Iluka – Frasers Reef & the Rockwall – 28 March 2012

Wednesday

No trophy fish yet but plenty of fish around, if the weather would let me get at them. Wednesday morning brought heavy showers and grey skies and a 10 knot southerly wind. The wind had been from the south for a while and the swell was around 2 metres. It was too hard to fish Woody Head or Iluka Bluff, but with a morning low tide I could get out on to the rocks at Frasers Reef.

I walked out on to the rocky promontory just before 6.00 am. Even with a fair swell you can fish the northern edge of these rocks but as usual in these parts, you lose plenty of gear.

I started with the heavy rod, 30lb fluorocarbon leader and a 3/8th 3/0 jighead. I chose a big soft plastic again – the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I lost my first rig to the rocks on the first cast. I re-rigged and moved around casting into the foamy water. After a few casts I felt a solid bite and pulled up the plastic minus its tail.

I put another on and cast back out. This one was hit on the drop but there was no hook up. Then, as I carried on the retrieve, the fish came back for a second swipe and I got it. I played it in on the swell and pulled it over the rocks – a 50cm Tailor – the first Tailor of the week. I was hoping for a few more, but I never found them. I presume they are cruising the headlands all the time, looking for the bait schools. If they are right in front of you, you may have a few minutes to cast at them – then they move on. When I gutted it, it had an empty stomach, like all the other fish I had caught this week. I have not seen any bait schools and maybe there is not much to eat.

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There were no more fish that morning and the swell continued to build so in the afternoon, I decided to fish the Iluka rockwall. The wall is quite sheltered from strong southerly winds and there is currently a good gutter forming where it meets the beach. I was using the light spin rod and started with a few GULP 4” Minnows in various colours. These did not arouse any interest so I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour. I think the grub tail can sometimes stir a bit more interest when fishing in the surf. I was using a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead to overcome the wind and swell and I was rigged with 12lb fluorocarbon leader. After a few casts, I lost the tail on the soft plastic but when I re-loaded and cast out again, I felt a solid tug and then a good run. I had the fish hooked and it took a bit of line. The swell was a challenge, but eventually I pulled another good Bream clear of the rocks.
Then the rain arrived again and I gave up. Only two fish for the day – hardly spectacular but enough to keep me at it!

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Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – 5 Feb 2011

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Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.