Bribie – Oyster jetty flats – 7 January 2013

Monday

The fishing was still tough but I had found fish in one location, so that is where I returned on Monday. It was a pretty high high tide at 2.4m, at about 7.30 am. I started fishing the last of the run in at about 5.45 am.

I waded south from the bridge, casting parallel with the edge of the mangroves into about a metre of water. I started with a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow lure, as I am convinced a big flathead would happily attack one, in the right conditions. Unfortunately these were not the right conditions and this one came up covered in weed on each cast. I gave up swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, rigged on a 1/8th 1/0 NITRO Saltwater Pro jighead with OWNER hooks.

There is a quite a range of NITRO stock in most shops and over the years it seems to have been called all sorts of different things. Basically, I like their jigheads that have black OWNER hooks (thin) and don’t much like their jigheads that have silver hooks (thick).

Jig head selection can be important when the fish are fussy. Generally, the less metal that is sticking out of the plastic the better – especially when you are fishing in the estuaries. This needs to be balanced with strength requirements.But as long as your drag is set correctly and you can be patient – even the softer (cheaper)hook styles will safely pull in very big fish.

I waded further south past the jetty, towards the drain that runs off the Sandstone Points flats. This often holds a few fish. I stayed close to the mangroves and cast round in a semi-circle, retrieving my lure slowly and methodically. Just before 7.00 am I found my first fish of the day – a solid 50cm Flathead. I released it and fished on.

The tide was running out now and unfortunately it was taking even more weed with it. I carried on fishing the drain area as I was sure there would be more fish there. At about 7.20 am I connected with another, slightly smaller Flathead, but it wriggled free before I could photograph it. At 7.25 am, I either caught it again, or caught another one, about the same size. I took this one back to the Mangroves to photograph and release. It was another handsome fish, just under 50cm.

By now the weed and wind were again making things difficult and although the tide run and the water level were ideal, it was just impractical to carry on. That’s fishing – too many variables. Just when you think it’s all falling into place some element of the environment changes and its back to the drawing board.

A big Bribie Mother – the old Oyster Farm Jetty and Bongaree – 2 February 2012

Thursday

I could start early on Thursday morning and be fishing on the top of the incoming tide which coincided with dawn, at about 5.30 am at Bribie Island. I started on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at about 4.45am.

Just as I waded out into the shallows it started raining. I sheltered under the bridge. The water was not really running in either direction. I started with a 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The fishing had been tough the day before so I stuck with the very light, 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I rigged the plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I cast around under the bridge lights for about 15 minutes. There were a few surface bust ups and every so often a Pike would jump out of the water.
The rain stopped and I moved a few metres south of the bridge and cast underneath it. I felt a good solid crunch and paused – then lifted the rod and I had a good Flathead. I walked it back to shore – a 55cm fish – good start.

I waded down toward the old Oyster Jetty, casting all around as I went. I passed under the jetty and just south of it I paused to have a few casts, close to the Mangroves. I have often seen some big Flathead ‘lies’ in this area, surprisingly close to the tree line. They must come up to very shallow water on the bigger high tides. It is tricky to fish this area. There is a big rocky patch next to the jetty, that starts about five metres from the high water mark so you can easily get snagged.

I cast out beyond the rocks and slowly retrieved the soft plastic. It stopped abruptly and felt like it had hit a rock. Then it slowly started moving again, but there was tension on the line. Then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz pause zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz pause zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I did not have the drag very tight but this was clearly a big fish. I was only fishing 8lb leader so patience would be the key. First I waded out over the rocks, so that they would not pose a problem. Then I tightened the drag a little. There was another long run and by now the fish was about 50 to 60 metres away heading for the rocks, opposite the end of the Oyster Jetty. I tightened the drag again and started winding faster. The fish slowed and I turned its head and started pulling it towards me. I moved south, away from the rocks near the shore and looked for a gap in the Mangroves. There were a few more runs as the fish came into shallow water. I dropped the rod tip down under the water to make sure I did not pull the fishes head up. A couple of headshakes would probably snap the leader at this stage. Then I slowed everything down. I did not want to pull this fish up on to the shore until it was played out. I kept the tension on but I let it cruise around while I found a nice sandy run up to the shore. Then I tightened the drag once more and slowly moved towards the shore. When I was a couple of metres away I reached down and grabbed the leader. With one long slow pull I pulled the fish onto the shore.

The leader snapped as soon as it had to move the whole weight of the fish, but by then she was on the shore. A beautiful Flathead, just on 75 cm long. I released her after a quick measure and a few snaps and she swam away, ok. A great fish.

It started to rain again, I went and had a cup of coffee to settle my shaking hands. When the sun came out again, I drove down Bongaree and decided to fish the mouth of the drain opposite the new museum. The Japanese lure company DUO have sent me another box of goodies to try out and I picked out one that has been very successful on Flathead – the TETRAWORKS BIVI. It is a 3.8g bibless sinking vibe lure with a very tight vibration action. I chose the orange/ bronze colour. I stuck with the 8lb leader and started working the lure over the sand bank that is on the south side of the drain. I work this lure so that it moves along for about a metre then drops to the bottom. Then I pause for a few seconds and do the same again. After a few casts I caught a really tiny Tarwhine ( 10cm). I moved a bit further out and started casting at the area where the drain runs out over the coffe rock ledge, which forms the edge of the main channel. A fish struck just after a pause in the retrieve. It immediately broke the surface and started shaking its head – it was another Flathead. It was safely hooked and I got it to the shore. It was another good sized fish – just under 60cm.

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That was enough for one day and I headed home. It had been the best fishing session for some time. If you are interested in knowing more about the DUO range and where you can find them, please contact sales@swldistributions.com.au.