Bribie – the oyster jetty flats – 23 August 2016

Tuesday

On Tuesday I drove back up to Bribie for another early morning fish before the forecast wind picked up. I arrived just after low tide and sunrise at about 6. 30 am. The moon was on the wane and about 70% full.

I had given up on the LOX Yoshi Rod for this type of fishing. It is fine on a windless day, but there are very few of these. I was finding my casts kept tangling around the end of the rod unless casting with the wind directly behind me. I swapped back to another bass rod – my G Loomis SJR6400 5’4” Mag Light/ Extra Fast. This is a short rod but still casts a loaded 1/8th ounce jighead a long way. Once you have a fish on it does not have a long enough tip to have the subtlety of the LOX, but it still soaks up the lunges.

This morning I had to cast for a while to find a flathead. In fact, I was fishing for more than an hour before I had my first bite. I was using a GULP 4 inch Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead.  I was standing well south of the jetty casting over the weed, aiming to land the soft plastic on the sandy patches beyond. As I hopped the soft plastic towards the weed edge, the fish grabbed it. It was a solid 50 cm flathead.

I cast around to see if there were more nearby but I could not find them. I carried on wading south as the tide rolled in. I swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the BBQ Chicken colour. At the spot where the water first comes over the big sand bank I found another fish. It was a little larger than the first and had only taken ten more minutes to locate.

I thought things were looking up but it took 45 minutes to find another flathead and this one was quite a bit smaller at only just over 40cm. By about 9.30 am the incoming tide had forced me away from my favourite spots and the wind was really blowing, so I gave up for the morning.

Bribie Island – the oyster jetty flats – 6 December 2013

I was delighted to be back on home turf but shocked at just how early sunrise is. With first light just after four you have to be up at three. Low tide at Bongaree, on Bribie Island would be at 5.10 am. At first light, I would just catch the last of the run out tide – which is usually a very good time to fish.

As I pulled into the car park beside the bridge, on the mainland side, I saw Colin’s car already parked up. Colin is the local flathead specialist -great minds think alike! I pulled on my waders and wandered out for a chat. He was chucking a few hard bodied lures around under the bridge and soon found a small flathead. He gave me an update on what has happening in the Passage and, as always it was a comprehensive briefng.

It was now about 4.45 am, so I set off to fish the weed beds, to the south of the old oyster jetty. It was a big tide so I had a good view of how the drains and channels had changed in the the 3 months that I have not fished here. The weed beds are thick and healthy but the drain that used to run out round the corner from Sandstone Point, is now much less well defined. The persistent northerly winds may have flattened the sand banks, a little.

The breeze was light but quite cool, from the south-west. I started fishing at about 4.45am and the tide was still running out. I was fishing with my new G.Loomis Trout Series (TSR) spinning rod. I was using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader tied on to 10lb Super PE braid. This rod is excellent but I am still getting used to its sensitivity. Pulling a soft plastic through the weedy bottom was confusing at first, I thought I was getting bites but was not sure. Then I saw a few skid dart past and I realised they had been biting the plastic.

I kept moving south. The sun came up behind the clouds. I started fishing with a GULP 4″ Minnow in the Smelt colour. This caught a couple of small flathead just after 5.00 am. Then there was a pause, as the tide turned. I swapped over to a GULP 5″ Jerkshad in the Watermelon Pearl colour.

Flathead

An esky full of Bribie flathead

At about 5.45 am the incoming tide picked up pace and I found a patch of keeper size fish. Over the next hour, I caught 12 fish along a 50 metre stretch of the weed beds. I kept five but forgot my camera. So all I have is the full esky to show you. The smallest fish was 44cm and the largest 59cm. I caught most of the keepers on the 5″ GULP Jerkshad but also found a few with the Zman Minnowz in the Redbone colour.

It was great to have such a successful first session back on home turf.

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 Island – the oyster jetty flats – 4 November 2012

Sunday

Sunday was a grey and rainy morning. The early starts and drives south had worn me out so I had a lie I, until 4.15 am and then decided on a quick wading session at Bribie.

I drove through a few showers on the way up and decided to stay on the mainland and fish the weed banks and mud/ sand flats, south of the old oyster jetty. The jetty is now out of bounds pending re-development but it has been repaired and made safe. The complete removal of the tree cover in the area has made the light quite different and I have been wondering if it will affect the weed growth and therefore the fishing. The terrain has flattened out a quite considerably but I think that has more to do with the change of wind and current, as we settle into a more obvious summer weather pattern.

I arrived just after 5.00 am and the sun was up, but buried behind the grey clouds. I waded past the jetty and had a look around. It was just about slack water on low tide. There was no surface action and the water was pretty murky. I tied on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour – red and yellow. Unfortunately the bright dry sunny days have encouraged the growth of the ‘snot weed’ or algae. This takes particular hold in the areas where there is not much current flow. It means you get a jighead full of slime if you hit the bottom.

Once you reach the edge of the weed beds you can cast parallel with them and avoid it. But don’t go past the sandy patches between the weed as these often harbour a few fish and this was where the first Flathead came from today. It slammed the plastic as soon as it hit the water and I hooked up without really trying, as it tried to swim off with it. It was just under 50cm.

I let the fish go and swapped to a another small hard body from DUO that I have been wanting to try out – the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR. This is a small suspending lure designed for bass but suitable for plenty of other species. It is finished to the usual superb standard and I chose one in the olive colour to try out. I had upgraded the trebles and split rings for saltwater work – the Flathead don’t take prisoners!

I was pretty sure there was more than one Flathead in the sandy patch in front of me and my first cast with the Realis Shad confirmed it. After two quick hops of the lure, a fish knocked it out of the water and then swiped again with a splash. But I did not hook up, so I wound the lure back in and cast out again. This time I let it sit for about 10 seconds – and then gave it a short pull. A fish attacked again and this time it was hooked. But the fish was only about 30 cm long.

I let it go and tried again. After about three more casts, the line pulled tight and a really angry fish surfaced. I pulled this one over to some exposed reef and landed it. This time good Flathead about the same size as the first of the day. I sent it on its way and moved south.

The tide was now flowing in strongly. I waded along casting over the weed beds. I caught two more Flathead – both about 45cm long, on the Realis Shad. The incoming tide had now lifted lots of strap weed and this was starting to clog the hard bodied lure. I swapped back the GULP curry chicken Jerkshad and this tempted two more 45cm fish before I gave up at about 8.30 am.

As I waded back along the shoreline there were Flathead ’lies’ everywhere. Many were very close to the Mangrove roots, showing that the fish will move up into very shallow water on the higher overnight tides.

You have a very good chance of catching dinner at the moment, especially if you get up early!

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 – Under the Bridge – 26 June 2012

Tuesday

The wind was forecast to start blowing but not until about lunchtime. There was also rain forecast, but unlike the summer downpours, the steady drizzle does not really put the fish off. In fact, I think it can work in you favour, by breaking up the surface of the water and disguising your approach.

You will all be relieved to find out that the tax return is finally done – much more painful than having a tooth pulled and far more expensive!

So I wrapped up warm and set out early. I arrived at Bribie at about 5.30 am and decided to start fishing on the island side, under the bridge lights. There are some good weed covered sandbanks forming just north of the bridge and also a couple of holes, just to the south. This area gets fished a lot and it is also a favourite spot to cast a net for some live-bait. You therefore need to get here early to stand a chance of finding it undisturbed. The fish renew with each tide so a run out tide around dawn is a good time to fish here. Low tide would be at 8.00 am so this morning looked good.

I started fishing with the GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead with 12lb fluorocarbon leader, tied on to 8lb braid. Unusually there was not much surface action. There was plenty of bait in the water but the Pike did not seem to be present. I cast around to the north of the bridge for about 20 minutes with no luck, so moved to the south side.

One just before dawn

Just on first light I felt a good hit as I pulled the soft plastic cover a weed bed. I dropped the rod tip, paused and counted to 10. I count to 10 pretty fast on the first fish of the day. I lifted the rod tip and set the hook. After a brief fight, I had the first fish of the day up on the sand – a nice Flathead about 50cm long. I released it – the family are in revolt, demanding red meat for a few days. I cast back in the same spot. My lure was hit again, as it sank but this time I was too quick and failed to pause, I struck to soon and did not hook the fish – just pulled the soft plastic out of its mouth.

Just after dawn

There were a few smaller Flathead today

I tried but I could not persuade that fish to try again, so I moved to the north of the bridge. It was getting lighter now and raining, but not heavily. I waded along the edge of the weed bank, casting back, up into the tide, which was still running out. I soon found another Flathead – this one was about 35cm – I let it go and moved on.

I paused in front of the rocky patch, beside the boat hire place and concentrated on this area for a while. This paid off and after a few casts, I caught another 50+cm Flathead. As the tide slowed, things went quiet so I drove back across the bridge and waded out to the flats beside the old oyster jetty.

A pretty dismal morning weather wise

I spent another hour wading in this area with the same soft plastic lure. I caught 4 more Flathead, of which two would have been big enough to keep, at about the 50 cm size. It was now about 8.45 am and the rain started to get serious. It was now too cold and wet for me so I gave up.

Another Bribie Flathead

Unfortunately, it is rubbish weather for the school holidays. But this means there are less boats about and the fish are out there – if you can stay warm and dry long enough to find them.

Perfectly hooked