Bribie – The oyster jetty flats – 14 March 2013

Thursday

The wind had finally blown the rain away. It had turned round to a south-westerly and was quite cool on Thursday morning. It had been forecast to drop right off but was still pretty persistent in the trees as I drove up to the Pumicestone Passage. I arrived at the small car park, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at about 4.30 am. The sky was clear for a change.
The tide was still running out but had slowed right down. Low tide would be at 4.52 am. I waded out under the bridge lights to find Colin (a local Bribie fishing expert) in position again – there are some big advantages to living 5 minutes away.

He was fishing to the north of the bridge so I took the south side. The water was murky and still and there was no sign of any bait. At this time, there is usually a fair amount jumping around, but there was not much water under the bridge lights and it was now almost still. The water was very dirty – as you would expect it to be on the bottom of the tide. I realised that I have not seen a dolphin in the area for a few weeks which may mean there is no bait for them to chase, but it could also be that the water is still a little too fresh for their liking.

I tried a white coloured GULP Jerkshad and then a more natural coloured smaller, 3” Smelt Minnow soft plastic. I rigged both on 1/8th, 1/0 jigheads and I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader down to 6lb Fireline in the luminous green colour. There are now a number of different colours available in Fireline but this green colour is the easiest to see in low light. I got snagged a couple of times and re-rigged with various soft plastics.

I did not get a touch from any fish but for the first time in weeks, I was treated to a magnificent sunrise. This is a great time of the day to be out and about. I waded south and fished along the edge of where I thought the weed beds would be. It was hard to see where I should put the lure with the sun low on the horizon and the water so murky. The tide started to run in and gradually picked up pace. As it did so it lifted bits of loose weed and debris so I could not swap to fishing with small hard bodies. I thought these might have a more success in the shallow dirty water.

Just after 7.00 am, I was half way between the end of the old oyster jetty and the green channel marker, in about waist deep water. Having tried a few brightly coloured plastics and few natural coloured plastics, I had swapped to a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. This is a black colour with a bright pink underside. The tide was running in so quickly that I had put on a heavier 1/6th oz, 1/0 jighead. This also helped me figure out quickly where the edge of the weed bed was. I carried on casting up, into the incoming tide and bouncing the lure along the bottom, with lots of long pauses. At about 7.20 am I felt a pretty solid hit and saw some bait fish go flying. I cast back in the same spot about 6 or seven times – nothing. On cast number eight, there was a surge and splash and the fish took the lure, almost on the surface. It was a small flathead – under 40cm. I was relieved to find it. I took a few pictures and released it.

I continued south and stuck with the same soft plastic. Perhaps the dark silhouette was the only thing that was working in the sediment filled water. It was a big tide and now it was a little short of half way in to the run in and the water was getting too deep to stay close to the edge of the weed. Just short of the green channel marker, there is an exposed sand bank and just to the north-west, there is a drain where water from the bay floods in. This must be why the fish congregate here. Without looking, I knew I had reached it because the water temperature dropped a few degrees and I instantly felt the change, through my waders. I turned back towards the oyster jetty and kept moving. After about another 15 minutes I found another flathead of about the same size. It did not put up much of a fight. I photographed and released it.

I waded slowly back to the bridge, casting as I went, but I did not catch any more fish. I arrived at the bridge at about 8.45 am and the wind had picked up again. A tough session – the fish may be reluctant, but they are there.

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

Iluka – Frasers Reef – Jewfish/Bream – 12 Feb 2011

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Saturday – am

I woke around 4.30 am Saturday to meet a very sweaty dawn. There had been a northerly wind change overnight and it had brought warmer temperatures. Fortunately the wind was light so I decided to head back out to Middle Bluff to see whether the fish would still be biting.

I arrived on the rocks in the dark and carefully rigged up and edged out for my first cast. I was full of anticipation as the first few casts had produced some good results over the preceding few sessions. I was using the GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the lime tiger colour as I had run out of the ‘crazy legs’ version. It was rigged on a 3/8th oz 4/0 jighead.

The first cast produced nothing, nor did the next. In fact, after an hour of fishing, I had not registered a touch on the lure. I switched to a 70g HALCO Twisty slug to try and spin up a Tailor, but that technique was also unsuccessful. I reverted to the lime tiger soft plastic and at about 6.30am I connected with a fish. It was a small Jewfish/ Mulloway, just under 45cm so I released it.

I decided to move along the rocks to Fraser’s Reef. You can only reach this rocky outcrop about one to two hours either side of low tide. When the water is calm, there are a number of great spots to fish, particularly on the front of the promontory. In a number of places the waves break into narrow cuttings in the rocks which are constantly filling and draining. These provide great cover for the fish.

It was now around 8.30am and I decided to fish a paddle tail plastic. I chose the GULP Jigging Grub in the Nuclear Chicken colour. I put it in a 3/8thoz 4/0 hook jighead and fished it in as close to the rocks as I could. I would put in a few casts every few metres or so. The water was quite murky at the bottom of the tide – probably because of all the sediment that has been washed out of the Clarence River by the floods.

I cast down into a v-shaped channel between the rocks, as I lifted the rod I felt a double tap, I let the plastic sink again and when I lifted it for the second time, I had a fish on. I played it with the swell and eventually lifted it clear of the water. It was a monster Bream – around 39cm long. I continued fishing all around these rocks for another half an hour, but I could not find any more. At 9.30 am I gave up.

Iluka – Middle Bluff – Jewfish – 9 Feb 2011

Wednesday

I was early to bed on Tuesday – about 8.00 pm (7.00 pm QLD) – in fact. It still did not seem to make getting up at 4.30am Wednesday any easier, especially as it was raining solidly outside. I pulled on the felt soled rock boots and rain jacket and jumped in the car. I drove down to the beachside carpark for Frazer’s Reef, grabbed my gear and walked north along the beach, in the dark. The rain was gradually easing off, but there was no sign of dawn on the horizon, just dark cloudy shadows.

I passed the rocky peninsula which is actually called Frazer’s Reef and carried on to the next headland which is usually called Middle Bluff. Every now and then, I could hear a big wave slap against the rocks and then hear the water come crashing down. The wind was coming from the south east, but very light.

By about 5.30 am I was in position at the northern end of Middle Bluff. There is a large bommy just off shore here, and it provides a bit of shelter for the fish. There was now a faint glow on the horizon and the rain had turned to a fine drizzle.

I was fishing with the 9’ Rovex Aureus, my Shimano Stradic 6000, 20lb Fireline and about 1.5 metres of 30 fluorocarbon leader. For my first cast I chose the GULP Crazylegs lime tiger jerkshad soft plastic which I rigged on a 1/2oz 5/0 jighead. I cast out into the gloom and let it sink. You can’t leave it long – the bottom is littered with rocks and there are only a few sandy patches in between. There was plenty of swell and it was difficult to tell when the plastic had hit the sea floor. I generally count slowly to about ten then jerk up the rod tip, let it sink and then repeat.

I fished for about three more casts and then the line came up taught. There was a quick initial run and then just a few, slow tail slaps. I lifted the fish clear of the rocks on an incoming wave and got soaked in the process. It was a 51 cm school Jewfish. I unhooked it and dropped it into a rock pool, for safekeeping. It was 5.15 am and only just getting light. I carried on with the same plastic for about half an hour and then switched to a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the satay chicken colour. After a couple of retrieves I caught another school Jewfish, but it was just under 45cm so I threw it back. A few casts later I had another and this one was around 50cm, so it went in the rockpool.

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It was now fully light and the rain had stopped. The tide started running out at about 7.30 am and just as the tide changed I caught another fish – another Jewfish, about 50 cm. As the tide built up flow and the sun started to peek through the clouds, the swell really picked up and I got a good soaking from a couple of waves. At about 8.30 am I stopped fishing, cleaned up my catch and headed back to a hot shower.

Bribie Island – Plenty of bait – 25 Jan 2011

Tuesday

After a couple of disappointing sessions fishing off the rock wall of the Tweed River, I decided to go and have a look at the estuaries, to see if they are clearing up. I decided to fish the last few hours of the incoming tide at Bribie Island.

I arrived about 9.00 am and fished soft plastic lures around the weed beds on the mainland side, under the bridge and along by the old oyster jetty. There was a fairly big tide and you can see that the water is still holding a lot of sediment. There was also a lot of weed and other rotting vegetation floating around.

I fished a 1/6th 1/0 jighead using a very slow retrieve and tried both bright and natural coloured plastics – the 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour and the 3” Minnow in the lime tiger colour. I soon found a few Long Toms. They are a mean looking, thin fish with a long, toothy jaw. They grab the plastic and play ‘tug of war’, only letting go just as they reach you. I rarely hook them as they have such a hard and narrow jaw. They were obviously getting stuck into the bait schools which were cruising around. I was surprised at just how much bait there was – I suppose it has been washed out of the rivers. There were plenty of Garfish and other small bait schools, so there must also be some predators lurking. After an hour or so of walking and casting, a good-sized Flathead grabbed the plastic. It has been a while since I caught one and maybe I struck a bit too quickly. The fish was on for about 20 seconds, then it was gone. All I was left with was a big bite mark in the back of the pearl watermelon Minnow, just below the hook.

I carried on for another 2 hours and covered plenty of ground. I had a few grabs from the Long Toms but I did not find another Flathead. At around noon I gave up. The water is far from clear and I was only fishing the run in tide but it is encouraging to see there is plenty of bait in the Pumicestone Passage. I assume that if we can have another week without torrential rain the water should be pretty clear. I will be out there again soon.

Iluka – Shark Bay in the rain – 3 Dec 2010

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Friday
It wasn’t raining at 4.00am Friday – so I walked out on to the rocks in front of Woody Head. I was disappointed to still see a big sea. I tried casting from a few safer spots but after losing four jigheads to the rocks, I decided I needed another plan. I walked along the beach to Shark Bay. It is probably one or two km but at this time of the morning, it was a beautiful stroll. There were big black clouds everywhere but initially, at least, it stayed dry and there was not much wind.
I had swapped my heavy rod for a lighter set up and I was fishing with a 7’6” Nitro 2-4 kg Distance Spin Rod matched with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel. I had loaded the reel with 3.8 kg Fireline in the yellow colour and tied on about 1.5 metres of 12lb breaking strain fluorocarbon leader. I had decided to fish lighter as I wanted to see if there were any good Bream around. This rig is also quite capable of land the odd small jewfish or Tailor should they show up.
I walked out onto the rock platform at the southern corner of Shark Bay and moved out to the north east corner. I had a few hours in this spot before the incoming tide would force me off. Just as I put in the first cast a shower came over and I was soaked in a few minutes. At least it wasn’t cold.
I started by fishing the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic. This is a great imitation of a pilchard and has proved to be excellent bait in this location. But today I could not raise a bite. Maybe it was the murky water. I switched to one of my new favourites the GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. I also switched down in weight from a ¼ oz to a 1/6th oz jighead both with 1/0 hooks. This gives me a little less distance when casting but increases the sink time and gives the fish more time to strike. After a few casts with the new rig, a fish slammed the lure at the edge of the kelp covered ledge. I struck hard and then let it have some line. On the next surge I pulled it up through the kelp. It was a nice 36cm Bream. I cast out again and over the next few casts pulled in three smaller fish around the 30cm mark all on the same plastic.
With another rain squall on the horizon and the tide moving up rapidly I decided to head back to the campsite to try to dry out. I would think with all the rain, good Bream would be all around these rocky headlands. The only problem would be finding a safe place to fish for them.

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – 2 Oct 2010


Saturday
The weather was poor – 10 – 15 Knot wind and showers. But it was still better than Thursday, so I decided to get out fishing for a few hours, around dawn on Saturday.
I set off in a rain storm, at around 4.00 am and arrived at Buckley’s Hole on Bribie Island, at about 4.45 am. The wind was quiet – it had stopped raining and although it was grey and cold, the sand banks looked very fishable.
I would be fishing the last couple of hours of the run out tide. This is usually a great time to fish, especially if it coincides with dawn. In this area the tidal flow is washing all sorts of bait out of the lagoon during this period. It then gradually flows down, south over the sand banks. First the Whiting and Pike feed on the small stuff and then the Flathead lie in wait for the Whiting and Pike.
I walked south, along the shore for a few hundred metres, then waded out to about waist deep. I now turned back and waded parallel with the shore, casting north into the tidal flow. It did not take long to find a few Pike – but they are getting smaller. Then I was surprised as a stonker 34cm Whiting grabbed the Gulp 4” Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic, which I was casting around. It sounds like there are plenty of quality Whiting around at the moment. They must be hungry if they are even sampling plastics of this size.
Unfortunately as the tide dropped, the weed started to become a problem and the wind picked up. After about an hour of fishing and peppering the banks with casts, I caught a small flathead, again on the Gulp 4” Pearl Watermelon minnow. I had switched from a 1/8th to a ¼ 1/0 jighead as the wind was making it hard to keep contact with the bottom. On clear sandy bottom I really think the disturbance of the heavier jighead, bashing along the bottom is very attractive to the Flathead. It picks up more weed but that is a necessary evil.
I focused on this area for the next 40 minutes or so. Standing in one place and casting around me in a tight semicircle. After 15 minutes, I switched to the smaller 3” GULP Lime Tiger Minnow. This instantly produced results and I caught a nice, 44cm Flathead. I stayed in the same place but focused my casts into the shallower water. This also worked and in the next 25 minutes I caught five more Flathead of which two, were big enough to keep.
I had now had enough and with the wind and swell getting up, I headed home. Good fishing – despite the weather.

Landangler’s View – Fishing Forums

I bet they wish they had BFO/ AUSFISH/ NUGGET/ TACKLEBOX in those days

Warning this is not a fishing report or a tackle tip or even a “How to catch Mullet on my Grannies week old banana fritters” article. This is Landangler’s view. My take on something vaguely related to fishing that I have decided to share with you whether you like it or not.
What is it about the keyboard? It removes inhibitions faster than Bundaberg rum. People will happily type things they would not dream of saying. Punctuation goes out the window, correct spelling is optional and text speak creeps in, LOL. It’s so much easier to just blurt out a verbal vomit in an email or a tweet, or on an online forum, which brings me to my topic for today – Fishing Forums.
Over the last few years, prior to starting the Landangler Blog, I have been regularly posting fishing reports in online fishing forums – and overall, I love them. They are a great way to share information and stories. They put like minded people together. They provide solace when you think you are the only sad bugger who fished all day for one undersize Moses Perch and a 23.5cm suicidal blind Bream. But lurking out there in cyberspace are some interesting characters, with fairly fanatical views.
Let’s call our first on-line fishing forum poster – Big Boat Big Esky Bill. Bill loves to catch anything and everything and loves to tell anyone and everyone, all about it. Whatever you have caught, Big Bill has caught a bigger one. However many fish you have caught, Big Bill has caught more. He usually posts to let you know that even though you thought you had a great session, you have used the wrong; bait, line, rod, lure, sinker, leader, hook and were wearing the wrong sunglasses. He also lets you know that he knows all about that spot and used to get more, bigger fish there, when he was nine. Of course back then, he fashioned hooks from old safety pins and used his unravelled old school jumper wrapped around an empty ginger beer bottle, for line. Despite his forthright opinions, Big Bill can rarely string together a fishing report. When he does manage something it reads along the lines of: “Went to super secret spot X, one day last week and caught a massive snapper on my favourite secret lure/bait. It was 25 kg but unfortunately didn’t have the camera.” Thanks Bill.
Next is Newbie. Newbie has just joined the forum and he will do anything to escape his novice status. He logs on every 30 seconds to check if anyone has read his posts. He posts a response to everybody else’s posts. This is usually something highly informative or insightful like: “Nice fish”, “Well done” or “Good on ya”. I can imagine that Newbie has the attention span of a small insect. He is permanently plugged into his iplod whilst constantly texting, Tweeting, Facebooking and probably twitching. After about five hundred posts Newbie finally reaches ‘Gold’ status – then we never hear from him/ her again. Thank goodness for that!
Now onto EcoFish Ed – Yes, you guessed – Ecofish Ed is a committed environmentalist, but you didn’t need to guess that because he is going to tell you all about it. You can almost smell his Birkenstock sandles and see him sitting in his Toyota Prius deciding on which lead free hooks to use. He actually pays the electricity company the extra cash every month for the ‘green’ power. Ed releases every fish he catches – in fact, he rarely catches anything so as not to harm the environment. He never eats fish or anything else – he is a vegan – so he survives on soy sawdust bars and organic vegetables. He vigorously patrols the forums pointing out our environmental failings at every opportunity. He attacks, without mercy, anyone who keeps more than one fish for dinner and if he uses his forensic photoshop techniques to determine your flathead is 39.8cm long – God help you.
One of my favourites is Optmistic Ollie . He makes even the crappiest of us look good by never catching anything – but he has always got something chirpy to say about it and his positive attitude cannot be dented. “Took a run out into Moreton Bay this arvo to look for some Snapper. I crashed the car at the boat ramp, scraped the hull on some shallow reef, the young fella vomited all over the sounder, forgot the bait and we snagged all our lures, didn’t get a touch from the fish all day. Unfortunately a storm came over and the wind whipped up to 25 knots. Got done by the water police on the way back in, because of a hole in a life jacket. Sorry no pics as I dropped the camera over board. Even though we came home empty handed – we all had a great time – what a wonderful day to be out on the water.”
Then there is Inappropriate Ian. Ian uses the forum a bit like the telephone. He does not seem to realise that the whole world can read his posts and is therefore listening in. He responds to every report by his mates in a chummy fashion with a reference to some private joke or shares some totally inane private titbit with us, just to emphasise that he knows the bloke who is posting. “Great bag of Snapper you got there Dave. Saw Marge at Aldi yesterday she was buying some lamb chops, they were on special – How is she going with the piles?” or “Nice Bream Brucie – can’t believe Dazzer did the dirty on Suzie and is now shacked up with the Kinde teacher.”
Finally there is Tedious Tim. He likes to start from the very very very beginning. You get it all from Tim. Which rod, which reel, which line, which lure, when he went fishing, where he went fishing what the tide was doing, what the wind was doing, what the moon was doing, which hat he was wearing , when he put his sunscreen on, which brand of insect repellent he used, which underpants he chose etc. His posts frequently have to be broken into two parts and you are often fast asleep by the time you reach the bit where he catches a fish. He rarely gets to go out fishing as he spends most of his time writing his reports.
Keep up the good work fishing forums – there maybe be a few nutjobs around and we may not all agree on what makes a good days fishing – but the fishing world is a better place for all those posts!

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.

Bribie Island – Plenty of Flathead – 14 Sept 2010


Tuesday
After a really disappointing land-based fishing session at Bribie Island (see previous post)on Sunday, I was a little concerned on when we were going to eat fish next. Rain was forecast for Tuesday morning but I had to get back out there. So I was up early and fishing under the Bribie Bridge, on the island side at about 4.45am.
I started on the south side of the bridge – a logical spot as the tide was running out and the fish often feed in the eddies, behind the pylons. I put on a 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. The water was moving fairly slowly so I rigged it on 1/8th 1 jighead. After a few casts up under the bridge, I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. It was only a little one so I photographed it and sent it on its way.
The northerly breeze had blown most of the weed away. This enabled me to try a 1/4oz blade vibration lure in amongst the bridge pylons. The tide was running out and would be low at about 7.00 am. I gradually waded to the north side of the bridge. I was now standing at the foot of the oyster covered rocks in the sand, in about 70cm of water, casting as close as I could to the foot of the third bridge pylon. Just as the sun started to rise behind me, a fish hit the blade. I dropped the rod tip for a few seconds and then I struck. After a few headshakes I had my first Snapper on a blade. At about 25cm he was not going to be dinner and back he went.
It was a good start but after another half an hour and a few Pike, I decided to move. I drove down to Bongaree and waded out onto the sand flats in front of Buckley’s Hole. The Pike were plentiful here as well. Just on low tide another angler, further along the beach, pulled in a nice 70cm flathead on a whole, fresh herring bait.
I decided to move south, along the coffee rock ledge, in the direction of Red Beach. My strategy was to target the Flathead as they moved up over the ledge with the incoming tide. The water was now very clear and the sun was fairly bright. Although it seems counter intuitive, I have often been told that these are the best conditions to use a bright coloured plastic. So I switched to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the green and orange Lime Tiger colour. After about 15 minutes this seemed to pay off as my line came up tight on another small flathead. I carried on and after covering another 10 metres or so, I was on to a much bigger fish. The problem in fighting a fish in this location is that they will immediately try to get themselves back down deep, below the rock ledge. You need to keep their head above the ledge and walk them back towards the beach, the drag needs to be set fairly tight to achieve this and with only a ten pound leader you really have to be careful. Perhaps I was pulling too hard or had not really set the hook properly. Either way, almost as soon as the Flathead came into view (about 3 metres away), it dropped the hook. It just sat there on the sandy bottom for a few moments then turned and made its way back, very slowly, to the ledge. It had two smaller fish following it the whole time. A few metres further on and I caught yet another undersize flathead.
I switched back to the Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and as the tide was now running in quite strongly, I put it onto a 1/6th oz 1 hook jighead. I felt a knock on the first retrieve and after a few more casts in the same spot, I hooked up with 48cm Flathead. I walked it back to the shore and finally I had something to keep for dinner. Using the same tactics I caught four more undersize fish as I gradually waded south. By now it was around 9.15 am and I was almost at the point where the shore turns left and becomes Red Beach. I decided to give myself a few more casts before turning for home. I clearly saw a decent Flathead just miss my lure as I lifted it up at the end of the retrieve. So I immediately cast it out just a couple of metres away, in the same direction and let it sit on the bottom for 10 seconds. As I lifted it, it was smashed by what I presume was the same fish. After a long walk back to the beach I pulled it safely up onto the sand and it was the best fish of the day – a 60cm Flathead. It was now starting to rain so with two nice fish for dinner; I called time on the session and headed back to Brisbane.

Bribie Island – I tried everywhere – 11 Sept 2010

Saturday
Well just to show that I am not a ‘good news only’ fishing blogger, Saturday morning was a disaster. It went like this – I had high hopes for a good catch, with a big tide and good weather. I started off under the Bridge on the island side at Bribie. It was just on 4.00 am. I cast soft plastic lures up against the pylons – I tried paddle tails, shrimps and minnows in various colours, with no luck.
Ok, onto Plan B. As the sun came up I drove down the island, through Bongaree to fish the coffee rock ledge in front of the saltwater lagoon, at Buckley’s Hole. This is a great position on low tide, the lagoon empties out and the fish usually congregate just south of its mouth. It was around slack water on dawn, with low tide at 5.20am. I walked up and down, up and down but I could not even raise a bite.
Ok, on to Plan C. I jumped back into the car and drove north, up to Whitepatch. The tide was just starting to run in. I walked down the wooden staircase to the spot I have christened ‘Pike Rocks’ and put on a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I cast out as fair as I could and let it sink for 10 seconds or so. I then began a slow and steady retrieve. Well at least the Pike did not let me down. About 4 metres from the shore I got a hit, then another and then a hook up with a fairly small Yellow fin Pike. I started to move south along the sand flats, casting out over the rock ledge and bouncing the plastic along the bottom. About 15 minutes passed and the 2” Shrimp plastic I had switched to was slammed as it came up over the ledge. After a good tussle I was disappointed to find it was only a 20cm Moses Perch. I carried on along this stretch until the run in tide drove me to far from the ledge and my lure kept getting snagged. I turned around and waded back to the car. I was now casting my lure on top of the ledge. By 9.30am I still had nothing for dinner.
Ok, on to plan D. I climbed back into the car and drove down to the old Oyster Jetty on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, to the south of the bridge. By 10.30 am I was wading along the edge of the weed banks just south of the jetty casting a 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 1 jighead. That big tide I had been looking forward to was now, unfortunately stirring everything up, so just to add to my woes, the jighead was constantly getting clogged with weed. I walked round the corner and cast out over a big sand bank. The tide was streaming in and I felt sure the flathead would have moved up to sit in the cover offered by the sandbank. There was a bit of surface activity with bait jumping so I wound in and cast at it. There were a couple hard bites so I dropped the rod tip for a few seconds and then struck. There was a load of splashing and then I saw the unmistakable writhing thin silver body of a Long Tom. I took this as an omen and decided to give up for the day. It was 11.45am. There was plenty of bait around and the water was fairly clear, the tide was good – I just could not find the fish.

Bribie Island – The Old Oyster Jetty – 26 Aug 2010

Thursday morning did not look that promising with gusty, cold, westerly winds. I decided to fish at Bribie as you can usually find some reasonably sheltered spots by swapping from one side of the Pumicestone Passage to the other, if necessary.
It was a late start and I waded out in to the water just to the south of the old Oyster Jetty at around 9.30 am. High tide was at around 10.00 am, so the tidal flow had almost stopped. There a couple of good drains in this location that often produce a few Flathead. However to maximise my chances I knew I really had to wait for the tide to start running out. The water was probably the coldest I have felt all year. I flicked various shrimp and minnow soft plastics around on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I didn’t get a touch for more than hour. I was so cold I retreated to the car for more clothes. I went out again this time to the north of the old oyster jetty. I was wading back towards the bridge, about 4 metres from the edge of the mangroves. I put on a fresh GULP 3” minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour and cast it out towards the bridge at a 45 degree angle to the shore. I jerked it a couple of times and then felt the plastic stick. There are a few rocks on the bottom in this area and I thought I had snagged the line on one. As I lifted the rod to try and jerk the jighead free, it slowly started to come towards me. Then suddenly the line started peeling in a long, slow, deliberate rhythm. I knew it was a good size lizard. I started to wind and apply some pressure with no result. I thought the drag might have been set to light so I checked it, but it was good. I gradually tightened it and got a bit of line back, but the fish took off again. We went back and forth for a while like this – perhaps for 5 minutes or so. Big flathead can’t be rushed but they will eventually just saw through you leader, so you have decide on a plan pretty fast. I had a 12lb leader on but I was using my very light 6’6 Loomis GL2 spin rod so there was no way to force the pace. I just had to wear the fish out and keep her away from the mangroves and rocks. I gradually steered her towards a small gap in the mangroves and shortened the line down to about 3 metres. I then walked backwards, towards the gap, tightened the drag some more and in one long sweep, heaved her up onto the sand. The leader broke as I did that but fortunately, not until the fish was metre clear of the water.
It was a beautiful fish that measured in at 78cm. I took a few pictures and then sent her on her way. I cast around for a bit longer in the same area without a touch. I ended up fishing for 4 hours and apart from the monster flathead, I got no bites at all. The Pike, Bream and everything else just failed to show up. May it was the wind – maybe the water temperature – who knows?

Iluka – Browns Rocks – Final Session – 14 August 2010

On Saturday the swell from the big low that was moving past offshore, arrived. This was my last day at Iluka. The rocky headlands were a no go area and the key sign that fishing was out of the question was the arrival of all the surfers. I decided to have a lie in and fish in the afternoon.
At about 2.00pm I headed off up the Clarence to look for a good Flathead spot. I crossed the bridge over to Goodwood Island, at Woombah and drove past Browns Rocks and the Norfolk Island Jetty to a couple of weed beds that have produced good fish in the past. It was the perfect afternoon. The tide was running out, there was a bit of breeze and the water was about 2- 3 feet over the weed beds. The water was very clear and I have been told that the wild colours go best when this is the case – so I put on a 5” Lime Tiger Jerkshad and used a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and 12 lb leader. I would usually go lighter, but with all the choppers around, bite off’s are a common problem.
I put the waders on and wandered out until I was about waist deep and walking through the weed banks, up river, parallel with the shore. I was casting up into the run out tide and letting the plastic sink. I would then bump it along the sand beside the weed, at the edge of the main channel. I walked about two hundred yards like this, before I got a hit. I hooked up with a small (30cm) flathead. I released him and cast back in the same spot a few more times. Third time, I got another one, slightly bigger. I carried on for another 30 feet and got a decent, 48 cm keeper. On the walk back to the car I got bitten off by what I presume was a Chopper. I had to get back for dinner but I had that feeling that all fisherman get – if only I could have stayed a little longer the really good fish would have come on the bite!

Iluka – Frazers Reef Tailor – 13 August 2010

Friday brought a slightly warmer morning so I headed back to Frazer’s Reef at Iluka to see if there were anymore Jewfish to be had. I was fishing with a mate who is yet to land one and expectations were high. The conditions were still very good but the wind had turned around to a light northerly. We started just in the pre-dawn light and predictably lost a few jigheads to the bommies. Just on dawn my mate’s rod goes off and he is on to a very solid fish. It had better be a Jewie – me thinks – but it looked a bit too lively and it was taking plenty of line. Then it jumped and we realised it was an Australian Salmon. The fun of the capture made up for it not being a Jew – well that’s what I told him anyway. He pulled it up via a few rock ledges and weighed it at 3kg. He was using the GULP 5” Crazy Legs in the Lime Tiger colour on a 3/8 3/0 jighead on 20lb leader. These fish taste awful but everyone takes the first one home just to see for themselves and this one was no exception – yes, it went home and yes, it tasted like rubber. However we made sure the kids were starving before dinner – so they scoffed most of it.
Back to work and we were still hopeful that the Jewfish would come back on the bite. I was now fishing with the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. When things get slow I often find switching back to the more natural colours can tempt a reluctant fish. Sure enough on about the 5th cast with this lure, I scored a solid hook up. The rapid head shakes and frenetic runs suggested it was a Tailor and with the aid of a big wave I had it up on the ledges before it could chew its way up the plastic to bight through the 25lb leader. It measured up at just over 50cm.
We fished on but the Jewfish did not put in an appearance. It was interesting to note that all the fish we gutted during the course of the week had virtually nothing in their stomachs. There was plenty of bait around so one can only assume they were not really feeding.
I decided to walk right around Frazer’s Reef putting in casts wherever I could. After half an hour, this strategy paid off and I caught another similar sized Tailor. I hooked him quite a long way out and through the very clear water, I watched his mates take several snaps at the plastic that was hanging from his mouth. They followed him right to the base of the rocks.
We retreated to stop ourselves from being caught by the tide and although we did not find the Jewies we had seen some good action.

Iluka – Woody Head – 11 August 2010

Tuesday was a washout with 24 hours of almost solid rain. Fortunately the tent kept me dry throughout. By the lunchtime low tide on Wednesday, the sky was still overcast but things where brightening up. The ‘Barnacles’ at Woody Head, where I had been fishing the day before, were out of bounds due to the swell. I decided to try fishing the northern side of the Woody Head rock shelf which was a bit more sheltered. I started with the same terminal tackle as the day before – 3/8 3/0 jighead, 25lb fluorocarbon leader and a 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow. Fishing these spots is always difficult. You need the plastic down in the water column, but leave it too long or weight it too heavily and you will just get snagged. On the first three casts I lost three jigheads to the rocks. This was the price of getting a feel for the swell and terrain. After a few more successful casts I felt a distinct hit but no hook up. Two more casts and just as I was about to jerk the jighead out of the water, at the end of the retrieve – bang! I had a solid fish. It tried to dip down and bury itself in the rocks but fortunately the swell was on my side. I tightened the drag and towed him straight up to my feet with the rising water. I had a nice trevally, about 45cm. I fished on for an hour or so and lost two similar fish to the barnacle covered rock ledges.
I then decided to clean the Trevally in a rock pool. I gutted the fish and started tidying it up when I noticed a splash a few feet away. A decent sized Wobbegong had turned up hoping for a free meal! I retreated, in case he mistook my foot for a fish and made a mental note to check the content of the next rock pool before I start gutting.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point and Buckleys Hole – 5 August 2010

BRIBIE - THE MAKINGS OF A FISH PIE

Thursday looked like a great fishing morning – cool, not much wind and a run out tide through dawn. I decided to start off on the sandbanks of Sandstone Point. I put the waders on in the dark and wandered along by the old oyster jetty, on the mainland beside the Bribie Bridge. The sky was beginning to glow red. I have noticed that I don’t seem to catch many flathead in the dark. I get them around the bridge lights at night, but rarely seem to catch them out on the flats until there is a bit of light on the water. This may just be because I spend more time fishing in the daylight!
High tide was around 4.00 am and I started fishing at about 5.30am. I walked as far as I could along the sand banks and then turned back northwards. I was wading in about a metre of water, parallel with the exposed sand bank. I was casting up into the outgoing tide, trying to land my soft plastic lure right on the edge of the weed banks. As usual, it was the Pike that struck first – a few small ones then a monster – I thought initially it was a flathead but soon realised it wasn’t when it started thrashing around. I got it to the shore and measured it at 46cm – the biggest Pike I have ever caught.
Usually in these conditions I would expect to be getting plenty of flathead but things were a bit slow. I hooked then dropped a small on, about 30 metres short of the jetty and then a couple of casts later; I caught a 42cm fish. I was using the 4” GULP Minnow Grub in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I could not raise anymore so I walked back to the car and drove over the bridge to Buckley’s Hole to fish the drop off there.
I arrived there at about 8.00am – with low tide scheduled around 10.00 am. I walked to the south and started wading north and casting a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I was looking for the Bream that are often to be found here. The tide was running fairly hard so I rigged the soft plastic on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead – this meant that I could get the plastic down deep fairly quickly. I waded up and down the beach casting out over the drop off and letting the plastic float down to the bottom with the current. After about 45 minutes of this, I found a patch of Bream and caught seven in quick succession, all on the soft plastic shrimp. Only three were big enough to keep and all three were about 28cm. The wind was now getting up and it was still cold and overcast so at about 10.00 am I decided to give up and grab a hot cup of coffee.
Next week I am off to Iluka in Northern New South Wales, to fish the rocks and beaches of the Bundjalong National Park. I am hoping to find some Tailor, monster Bream and no doubt, a few surprises. I will post the results as soon as I am back.

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole – 29 July 2010

It was early Thursday morning and although it had been raining most of the night, the wind had died down so I decided to pack the waders and waterproofs and head up to Bribie to see what I could find. At about five o’clock. I had a quick cast under the bridge lights on the island side but there was nothing happening. It was slack water; just on low tide and the rain had stopped. The water was very calm, still and fairly clear.
At about 6.00 am I moved down to fish the mouth of the tidal lagoon at Buckley’s Hole. The Bream still appear to be spawning and this is a spot where they traditionally like to school up. It was now a couple of hours into the run in tide and I think this is often the best time to fish this area. I was looking for Bream but the first taker was a 30 cm Tailor. It hit the lure as soon as it dropped on the first cast. I was fishing the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 2/0 jighead with 12lb leader. As I dragged it back to the beach you could see it munching its way up the plastic. It looked solidly hooked in the jaw but while I was photographing it, it managed to shake the hook and lure out – Tailor just never give up. I sent it on its way.
As dawn broke the Bream started to bite. I caught a 28cm fish then a couple of throw backs and then a good 32cm fish. I switched down to the 3” Minnow in the same colour and also used a 2” Peppered Prawn Shrimp. I caught about 6 more keeper size fish over the next hour or so and plenty of smaller ones. By about 8.00 am there was too much water to fish over the edge of the coffee rock ledge that runs along there, so I retreated. I had kept three better size fish for dinner and released the rest.

Bribie Island – Oyster Jetty to Sandstone Point – 26 July 2010

On Monday morning I looked at the forecast for the week and realised things were going downhill with showers set to increase as the days went on. I decided to go for a quick mid morning session wading the flats at Bribie, hopefully before the rain set in. I opted for the sand flats and weed beds to the south of the old oyster jetty in the direction of Sandstone Point, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage.

I arrived at around 9.45 am just as the tide was beginning to run out. It was dull and overcast and the wind was getting up from the south west. I walked along the shore as far as the large sand bank to the south of the old oyster jetty. Then I waded out into about a metre of water and started with long casts northwards. With the wind behind me from the south west, I was able to put in long casts and retrieve my plastic with the outgoing tide. There are lots of gaps in the weed beds in that area and this is where the Flathead wait. I was fishing my favourite flathead lure – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/6th 2/0 jighead. I had the rod spooled with 6lb Fireline and 10lb fluoro carbon leader.

The only problem fishing that area is the loose weed and the horrible slimy algae that seem to coat it in places. You have to be persistent as the plastic is constantly getting clogged. After twenty minutes or so of casting, I hooked a small flathead but dropped it as I tried to get it into the keeper bag without towing it all the way back to shore. I cast back in the same place and one of its friends took the plastic. This time I walked it all the way back to the shore – he was just on 42cm. I now had to try and remember where to go back to. When the water is clear you can follow your wader boot marks but the overnight rain had stirred it up a little, so I just had to guess where I had been. I waded back out and carried on moving to the north and just short of the oyster jetty; I got a very solid bite. I dropped the rod tip and counted to five – this is my favourite technique for Flathead – then struck hard. The fish took off and did a couple of good runs, then it calmed down a bit and so I gradually walked it back to the shore. Some wise old fisherman once told me that Flathead often snap at the lure or bait to stun it, then open their mouths and change the angle, to swallow it. If you strike as soon as you feel the bite you might just pull it out of their mouths. Not sure how true this is but my system certainly works. It gave me a few head shakes in the last few metres and then I had it. Once I got it up to the muddy shoreline it measured in at 62cm. Buy now the clouds were looking ominous so I beat a hasty retreat to the car and called it a day. I hope the weather does not ruin the rest of the week.

Brisbane River – Boggy Creek – 23 July 2010

If you have children of school age you will know that most officially classified biological weapons are far less toxic than the coughs and colds they bring home. I succumbed this week and I have been feeling like crap. I missed my usual fishing session on Thursday, so I decided to put in a couple of hours this morning, close to home, at Boggy Creek, on the Brisbane River.
For those of you who don’t know it, Boggy Creek is a small arm off the Brisbane River on the north side of the Pinkenba Shell oil terminal. You can fish all along the northern bank, but I usually start by the small pedestrian bridge that leads across to the refinery. You cannot fish on the bridge as it has a security gate and belongs to the refinery.
I find this creek fishes best for a couple of hours on either side of the high tide and it is a great spot pre-dawn. There is a small rock wall on either side of the bridge and the channel narrows significantly at this point. This has cut a fairly deep channel under the bridge. There is always plenty of bait under the lights and once the tide is running there are large swirls, eddies and sections of slack water where the big fish lurk.
I started around 9.00 am – the wind (from the southwest) was getting up and the run out tide was really moving. The water was fairly clear so I started with a 3” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 1 jighead on 10lb leader. My strategy was to cast out, upstream and let the plastic float with the current down under the bridge. I would jig it every 5 seconds or so to stop it getting snagged. There is plenty of manmade structure under that bridge ranging from tyres to shopping trolleys. After a few prospecting casts I switched to the GULP Pumpkinseed Minnow Grub. I find the paddle tail pattern is good when there is a strong current. The tail moves realistically even when the plastic is at rest on the bottom and it is almost irresistible as it sinks. Sure enough – second cast a hungry Pike wallops the plastic. This scenario played out a few more times and then I cast over towards the far rock wall. On the retrieve there were a few nudges and tickles and then a solid hit and hook up. As I brought the fish in, a great school of Pike scattered before it. It turned out to be a 28cm Bream with a Mohican fin! I released him after a picture or two and then decided to move up the bank towards the Brisbane River.
There are a number of openings all along the bank from which you can fish. I stopped at each one and did a semicircle of casts in each location. When I reached the mouth of a small drain I was a bit more thorough with my coverage and on about the 6th cast I pulled up a 35cm Flathead. I let him go and got another smaller one from exactly the same spot. The water was getting very shallow now and it was blowing a gale so decided to give up for the day.
It was good to get the rod in the water and find a few fish – even if there was nothing for dinner.

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole – 15 July 2010

Thursday morning – I got up at 4.15 am and drove from Brisbane up to Bribie looking forward to a good fishing session. Low tide would be around 6.40 am and although the forecast was for moderate West to Southwest wind, it was pretty flat when I arrived.

I decided to start off under the Bridge lights on the island side. I find the bridge lights attract the bait and there is often something waiting to pounce on your lure/ bait from the dark water around the pylons. I loaded a 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead with Gulp 3” minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour and sure enough, first cast I pulled up a Pike and next cast 15cm Tailor. I moved up and down the weed banks, along the edge of the Passage, on either side of the bridge. After about half an hour I picked up a 45cm Flathead about 15 metres north of the bridge., right on the edge of the weed.

The first glow of dawn was showing so I decided to move down to the mouth of the tidal lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole. This is an excellent Bream spot especially when they are schooling up to spawn. Using the same plastic and weight I cast up into the last of the run out tide and let it sink down along the coffee rock ledge – jigging every 5 seconds or so. After a few casts I caught an undersized Bream, followed by a few Pike and gradually I started to catch a few keeper Bream. Every third fish or so, was legal and after an hour I had 5 keepers between 25cm and 30cm.

At about 8.30am I called it quits and went to find a hot drink.

PASSAGE BREAM ARE BEGINNING TO FIRE
BREAM FROM BUCKLEY’S HOLE – BRIBIE ISLAND