Muscat, Oman – Al Ghubra beach – 12 January 2016

Tuesday

Jetlag and the call to prayer had me up early again on Tuesday.  I rigged up the travel rod and headed out on to the beach in front of the resort. I was staying at the Chedi Hotel – http://www.ghmhotels.com/en/muscat/ . There is not much you can say about this place – it is basically heaven on earth, with a price tag to match. I am pretty sure I am the first guest they have ever had who wanders out to flick soft plastic lures in front of their manicured beach and pristine lawns.

Muscat has some fantastic scenery. The Jebel Akdar mountain range rises to about 3000 metres, just behind the coastal strip. The range is dotted with fertile wadis where springs and snow smelt make it possible to cultivate irrigated gardens, all year round.

It was still dark when I started casting at about 5.45 am. The sun was starting to redden the sky behind the mountains. I was walking along the beach casting with a GULP 4 “ Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The tide was running in and there was virtually no wind. I was using a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader.  After two or three casts I waded out a little as I could see some baitfish jumping around. I cast straight at the action and as the lure sank a fish grabbed it. It was much faster than a flathead and I saw a flash of silver. It took a bit of line and made some persistent runs but soon I had it under control. I pulled it up the beach and let it settle. It was a King Soldier bream – Argyrops Spinifer. I took a few pictures and released it.

I carried on moving and casting as the sun came up. I swapped through a few different soft plastic lures. I caught a couple of flathead on the GULP 3” Minnow in the New Penny colour and then a couple more on the GULP Swimmow in the Peppered Prawn colour. They were all bar/ flag tailed flathead and all would have been between 35 and 45 cm long.

The sun was rising and the water was crystal clear. As I walked back towards the hotel. I felt a slightly different bite on the Swimmow. I paused, then lifted the rod. I had another fish and this time it was small flounder. I released it and caught another on the next cast.

It was time for breakfast so I gave up at about 8.00 am. There is no shortage of fish here.

Bribie – a bagful of flathead – 2 June 2015

Tuesday

I have concluded that the bottom of the tide is my best chance of catching a fish on the flats around Bribie Island.  The fish must still be around on the higher tides but they seem to disperse over a larger area and it is much harder to know where to look for them. So on Tuesday I decided to only fish the last few hours of the run out tide.

I drove up to Bribie and waded out under the bridge at about 11.00 am. Low tide would be at about 3.00 pm but it was full moon, so it would be a fast running tide and would run out very quickly to a lower than usual low. I was fishing with my new G.Loomis short, light spinning rod with 8lb braid and a 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I had promised the Mrs a few fish for a family event and she was relying on fresh flathead fillets for her recipe. This is usually the kiss of death for my fishing sessions, but not today.  I decided to try a different soft plastic and had found my last packet of Lucky Craft Mad Scientist Optishad soft plastic lures. Now everybody knows I love my GULPs but they really do not yet have a good paddle tail soft plastic. Their Swimmow shape is pretty good but a little too small and the Shaky shad is very hard to load on to a jighead. The Mad Scientist Optishad is a brilliant shape and size and comes in some great colours. I load it onto a 1/8th ounce size 1/0 hook jighead. As with so many good lures you probably will not find them in the big stores and may need to order them online.

 

By 11.05 am I had my first flathead on the end of the line – just to the south of the old oyster jetty. It was about 38cm,  so I let it go and moved on. I caught another a few minutes later and this one was big enough to go in the bag. The next was about 55cm, close to the mouth of the drain that runs out from the Sandstone Point flats. Things slowed down. There was lots of very small bait around, sitting just over the weed beds. I swapped to a GULP 3“Minnow in the Smelt colour, which pretty closely resembled these small fish. A few casts later I found the biggest fish of the day – a 58cm flathead.

I continued to the channel marker, swapped back to the Mad Scientist Optishad and caught a couple of 45 cm long fish, just beside it.  I now had a full bag so I turned for home. On the way back to the car I caught and released another 8 flathead, most of which were legal size.

It seems that the fish have are now around in large numbers so it’s time to get out there.

Bribie Island – Bongaree & Whitepatch – 29 August 2012

Wednesday

The winds would be from the south – cool and choppy conditions but better, in my humble opinion, for fishing. High tide would be just after 7.00 am at Bribie so I decided to head up there to fish on Wednesday morning.

I started in front of the Seaside Museum again, just after first light, at about 5.50 am. I tried the sand spit at the mouth of the big Buckley’s Hole lagoon drain. I nearly stepped on the biggest ray I have ever encountered wading out. I cast around with a couple of different soft plastics but I could not really land them close enough to the edge of the drop off, where the fish tend to congregate.

At about 6.45 am I walked back up to the clump of Mangroves, next to the small road bridge over the museum drain. It was now almost high tide and I did not need to wade out. I cast a GULP 4 “ Minnow on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead, about 12 metres out. Two hops and the lure was snaffled. I pulled it in and up the sloping rockwall – a 52cm Flathead. I cast around the area a little more and then decided to wade out a bit. I little further out from the point of the first capture I clearly saw a nice Flathead rocket upwards from the bottom to grab the soft plastic. It turned and headed for the ledge. I pulled hard and thought I had set the hook. It made a few runs and I started to tow it back to shore. Then suddenly the line went slack and it was gone. It had sawn through the 10lb leader and taken the lure and jighead with it.

I decided to thaw out with a hot cup of coffee. I then drove up to White Patch and decided to spend the run out tide fishing along the drop off in this area. I started at the northern end of the beach. This spot always produces plenty of Pike and today was no exception. I arrived at about 8.30 am and decided to keep fishing with the GULP 4” minnow in the Smelt colour. I felt plenty of hits but could not hook up so I changed the plastic to the GULP 4” Swimmow in the Peppered Prawn Colour and shortened it slightly at the head end. This did the trick and I soon caught a few Pike. I pulled one from the water with some lacerations on its side and the next one was leaping all over the place, as I wound it in.

After a brief pause for a few casts, I hooked up again, but not for long. There was a big swirl under the Pike and then the line went slack. I reeled in the twitching head of the Pike. Something had bitten through the middle of it. I could see the tail floating out in the water and whatever it was came back, with another splash to swallow that, as well.

Perhaps not surprisingly things went quiet. I waded south, casting as I went. About 40 metres further on I hooked up with a fish, but after a short fight it spat the lure out. I carried on for another hour and I had almost reached the southern end of Whitepatch when I hooked up again, in the shallows. Once again after a few runs, I got a look at a good Flathead before it spat the lure out – not my day!

I decided to wade back to the car. The tide was in the last of its run out. I swapped back to the GULP Smelt Minnow soft plastic and just kept flicking it out, over the ledge. Suddenly, close to the edge I got a hit and the fish took off. It had a bit of weight to it, so I set the hook and hung on. I had the drag quite tight and did not fiddle. It kept trying to swim under the ledge like a cod, but then I saw a long tail and realized it was another good Flathead. Eventually I lifted it over the ledge and pulled it clear of the water – a serious Flathead at about 65cm. After all the mornings losses I was tempted, but decided it was a bit too big for a keeper and so she swam away after a picture.

Bribie Island – The Oyster Jetty and White Patch – 21 August 2012

Tuesday

Monday’s session had not been very promising – there had been a distinct lack of Flathead in the usual locations at Bribie. Perhaps they were all in 1770.

So, on Tuesday I decided to fish the mainland side of the Passage, by the old oyster jetty. Low tide was around 5.30 am and at 0.3m it was a reasonably low, low tide. It is always good to see the areas you fish on a low tide as all of the fish holding structures, such as; banks, drains, gutters and holes, are revealed. The difficulty is remembering where they are once the tide comes in.

It was a cold morning with an overcast sky, the wind was in the process of switching from a south westerly to a northerly and was forecast to drop to nothing midway through the morning. Conditions were calm and I waded through the mud and exposed weed beds until I reached the water’s edge.

I was using my light rod and reel – G.Loomis GL2 4-8lb Fast Action 6’6” Spin Rod and a Shimano Stella 2500FE reel, 6lb braid, 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This set up has almost become an extension of my arm and I reckon it is difficult to beat as a combination for light fishing. Still, if you are reading this Mr. Loomis, I would be happy to give any of you models a try – just pop them in the post.

It was hard work. The tide had passed low but the water was not really moving yet. There was a fair amount of algae weed floating around that kept clogging the jighead. I started with a big GULP Lime Tiger Jerkshad on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead bit after no hits for 45 minutes I decided to try something different.

As you know I am a sucker for anything new in the Tackle Store and the GULP Swimmow caught my eye the other day. This is a welcome addition to the arsenal and GULP has been missing this profile. It is basically a Fry or Worm shape with a small thumping paddle tail. It is four inches long but unlike the various other shads on offer it is still fairly small and light. I picked up the Pumpkinseed, Peppered Prawn and Emerald Shine colours. I decided to try the Emerald Shine first. I watched the lure in the clear water and it has an excellent action. The paddle tail thumps furiously on the drop and whenever you jerk the lure through the water.

I moved further along the edge of the weed beds towards the green channel marker. About 10 cast after the lure change I felt the unmistakable thump of a Flathead bite just a few metres from my feet. I paused and then struck – I was on. After a few runs I had a dark, speckled, weed dwelling Flathead on the mud flats. Quite a colour contrast to those I had been catching the week before. It was 48cm long. A few casts later I caught another – just under 40 cm. I made it to the channel marker then turned back. The tide was coming in and it soon forced me back from the edge of the weed beds. I felt a few rapid bites and almost hooked something – Bream , Pike – not sure.

I had one good fish but needed at least one more to feed my mob. I decided to try White Patch and drove up there. The water was up to the tree line when I arrived, so I decided to concentrate on a few of the rocky/ sandy drain areas about 10 metres out. I could not cast over the edge of the drop off as it was now too far out. I was still fishing with the GULP Swimmow and the Pike were the first takers – I caught three in quick succession.

I moved along in the shallows, walking south and casting in front of me. It was now just after 11.00am. After about 30 minutes, a fish hit the plastic on the drop and took off. It was hooked straight away and after a few solid runs, I had it in the keeper bag. It was another Flathead, just under 50cm. I spread casts over the whole area and after another ten minutes I had another good bite and though the fish was hooked, but it got off.

Just after noon, with six hours of fishing under my belt, but only two fish in the bag – I gave up.