Bribie – Oyster jetty flats – 24 April 2013

Wednesday

The tide was all wrong but the fish were around, so I decided on Bribie again. We would have a 2.2m high tide at 8.05 am. This would mean the tide would be just over half way in, at first light.

I arrived just before sunrise and wandered south along the shoreline, on the mainland side of the bridge. I passed the oyster jetty, casting soft plastics on the flats on either side. I felt a few tugs in the area just south of the oyster jetty, but I could not hook up with anything. I was fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was using 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

I find the last of the run-in tide the hardest to fish, land-based, at Bribie. You can no longer reach the various drop offs on either side of the Pumicestone Passage. The fish move up quickly but suddenly there is no obvious structure for them to hide in; they spread out over the open expanse of flats and it is difficult to know where to concentrate your efforts.

As I thought about where to fish a huge flock of cormorants came into land. I have never seen a group as big as this before. They settled on the water for a few minutes then took off again.

In this area the only obvious structure is the slight drain that runs round the corner from Sandstone Point. Even this seems to be gradually silting up at the moment. This is where I decided to focus my efforts. The water was flowing round the corner from the south. I stood beside the mangroves and cast to the south, in the direction of the long, now submerged, sandbar.

It was now about 7.00 am. After a couple of casts, a fish grabbed the plastic, made a short run then it let it go. This also happened on the next cast and I saw the familiar snout of a long tom, following my lure in. I cast a little more towards the south east and when I took up the slack I had a fish on the line. I set the hook and it took off with the current. I soon had it under control and waded back to a gap in the mangroves. It was a good flathead, about 50cm long. I let it go.

I waded back to the same spot and cast out again. I continued fishing this area as the tide came up. I swapped to GULP Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour. After a few casts the line pulled tight again and I had another flathead, about the same size. It was about 7.30 am. In the next twenty minutes I dropped two more fish and caught one smaller one.

Things went quiet around the tide change so I decided to wait out the slack water over breakfast and coffee. I waded back to the car and went off for breakfast. The wind was picking up from the south-east, but it was a beautiful morning.

By 10.00 am I had waded back to almost the same spot that I had been fishing earlier. The water level was much lower but I put in a few casts anyway. After about 10 casts, I caught another 45+ cm flathead, on a GULP Jerkshad, in the Satay Chicken colour.

The tide was now running out strongly and the big sand bar, down by the green channel marker, was clearly in view. With the wind behind me, I could reach the edge of the main channel and the sea grass beds, with some long casts. I started to make my way towards the green channel marker, casting as I went. I hooked a stingray which towed me around for a while and then broke me off. I also connected with an spiky puffer fish which grunted, spat jets of water at me and fluttered round in circles for a while before cut the line and got rid of it.

I re-rigged with a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. The water was now really running and lifting more and more sediment as the tide got lower. This did not seem to bother the fish. I averaged one every 15 minutes or so, for about the next three hours. The colour of plastic did not seem to matter. Most were around the 40 to 45 cm size, but there were several more 50+ cm models amongst them.

At about 1.30 pm, I had to tear myself away – always hard to do when you are catching fish. I had caught more than 15 flathead through the morning and it does not get much better than that!

Fingal Head – Plenty of Tailor – 5 November 2012

Monday

The weather looked OK for some rock fishing on Monday. It was forecast as a slight south easterly breeze and swell. It has been a while since we have had the wind from this direction, at dawn. It means that the swell can be difficult but I think the dawn bite is more aggressive when the wind is blowing this way.

I decided on Fingal Head again. I have been catching fish there and it is a beautiful spot even when you are not. I arrived just after 4.30 am to find 3 fishermen out on the rocks already and I could see one was half way through a battle with a decent fish. He had a very light rig and had tempted the fish with a metal slug. He landed it safely and it was a good sized Tailor around 55cm. By now one of the others had hooked up. He was fishing with a shallow diving 110mm Minnow and a wire trace. He landed his fish and several others over the next 30 minutes.

I wasted no time rigging up but in my excitement lost a DUO Beachwalker MD 120 minnow to the rocks, on my first cast. I put on another and moved round to the front of the platform. The wind was stronger than forecast and this made getting down low on the rocks to get the most action out of the shallow diving minnow, difficult. The fish seemed pretty aggressive so I switched to a RAPALA ‘walk the dog’ lure. I got the fish to follow this one and even saw a couple of aborted strikes, but I could not hook up.

In the meantime the other three now had about 6 good fish in the bleeding pond. I swapped again, this time to a the DUO Bay Ruf Manic sub surface stick bait. I had toughened this one up a bit with stronger single hooks and split rings. A fish knocked it out of the water and then there was a good swirl beside it, but I still could not hook up. This was a good bite but the shallow diving minnow was definitely out fishing everything else. I looked for something similar in the tackle box. I found an 18 gram, 90mm, sinking YOZURI Crystal Minnow in a silvery colour and tied this on with 30lb fluorocarbon leader.

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Things had slowed a little and the others had stopped to clean their fish – they had about 10 between them – all between 50 and 60cm. This gave me access to a bit more waterfront. The swell was slapping against the rocks and making it tricky to finish the retrieve without getting the lure snagged. I cast out at 45 degress to the north east of the rock platform and let the lure drop down in the water column. I retrieved it fairly slowly with plenty of pauses. Three casts in and bang – a fish grabbed it. The line slackened momentarily, as it pushed the lure towards me and then it took off. It was a decent Tailor and it put in a few jumps trying to head south. The only place to land them safely when the swell is up, is on the north side of the platform, but the current is usually pulling them round to the south and so you have too subdue them fairly quickly.

I took the sting out of this one and got it round to the north, where the trebles pulled free, just as it came up on to the rocks. Fortunately the fish fell between two rocks and I reached down and grabbed it behind the gills. It was a good Tailor just short of 50cm. I bled the fish and cast out the lure again. I felt another hit in the same spot but on the next retrieve I connected with a rock and lost the lure. I was reminded once again why I should buy shares in lure manufacturers.

I looked through the tackle box and was disappointed to discover that I did not have another shallow diving minnow with me. I tried an 85g and 65g Raider metal slug, but these did not raise a bite. By about 8.30 am I had switched to soft plastic lures and I was fishing on the lighter Shimano Catana rod. I was using a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour and because of the swell I had put it on a ¼ ounce 1/0 jighead. As I was finishing a retrieve, a fish hit the plastic right at the base of the rocks. I set the hook and it took off. It broke the surface a few metres out and it looked like a small Tailor. Then it managed to bite through or rub off the 10lb leader I had dropped down to.

At about 9.00am with the swell building so I decided to give up. The hour either side of dawn remains the most consistent fishing time at the moment. I will be back again soon.

Iluka – Shark Bay – 5 April 2012

Thursday

On Thursday morning the weather had improved considerably, with a clearer sky and less wind, but the swell was still up. I decided to start at Shark Bay on the rock platform. There was a bit of west in the wind and it was quite cool.

Sunrise Shark Bay - Iluka

I started on the west side and could not raise a bite. I moved across to the rocks on the east side. There are a number of ridges on this side with small inlets in between each. The surf was smashing into these but it was just possible to cast into the white water. I tried a few bays and caught another couple of good Bream – the bigger of the two was over 35cm. This time I was using the GULP 3” Minnow Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour again, but on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I carried on fishing for a while and dropped a few more fish – which could have been small Tailor or more Bream.

Shark Bay Bream - Light leader and a paddle tail lure

Then I stopped to clean the two Bream in the rock pools. When I had finish I took them over to the surf to rinse them off. I shook them under the water for perhaps ten seconds and when I looked down, two Wobbegongs were ready to steal them. I pulled the fish out of the water and quickly put them away in the keeper bag. I suggest you mind where you tread around here, as they must always be pretty close by.

Plenty of Wobbegongs in the shallows

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

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!

Iluka – Shark Bay – 8 Feb 2011

Tuesday

I arrived at Iluka around lunch time and it was raining heavily. I checked into the cabin – too wet for camping – and drifted off to sleep thinking of where to fish that evening. A few hours later I wandered out on to the rocky promontory at the southern corner of Shark Bay. This is a good spot to spin for Tailor in the cooler months, using metal slugs. But at this time of year they can be hard to find. The rain had flattened out the sea and I decided to fish with my light spin rod again – using lighter jig heads and soft plastics lures.

Iluka - Shark Bay - rock promontory

The rain just kept coming and I fished for an hour or so, with little success and plenty of gear lost to the rocks. About 7.00 pm, as it started to get dark, I switched from a 1/4 oz to a 1/6th oz jighead and rigged a GULP 4″ Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic. I cast out into the whitewash and bang, a fish grabbed it. There was not much weight to the fish but it used the swell to try to bury its head in the rocks.

Iluka - Shark Bay Bream - 28cm

I pulled it out and wound it in. It was a 28cm Bream but had felt much bigger. I let it go and on the next cast scored another. I caught 3 more over the next half hour, all around the same size and all on the same soft plastic. It was now dark and wet and I was actually feeling cold for the first time in a few months, so I headed home for a hot shower.

Fingal Head – Nothing for dinner – 3 Feb 2011

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Thursday

Back to Fingal Head in Northern New South Wales – a big drive down from Brisbane – left around 2.45 am – but the Jewfish from the last session had got me all fired up.

I arrived before dawn – and walked all around the headland casting everywhere. I got a few bites just as the sun came up – probably Dart or Bream and then nothing. I started with GULP Jerkshad soft plastic lures on a 1/2 oz jigheads and also tried a HALCO 70g Twisty metal slug. Nothing produced fish. The swell was a bit bigger than on Tuesday and half an hour after dawn it was already stinking hot. I waited until the tide peaked at around 8.30 am and then gave up.

A great spot but I could not find the fish today. I will blame Tropical Cyclone Yasi which was crossing the coast at Cardwell/ Tully just as I started the session.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Another Duck

My lure arsenal for the Tweed rockwall

Saturday

Oh dear , oh dear , oh dear – another morning with no fish. As I have said before, this is the worst time of the year for me. The main estuary species – Flathead & Bream – have long finished spawning and as the water temperature climbs and weather patterns get more unpredictable they get harder to find. Add to that – flooded river systems and constant changes in wind patterns and I get stuck focusing on the ocean rock walls and ledges.

In these locations the fish come and go with the bait and the wind. Tailor, Trevally, Kingfish, Queenfish and even good sized Mackerel and Tuna will all come in close to the rocks if the bait is around. The Tailor are particularly voracious in these situations and you can catch them on almost any type of lure or bait. The Trevally are sometimes harder to please, often limiting their feeding period to an hour or so either side of dawn and dusk. The other species require you to be in the right place at the right time and this means putting in the casting hours – and it can be a long time between fish!

This morning I arrived at the north rockwall, at the mouth of the Tweed River at around 4.00 am. The horizon started to glow just as I rigged up and I started by fishing soft plastic lures through the last of the run out tide. I switched to a surface popper for about 30 casts and put in 50 casts with an 85 gram metal slug. Nothing I used produced results. At one point a fellow fisherman caught a 30cm Tarwhine on a fresh beach worm, but that was the only fish I saw caught.

Apparently a few decent Trevally had been caught at dusk, on Friday and everyone was hopeful that this mornings session would produce fish – But it didn’t! I gave up around 7.30 am as another of this summer’s rain showers arrived.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Kingfish and Amberjack – 19 Dec 2010

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Saturday

As you may have read, my latest early morning foray on the Tweed River rockwall ended with no fish but a close encounter with something powerful. Predictably, I kept replaying the final moments of losing that fish in my mind and it grew and grew.
On Friday night I went to bed primed for an early start. I wanted to get back down to the Tweed River rockwall before dawn. Rain or shine, I was on a mission. The wind and tides looked good. I was on the road at 3.00 am and wandered out along the north rockwall at about 4.15 am, just after first light. Conditions were perfect. There was virtually no breeze or swell, the water was very clear and it was very humid and overcast.
This time of day is definitely the best time for a surface popper lure. I rigged up my favourite – the RIVER 2 SEA 110mm Dumbell Popper, in the pilchard colour. This time I had 40lb PLATYPUS Bionic Braid on the spool with a 40lb fluorocarbon leader. In my experience, the most likely time you will catch fish on poppers is during the first few casts in the pre-dawn light. If the water you arrive at has not been disturbed all night and the fish’s predatory instincts have just been triggered by first light, you have a winning combination. My theory was spot on. I cast the popper out about 35 metres and slowly blooped it back towards the base of the rockwall, pausing for a second or too, every few metres. About 8 metres from the wall there was a great surge of water from the left and the popper just disappeared, the line went slack as the fish swam towards me. I wound like mad, yanked the rod tip up to strike and then all hell broke loose. Line was peeling off the spool and I immediately started to try and pull the fish round to the north side of the wall, where I might have a chance of landing it. I soon realised that was probably not going to happen. It turned and headed in the opposite direction – round towards the Tweed River mouth. I still had not really seen it. I thought I was making headway but as soon as I got line back, it would just make another blistering run. I scrambled over the rocks at the front of the wall, in the vain hope that I could keep it clear and maybe land it round the other side. Now I could see it and it was a big Yellowtail Kingfish – perhaps around the 80 cm mark. Directly out front, it finally decided to dive down to the base of the rocks and successfully left the popper locked in the barnacles somewhere down below.
My next popper was the HALCO 105mm Roosta Popper in the pink fluoro colour. I had to wait for a moment to stop my hands shaking, so I could tie it on. I cast straight out in the same direction and there were plenty of swirls and lunges, but no hook up on this retrieve. Two or three casts later, I could see the fish following the lure in and again. There were several hits but no hook up. On the next cast, I slowed it right down and less than 2 metres from the wall the popper was completely snaffled. This time I had no chance. The reel screamed, the fish went straight down. I never even saw it and that was the end of my second popper.
I was out of poppers and now it was really getting light so I switched to a metal slug – a SPANYID 85g Raider. I cast round in a semicircle, off the end of the rock wall and most times I got a group of Kingfish following the lure in but they would not strike.
At around 5.30am I decided to switch to a soft plastic lure. I put on a ½ oz, 4/0 jighead and loaded a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the banana prawn colour and cast out as far as I could. I let the plastic sink down and then started jigging it along the bottom. It was hit almost straight away. I set the hook and moved down to a flat rock, as close as I could get to the water. I decided I was not going to mess about this time. After a couple of runs, I tightened the drag and started winding in as fast as I could. The fish tried to dive into the rocks several times but I eventually dragged him clear and up onto the ledge where I locked it down under my foot. It was a Yellowtail Kingfish, just over 65cm and therefore legal in NSW. About 500 metres north, in Queensland, the size limit is 60cm. I wonder if the fish know how long they are and where they are safe? I cleaned it and then put it in the bag.
I put on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour and cast this out. At about the same spot, it was grabbed and the fish charged off. Once more, before I could get any leverage, the fish was down in the rocks at the base of the wall and gradually it pulled and pulled, until it rubbed through the 40lb leader. I tied on another soft plastic in the same colour and after another three or four retrieves, I had a fish on again. This was a slightly smaller fish and with a fairly tight drag I managed to land it. It was another Kingfish – but at only about 55cm – it went back.
Things had now quietened down a bit and it was around 6.30 am. I was still casting the same weight jighead but now I had switched to the GULP 4” Minnow in the peppered prawn colour. Just before 7.00 am a fish whacked the lure close into the rocks. Again it tried for the base of the wall but, after a short fight, I heaved it out and got it safely up the rocks. It was a 48cm Amberjack and there is no size limit on these in NSW, so he went in the bag with the Kingfish. In Queensland, they have to be over 50cm.
After a about another ½ hour I gave up and headed home. It had been a fantastic morning of land-based fishing with plenty of action in calm, safe conditions.
I did conclude that the size and bag limits don’t seem very logical in this area. I think most fisherman want to do the right thing, but such small differences between the states only serve to confuse us. Surely it would be better to standardise the size limits for as many species as possible. I can’t believe that the science can support no limit for Amberjack in NSW and a 50cm limit further north in Queensland. If the intention is to protect breeding size fish, are the scientists saying that Kingfish breed at fewer than 60cm in Queensland, but they need to get bigger (65cm) to breed in NSW? If anyone understands the science behind it please add a comment.

Yamba – Jewfish – 3 Dec 2010

Friday
As the rain poured down I headed in to Yamba, mid morning, to visit the local tackle store and replenish my supplies. I stopped for a coffee and the rain eased off. I decided to have a look at the fishing off the rocks, down below the light house in front of Yamba.
It was about 11.30 am and the sea was doing a good impersonation of a washing machine, but the rock walls at the mouth of the Clarence River provide some shelter for this area when there is a north easterly wind. I found a safe ledge on the rocks and watched the swell for a while.
I rigged up the big rod – a Rovex Bario 11”. I put on a 1/2oz jighead and a GULP 4” Pumpkinseed Minnow soft plastic lure. I cast around and lost a few jigheads as I got used to the terrain. After about 50 casts, I hooked up to a very small Soapie (juvenile Jewfish) around 30 cm long. After a quick snap, I released it.
The rain started again and by now even I had reached the end of my weather tether. With no dry clothes I decided it was time to pack up camp and head back to Brisbane.
So overall, the good news is the fish are there. The bad news is the weather may well make them very hard to get at this month.

Iluka – The Rockwall – 2 Dec 2010

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Thursday

I went to bed in a heavy rain shower and woke up to yet another one at about 4.00 am. After a while it eased off so I pulled on the (now very wet and fairly malodorous) fishing boots and made a cup of tea. The wind was light from the north east but as I walked out from Woody Head in the half light of dawn, I could see the swell was significant and the rocks were going to be too dangerous. I jumped in the car and headed down to the rock wall that runs out from the northern bank of the mouth of the Clarence River, at Iluka.
Fishing the Iluka rock wall is not for the faint hearted. You need good boots and good knees. It is a long walk from where you park to the best fishing spots. The first half of the wall has a nice pathway along the top, but as you reach about half way, the fill underfoot gets bigger and bigger until you a walking across wobbling boulders. Finally in the last 200 metres all the loose fill has been washed away and what is left is a mass of boulders. If you persist and clamber on, there are a few good flat boulders that make excellent fishing platforms on either side, but the most consistent fish holding spot, for me, is the wash around the base of the wall at the very end. Depending on the wind and tide you can either fish the river side or the ocean side
Depending on the wind and tide you can either fish the river side or the ocean side. I recommend giving both a try. I usually put in a few casts whilst walking out and one of these got smashed at the foot of the rocks by a small Tailor. I was using the GULP 5” Pumpkinseed Jerkshad soft plastic lure on a 3/8 2/0 jighead. I landed this fish after a short fight and as it was only just legal size at around 35cm, I threw it back. I had a few more casts here with no further action and so I moved on to the end of the wall.
The swell was calming down a bit, but the rain was still blowing over in 10 minute showers. There was too much swell to fish directly off the end of the wall, so I started off fishing the north side of the wall. The tide was running out and I assumed that the fish would shelter from the current on the ocean side of the wall. I switched to a ½ oz 4/0 jighead and put on a GULP 7” Limetiger Crazylegs Jerkshad. This is a great plastic with a split curly tail that flutters, as it sits or sinks, in the current. I was sure there would be some Jewfish around. I put in about 50 or 60 casts without result, so I switched to the river side. Fortunately, the rain was flattening the sea now. After a few casts out into the mouth of the river, the line came up tight and the rod tip started shaking. This is a tricky spot to land a fish. You are a couple of metres above the water line and you just have to heave the fish up. If you are on your own this is your only option. I find a long handle gaff is too hard without someone to hold the rod. I had a good size Tailor on. Tailor have such soft mouths that the final lift is even more difficult. Sure enough, as I tried to raise it clear of the water, I pulled the hook. I put on a fresh soft plastic and cast out in the same spot. After a few seconds I got a solid hit and I dropped the rod tip. When I lifted it I had another fish on. After a short fight, I successfully landed another Tailor. At about 45cm, I decided to keep this one.
I continued to cast in semicircle in the area but the fish had moved on or they had stopped eating because I could not raise another bite. Finally after another rain squall I packed up.

Iluka – Frasers Reef – 30 Nov 2010

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Tuesday
I am just back from a week down at Iluka. There were fish around but the weather did its best to stop me catching any. The consistent northerly winds created a constant swell at most of the rock fishing spots and the rain just kept coming.
I arrived last Tuesday, 30th Dec and, in hindsight, the conditions that day were the best. I started early in the morning, just on dawn, looking for some jewfish from the rocks around Frasers Reef. The swell was just fishable but every now and then I got soaked by a surge that slapped up against the rocks and came straight down on top of me – at least it was warmer than June and September. The tide was about half way in.
Any plastic in the Pumpkinseed colour is a firm favourite with the locals and I rigged a GULP 5” Jerkshad which has worked well for me in this spot. The swell was big and after a few casts with a 3/8 oz jighead, I switched to a heavier ½ oz jighead. Soon after sun up I got a few bites and nudges at the foot of one of the bommies that I like to cast at from the shore. As always, it is very difficult to get a plastic down on the bottom and leave it there for any length of time. If you jerk it off the bottom too quickly the fish don’t find it and if you leave it too long you get snagged. Add in the swell and the murky water and things did not really look promising.
I persisted and got soaked and snagged a few times and then switched to a smaller GULP. I also changed down from 30lb to 20lb fluorocarbon leader. It started to rain. A couple of casts later I had a fish on. I played it for a bit and then noticed a huge wave building, about fifty metres offshore. I tightened the drag and made an effort to get the fish up on the preceding, smaller wave, but I just could not pull it up. I crouched and the wave smashed against the rocks. The plume of water went straight up for 5 metres or so before absolutely soaking me. But as the water receded, I was delighted to hear some tail slapping and just beside me there was a small school jewfish, just about legal in NSW, at a little more than 45cm. I decided to release this fish in the hope of finding a better one. I removed the jighead without too much trouble and speared the fish back into the foam.
About twenty minutes later I had another one on and despite the strong current, it felt a bit bigger. I decided to walk it round to a more sheltered landing spot and got another soaking in the process. I managed to hold on and let the swell lift it onto a ledge. I then grabbed the leader and pulled it up. It was a better fish at around 50cm long, but it was no monster. This one I kept for dinner and after cleaning it up in the rain I decided to give up at around 9.30 am.

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole Sand Flats – 5 Oct 2010

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Tuesday
I could not get to Bribie Island to start fishing until about 9.30 am on Tuesday. I decided to head back to the sandbanks to the south of Buckley’s Hole. This area has consistently been producing fish for me –no monsters but plenty of fish.
The wind had turned around from a northerly to a south easterly and unfortunately, it had brought the weed with it. The tide was running out so I walked down to the bottom of the island then turned around and waded back north. Despite the weed and recent rain, the water was fairly clear and the sun was out. I decided to rig up a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th 1 hook jighead. I was told once that in clear water and bright conditions the weirder colours often do well, so I chose the Lime Tiger colour which is an orange and green combination. This theory is counter intuitive but it certainly seems to work – especially on a sandy bottom.
I moved forward slowly, putting out long casts in a semicircle, in front of me and then slowly hopping the soft plastic along the bottom. After half an hour of constantly pulling weed of the jighead, I finally hooked up. It was a Flathead but he was around 35cm long so I released him.
The weed was a pain but I could not really find a solid pocket of fish. On the last few occasions fishing here, I have tended to find the fish in groups of two or three. Over the next hour and a half I caught three more Flathead but they were all too small and they were all caught in separate spots. At noon I had to give up what had been a bit of a frustrating session and head for home.

Broomes Head Lagoon – Wild & Windy – 21 Sept 2010

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Tuesday

I am just back from a trip down to Broome’s Head, just south of Yamba, in northern New South Wales. It is typical of the rocky headlands on that stretch of coast. You can fish on either side of the headland depending on the prevailing winds. However last week the weather really made things difficult. On Monday it rained all day while an enormous swell smashed over the rock ledges. I am pretty keen on my fishing but I could not find anywhere I could cast from.

Tuesday was better – well at least the rain had stopped. The seas were still enormous, with a three metre swell. Fortunately the northern side of Broomes Head has a sheltered lagoon. Just on dawn, I waded out into the lagoon and got as close as I could to its mouth. I cast out a 3” GULP Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I wanted to keep my rig as light as possible to avoid getting snagged on the rocky bottom. I got a couple of touches and saw a few Long Toms following the lure in. After a few more casts, I hooked up with a small Bream – around 25cm. Then a couple of casts later I hooked up to a better fish. When I got him to me, he was a small golden Trevally. I hooked a couple more under-size Bream and a Moses Perch from this position before deciding to try to get closer to the lagoon’s entrance.

At its eastern edge the lagoon is filled through a gap in a long ridge of rocks. Here at the mouth of the lagoon there is some deeper water on either side. The outside of the lagoon entrance was far too rough to fish. But by walking out along the rocky ridge I found a spot from where I could cast into the deeper water just inside the lagoon. I started with the 4” GULP Swimming Mullet soft plastic on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I could not really let it settle for more than a few seconds on the retrieve, for fear of losing it to the rocks or kelp beds. I gradually got a feel for where I could stop and start the retrieve and what the sink rate was. After about 30 minutes of peppering the area with casts I caught a very good Bream – just on 35cm. On the next cast I caught another Bream, a bit smaller but also a good fish. Then things went quiet on the fish front and the wind was really howling. I switched to a 3”GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour and cast it out into the wash at the foot of the rocks. Just as I was about to lift the lure from the water it was grabbed by a big dark shape. The fish took the lure down deep into the kelp at the foot of the rocks and then just sat there. I was only running a 10lb leader so I decided to ease off the pressure and let him swim out of his hiding place. I dropped the rod tip and counted to ten then pulled hard. It worked and I slid a very decent fish up on to the rock ledge at my feet. After giving it the once over, I decided it was a Morwong or Mother-in-law fish of some kind and kept it for the table. I later found out it was a Spotted Hind. It did not taste much good and apparently is quite common down here. I now had plenty of fish for a family supper so I headed off for a hot shower.

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole – 17 Sept 2010

Friday
I am off to Broomes Head in northern New South Wales next week so I thought I would get a quick fishing trip in before departure.
I headed up to Bribie and straight for the flats to the south of Buckley’s Hole, arriving around 9.30 am. The water was fairly clear and the tide was running in. I put a 3” GULP Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th ounce weight, size 1 hook, jighead. I then waded south gradually from Buckley’s Hole, casting up into the run-in tide, just on top of the ledge that runs parallel with the shore.
It was not long before I found the fish. First a couple of Pike attacked the lure and then, a few minutes later I found the flathead. They were in just about 60cm of water sitting in the hollows in the weed beds that are just starting to sprout. In that first spot I caught two undersize flathead, both around the 35cm mark.
I moved on and kept putting in long casts out over the sand flats. Suddenly the lure was slammed, the line started peeling and the rod tip was rattling. I had a chopper Tailor on the lure, about 30 cm long. The water was crystal clear and as I wound him towards me, I could see a monster (70cm plus) Flathead following him. Was he going to eat the Tailor or had been following the plastic? I was hopeful, although not quite sure how to play it. I did not have to wait and see as, at that moment, the Tailor munched his way through the 10lb leader and was off. The Flathead sat there, looking disappointed. Then I cast the lure at the sand a metre or so in front of him, but he just turned and swam slowly away into deeper water.
I carried on towards Red Beach and caught another three flathead in similar terrain. Two were just legal size at around 43-44cm, and one was smaller. After a couple of hours of good fishing I headed back to Brisbane.
I will be posting my Broomes Head reports when I get back on the 27th September.

Fishing From the Shore in Queensland and New South Wales

Hello – I am Landangler AKA the Mullet Musketeer – so named because my early attempts at casting were closer to fencing than fishing. I love to fish the estuaries, rocks, beaches and bays of the beautiful Queensland and New South Wales coasts. This is my blog where I will post fishing reports  from time to time. Hopefully my experiences will enable you to learn about great fishing spots and techniques and also quench your thirst for fishy tales when it feels like a long time until the next trip.