Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 11 October 2016

Tuesday

Monday had been pretty good so I decided to go back up to Bribie on Tuesday morning. Low tide would be about an hour later, at 10.30 am. There was not much tidal flow as the moon was not really doing much. This time I chose the oyster jetty flats on the mainland sided of the Pumicestone Passage.

It was another hot, clear morning but with a little more northerly wind, when I arrived at about 8.00am. I was still fishing with my short, fast action G.Loomis trout rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and put on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

I was just south of the bridge and once more the first taker was a long tom. These fish are tricky to hook. They have plenty of teeth and usually the bigger ones thrash around until they slice through your line or shake the hook loose. This on managed to wrap the light line thoroughly around its snout. I untangled it and released it.

I moved south and swapped soft plastics to a GULP Cajun Chicken Jerkshad. This black and pink lure seems to stir things up sometimes probably because it is such high contrast. I was now well to the south of the old oyster jetty. I felt a slid thump, dropped the rod tip and paused. When I lifted it the fish was on and the hook pushed home. It took off and felt like a pretty good flathead. It later measured 58cm. I took a few underwater shots with my new camera. This is a fairly hit and miss operation when you are not swimming with them!

I carried on moving south and caught another 30 cm flathead about 3 casts later. After another 30 minutes I swapped to a GULP Satay Chicken Jerkshad and not long afterwards I caught another 50cm plus flathead. As the tide stopped running the action slowed. I caught three more smaller flathead before giving up at about 11.00 am.

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Bribie – the Sandstone Point flats – 21 January 2016

Thursday

The forecast was for a 10 knot northerly wind which looked good for a quick fishing session. So I drove up to Bribie, to fish the run out tide on the old oyster jetty flats. It was a few days before full moon and the tides were getting big. It had been a 2.39m high tide at 7.35 am. Ideal fishing time on the flats would therefore be between about 10.00 am and 1.00 pm.

I started fishing at about 9.30 am. I rigged up my light spin ring and waded out under the bridge. There was still plenty of water so I cat around under the bridge for a while. I did not get any bites and the high tide meant there was a lot of weed floating around so I decided  to wade south alongside the mangroves and fish around the corner on the Sandstone Point flats.

On a big tide these flats are covered in 2 metres of water in places and there is plenty of structure and food for the fish that move up into these areas. There are a number of piles of oyster covered rocks and the remains of some old fish traps and old oyster racks.  There are also some big weed beds and patches of sandy bottom.

Today I could see some big mullet schools finning around and as I came around the corner I saw a couple of small tuna, of some kind, chase a school of smaller baitfish into the shallows. I was initially fishing with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Lime tiger colour. I was using 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 jighead. I saw a few long toms grabbing at the plastic and hooked and then dropped one. They seem to love this area.

The wind was picking up and now coming from the north-east at about 20 knots. I was about waist deep behind a mangrove island and fishing alongside a small submerged rockwall. I felt a solid bite but struck a little too quickly and probably pulled the lure out of the fish’s mouth. I cast back in the same spot about five times and on the sixth the fish struck again. This time I dropped the rod tip for a full ten seconds and when I lifted it again I hooked the fish. It was a healthy looking 45cm flathead and I kept it for dinner.

It was now about 10. 45 am and I could not find any more fish around the mangrove island so I wandered back towards the main channel. There was still plenty of bait around and a cormorant was successfully fishing in the shallows. I waded along the sand bar that runs down towards the green channel marker, casting along the edges of the weed. I was now in less than a metre of water and the tide was running out quickly.  I felt a very aggressive smash and grab and a fish took off with the same Lime Tiger Minnow. It was a bigger fish and after a short fight I pulled it up onto the sand. I later measured it at 63cm.

By about 11.45 am the wind and weed were making fishing just too hard. I am sure the fish were there but I did not have the patience to carrying on battling the elements to find them.

Iluka – Shark Bay – Tailor, Tailor, Tailor – 12 April 2013

Friday

Friday was my last morning in Iluka. The weather had been good for fishing – light winds and swell. But it had been miserable for camping, with endless rain showers and no time to dry out in between. Fortunately, I had been in a cabin.

A big south-easterly blow was forecast for the weekend and on Friday morning; it was already about 15 knots on the Woody Head platform. The seas had not really picked up yet but it would be too hard to cast from ‘ the Barnacles’ so I decided to give the Shark Bay rock platform a try. This is a great spot in a south-easterly wind, as you can cast off the north tip with the wind behind you.

I arrived just after 6.00 am. The sky was fairly clear, initially. Low tide had been at about 3.40 am. The wind was blowing hard so it would only be possible to fish on the north edge and cast to the north-west. These were perfect conditions to get some long casts out of some hard bodied lures.

I knew there might be some big fish around but I have really enjoyed fishing with the lighter 10 ft Shimano Catana Coastline Light, this week – so I stuck with it. It is rated 3-5kg, but as long as you have a tough leader and a good drag, it can land some pretty hefty fish. When I break it (which I inevitably will) I will look for a better quality alternative – but so far, so good.

It has a poor reputation for durability and most coastal tackle shops have put their fair share of new tips on. Despite this, it is a very nicely balanced rod and I particularly like the way you can feel the action of the lighter hard bodied lures through the tip. I really wanted to catch some fish using my latest favourite DUO lure – the Realis Jerkbait 120SP and the Catana is perfect for it. The Realis Jerkbait 120SP is a clever sub-surface suspending lure that you can get down to about a metre below the surface without too much trouble . It is long (120mm) thin and flat sided, which accentuates light reflection, as it moves through the water and it has both a good slow and fast action. I have had a few of these in some great colours and lost them all to fish.

Now I was down to my last one, in a yellow/ cream/ gold colour known as S70 – Dead Ayu. I have swapped the trebles for single hooks, in the hope of hanging on to the lure for a bit longer! I had lost one to a good fish a few days before so I was determined to land something with this one.

I cast to the northwest into the choppy, white water. There is a patch of reef that breaks the surface, about 125 metres to the north-west of the rock platform. I aimed at this and with the wind behind me, I was able to put in a very respectable long distance cast. I started the retrieve, jerking the lure along for a few metres, then pausing and allowing it to suspend. There was action behind the lure on the first cast with splashes and surges, but it took about six casts to hook up.

I am fairly new to single hooks and my view is that they do not connect with as many fish as trebles do, but once they do connect, the fish stays hooked. That was the case this time and I soon had a 40cm tailor at my feet. I cast straight back out and watched as another tailor knocked the Realis Jerkbait 120SP out of the water but then failed to get hooked. Almost every cast was getting hit. Sometimes I could see the snouts and tails of long toms but usually, it felt like tailor.

About 10 minutes after the first tailor, I was on to another better one. This one put on an acrobatic performance with several jumps, before I tamed it. It was just over 60cm and the best of the week. There then followed a good tailor session with the DUO Realis Jerkbait 120SP accounting for six tailor around the 40 to 45cm mark, over the next 20 minutes. It also pulled up a couple of over enthusiastic long toms.

At about 7.00 am things went quiet so I swapped to a 65g Raider metal slug. I tried this for about twenty casts with no result, so I swapped to a soft plastic lure. I started with the small GULP 3” Minnow in Lime Tiger, that had proved so appealing to the mac tuna. I put it on a ¼ oz, 1/0 jighead and cast it out. There were no more tuna but after a few retrieves another good bream took it. I landed it and then caught another.

There was another quiet spell so I swapped to a bigger GULP Jerkshad in the Sweet & Sour Chicken colour. The tailor must have been passing through again because after a number of bites, pulls and aborted runs, I hooked up again. It was another 40cm fish.

The tide was now almost up to my waist so it was time to retreat. It had been a great session and good way to end the week. Bream, dart, tailor, tuna, trevally and flathead – another great week of fishing in Iluka.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point flats – 26 March 2013

Tuesday

A good run of predominantly south-easterly winds and not much rain had me feeling confident on Tuesday morning. It was also full moon which meant plenty of tidal flow. It would be a 2.3m high tide at 8.46 am, at Sandstone Point, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island. The wind was forecast to switch from east-south-east to north easterly in the middle of the middle of the morning.

I arrived at about 4.45 am and found the water lapping around the feet of the third set of bridge pylons and just covering the patch of reef to the south of the fifth set. The pylons are smooth and polished and the cleaning / survey process has created a few new holes around the footings.

I started with soft plastics – the GULP 2” Shrimp in the peppered prawn colour on a 1/8th, size 1 hook jighead. I cast around north and south of the bridge without result. There was not really enough water here yet.

I moved south, past the old oyster jetty and stuck with the shrimp soft plastic. The tide was not moving very fast so I dropped back to 1/16th oz , size 1 hook jighead. I aimed at the sandy drain area, just south of the jetty. I was casting at around in just less than a meter of water. The sun came over the horizon at about 6.00 am and I immediately started to get a few hits. I caught a small bream about 25cm and then another two. The peppered prawn shrimp was hanging off the jighead, so I swapped to a banana prawn coloured version.

After a few casts, this produced a big Pike – perhaps 35cm long. Then, at about 6.45 am I felt a bigger fish attack the shrimp, as it sank. It took a little bit of line and then settled down. It had a strange tail beat and I could not figure out what it might be. After a few lunges I pulled it in closer and could see it was a nice tarwhine – about 35 cm long. It’s strange action in the water was probably due to the fact that it only had half a tail. I kept the tarwhine and caught a few more bream, all in the same spot, before the incoming tide pushed me back towards the mangrove line.

On a full moon the flats towards Sandstone Point are covered in a metre of water for a solid couple of hours around the high tide. This gives the fish plenty of time to move up in to the area looking for bait. I decided to wade along the mangrove line, in the direction of Sandstone Point and see if I could find them. I stuck with small GULP soft plastics in the natural colours, smelt, pearl watermelon, peppered prawn and banana prawn. There were plenty of long toms cruising around and they were the first takers. They are hard to hook but once they are solidly connected they put on an impressive aerial display – thrashing and leaping around. More often than not their sharp teeth just sliced through my 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

By about 8.00 am I had waded all the way round to Sandstone Point and the water was so deep that it was only just possible to continue fishing along the mangrove line. I turned around and started wading back to the north east. I pulled up one small (less than 35cm) flathead, who was lying close to the edge of the mangroves but the rest of the fish interaction was with the long toms. By the time the tide turned at 8.45 am I was back on the corner at the sandy drain.

As the tide started to run out I focused on this area. I tried a few brightly coloured GULP jerkshads but these did not produce anything so I swapped back to a natural coloured offering – the GULP 2” shrimp in the banana prawn colour. I also swapped to a heavier 1/8th 1 jighead, as the tide started to run out. This did the trick and after a few long tom hits, I connected with a sold fish that turned out to be a 55cm flathead. I kept casting around this area and after another ten minutes, I found two more 45cm versions.

By about 9.45 am I was close to the old oyster jetty again. I was now using a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The water is still full of sediment on these big tides and the bridge cleaning barge was out again, further stirring things up. I was fishing from memory, aiming my casts at areas where I thought the weed beds thinned out and dropped off to sandy bottom. I pulled up another good flathead, about 60cm.

As I reached the bridge area I put in a few final casts with the same soft plastic and found my fifth keeper – a flathead – about 50cm long. My apologies, I did not have my camera with my while I was fishing today. You will have to make do with a couple of pictures of the bagful that I took with my phone, when I got back to the car.

It looks like the south-easterlies are gradually bringing the water temperature down which is firing up the traditional winter species. If the weather behaves there should be some great fishing over Easter.

Bribie Island – Bridge and Oyster Jetty – 5 March 2011

Saturday

After a stinking hot week – but some pretty good fishing Flathead fishing, the rain was back. A south-easterly change and big wind and seas were forecast but it did not look as if it would get up until around lunchtime, so I decided on a quick early morning Saturday session. I headed for Bribie Island and was out under the bridge lights, on the island side by 4.15am.

A word on waders – I use the A S Horne waders which have a tough Blundstone gum boot. With postage, they are around A$ 120/30 but they are definitely worth the price premium. Before I bought them I went through 7 sets of cheap ones; Wilson, Mojiko, Shakespeare, and various other BCF/ Anaconda offerings, in just under two years. I was constantly patching up holes on these cheap ones. I have now had my A S Horne waders for 2 years and they have no leaks, despite lots of run ins with oyster covered rocks. They are pretty hot at this time of year but with so many jelly fish, Wobbegongs and various other creepy crawlies in the water – I am prepared to suffer the heat.

At 4.15 am this morning it was cool and wet. The tide had just started to run in and the rain had made the water even more murky than usual. I decided to started with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour – yellow on top and pumpkinseed underneath. I was standing in 30cm of water casting in close to the pylons. After a few retrieves I was on to a fish. I brought him to the shore – a Flathead just on 40cm. The family decided they will go on hunger strike if I bring another Flathead to the table – so it was released. I got a few more hits from what I think where Pike, but as the sun came up an hour later I had not landed anymore fish.

I moved across to the Oyster Jetty on the other side of the Passage. It was now around 5.45am and the tide was running in strongly. I waded out beside the jetty to a point about ¾ of the way along and started putting casts out in a semicircle. I was casting into the run in tide and hopping the plastic along the weedy bottom. After two or three casts I was on to something. After a few short runs, I could see it was a small Flathead, again around 40 cm long. I did not want to wade back to the bank with it so I grabbed it with a cloth and released it.

I could not find any more in that area so I moved further south. I fished the drain, just before you turn the corner for Sandstone Point, but apart from a few Long Toms, I did not get another bite. The wind was now beginning to howl and it was spitting rain again so I waded back to the car and headed home.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point Drain – 26 Feb 2011

Saturday

After a good session on Thursday, I headed back up to Bribie Island early on Saturday morning. I was wading out under the bridge, on the mainland side, just after high tide, at about 4.30 am. I decided to try some big GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshads, to see if I could find some bigger fish, under the bridge lights. I rigged a pink shine version on a 1/8th 2/0 jig head and cast out to the north side of the bridge. After a few casts, nothing was happening so I moved to the south side. The first cast came up taught as soon as I flicked the reel bail arm over. The fish held on until it was only a couple of metres away and then let the lure go. The same thing happened, a couple of casts later. I could not see what was biting, but I think they were probably Pike or Moses Perch.

As the sun came up I moved south, past the old oyster jetty to the big drain that empties round the corner from the direction of Sandstone Point. The tide was really running out now and I decided to try a 1/5th of an ounce Berkley Big Eye Blade lure. I cast it out let it sink briefly, and jerked it back towards me fairly quickly. To get the right action you really need to keep these lures moving fast. After a few cast, I had a fish. The small, soft hooks on these blades mean I often lose the fish before I can get it back to shore. There was no problem this time. I had a nice Flathead around 48cm.

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After a 15 minutes more fishing with the blade lure, it got snagged and I lost it. I switched to a GULP 3” Minnow Grub soft plastic in the pepper prawn colour and rigged it on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was now fishing along the edge of the big sand bank that channels the water down through the drain. After a couple of hits I cast back in the same spot about 6 times before I finally connected with the fish. It was another, bigger Flathead at 52cm. I wandered around this area for another hour or so. I hooked up with a couple more fish but dropped them or they spat out the lure. Finally I connected with a good size Long Tom who jumped clean out of the water when it realised it was hooked. These really are ugly fish.

Another great morning fishing and as we have plenty of fish in the fridge, they were all released today, some unintentionally!