Bribie – Oyster jetty flats again – 22 April 2013

Monday

After a good session at Bribie last week, I was keen to get back out there. The wind was light and the moon phase was good, with the tides getting bigger in the run up to the full moon, on Friday. I could not fish the dawn, but I could fish the run out tide for a few hours before low tide, at about 1.00 pm.

I arrived just before 9.00 am and decided to keep fishing the flats on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. There had been plenty of flathead around and I presumed they would still be there. There was not much wind and the sky was cloudy.

I understand it is New South Wales school holidays this week so I expected a bit more boat traffic than normal but as I walked out at about 9.30 am, there were crab pots as far as the eye could see. As I waded south from the bridge, they were everywhere. I counted 50 in sight before I gave up. It made casting a little difficult, in places. There were plenty of sand crabs around, as I kept kicking them. However the density of pots meant that there was a boat arriving to; figure out which were theirs, check them and reset them, every five minutes.

This did not do much for the fishing but after all the crap weather we have had, is was good to see boats out and about and the odd pot being pulled up with a few keepers in it. I decided to stay in the shallows and find some undisturbed areas to fish.

The tide was running out quite fast and so the boats and pots gradually retreated, leaving me to fish the edge of the sand and weed banks, which were now covered in only 800 mm of water. This is where I concentrated my casts. I tried to pause my retrieve right at the edge of the banks. This was where my first fish of the day hit just before 10.00 am. I was using a GULP Jerkshad in the red and yellow Curried Chicken colour on a 1/8th, 2/0 jighead. It was a good flathead but the sand banks where not yet exposed so I had nowhere to land it. I tried the tricky manoeuvre of pulling the fish into my body then grabbing it with a rag. The fish promptly spiked me hard, unhooked itself and wriggled free. It was a good spike right in the middle of my thumb. I could not rub some slime into it to ease the sting, as the fish had gone and taken all its slime with it! I wrapped it up in a bit of rag.

When you get spiked like this the blood does not clot very quickly, as the venom in the spike is slightly anti-coagulant. So if you are not careful, you end up dripping blood everywhere. This is not ideal in waist deep water! The thumb calmed down after a while and I carried on casting. I kept peppering the same spot with casts and I soon hooked up again. This was a slightly smaller fish and made sure it was tired out before pulling it in close and grabbing it with the rag. It ended up being a bit over 45cm.

I moved further south and was soon close to the green channel marker. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken – the black and purple colour. I used the usual technique along the edge of the sand bank and soon caught two more undersized (35cm) flathead. I persisted in the same area and after about ten more casts, I felt a good bite. I paused and dropped the rod tip. When I lifted it I had another fish on. This one was about 45 cm again, and I safely grabbed it and put it in the bag.

It was now about 12.45pm and I turned back and waded towards the bridge. In the shallows, just short of the jetty, I hooked another flathead and pulled it up to the shore. It was also a keeper, at about 50cm long.

Three little flathead went swimming one day...

Three little flathead went swimming one day…

I had to give up at about 1.15 pm, just as the tide stopped moving. I had forgotten the camera today, so only one snap of the keepers is included, from my phone. Considering the late start and all the boat traffic, it had been another good session.

Bribie – Under the bridge and on the flats – 19 March 2013

Tuesday

The wind has now been persistent from the south for some time. This is usually a good sign. Although it can push the swell up, in my experience, it makes fish a little easier to find. The problem on Tuesday was that it was forecast to blow up to about 20 – 30 knots, which would make fishing almost impossible.

So I was limited to fishing in the calmest period – the very early morning and decided to go back to the flats, by the Bribie Island Bridge. There is a bridge survey or cleaning process going on at the moment. Divers are spraying the barnacles/ oysters off all the pylons during the daylight hours. This would either scare the fish off or create a great berley mix to bring them in.

I arrived just before 5.00 am. Low tide would be at 0.9 m at 8.24 am. The moon was about 60% full and so the tide flow would not be very strong. The wind was a south-easterly, blowing about 10 knots.

There was still plenty of water lapping at the mangroves. I stood in the shadows and rigged up with a small GULP Alive split tailed grub, in the Smelt colour. I found a few tubs of these in a NSW fishing shop a couple of years ago, but I can no longer remember what they are called. They are probably about 2” long and have proved pretty useful when the fish are fussy.

I cast to the north, into the darkness and let the lure sink to the bottom. I got a few hits and pulls, but did not hook up. I kept casting and after a while I caught a couple of small Moses Perch. Ten minutes later, the same soft plastic attracted a small Flathead. I was now sure I was fishing in the right place and I think the previous days pylon blasting had created some good berley.

I kept casting around the same area and at about 5.40 am I connected with a solid fish. It took some line and I tightened the drag a little, to keep it away from the pylons and then the mangrove roots. When it was worn out I towed it up, onto the oyster covered area of beach, under the bridge. It was a good-size flathead, about 55cm long.

I fished on and caught a couple of bream (both about 30cm) and a couple more much smaller moses perch. I swapped over to a 2” GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the banana prawn colour. I was still fishing with a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. The thick dark clouds obscured the sunrise and just after 6.00 am, I found another small flathead lying at the base of one of the bridge pylons.

I moved south towards the oyster jetty and got rained on by a passing shower. By 8.15 am I was about half way between the oyster jetty and the channel marker. I had had a few grabs from fish that I thought were long toms, but could have been pike or small tailor.

I was now fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour, which has proved effective recently. Suddenly my jighead caught on something. It made a very slow run. It was not very heavy and I slowly pulled it to the surface. It was a very ugly spiny puffer fish, hooked through its eyebrow. It kept spitting jets of water at me, but after a while I shook it free.

Another massive rain cloud was now headed in my direction so I decided to wade back to the car. I had caught a few fish but had only really secured one keeper – the 55cm flathead. Still, on balance I would say the fishing is getting better.

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

Caloundra – Lizards and Lures – 19 November 2011

Saturday

The pattern of wind has been the same now for nearly three weeks – a calm morning followed by a gradually rising north, or north-easterly breeze. We have had no rain or big weather events and there is plenty of bait around. The fish should therefore settle into some regular habits and spots and that seems to be the case. The Flathead are where you would expect them to be, on the edges of sand bars and weed beds, moving up and back with the tides.

Caloundra - the rocks and drains around Bulcock Beach

On Saturday I went back to Caloundra to see if I could find the Trevally again, but with low tide at about 8.00 am, there was a bit to much water for me too cast over, to get to the main channel. The Flathead where still around though, and I caught three in amongst the rocks at Bulcock Beach between first light and just after 6.00 am. I dropped a couple more as I tried to steer them to the beach. I was using the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Pink Shine and Black Shad colours, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. Three of the Flathead were over 40cm and a couple where a bit smaller. It was Saturday morning and the Jetskis, boats, swimmers and boarders were stirring things up a bit, so I decided to move down to Golden Beach.

Bulcock Beach Flathead

It was time to feed my new hard bodied lure addiction. I pulled out the latest try out – the CULTIVA MV 60S-06 Miravibe, 9.5g, 60 mm long – a bibless sinking vibe lure. CULTIVA is and Owner brand, so not surprisingly, the treble hooks are tough, sharp and a bit larger than the lures I have been trying out recently. There is no rattle in this one, but the vibe action is so tight that it almost sounds like there is, as it travels through the water. It looks very like a small Herring and I chose a yellow/bronze colour that seems to work well in the Pumicestone Passage.

CULTIVA Miravibe lure from Owner

I walked out in front of the Gemini Towers apartment complex and found the edge of a small channel. I cast the lure parallel with the bank, hopping it along the bottom in short bursts. The problem with this lure is that you have to move it slightly faster than I would like, to keep up the wobble. As they often say ‘no wobble, no gobble’ – so you have to keep it moving all the time.
I covered a fair bit of ground, travelling south and casting along the edge of the channel. Suddenly I felt a bite and short run but then the fish was off. I stopped and cast back in the same spot, pulling the lure across the bottom in shot sharp jerks – to get the maximum vibration. This worked and the fish (or another fish) grabbed it. It was another Flathead about 45cm long and it had thoroughly inhaled the lure. After a pretty complex extraction I released it. Another lure had passed the test and caught another fish. I suppose they all work in the right circumstances but I found this one a bit difficult to fish with. It seemed to take a while to find its rhythm in the water and I am not sure if bigger trebles help or hinder the hook up. More tests required.

Caloundra Flathead swallows a CULTIVA Miravibe lure

At about 9.30 am I gave up and went for a dip on Kings Beach. A few fish, a swim in the ocean and a fresh cup of coffee overlooking the surf – life’s good!