Caloundra – Bulcock Beach and the Power Boat Club flats – 5 August 2013


As we were approaching the new moon I wanted to have a fish, pre- dawn. I was hoping to find some bream, which should, by now be schooling up to spawn, around the estuary mouths. I have not found many at Bribie, so I decided to try Caloundra.

I like to fish the rocky area, right at the mouth of the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, off Bulcock Beach. There is always good tidal flow here and lots of structure. At night, the street lights bring the bait in and the predators follow.

I started about 5.30 am, in my waders on Bulcock Beach. I rigged up with the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour – which is gold with a black fleck. I put it on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead. I was fishing with my 6’6” Loomis GL2 light spin rod. I opted for 8lb fluorocarbon leader as the water was very clear. High tide would be at 7.02 am, there was no real wind at this stage. It was forecast to pick up from the south west later in the morning. There would be a new moon in a couple of days’ time.

It was very dark and there were a few prawns skipping around on the surface. I cast the soft plastic into the fast moving water in the middle of the channel and let it sink. After about ten seconds, it was on the bottom, so I started hopping it back towards me. I paused for few seconds close to the shore line and when I picked up the rod tip I had a fish. My first customer of the day was a small pike.

I continued fishing, slowly moving towards the sea and soon picked up a bream about 28cm. I was hopeful I had found a patch of them, as my next few casts were all hit on the drop. I could not hook whatever was biting the soft plastic and so I moved on towards the mouth of the Passage.

Now the sun was up and the tide was running in. I decided to swap locations and drove down to the Caloundra Power Boat Club to fish the flats and weed beds. I generally find flathead in this area, so I rigged up a larger GULP 5 “ Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – which is a mix of pumpkinseed and yellow. I found the edge of the weed beds that line the edge of the main channel and focused on leaving the soft plastic on the bottom, just where the sandy slope drops away to deeper water.

I took a while but at about 7.45am, I felt a solid bite and after a pause, I lifted the rod tip and set the hook. After a brief tussle I subdued a just legal 40cm flathead. I took some pictures and let it go, hoping I would find a better one. I covered the same area in casts but I could not find another one, so waded further along the edge of the channel.

I had no luck for about an hour and the wind was really picking up and making casting difficult. At about 8.45 am I felt another solid bite. Again the fish was less than a meter from the edge of the weed and was waiting to ambush anything that came its way. It was another flathead, about the same size as the previous one, so I released it.

I had not secured a fish supper but I had connected with a few fish and enjoyed a beautiful morning.

The Jetty to Diamond Head – Caloundra – 17 January 2012


Finally, time for a fishing session and then the heavens opened. The rain just kept coming on Monday and more was forecast for Tuesday. It had to be Tuesday morning, so I drove up to Caloundra. High tide would be about 4.00 am, so I would have a few hours of fishing in the salty water, around dawn, before the run out tide, mixed with rain run-off, turned the water dirty and fresh.

It would be a big high tide for Caloundra at 1.8m. I decided to head straight for Diamond Head and to try my luck wading on the flats. I arrived, just after 5.00 am and watched the sun rise. The passage was lit up briefly but then the sun disappeared again behind some angry looking clouds.

The water was already a dirty brown colour and pretty murky. I decided to use a hard body, as I thought a soft plastic would be hard to distinguish. I picked out a 14g Strikepro Vibe that looks like a Herring. It’s the loudest lure I own and it is far from subtle but it usually annoys the fish into biting.
The tide was running out so I decided wade from the Jetty back towards Diamond Head, casting into the run out tide and pulling the lure back along the bottom in jumps and jerks. It was hard work as the big tide had picked up plenty of sea grass. It is also harder to know when you get a bite on a hard bodied lure, as the way it sticks in the sea grass feels just like a fish.

After about 40 minutes of slow wading and casting, I caught a Flathead on the Strikepro – just legal at 42cm – so it went in the bag for supper. I have been whacking on the kilos over Christmas – so a diet of steamed fish and vegetables is on the cards for a few weeks. Fortunately, catching them uses plenty of calories when it’s this hard.

I swapped to a 7g Berkly Frenzy Sinking Rattler in the Chrome Black colour. These lures look good but, so far they have not really produced the goods for me. I think their action is a little limited – which is often a problem with cheaper lures. They cast a good distance but seem to take a long time to find their rhythm on the retrieve. After a few casts, I felt a definite hit, so I persisted in the same area, on the edge of a weed bed. After about five casts in the same spot – I had a fish. It felt bigger than it was – a small bream, foul hooked through the back and above the eye. I released it and carried on.

I tried a 3″ Gulp Lime Tiger minnow soft plastic for half an hour and caught an undersized Flathead then switched back to the Strikepro, just as I reached the big drain at the mouth of the creek, by Diamond Head. The water was now a very dirty brown and getting cloudier as the tide got lower. I peppered the area with long, loud casts and eventually, after covering every inch of the area, the rod tip started wiggling. It certainly was not a trophy fish but it felt like it – another Flathead – this time a little bigger at 45cm.

I had dinner but it had been very, very hard work.

Caloundra – Lots more Flathead but not quite a bagful – 22 November 2011


Caloundra again – an early morning high tide at about 5.00 am. The wind was forecast to be from the north – but starting off light and then building up to 15 knots, by about 10.00 am. It looks like a south-easterly wind change will bring some heavy rain and big seas on Thursday or Friday.

My level of excitement before a fishing day is just like the excitement before Christmas day, when I was a small boy. You get all you gear ready and load the car and then try to force yourself to sleep at 8.00 pm – you can’t sleep because instead of “visions of sugar plums”, etc – you are imagining huge fish or thinking about where to throw that first cast. By the time 2.45 am comes I am usually awake before the alarm goes off. I know, I know – it sounds ridiculous but it’s a powerful addiction.

I arrived just before 4.00am while it was still dark at Bulcock Beach and decided to target the areas under the lights, by the boardwalk. The tide was almost high and the water was close to the sea walls. Sure enough, the bait had come to the lights and the bigger fish had followed. It is fairly snaggy along here, so you have to keep the lure moving. I rigged a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour – black on top and pink underneath. I was using a 1/8th/1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to a reel of 8lb braid. I caught a few small Flathead and then eventually one that was big enough to keep.

The GULP Cajun Chicken coloured soft plastic lure works well in the dark

The rocks near the mouth of the Passage were almost covered and there was a bit too much swell washing around them, so just after first light, I decided to move down to the flats at Diamond Head. I waded along to the edge of the channel. I decided to start with a hard bodied bibless lure – the Cultiva MIRAVIBE which looks very like the small leatherjacket and herring that are floating around at the moment. As I waded along the channel, I skipped the hard body along the edge of the weed banks and soon caught a few small Flathead – between 25 and 35cm long. Then right at the point where the sand flats drop into the Diamond Head channel, a better fish grabbed it, just as it came over the bank. This one was around 44cm so I kept it.

A Flathead takes the lure from the sea grass beds at Diamond Head

By about 6.30 am the tide had properly turned and I waded to the shallow drains and weed banks that lie just north of Diamond Head. These were now covered by less than a metre of water in most places. I swapped over to a soft plastic lure as there was too much sea grass floating around to continue with the hard body. I put on the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead. After a couple of casts I found a fish – another small Flathead. I carried on wading north as the tide started to run out. Just short of another weed bed, a Flathead grabbed the plastic and took off. It was only about 30 cm long. I wound it in and released it. I cast back in the same spot and this time caught a bigger one – big enough to keep at about 42cm.
The water was now too shallow to fish so I moved up to the flats and channels at Golden Beach. I swapped back to the hard bodied MIRAVIBE. This lure is effective but suffers from the same problem as many of its competitors in this category – a poor action when retrieved at a low speed. It is ok in very shallow water but becomes a problem in anything more than about 50cm. To get the right action, you need to pull it quite quickly and inevitably; it then rises too high in the water column. It is perfect in about 40cm of water over a sandy bottom and that is where my next Flathead nailed it. This was another fish for the bag at about 45cm.

This one went for the GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic

The Flathead are often in the shallowest water

A few casts later the lure was slammed at the edge of a weed bed by a heftier fish. There was a flash of silver – and then a strange looking fish came into view. I towed it to shore photographed it and carefully released it. The helpful folk on identified it as a Striped or Silver Scat – which has a nasty set of spikes but tastes pretty good, so it was a lucky escape for both of us.

A Silver / Striped Scat

I carried on for a little while longer and caught another couple of undersized Flathead. I ended the day with four keeper fish – two on the hard bodied lure and two on the soft plastic lures. I could not find five legal fish for a full bag – but there were plenty of smaller ones around. The Whiting are everywhere and so are the Garfish. When I filleted the Flathead later, only one had food in its stomach – the remains of Whiting and a recently swallowed Leatherjacket. This was the first fish I have opened in the last few weeks, that has had anything in it.

Contents of a Flathead's stomach - Whiting and Leatherjacket

We will see what a burst of south-easterly breeze brings, later in the week.

Caloundra – Some new ground and a new lure – 1 November 2011


I started early and I could see from the rustling trees that the strong southerly wind had not really dropped off. I set off at 3.30 am, from Brisbane, arriving at Caloundra at about 4.30 am. My trip up here last week had got me interested in the land-based fishing opportunities at this end of the Pumicestone Passage, so I was back to do a little more exploring.

Low tide would be at 7.20 am, with first light just before 5.00 am. The low tide would be better for establishing where the possible fish hiding places would be. I was looking for the rock bars, sand banks and sea grass beds.

I started at the far northern end of the Passage, where it runs out into the ocean. The Caloundra side of the mouth has lots of exposed rocks at low tide. It has a few shallow tidal lagoons, that you need to cross to reach the main channel, nearer to the northern tip of Bribie Island. The water was running out much too fast to fish the main channel.

At about 4.45 am I started casting a 4” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic lure, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead back, against the run out tide and then retrieving it along the sandy bottom, close to the submerged and semi-submerged rocks. I could not stop for long as the plastic would get wedged into the rocks by the quick running water. I lost of few jigheads, but that is the price of exploration. I moved a bit further out on to the sandy area and cast into the eddies, where the water had slowed down a little. This paid off and suddenly I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. I paused and forced myself to count to ten, then I struck. I had hooked it and played an angry fish back to the shoreline, It was a 63cm Flathead. As it grew gloomier and the wind picked up, the sky started to spit big splashing rain drops. I decided to wade back to the car and wait until the squall blew over.

It only took about 10 minutes and then I was back out on the rocks, this time I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I moved back along the Pumicestone Passage in the direction of Golden Beach. I was casting around in the shallow water – about 20 cm to 1 metre deep. Every now and then, I would lose a jig head to a patch of rock. I gradually found patches of smaller Flathead and caught 5 fish that were about 35cm long, over the next hour.

Another shower threatened so I decided to move round to the sand flats, just north of the Power Boat Club – near Golden Beach. The rain had passed by the time I arrived. Just in front of the club there a few clumps of sea grass, in a line, about 25 metres from the shore. The tide was now running in and the water was beginning to cover them. I waded out and cast all around them. I was using the 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I soon caught another fish – a Flathead about 55 cm long. It was lying a metre off the weed beds in about 40cm of water.

Those of you who are regular readers will know that I am hopelessly addicted to soft plastic lures, but I also fish with blades and, more recently, with hard bodied lures. A nice gentleman from DUO Lures in Japan recently asked if I would try some of their products and I agreed. I explained my usual rules which are – if I have been given something for free, to try out, I let my readers know and I will also let them know how the try out goes, good or bad. He was happy with that and confident that his products would catch fish.

He sent me a few lures and I particularly liked the look of one called the TETRAWORKS BIVI. It is basically a nicely weighted 3.8g resin blade. It has a bit more substance than a metal blade but seems to retain the traditional vibe action. As I now knew there were fish in the area, I decided I would give it a try. The colour was a semi-transparent silver on top and a bright yellow underneath. It looked good in the clear water and skittered nicely over the sandy bottom.

I decide I would give it 30 minutes to prove itself. I waded along the weed beds casting all around and trying a few different retrieves. There was a still a bit of sea grass floating around and the wind was now blowing strongly from the south east, but I kept the lure in the water and it did not get clogged up very often. After about 20 minutes I felt a bit of resistance. I thought it might be a clump of weed but then the line went taught and there was some furious splashing. It was another good Flathead about 60 cm long. When I landed it, I saw the lure had got a good grip through the corner of the fishes mouth. So full marks to DUO for this one – you can have a look at the range on their website and now I know they work, I will find out who supplies them in Australia and let you know.

Bribie Bridge – Caloundra Golden Beach – 27 October 2011


On Thursday I was relieved to see that the wind would be from the south, but disappointed that it would be up to 20 knots by 10 am. I drove up to Bribie Island for first light, at around 4.30 am and started on the mainland side under the bridge. It would be a big high tide – 2.5m at about 9.30 am. That meant it would run in very quickly, covering my favorite fishing spots in a couple of hours. Most of the places I like to fish are at their best two hours before and after low tide.

I put on a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Black Shad colour and fished it around the rocks, which sit just to the south of the bridge, about 5 pylons from the shore. There was plenty of surface action with the mullet and herring getting attacked under the bridge lights. Every now and then a mullet would skitter by with something fast in hot pursuit. I swapped down to a smaller soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. The tide was running in strongly but I did not want to fish any heavier than a 1/8th oz 1/0 jighead – it is too easy to get snagged in this terrain with a 1/6th oz jighead. There is a channel that runs through the middle of the rocks and it has produced a few good fish for me. I cast to the south and hopped the plastic along – pretty quickly, with the current, through the channel, back towards the bridge. There was a tug then a pause then a solid, angry bite and I had hooked up. It came straight up and shook its head angrily then swam away again taking some line. It was a good Flathead about 55cm long.

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I waded south but again the weed started to cause problems. There is a point when the tide runs in, just as the water submerges the previously exposed sea grass that you just cannot cast without your lure getting instantly clogged up. I had reached that point.

With not many good high tide options available, I decided to drive up to Caloundra and explore the land-based fishing further up the Pumicestone Passage. I parked by the Power Boat Cub and decided to wade north. It was almost high tide, not the best time to be surveying new ground. The big tide had also loosened the weed here. I cast at the edges of the sand banks and after half an hour, I caught a 45cm Flathead on a GULP 4 “ Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

There were big schools of Mullet everywhere, drifting over the sand banks close to the mangroves. There were also smaller schools of Garfish that followed the plastic right to my feet on the retrieve. I decided to move a further south and drove down to Jensen Park. The park is beside another creek off the Pumicestone Passage and has a small boat ramp. I waded along the shore and found a few more undersize Flathead. At around noon the wind was howling even in this sheltered spot so I decided to give up.

I had caught the best fish in my first 30 minutes of fishing, but I had explored some new ground and caught a few more along the way – not a bad day.