everything down and increase the pauses on the bottom.

Success was not immediate, but after about 15 minutes I saw a flathead come up behind the lure and then turn away at the last minute. I cast back in the same spot and left the lure on the bottom for about 20 seconds. On the second hop, I felt the violent thud of a flathead mouth crunch down on my lure. The fish took the lure and slowly swam away with it. It took a while for it to register that this was not an ordinary squid and when I lifted the rod tip to ensure the tiny treble was lodged, it took off.

It was obviously bigger than the small flathead that had swiped at the lure on the previous retrieve and it made couple of blistering runs out towards open water. You cannot muscle a fish with the fast and flexible G.Loomis TJR rod. It absorbs the lunges beautifully but you have to be patient and let the reel’s drag do the rest. I have traded up the single tiny treble hook on the DUO Tetraworks Koikakko for a slightly tougher Gamakatsu version. I waded back to the shoreline with the fish. It was tired now, but as we reached the shallows, it continued to try and turn and then shake its head. I pulled it across the weed in the shallows and on to the sandbank. It was the biggest fish of the day – a 68cm flathead. I released this one and carried on fishing.

The Koikakko lure caught plenty more flathead and its tiny size did not seem to have much bearing on the size of fish it attracted.  By low tide I had five good fish in the keeper bag – all between 50 cm. and 60cm.

By 9.00 am, the wind was howling and making it pretty hard to fish. I decided to finish the session with a couple more of Mr Talman’s soft plastics. I particularly like his small, three legged monster – not sure what it is but the flathead love it. I lost the green version to a fish that wrapped itself around an abandoned crab pot.  Fortunately, there was also a fluorescent gold/creamy coloured one, so I re-rigged with this. The flathead could not resist and I caught about 5 more, all good sized fish, on this soft plastic lure. I finished up with a 5” worm in a green colour. This also delivered and after a few casts it connected with a 50cm flathead.

 

I am not really sure why the fish have suddenly appeared but I hope they hang around for a while. I’ll be back.

Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum flats – 26 July 2013

My apologies for taking so long to post this report but standing waist deep in cold water finally took its toll last week and I caught a miserable man cold. At least 50% or more of my readers will be aware that this is, typically, far more serious than the milder colds that women contract. Frankly, I was surprised at my own courage and resilience. I battled my way out of bed to the sofa each morning and kept operating the remote control with no fuss at all. After about four days I had run out of fishing videos to watch and I realised I was better.

Cold and grey again

The weather has been very poor through to the end of July but the fish have been around if you can brave the elements. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

On the Friday in question, I decided to see if there were anymore bream or jewfish lurking around the mouth of the freshwater creek drain, at Bongaree, on Bribie Island. I arrived just before dawn. Unfortunately, there was another fairly strong cold south-westerly breeze blowing. Once more, nothing happened until the horizon started to glow behind me.

I was looking for bream so I started with a GULP 3″ Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and using 12lb fluorocarbon leader, in case the jewfish were around.

As the sun came up I felt couple of hits but could not hook a fish. At about 6.30 am, a fish grabbed the lure, as I pulled it over the edge of the drop off that runs parallel with the shoreline. It was a good one – over 30 cm long. I released it and went looking for more.

Found the first Bream at about 6.30 am

Found the first Bream at about 6.30 am

Should be plenty of bream around at the moment

Should be plenty of bream around at the moment

The wind was bitterly cold from the south west and it was building up. Low tide had passed at 6.03 am and the tide was running in slowly. I fished for another 2 hours, but all I managed was one more small flathead and at about 9.00 am I gave up.

Too cold and windy!

A small flathead could not resist the GULP Shrimp A small flathead could not resist the GULP Shrimp[/caption

Bribie Island – The Seaside Museum flats – 24 July 2013

Wednesday

Wednesday morning was cold, cold, cold, and really cold.  It was the first time this year that I have really felt it. It was a solid 15 knot south-westerly at 5.00 am. The moon had been full the day before and it was pretty bright.

I wanted to see if the Tailor were around at Bribie, before dawn. Tailor will often come on the bite in the dark, just before sunrise or just after sunset. I usually find it tough to fish in the dark but when the moon is as bright as it was on Wednesday, it almost feels like daytime.

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I decided to try the area around the drain beside the Seaside Museum. Low tide had passed 4.45 am. So at about 5.30 am the tide was just starting to run in.

I need not have bothered to get up so early, as nothing happened until just before first light. At about 6.00 am,  I was retrieving a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1/0 hook jighead, on 12lb leader. I had let it sink and I was hopping it back along the bottom towards me. I felt it stop dead and then the weight of the jighead just disappeared. It was a clean bite off – something very toothy.

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I re-rigged with the same soft plastic and carried on fishing. I moved up and down, casting along about a 15 metres section of the coffee rock ledge. I decided to drop down to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic, in the Banana Pawn colour. This is a bream favourite.

At about 6.25 am I felt a few bites when the plastic hit the bottom. On the next cast, I paused for a long time with the soft plastic just sitting there. As soon as I lifted it the fish struck. It made some determined runs but I pulled it up, over the ledge and safely onto the sand – it was a 32cm bream.

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I continued casting in to the same patch and at about 6.45 am, I caught another good bream. This one was nice and plump and a bit bigger, at 34cm. I returned to the same spot and continued fishing. About 10 minutes later the soft plastic was grabbed again, as I lifted it off the bottom. This was a much more powerful fish and it took plenty of line in its initial run. I moved as close as I could to the edge, so that my line would not get caught against it. The fish made about four good runs and then it started to come towards me. It swam straight over the edge towards the shore line and I tightened the drag, a little. When it realised its mistake and started back towards deeper water I turned its head and pulled it slowly and steadily up to the sand.

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It was a handsome Jewfish. I measured it at 58cm. Once again, it had completely swallowed the jighead and soft plastic, so I cut the line, as far down its throat as I could, before releasing it. By now I the tide was getting too high to fish along the edge and I was freezing, so I gave up.

The weather is still consistently bad but at least there are a few fish around.

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.

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.

Bribie Bridge and surrounds – 3 February 2013

Sunday

After a trip up to Asia I had eaten plenty of good seafood but now I wanted to catch some. Unfortunately the cyclone and its aftermath had slowed me down a bit.

On Sunday morning I could wait no longer and I decided to drive up to Bribie to have a look at conditions and try some fishing. Things were far from ideal. There was a strong south-easterly blowing and the tide had been high at about 2.00 am. The moon was waning and about 50% full. I would be fishing a not particularly powerful run out tide through to a low of 0.8 m, at about 8.30 am.

After a flood it is best to fish around high tide as this is when the concentration of salty water is highest in the estuaries – unfortunately this was not really an option. I arrived at the west end of the Bribie Island Bridge just after 4.00 am and rigged up. The tide was about half way out.

As I waded out, under the bridge, there was plenty of surface action under the lights and the water, in the shallows at least, was fairly clear. I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour , on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and cast out. There was a pull as the lure dropped in to the water and then nothing. I let the lure sink and as I lifted it from the bottom the line pulled tight and I wound in a 30cm Flathead. It’s always good to get a fish on your first cast – even a small one.

There were a few prawns skidding across the surface and so after a few more casts, I moved over to the shallows on the south side of the bridge. I cast at the pylons and wherever I saw a splash or a prawn jump. I retrieved the lure with the tide, hopping it over the sand and rubble bottom. Each time I cast in close to the pylons I would get a couple of hits. After a few repeats in the same spot I caught a small Moses Perch.

I decided to match what the fish were eating and swapped to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the natural colour. I was fishing with my light spin rod and reel combination. I had the reel spooled with 2.8kg Fireline and about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I concentrated on the area around the base of bridge pylons. The water was running out fast and the sun was just coming over the horizon. I let the soft plastic lure bump along the bottom. At about 5.25 am I lifted the rod to cast again and felt a solid tug. I dropped the tip for a few seconds then struck. I had a fish and it turned out to be the only keeper of the day – a flathead, 42cm long.

As the sun came up I moved south to fish around the old oyster jetty. As the tide dropped the water got dirtier and dirtier, especially in the main channel. I tried a few different soft plastics but did not get a touch. I waded from the jetty to the green channel marker and all the way back but did not get any hits. At about 8.00 am the tidal flow dropped off and the Passage was pretty much a brown muddy soup, so I gave up.

It was encouraging to catch a few fish and hopefully by next weekend the water should have cleared considerably. The prawns were a good sign and hopefully they will bring the predators in.

Caloundra – Power Boat Club & Diamond Head – 3 May 2012

Thursday

I was back on home turf and decided Caloundra was the best bet for Thursday morning. It’s getting a bit colder but the bonus is that you don’t have to get up quite so early to fish the dawn.

I arrived in front of the Power Boat Club at about 6.00 am, just after first light. High tide had been at 5.20 am and it was close to full moon. Light south easterly winds were forecast but around dawn the water was completely flat.

I was fishing with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and Shimano Stella 2500, now loaded with 6lb braid and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The water temperature feels like it has dropped considerably since I was last fishing up here, a few weeks ago.

It was a fairly crisp sunrise on Thursday

It was a fairly crisp sunrise on Thursday

I started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. There were a few schools of bait in close to the shore and these scattered as I pulled the plastic through them. Sometimes they would scatter in all directions but I could not get a bite. I swapped to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I worked the plastic along the edge of the weed beds and just after 7.00am, I came up tight on a small Flathead – just under 40cm long.
I tried a small DUO Tetraworks Bivi vibe lure for a while and I felt a few hits but could not hook anything. I swapped back to a GULP Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn Colour and caught another Flathead that was just too small.

The GULP Shrimp got them going today

The GULP Shrimp got them going today

I gave up and drove down to the flats in front of Diamond Head. I waded out to the weed beds and started to cast around. The water was running out fast and it had turned pretty dirty. I think there must have been some pretty heavy localized rain over night.

Angry Flathead - Caloundra

Angry Flathead – Caloundra

Another small Flathead slammed the GULP Shrimp. I pulled it in. This one was just over 40cm, but one fish would not feed my mob so I let it go. With no more action I packed up at about 9.30 am went back to the car.

They were all just the wrong side of 40cm

Brooms Head – Red Cliff – 22 Sept 2011

Thursday

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Perfect conditions again, a big contrast to the wild weather of this time last year. I decided to take advantage of the calm waters and have a fish off the rocks at Red Cliff, a few km north of Brooms Head. As its name suggests, it is a large red cliff with a rock platform beneath. The platform offers some excellent fishing spots on the lower half of the tide.

I arrived at about 9.15 am and the tide had been low at 8.50 am. The water was absolutely crystal clear and was able to hop from rock to rock until I reached an outcrop that looked over a couple of holes that were probably about 3 or 4 metres deep. With my polarized sunglasses I could clearly see the Bream sheltering at the base of the rocks in the calmer water. There was virtually now wind.

I decided to cast out towards a spot where the waves were breaking over a rocky promontory. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1 jighead loaded with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour. This is always a good one to start with and I notice it’s a favorite with a lot of the ABT pros. Hungry Bream can’t resist it. As I hopped it along the sandy bottom towards the rocks, I felt a couple of bites and then a solid grab. I landed a small Bream around 25cm, followed by a couple of slightly bigger ones and then a really solid, 34 cm fish. They had all come from the same spot and perhaps they wised up, because things then went quiet.

I moved round to the other side of the rocks and cast in to some calmer water. I could see the lure float down to the bottom in between a couple of submerged bommies. As soon as I lifted it off the bottom, a small Bream darted out and grabbed it. I wound him in and cast out again, this time they didn’t wait and I was on to a better fish before the lure touched the sand. I landed it and decided to keep it – it was 33 cm long. As I wound it in, it had a couple of other Bream following. After a couple more casts I caught a smaller Bream and then this spot went quiet.

I moved round onto another rocky outcrop and caught a couple more small Bream before calling it quits. It had been a good session and a great opportunity to clearly observe the way the Bream break cover to attack the soft plastic lures. I stopped fishing around 11.30 am.

Bribie Island – Bridge to Boat Hire Jetty – 2 June 2010

Thursday

The weather forecast was not great, but a fishing day should never be given up on! I started on the island side of the Bribie Bridge, just after 5.00 am. It was cold but the south-westerly breeze was light and the tide was about half way out. There were prawns jumping everywhere. They were under the bridge lights, in close to the pylons, but the first couple of soft plastic lures I tried – the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and the 4” Minnow in the Vader colour – did not get any bites.

Big Pike lurk around the Bribie Bridge lights

I switched to a 2” Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was fishing it on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and using a metre of 12lb fluorocarbon leader, tied on to 10lb Fireline mainline. It was almost first light now and I am not sure if it was the light or the colour change, but I immediately started catching fish. The first was a monster Pike – around 40 cm, then an undersized Flathead and then a small Chopper Tailor, then more Pike. After a fish a cast for about 20 minutes, I finally found a 42cm Flathead that I could keep for dinner.

A 42 cm Flathead

As the sun came up I waded north, towards the boat hire spot and after plenty of casts and plenty of Pike, finally got another Flathead that was just over 40 cm. By 8.30am the wind was a solid south-westerly and I had had enough.

Wreck Rock – Deep Water National Park 1770 – 13 May 2011

Friday

Having seen the Tuna working just offshore, all afternoon the day before, at both Wreck Rock and Flat Rock, I decided to spend dawn on Friday casting slugs from the southern tip of Wreck Rock. The tides where getting bigger in the run up to the full moon. Low tide would be at 11.10 am, so there would be plenty of water close into the rocks, at dawn.

The south end of Wreck Rock at dawn

The southern tip of the Wreck Rock bay has a couple of rocky outcrops and submerged bommies. At low tide there is only about a metre of water in front of them, but at high tide, this can increase to almost 4 metres. South of these rocks is a long, almost completely uninterrupted beach ( Rules Beach), that runs all the way down to the mouth of Baffle Creek. At the moment, the big seas and storms through the summer months have created a very steep, sloping beach with a few nice wholes and gutters. This means there is good deep water on high tide, all along this section.

Looking south from Wreck Rock - towards the mouth of Baffle Creek

It was another bitterly cold morning, the sky was crystal clear, but there was a light south-westerly wind blowing. As the sun came up I was casting a 90g slug from the rocks. I then tried a River to Sea – Dumbbell Popper and various heavy blades and big hard bodies. I could not interest the fish. I could see the Tuna, in small groups, smashing into the bait fish and the birds diving in to get a free breakfast, but they stayed at least 800m away the whole time.

Wreck Rock bay - just after dawn


I switched from the Daiwa 9’ 6” Demon Blood rod, which I use for slugs and poppers, to the light spin rod and rigged a soft plastic on a ¼ oz 1 jighead. I chose the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After about 30 minutes I had caught two tiny Dart and a Long Tom. At about 8.30am I headed back into my camp to thaw out with a hot cup of tea and some breakfast.

Mackerel, Trevally, Tailor and a few reef species all cruise around these rocks at the southern end of Wreck Rock bay


I considered my options and spoke to another keen fisherman who was camped nearby. He too had seen the Tuna and was planning to spend the day casting slugs at them. As low tide approached I decided to head out the rocks on the southern tip of Wreck Rock bay. The Tuna were there but always just out of reach. They would swing in tantalizingly close and I would cast slugs at them then they were gone again. As the tide dropped I moved as far as I could out onto the exposed rocks to the south. I cast out at about 45 degrees to the shoreline and as my slug landed a huge circle of bait scattered around it. Then ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ….fftt’ and the fish was gone. I wound the line back in and it looked like a clean bite through the 40lb leader. I presumed it was a Mackerel or some other toothy species. I rigged a wire trace and carried on, but after twenty more casts I was still without a decent fish.

The bait that shelters around this bommy at Wreck Rock, attracts all sorts of predators

I switched from the slug rod to the light spin rod again and rigged a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I wanted to cast a bit of distance, but I also wanted to make sure the lure wafted around in the strike zone for as long as possible. I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and downgraded to 16lb fluorocarbon leader. First cast was hit on the drop but then the fish dropped it. Third cast and I had a solid hook up. The fish took line in a couple of fast blistering runs then swam round in front of the rocks into a good position. On the next surge I tightened the drag and pulled it up to my feet (getting soaked in the process). Then I grabbed the leader and pulled the fish clear. It was a Giant Trevally around 50cm – no monster, but a decent fish. Cold and wet, I decided I had enough – it was just after noon.

Finally a decent fish - 50cm GT at Wreck Rock

As always when fishing an area that you have not been to for a while, you need to spend a few sessions figuring out what works and where the fish are. It was my fourth day and I finally felt I understood when and where to concentrate. I headed back to camp for some fish cleaning.