Bribie – the bridge and the old oyster jetty flats – 12 September 2014

Friday

Another late report – but it may be relevant for anyone planning to fish at Bribie over the school holidays, to get a feel for what is going on. I am planning to get down to Iluka in the next few weeks, so watch this space for a bit more variety.

So I drove back up to Bribie Island to fish my favourite spot on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived just after first light at about 5.00 am. Low tide would be at 5.25 am. There was a light southerly wind blowing and it was cloudy.

There was a fair amount of bait jumping around under the bridge lights so I decided to start fishing in that area. As I walked out under the bridge I noticed plenty of ‘lies’ showing where the flathead had moved up to feed on the night time high tide.

I started with a small 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt (Grey & white) colour. This plastic looks like just about any small profile bait fish and has a nice soft texture. I cast it towards the edge of the reef, just to the south of the fifth bridge pylon. I waited for it to sink to the bottom and as I lifted, a fish attacked. There was no hesitation and this one hooked itself, as soon as it bit down. It can be a challenge to keep your fish in this area. There are lots of big clumps of weed and rocky outcrops. This fish was a good size and it wrapped itself around a few large weed clumps. Fortunately, the water was shallow enough and I was able to walk up close and free it. After a few minutes of back and forth, I pulled it safely to shore. A solid 57cm flathead, on my first cast – it was a great start.

 

I tried in the same area for another, but I think my wading around had spooked any remaining fish. It was now low tide and the water was not really moving. I waded to the south. I moved past the old oyster jetty and swapped to the paddle tailed Mad Scientist 6” Optishad soft plastic. I was fishing with a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. At about 6.30 am, I found another flathead, about 40cm long. Then about ten minutes later another smaller fish.

As the tide started to run in, I made my way slowly down to the channel marker, casting into the current and found four more fish – all on the Mad Scientist soft plastic. Only two were about 45cm so I added these to the first one for a family supper. At about 9.00 am I stopped for the day.

 

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 Island – the Seaside Museum flats – 12 August 2013

Monday

Sunday had been a disappointment I had fished for three hours and caught nothing. Had my fishing mojo deserted me? There was only one way to find out – get straight back out there. So, on Monday, I was up early, to beat the forecast building south-westerly winds.
I decided to head for Bongaree on Bribie. I would go back to a familiar spot where I felt confident that I would catch something. I was heading for the freshwater drain in front of the seaside museum.

It would be low tide at 6.28 am and at this stage there was no wind. I arrived at about 5.45 am. I put on my waders and walked out in front of the drain down to within a couple of metres of the drop off into the main channel. After a disappointing day on Sunday, I decided to fish very light with 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I chose to stick with natural coloured small soft plastic lures. These were most likely to tempt the bream.

I started with the 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. After a few casts, in the pre-dawn light, I felt a tug and then the pressure was gone and so was the jighead. Something sharp toothed had swallowed the lot. I re-rigged, and upgraded to 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I was out of shrimps so I tied on a 3” GULP Minnow in the Banana Prawn colour.

I cast into the running tide and hopped the lure along the bottom back towards me. At about 6.20 am I broke my duck with a decent bream, about 30cm long. About 15 minutes later, I caught another – a little smaller. Then things went quiet.

The cormorants and the dolphins like to fish in this area which suggests there are plenty of bait fish around but I could not see them in the water. I swapped through a few soft plastics and tried a small hard body vibe lure for a while.

By about 7.00 am I was back with the 3” GULP Minnow in the banana prawn colour. In an effort to get something going I was leaving the lure on the bottom for as long as possible between rod lifts. This can sometimes entice bored fish to strike. It did the trick and the rod bent over and something powerful took 3 metres of line and disappeared under the ledge.

I presumed it was a cod by the tactics. Brute force was not going to pull it out, I only had my light rod and 12lb leader. I tried a few angles but there was no movement. I decided my only option was to loosen the drag and see if it swam out. This requires the patience of a saint. You cannot put the tension back on until you are sure the fish is clear of the overhang. I waited about two minutes and then the line very slowly started to float out and away on the current. I waded along with it for about another 20 seconds then tightened the drag and pulled the fish over the ledge and slowly back to the beach.

It was a nice estuary cod – it measured up at 49cm and proved how good these fish are at ambush attacks. I decided it had earned its freedom and released it after a few pictures. The wind was up and although it had not been an easy session I had caught fish – so I went home happy.

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 – Buckley’s Hole Flats – Whitepatch – 17 October 2012

Wednesday

Whilst fishing definitely delivers the joy in my life, unfortunately, it can’t seem to deliver the cash. Paid work has many evil consequences – less fishing and no time for a midday hammock session, to name a couple. But perhaps the most evil is the exquisite torture devised by the ATO – the tax return.

I have been fortunate to live in a few countries over the years and unfortunate enough to pay tax in most of them. Nowhere is the process more excruciating than Oz. I admit I have not tried North Korea – which is about the only place where I think they could make it more painful. I like the idea of the Greek tax system where 95% of doctors reported an annual income of less than A$ 9,000, last year – but then again, their economy has ended up a few chickpeas short of a bowl of Hummus. When I was in Indonesia we had to pay our income tax, in person, every year, with a sack load of cash. It seemed the tax collectors did not trust the banks to honor cheques, but it did not seem a particularly good idea from a corruption prevention point of view. In Hong Kong – I thought I had earned a fortune one year and was dreading the bill. I filled in the two page return (yes – just two pages) and got a letter back about three days later explaining that my paltry income did not exceed the tax free threshold and there was no need to submit further annual returns, until it did. You could almost sense their pity!

My other problem was that I took so long to do last year’s tax return that, in the blink of an eye, I received a ‘friendly’ e-mail reminder that this year’s is due. No wonder the unemployment rate is rising – much easier to pop down to the community bank – known as Centrelink and collect your ‘pay’. They will even do the tax return for you.

Spleen vented – on to fishing. I decided on Bribie Island on Wednesday morning. New moon had been on Tuesday and it would be a very low tide (0.1m) at about 4.00 am. These really low tides are great as they enable you to see the terrain you have been fishing, when there is more water around.

I started at the mouth of the drain, in front of the sea side museum at Bongaree. It was just after first light at about 5.00 am. Having seen the marauding Tuna on Monday I decided to start with a big DUO Beachwalker hard bodied lure on my heavy rod. I soon got worn out by that process and there was no sign of marauders, so I swapped back to my Loomis light spin combination.

I put a GULP 2” Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th, 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with about 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. There was a school of mullet finning around on the surface, right by the edge of the drop off. I cast in to it and it was so thick that I jagged one through the eye. I threw it back and continued to walk south along the edge, casting parallel with the shore into the tide, that was now racing in.

It walked and then waded for an hour and caught a couple of Pike. By now I had reached the flats at the south end of the tidal lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole. I was now fishing with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The incoming tide had pushed me away from the drop off. As I was about to lift the plastic for another cast something grabbed it. I struck a bit too hard and pulled the fish quickly up to the surface, where it shook its head maniacally and spat the lure out. It was a keeper size Flathead.

I swapped to a bigger soft plastic – a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour – black and pink. There is now a new opening in the sand bank at this end of the lagoon – which means there is a new drain as the tide runs out. I was right in front of this opening, standing in about 30cm of water, when I felt another solid thud. This time I was more gentle – but the fish was smaller – another Flathead just on 40cm. I took it to the sand, photographed and released it.

There was now too much water over the ledge so I decided to drive up to Whitepatch and fish the high tide. I drove down to the north end of the beach and waded back, to the south, casting in to the last of the incoming current. I caught a few more Pike.

As I reached the point where the black coffee rock is visible along the shore line I paused and concentrated a few casts in close to edge. On high tides the Flathead will sometimes move up close to these rocks. I was now fishing with the GULP Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – yellow and pumpkinseed. After a few casts I found a fish – another Flathead that was just over 40cm. I took a few snaps and flicked it off the hook.

It was now 11.00 am and time to give up. I had only caught two keeper fish but I had surveyed a lot of ground. There is still plenty of bait around so prospects look pretty good for the next week or so.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – but it took a while – 25 October 2011

Tuesday:

I got out amongst the Flathead at Bribie Island again on Tuesday morning. We are back to very early starts if you want to be fishing at first light. I was awake at 3.30 am and standing under the bridge on the mainland side at around 4.30 am, just as the sky began to light up.
The water was dead calm and the tide was running in. It would be high at around 8.00am. There was no breeze but it was forecast to grow into a strong north-easterly by lunchtime. I could see bait everywhere, flickers of silver glinted under the bridge lights. Occasionally there was a splash on the surface, as a predator struck from below.

I cast around with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. I felt a few bites but nothing serious. The tide was coming in fairly quickly and the strong south easterlies of previous days had stirred up the weed again.

Mullet like this were everywhere


As it grew light and the tide got higher a constant stream of floating sea grass made the fishing difficult. After a while I jagged a small Mullet. There were big schools of these cruising under the bridge.

I decided to switch locations and drove across the bridge and down to Bongaree, on the island. The tide was really moving now and I could not fish over the ledge in front of Buckley’s Hole, so I gave up after a few minutes and switched locations again. This time I decided to try the flats at White Patch.

I started at the second set of steps and waded south, casting my soft plastic at the edge of the rocks and sunken logs that were now semi-submerged by the rising tide. No luck – but I did see some big fish smash into the Mullet schools that were hovering off the ledge, further out. I could not see what they were. At first I thought Tuna, but I have rarely seen them this far up the Pumicestone Passage. The attacks were highlighted by the calmness of the water in between. After a big swirl sent Mullet flying in all directions I think I saw a good size Queenfish jump clean out of the water in pursuit. I have heard about them being caught here, but not seen them.

Despite the show going on just out of casting distance, I was still without a fish. The weed carpet that had slowed me down earlier now arrived with the top of the tide. Sometimes you need to change the dynamic. I drove down to Scoopys Café and had a coffee, looking out over the Pumicestone Passage. At about 9.00 am I walked back along the beach in front of Buckley’s Hole and went back to basics. I tied on a 12lb fluorocarbon leader, loaded the natural looking GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead . I then moved south along the beach casting into the shallow water, mindful that this was where the fish had been last week – right up close to the beach, in the shallows.

Low tide at the lagoon in front of Buckleys Hole


The tide was running out and the weed had washed away again. After 10 minutes, a fish grabbed the soft plastic a couple of metres from the beach. It was a 45cm Flathead and after 5 hours of fishing I was happy to see it. I continued down the beach and turned around when I reached the no.1 beach flag. I waded out to about waist deep and started to walk back, to the north. I was casting up, into the out-going tide, aiming at an angle back towards the beach. I felt a good bite, but there was no hook up. I carried on and was soon rewarded with another Flathead, a little smaller than the first – things were improving.

The first one took a GULP Pear Watermelon Minnow

This one grabbed a GULP Lime Tiger Minnow

All along this stretch of beach the wind and tide is starting to carve small bays in the sand. At the south edge of each of these bays is a long sand lip. This was where the fish were loitering, in less than 25cm of water. I decided to change to a bigger soft plastic and chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour, still on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. Just short of the next sand lip I disturbed a good-sized Flathead. Then, with the next cast, I felt a solid – thud, as I pulled the lure back to within a few metres of my feet. There was a big swirl and line started peeling. The fish started to swim north, against the current, which meant it got tired quite quickly. I kept the rod tip high and the pressure on. I could see it was a reasonable size and realized in the shallow water it might surface and start shaking its head, so I loosened the drag a little. It made a couple more runs. As I pulled it closer to the beach, I tightened the drag back up a bit and in one long, gentle sweep I pulled it clear of the water. It was a 66cm Flathead.

A 66cm Flathead on a GULP Crazylegs in New Penny


It was just after 11.00 am and I had been fishing since 4.30 am, it had been a long morning and I had covered plenty of ground but it had paid off!

A good size Bribie Island Flathead - 66cm

Bribie Island – From the Bridge to Sandstone Point – 29 May 2011

Sunday

I decided on Bribie Island again today. If you fish the flats on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage you are fairly sheltered from a cold south-westerly wind. The wind was forecast to be a 10 -12 knot south-westerly, but it was a good deal lighter than at 5.00 am, when I arrived by the bridge across to Bribie Island. I pulled on the waders and beanie and wandered out under the bridge lights, on the island side. There were a few lightning flashes over towards Moreton Island and the stars were blocked out by low cloud.

I fished around the bridge pylons and almost immediately, caught a few Pike, but there was not much surface action. The tide was running in and high water would be just before seven. There was now plenty of water close to the Mangrove roots and I concentrated on the area just to the south of the bridge, where I often see Flathead ‘lies’ at low tide. After a few casts with a GULP 3” Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead, I was on to a fish. It struck hard, but it was only small – just under 40 cm. In the process of releasing it, it gave me a good spiking in the side of the thumb. I don’t know what’s on the Flathead spike, but there must be some kind of anti-coagulant, because whenever I get spiked, the blood just pours out – not ideal when standing waist deep in water in the pre-dawn light.

I moved gradually south, about 20 metres from the shore, casting all around. I continued to get the odd Pike but as the water slowed on the high tide, everything went very quiet and I had no bites for about 90 minutes. Then as the tide really started to run out I switched to a heavier 1/6th 1/0 jighead and a bigger GULP 4” Minnow in the Pumpkinseed colour. I was standing to the south-west of the long sandbar at the Sandstone Point corner and casting my lure over it and hopping it back with the run out tide. Suddenly the line went tight and I had a fish. I towed it back to a gap in the Mangroves – it was a nice Flathead at around 61cm. Plenty of fish in our fridge, so I let it go.

61cm Flathead caught on a GULP Pumpkinseed Minnow

The wind was getting up now and as this was a fairly sheltered spot, so was the boat traffic. I caught a couple more fish around the 40 cm size and then finally, just to the north of the oyster jetty, I got a 51cm Flathead. I had caught 4 of the 5 Flathead on the Pumpkinseed coloured soft plastics and the session was a good reminder of how useful this colour can be. At around 9.30 am I gave up and headed home for a warm shower.

51 cm Flathead - Caught on a GULP Pumpkinseed Jerkshad

Bribie Island – Large Easter Sunday Flathead – 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

I had a big Easter BBQ planned for Monday. Four Good Friday Flathead was a good start but I would need a bit more fish to make sure my guests didn’t go hungry. That was my excuse for getting out on Easter Sunday!

I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge at 5.00am and parked on the bank, on the mainland side. I put on my waders and had a few casts around the rocks under the bridge. I caught a small Moses Perch and released it.

Just as it started to get light I moved off to the south. There was lots of surface feeding going on and the tide was running out strongly. Low tide was at around 8.00am. I waded past the oyster jetty with no more bites and then started to fish the drain that runs round from Sandstone Point. I fished all along it without a touch. I moved out to a point where the water was waist deep and started to move north, back towards the bridge.

I was fishing with a new favourite, the GULP 3” Smelt Crazylegs Grub soft plastic. It is a short version of the Crazylegs Jerkshad that has proved so useful. I had it rigged on a 1/6thoz 1/0 jighead. I was using my light spin rod and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I got a couple of solid bites but could not keep the fish on. Then as I moved towards the oyster jetty a fish grabbed the plastic about a metre away from me. I struck with rod and stepped back. It was a good fish but it did not do much, initially. I decided to walk it back to the shore. I loosened the drag a little, as I did not want a bust off. I started to tow it towards the bank and about half way there it really woke up and made a few powerful runs. As I dragged it up onto the muddy shore the leader snapped, but it was clear of the water.

It was a healthy female Flathead, just under 70cm long. I fished around this area for another hour and caught and released several Flathead that were around the legal size limit of 40cm. At about 8.30 I gave up. It had been great morning land-based fishing in the Pumicestone Passage.

70cm Flathead

Bribie Island – Jew and Flathead – Good Friday – 22 April 2011

Good Friday

I am back in Brisbane for Easter and so I decided to drive up to Bribie to fish, wading the flats, early on Good Friday. I arrived by the bridge on the mainland side, at around 4.45am and low tide would be at about 7.00 am, so there was not much water under the bridge lights.

I cast around in that area using the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. There was plenty of surface action with Long Toms and a few Pike cruising around. After wading around for a while I felt a light tug and paused. When I raised the rod tip and set the hook – I had a fish. I assumed it was a Flathead but as I saw a flash of silver I realised it was a Jewfish/ Mulloway at 40cm. I took a picture and released it. These are the one species that really love dirty water and after all the recent rain, conditions are currently perfect for them. I could not find any more and so as first light started to glow above the horizon, I waded south.

I passed under the Oyster Jetty and fished the weed beds, rocky bumps and dips, just to the south. I stuck with the same soft plastic and soon found a few Flathead. I caught 6 in this area in the next couple of hours, of which four were between 42 and 56cm. I kept these for the Easter BBQ and the rest went back. Things seemed to slow down with the turning of the tide and just after 8.00 am, I went home.