Bribie – Under the bridge/ The Seaside Museum creek drain – 11 March 2013

Monday

There is still a strong south-easterly blowing and it is still dumping rain on us. New moon is Tuesday and with all the recent rain the Bream should be around. With the big tides and the top up showers that water is not clearing up as fast as I thought it would.

I went for an early start again, as the hour before dawn has produced the best fishing recently. The wind was forecast to get stronger through the day, so I had a very limited choice of locations. I decided I would rely on the bridge lights at Bribie again.

I arrived just after 4.00 am. Low tide had passed at 2.50 am. The water was already running in fast and it was very muddy and weedy. I started with a GULP 4” minnow in the smelt colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I started on the south side of the bridge. I cast into the shadows and slowly hopped the plastic along the bottom, under the lights.

I spent 30 minutes methodically covering the ground to the south of the bridge. I did not get a touch and I did not see much bait moving around. At about 4.30 am, I moved round to the north side of the bridge. There is a good channel here, between two rocky patches. It is very difficult to get your lure to move along the bottom without getting snagged, but if you can leave it in the strike zone long enough, you are in with a chance.

On my first cast I got snagged. The water is shallow enough in this area to wade over and retrieve the lure, but if I did that, I would spook any fish in the vicinity, so I had to break it off and re-rig. I tied on the same lure again. But this time I put it on a 1/6th oz, 2/0 jighead. The water was running fast and even though I was more likely to get snagged, I wanted the lure on, or near the bottom, all the time.

I stayed in the shadows under the bridge and after a few casts, a flathead grabbed the plastic, just over a metre away from me and took off. It hooked itself and I steered it over the rocky bottom to the shoreline. It was just over 50cm and it was 4.57 am.

I swapped to a GULP 4” shrimp in the banana prawn colour (gold). I kept casting around the area and after about 5 minutes, I caught another flathead, just a little smaller than the first.

GULP Shrimp in Banana Prawn for the second one

GULP Shrimp in Banana Prawn for the second one

At about 5.15 am, I crossed the bridge to the other side of the Passage, to see if the bridge lights on that side offered any fishing opportunities. The weed banks in this area seem to have either been washed away or covered in sediment. There is a storm water drain that empties fresh water into the Passage just under the bridge – this will have been flowing pretty constantly recently. I waded up and down but did not get a touch. A big rain shower passed over just when the sun should have been coming up and all the time the wind was building.

I swapped locations again and had a quick cast around by the Seaside Museum creek drain. I spent about 40 minutes here but did not get a bite. By 8.00 am it was too blowy to carry on so I packed up. I had caught a couple of fish but would kill for some flat, clean water to fish in!

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Bribie Island – White Patch & Bongaree – 10 September 2012

Monday

I promised to take a friend fishing and introduce him to soft plastics on Monday. Unfortunately the weather was far from perfect and we arrived at Bribie to find the wind blowing from the south-east at about 15 Knots.

I decided to start at White Patch, as it is sometimes just a little less exposed to the elements. I showed my mate the basic plastics rig and set him to work with a 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I started with the same.

Why is it always so bloody hard to catch a fish when you need to? I tried all the usual spots and swapped through a load of different soft plastics. I don’t think I managed to prove it was worth getting him up at 4.00 am by catching one small Pike in 3 hours.

The wind did drop off a little, so we moved down to Bongaree to fish around the Seaside Museum drain until low tide. This was a bit more exciting as after about 20 minutes there was a big swirl and splash in between us, as something slammed into the bait just in front of the drop off. This process was repeated every few minutes, as whatever it was moved up the edge, heading north. The angler a bit further north, thought it was a small group of Tuna – difficult to say, as I did not get a look.

Whilst it made interesting viewing I still had not caught anything and nor had my mate. I was about to give up when I felt the solid ‘thud’ of a Flathead. In the end he had grabbed the lure I had started the day with – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. It was a decent fish – approximately 50cm long and it was immediately donated to my patient, but cold, fishing guest.

Finally a fish

At about 10.30 am we gave up – I take my hat off to fishing guides everywhere – and will not be calling myself a ‘Gillie’ any time soon.

Bribie Island – Large Easter Sunday Flathead – 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

I had a big Easter BBQ planned for Monday. Four Good Friday Flathead was a good start but I would need a bit more fish to make sure my guests didn’t go hungry. That was my excuse for getting out on Easter Sunday!

I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge at 5.00am and parked on the bank, on the mainland side. I put on my waders and had a few casts around the rocks under the bridge. I caught a small Moses Perch and released it.

Just as it started to get light I moved off to the south. There was lots of surface feeding going on and the tide was running out strongly. Low tide was at around 8.00am. I waded past the oyster jetty with no more bites and then started to fish the drain that runs round from Sandstone Point. I fished all along it without a touch. I moved out to a point where the water was waist deep and started to move north, back towards the bridge.

I was fishing with a new favourite, the GULP 3” Smelt Crazylegs Grub soft plastic. It is a short version of the Crazylegs Jerkshad that has proved so useful. I had it rigged on a 1/6thoz 1/0 jighead. I was using my light spin rod and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I got a couple of solid bites but could not keep the fish on. Then as I moved towards the oyster jetty a fish grabbed the plastic about a metre away from me. I struck with rod and stepped back. It was a good fish but it did not do much, initially. I decided to walk it back to the shore. I loosened the drag a little, as I did not want a bust off. I started to tow it towards the bank and about half way there it really woke up and made a few powerful runs. As I dragged it up onto the muddy shore the leader snapped, but it was clear of the water.

It was a healthy female Flathead, just under 70cm long. I fished around this area for another hour and caught and released several Flathead that were around the legal size limit of 40cm. At about 8.30 I gave up. It had been great morning land-based fishing in the Pumicestone Passage.

70cm Flathead

Brisbane River – Boggy Creek – 28 March 2011

A trip away, a cold and car trouble have all conspired to keep me away from fishing for a few weeks. To those of you who have been checking in to see what is biting – I apologise.

I managed to sneek out yesterday morning for a quick fix. I only had a couple of hours, so I headed down to Boggy Creek. A small swampy tributary on the north side of the Brisbane River, only a few kms from where it opens into Moreton Bay. I parked up by the foot bridge that crosses the creek and leads to the oil refinery. I arrived around 10 am and the tide would be low around midday. I would be fishing the last few hours of the run out. This is not a great time to fish, as there is very little water – but beggars cant be choosers.

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I have not fished in the River since the floods and I was delighted to see so much bait in the water. There were jelly prawns in close to the shore and lots of roving schools of small mullet. I decided to fish the soft plastic lures and went for a natural colour – a 2″ GULP Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour. I rigged it on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I was fishing a light spin rod with a 10lb Fluorocarbon leader. I moved along the bank, casting my lure into the middle of the main channel and bouncing it along the bottom with the run out tide, until it reached my feet.

I cast around on each side of the bridge and got a few bites but no hook ups. I moved east, in the direction of the creek mouth and switched to a lighter, 1/8th 1 jighead. I changed the plastic to a 2″ Minnow pattern, in the same colour. I was putting in a couple of casts at each break in the Mangroves when, at the third spot, a small bream grabbed it. I took a picture and let it go – my first fish for three weeks – a trifle small but very satisfying.

I carried on moving east, casting into the channel as the water got shallower and shallower. At the mouth of a drain, about 60 metres from the bridge, I felt a light thud. I paused, then lifted the rod tip. The line came up taught and there were a few head shakes. I had a 30cm Flathead.

At noon I gave up, just as the tide was starting to run in again. With the smell and noise of the refinery, this is not the prettiest environment to fish in. But after a three weeks off I was glad to get out there and see that there are plenty of fish around.

Bribie Island – Bridge & Sandstone Point – 3 March 2011

Thursday

Thursday was set to be another hot day with a possible thunderstorm. There would be a slight northerly wind in the Pumicestone Passage, which would freshen through the day. I decided to keep looking for Flathead, as these have been the only consistent fish for me, in recent weeks.

I started under the bridge on the Island side about 4.15 am. The tide was running in and there was about 30cm of water at the base of the rockwall by the shore, to the north of the bridge. There was not much surface action and I think the Pike prefer a little more depth, to feel safe. I cast out a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and bounced it along the bottom under the lights. Three casts later, after a pause on the bottom, the line came up tight. There were a few head shakes and a short run and then the fish was gone. A couple of casts later; same soft plastic, same place, maybe the same fish, I hooked up again. This time I got him to the rocks – a Flathead – around 45cm, but as I was lifting him in to the bag, he spiked me and slithered out of my grip to freedom.

Dawn by the Bribie Island bridge - the fish come to the lights

After 30 minutes more, prospecting both north and south of the bridge, I could not find any more fish so I decided to change location. Just as the sun was coming up, I drove round to Pebble Beach and walked along the beach to the far end, towards Sandstone Point. The water was fairly high but there were still a couple of hours before high tide. It was a beautiful, calm, still morning. The thunderstorms had passed over earlier and there were still a few flashes of lightning as they moved in land, but the sky was bright red.

A very calm morning

At the end of the beach, I walked out in front of the fringing Mangroves and cast out over the rubble and boulders that dot the ground. I was aiming for the sandy patches in between the rocks, where the Flathead often shelter. As I moved nearer to the corner I had a few encounters with the Long Toms, who kept grabbing and then dropping, the lure. When one finally did get hooked it started leaping and splashing and effectively shredded the 16lb Fluorocarbon leader I was using. I re- rigged and tied on a new leader and put on a GULP 4” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Pepper Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. A few cast later as the lure bumped over the rocky bottom, a fish grabbed it and took off. It only made a small run and then settled in the current. I pulled it on to some rocks – a 48cm Flathead – I released it and carried on casting. A few casts later I had another on the same plastic, this time it was just over 50cm.

After working the corner thoroughly I move round it, heading north and on to the broad flats of Sandstone Point, which almost form a tidal lagoon. With another hour to go before a 2.3m high tide, I could still wade out to the middle of the area and cast back in towards the Mangrove roots along the shore. The Long Toms where patrolling and I had a couple of tussles with them. After 30 minutes, the water was getting too deep to stay in the middle so I turned and headed south, in closer. I switched to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour and put in long casts parallel with the shore. A fish grabbed the lure as it landed and this time it was a Flathead, I dragged it in under the Mangroves – it was around 40cm – and after a quick picture, I unhooked it and sent it on its way.

That was the last fish for the morning and even thought it was only 8.15 am, it was already blisteringly hot. I dumped the gear in the car and had a quick swim before heading home. Another good session, the water is still full of sediment on these big tides but there is plenty of bait around and so the fish will come.

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Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – 5 Feb 2011

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Saturday

Ok – no fish at Fingal. Where next? Well there is no shortage of coastline to try in Queensland. I had loads of excuses for my recent poor performances – warm water, floods, cyclones etc, but I have concluded that this summer, northerly winds have been the key factor in making life hard. The Mangrove Jacks and a few other species that like it humid, are not put off, but I think the fish I usually catch – Flathead, Bream, Tailor, Jew, etc – don’t like them.

I decided to go back up to Bribie Island and see what the water was like now. Was all the silt flushing out of the bay and the Pumicestone Passage? I started under the bridge lights on the island side, just before low tide at 4.15 am. There were small jelly prawns jumping everywhere, especially sitting just on the weed beds, in the shallows. There were also hardy heads and other small baitfish all around. It was new moon and it looked very promising. I rigged up the light spin rod – 1- 3kg and tied on a 10lb leader. I put in a 1/8th 1/0 hook jighead and started by fishing a GULP 2”Shrimp soft plastic in the banana prawn colour. After half an hour of walking up and down and watching surface busts ups, jumping prawns and big bait schools swimming between my legs, I had not had a bite.

I swapped locations and drove down to the saltwater lagoon just in front of Buckley’s Hole, on the southern end of the island. The topography at the mouth of the lagoon has changed dramatically because of the wild weather we have had. It now drains out into the Passage much further north than it did even a few months ago. The tide was just turning and there was a lot of weed in the water. The water is still holding a lot of sediment but as I walked south along the flats it looked quite clear.

I walked south, parallel with the shore, casting and retrieving and again, there was a lot of surface activity. I tried all sorts of soft plastic lures – big and small minnows, minnow grubs, jerkshads and shrimps. I tried bright colours and natural colours, I tried a heavier jighead – nothing. As the tide started to run in it brought a few jellyfish with it and the water clouded up. Obviously the incoming tide now lifts all the sediment that has settled on the bottom.

At around 7.30am I turned around and waded back north. I put on a GULP 3” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour and started to pull this along the bottom with long pauses between each lift. After about 10 mins, I felt a bit of weight on the rod and the tip started shaking. At last – a fish. It was not a big one but I waded back to the beach and pulled it out onto the sand – it was a Flounder, about 30cm long. It had completely swallowed the jighead so I cut it off and released it.

It was now very hot and the water had turned really brown so I gave up and headed back to the car. There is no shortage of bait in the Passage but the water quality is still very poor – it looks like it may take quite a while for things to settle down.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – 26 Jan 2011

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Australia Day – Wednesday

Although I did not catch anything yesterday, I was encouraged by the conditions in the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. I love estuary fishing in Queensland but Bribie Island is by far my favourite spot near Brisbane. So this morning I was up early and wading out from the shore, on the mainland side, under the Bribie Island bridge at around 4.15 am.

There was virtually no breeze and the tide was about half way out. Low tide would be at about 8.40 am, at around 0.6m. The area that is lit by the bridge lights always attracts bait and this morning was no exception. There were surface bust ups all around with prawns and bait fish jumping everywhere. The bottom is a mixture of sand, weed and rubble so you cannot fish too heavy. The run out tide starts to run fast over the rubble areas as the water gets shallower and this forms a few ridges, channels and drains that hold the Flathead. A 1/6th oz jighead with 1/0 or 2/0 hook is perfect in these conditions. I decided to fish my favourite soft plastic for Flathead – the GULP 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour. I rigged up my light spin rod and waded along the edge of the mangroves heading south, so I could come back up and cast from the darkness up into the area lit by the bridge lights.

I was standing in about 400mm of water casting up into the run out tide. The plastic was spooking the bait schools and they would burst out of the water each time I jerked it off the bottom. After a few casts a felt a good crunch and let the rod tip drop. A few seconds later I lifted it and had a small Flathead around 30 cm. It was now about 4.30 am and the sky was brightening very slowly. I continued casting around the same area and about ten minutes later a caught another one on the same plastic – this time it was around 35 cm.
I continued casting – I still could not clearly see the colour of the water but it looked a lot dirtier on the run out tide, than it had when I fished the run in tide, yesterday. I moved into slightly deeper water and lost a couple of jigheads to the snaggy bottom. I re-rigged and on my first cast a Flathead more or less caught the lure as it hit the water. There was a good deal of tail splashing and head shaking but when I got it to the bank, I could see it was not much bigger than the others at around 40cm. I let it go, hoping for something better.
As the sun cleared the horizon the surface activity gradually slowed and I started to walk down to fish around the old oyster farm jetty. My plastic was getting plenty of hits but they were not Flathead and I could not seem to hook up. Finally I set the hook on one of the bites and pulled up a tiny Moses Perch. They certainly have an appetite for a decent sized lure (see photo).

I spent another hour fishing the end of the run out tide and as the water got lower, it got dirtier and dirtier. Finally at about 7.30 am I decided there was not enough water in this area, so I packed up. It was good to find a few fish – even though they were small. Hopefully the good weather will continue and the water quality will gradually improve.