Bribie & Mooball Creek – fishing the shallows – May 2017

May saw me out on the flats in front of the Sandstone Point hotel at Bribie Island wading in the shallows. Winter took a long time to arrive and the water styed stubbornly warm all through the month.

The flounder arrived to supplement the flathead and the odd bream. I fished with my light spinning rod and reel, 10lb fluorocarbon leader and generally GULP Jerkshad soft plastics in various colours on 1/8th 1/0 jigheads. I filled a bag with five keeper size flathead in the run up to the new moon on the run out tide.

I also continued my search for fish around Pottsville and found a few tiny flathead and Bream in Mooball Creek. These grabbed the smaller soft plastic minnows.

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Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 March 2014

Saturday

After an extraordinary session on Friday, I had to get back up to Bribie again to fish the low tide. Fortunately, I could squeeze in a session on Saturday morning. The wind was forecast to be pretty lively again, with a couple of tropical cyclones hovering off the coast, up north. Low tide would be at 8.40 am. The moon was a week away from full.

I arrived just after first light at about 5.30 am. I ran into Matt, another keen fisho who had had the same idea. We walked out towards the old oyster jetty and swapped a few fishing stories. He headed south along the sandbank towards the channel marker and I settled on a spot just to the south of the jetty.

It took a while to find the fish. The sun came over the horizon and the wind started to pick up. The tide was running out quickly. I started by fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken on a 1/8th 2/0 jighead. I was using my G.Loomis TJR fast action, light spin rod and a 15lb Super PE braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. At about 6.20 am I dropped a small flathead, but on the next cast, I felt the bite and paused. When I lifted, the fish was attached.

Now I had found the fish and I caught a fish on almost every cast for the next 30 minutes.  A hot bite is a great time to experiment. A gent named Charles Talman from Mount Gambier in South Australia makes his own soft plastics and recently was kind enough to send me some to try out. There were plenty of prawns jumping so I decided to start by rigging up one of his 4” Shrimp soft plastics. These plastics do not quite have the finesse of the major brands, but as you will see from the pictures, they are cleverly designed and have good actions and texture – both essential characteristics. I rigged the first one on a 1/8th ounce, 2/0 jighead and cast it out. I knew the fish were here but I wasn’t sure they would go for it. There was no need to worry – half way into the retrieve a fish hit it. I dropped the rod tip and paused. About five seconds later, I struck and I pulled up a flathead, about 45cm long. A few casts later, I caught another. Over the next hour, they kept coming. I cycled through a couple more of Charles’ lures and then put in a GULP 4” Shrimp in the Natural colour. There was no difference in the catch rate between the two types of shrimp soft plastic.

I now decided to try the DUO Tetraworks Koikakko tiny hard bodied squid imitations. These are made with the usual DUO care and attention to detail. They can be used in deep water as a jig or hopped across the bottom like a traditional sinking hard body. They are only 34mm long and weigh 4.6g. They are ideal to cast across the flats in crystal clear water, on light leaders and will tempt almost any species.  I knew there had been a lot of small squid around this area so I thought they would be perfect. My only concern was that perhaps they would be too small for the flathead to notice. I checked my knots and decided to slow everything down and increase the pauses on the bottom.

Success was not immediate, but after about 15 minutes I saw a flathead come up behind the lure and then turn away at the last minute. I cast back in the same spot and left the lure on the bottom for about 20 seconds. On the second hop, I felt the violent thud of a flathead mouth crunch down on my lure. The fish took the lure and slowly swam away with it. It took a while for it to register that this was not an ordinary squid and when I lifted the rod tip to ensure the tiny treble was lodged, it took off.

It was obviously bigger than the small flathead that had swiped at the lure on the previous retrieve and it made couple of blistering runs out towards open water. You cannot muscle a fish with the fast and flexible G.Loomis TJR rod. It absorbs the lunges beautifully but you have to be patient and let the reel’s drag do the rest. I have traded up the single tiny treble hook on the DUO Tetraworks Koikakko for a slightly tougher Gamakatsu version. I waded back to the shoreline with the fish. It was tired now, but as we reached the shallows, it continued to try and turn and then shake its head. I pulled it across the weed in the shallows and on to the sandbank. It was the biggest fish of the day – a 68cm flathead. I released this one and carried on fishing.

The Koikakko lure caught plenty more flathead and its tiny size did not seem to have much bearing on the size of fish it attracted.  By low tide I had five good fish in the keeper bag – all between 50 cm. and 60cm.

By 9.00 am, the wind was howling and making it pretty hard to fish. I decided to finish the session with a couple more of Mr Talman’s soft plastics. I particularly like his small, three legged monster – not sure what it is but the flathead love it. I lost the green version to a fish that wrapped itself around an abandoned crab pot.  Fortunately, there was also a fluorescent gold/creamy coloured one, so I re-rigged with this. The flathead could not resist and I caught about 5 more, all good sized fish, on this soft plastic lure. I finished up with a 5” worm in a green colour. This also delivered and after a few casts it connected with a 50cm flathead.

 

I am not really sure why the fish have suddenly appeared but I hope they hang around for a while. I’ll be back.

Bribie – The old oyster jetty flats – 7 March 2014

Friday

On Friday the wind situation was not promising with a 10-15 knot easterly forecast for mid – morning.  But it has been a long time since I wet a line so I had to go for it and I was very glad that I did.

I have been struggling to wake up recently and I managed to sleep through the 4.00 am alarm. I woke at about 4.45 am and rushed up to Bribie, arriving just after 5.30 am.  It was very cloudy and I passed through a few showers on my way up from Brisbane.  They had cleared by the time I reached the Bribie Bridge. I pulled on my waders and walked out under the bridge towards the old oyster jetty. There was plenty of light but the sun had not yet come over the horizon. The wind was much lighter than forecast – as it often is, for the hour either side of first light.

Low tide would be a fairly high low at 0.8 m, at 7.40 am. The moon was about half way to full. I waded out to the south of the old oyster jetty and loaded up the light spin rod with a GULP Jerkshad on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I was using a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. It was now just before 6.00 am.

On the first cast, I felt the lure drag a little and I thought it was stuck in the weed. I yanked the rod tip up to free it and a small angry flathead (about 35cm long) came flying out of the water towards me. It managed to catapult itself off the jighead so I did not have to release it. The next cast produced another bite but no hook up. On the third cast, I paused and connected with a fish, as soon as I lifted the plastic off the bottom. This was a decent sized flathead so I decided to wade with the fish, back to the beach. It turned out to be about 55cm.

At this point I realised I did not have my camera. This was a shame because it turned into an extraordinary session. I was joined by Lee – another keen plastics fisherman. We had a chat and as we were talking and casting, we realised this was going to be one of those fantastic fishing sessions. Almost every cast produced a fish and the majority of those fish were between 45cm and 55cm long.

As the sun rose and the wind picked up the fish carried on biting and even the tide change did not seem to slow them down. I swapped through various Gulp soft plastics – Minnows, Jerkshads and Shrimps, which all caught fish. I put on a Z Man Minnowz with a paddle tail and this caught a few.  Lee was fishing with a Gulp minnow grub in the Banana Prawn colour that was catching a fish on almost every cast.

I decided to experiment with some hard bodies. I started with the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR suspending minnow. This caught a couple of nice flathead but their violent head shakes soon reduced the small trebles to one remaining hook. I took it off and decided to test just how hungry these fish were. I tied on a MARIA MJ Twitch 90mm Suspending hard body. This is a great lure but I would generally consider it a bit of a mouthful for flathead. It has a great action but usually gets clogged in the weed before a fish gets to it. Not today – I cast it into the strike zone and after a couple of twitches, a flathead smashed it. It was a decent fish and the trebles struck home. I waded back to the shore with it and pulled out the trebles. It was about 65cm and one of the best fish of the day.

It was now low tide and the weed was everywhere so I swapped back to soft plastics. Every size and colour caught fish. Lee was equally successful. In three hours, between us we must have caught upwards of 60 flathead. We kept five each and released the rest.

It is difficult to know what fired them up or how long they have been there. There were lots of small squid and prawns around, but no massive bait schools. The terrain of sandy hollows and weed beds is ideal flathead country but I don’t ever remember a session were the fish were so easy to catch. Something must have drawn the fish to this area but it is not immediately obvious what.

At about 9.00 am I decided to take my catch home and Lee also gave up. We are in for some wild weather over the weekend. Let’s hope it does not blow the fish away.