1770 – Flat Rock – Dart, Perch, Flathead – 15 May 2016

Sunday

Sunday was my second morning at 1770 and the weather looked like it was going to be pretty good. The wind was forecast at about a 7 knot southerly on dawn and would pick up a little later on. The moon was 67% full in its waxing gibbous phase. Low tide would be at about 10.45 am.

Once again I drove down the four-wheel drive track into Deepwater National Park. They are carrying out fuel reduction burns in this section and several small fires still were still burning from the day before and the smell of burning gum trees was all around.

Today I decided to fish at Flat Rock beach. As it names suggest it has a long flat rock that runs parallel with the beach and makes for a great fishing platform. The long rock is accessible across a sandy bottomed gutter from about half way through the run out tide to about half way through the run in tide.

It was a cool morning (17 C) but not cold and the water was still very warm. When I arrived in the pre-dawn light at about 6.00 am the flat rock was almost completely submerged so I started fishing in the sandy gutter. I started with fishing with the Daiwa Air Edge rod and 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I tied on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead and squeezed on a GULP 3” Minnow shaped soft plastic in the lime tiger colour. The first takers where a couple of very small sand / flag /bar tailed flathead. These are pretty fish. They sit right at the base of the wave break and think nothing of trying to swallow soft plastics that are almost as big as they are.

As the sun came up and the tide receded I walked north along the beach stopping to cast at the spots where the water was rushing out through the breaks in the rock. I reached beach marker number 10 and spent a while trying to cast the DUO Vib 62 hard bodied vibe lure over the top of the flat rock into the deeper water beyond. This did not really work and I soon lost another of my favourite lures.

As the water dropped I climbed on to the rock and started casting around with a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic in the Cajun Chicken colour. I was now casting directly into the water beyond the rock and starting to feel a few bumps and knocks from the small perch and dart that patrol this area. After perhaps 25 casts I dropped down to a smaller GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. Thi attracted a flurry of bites and after a few casts I hooked a small moses perch. I little while later I swapped back to the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I moved north along the edge of the rock until a nice dart slammed the soft plastic and took off with it.

By now I was about level with beach marker 8. I straightened the soft plastic on the jighead and let it waft around on the bottom in front of the rock for as long as I could. Something grabbed it and immediately took off underneath the rock. After a few see saws the leader snapped. Perhaps it was a cod or a bigger stripey perch.

I tied on a length of 20lb fluorocarbon leader and put on a bigger, 4“ Minnow soft plastic in the same Lime Tiger colour. I started casting in the same spot. Perhaps 10 casts later – smash, then zzzzzz as the fish did exactly the same thing. This time I had a tougher leader on. I initially loosened the drag and then, when I felt the fish swim out, tightened it and tried to pull the fish out. I obviously did not tighten it enough and it swam straight back under the rock, despite my furious but futile.

I turned around and walked back to the south. I swapped down to a couple of smaller soft plastic minnows and caught a steady stream of dart, Moses perch and tiny flathead.

By low tide the wind was picking up and I was getting cold so I decided to give up for the morning.

1770 – Getaway Beach and Tom’s Creek – 3 December 2014

Wednesday

Wednesday was a beautiful morning but a disappointing one, from a fishing point of view.  I was still at 1770 and I decided to walk round from the beach that has the desalination plant intake to Getaway Beach. There is some really fantastic looking fishy terrain along here but apart from small dart and Moses Perch I have yet to catch anything decent here. I started at about 4.30 am and witnessed a beautiful sunrise but after a couple of hours of casting hard bodies and soft plastics all I had caught was a tiny sand flathead.

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I decided to retire and do something different for the afternoon session. I drove down to Tom’s Creek which is a tributary of Round Hill Creek. The boats can only get up to it for an hour or so, either side of high tide, but there are a few spots where you can fish it from the shore. I have had some powerful hit and runs, whilst fishing with soft plastics here but, apart from a few good grunter bream (javelin fish), I have landed very little.

It was now about 9.30 am and I started fishing with my light rod and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I fitted a 1/8th  ounce, 1/0 jighead and loaded it with a GULP 4” Minnow in the New Penny colour. I lost a few rigs working out where the snags were located.  I kept getting fast, aggressive bites but was struggling to hook up. I slowed things down and after about twenty minutes I connected with a mad fish – it was a Tarpon about 35 cm long, and it leapt around all over the place. I photographed and released it. I had a couple more bites from its mates, but could not hook up.

The tide was running out fast and so I swapped to a slightly heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead, but continued with the same soft plastic lure. This soon produced results and I caught a couple of grunter bream, the largest of which was about 35cm long.

I swapped to a bigger GULP jerkshad soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was casting as close as I could to the mangrove roots, on the far bank. At about 10.30 am something slammed the soft plastic, as it sank. It immediately headed for some rocks and after a couple of runs, it unhooked itself.

By about noon the water was fairly shallow and the tide had slowed, so I gave up for the day.

Bribie Island – Bongaree & the oyster jetty flats – 31 January 2014

Friday

I have been away for most of January. I was on a holiday that did not include any fishing – a complete waste of time and money, in my opinion. But the family seemed to enjoy it.

I was therefore dead keen to get back amongst the fish. Unfortunately my return coincided with the weather turning pretty wild. There was the tropical cyclone crossing the coast further north and the wind had been blowing fairly solidly from the east or south east, all week. The change from persistent northerlies also meant the temperature had dropped a bit.

Conditions at Bribie Island did not look great on Friday. There would be a 10 to 15 knot easterly wind and there would be a very low 0.2m tide at 3.17 am. First light would be at about 4.55 am, but it was new moon. The tide would be running in fast, at dawn, but I would be able to reach my favourite spots for about an hour.

I set off from Brisbane at 4.00 am and arrived at Bongaree, outside the Seaside Museum, just before 5.00 am. The place is currently a building site. The council has finally decided to properly rebuild the seawall on either side of the museum drain. They have completed the work on the north side and are currently working on the south side. The stepped sea wall will probably change the way the currents and sandbanks form, at the mouth of the drain. This should give us some new and interesting fishing opportunities.

At 5.00 am all was quiet. The tide had turned in and I arrived during the first of many light showers that continued through the morning. I started fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Watermelon Pearl colour on a 1/8thounce, 1/0 jighead. I tied it on to some new Gamma 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I popped in to see Nigel from http://www.gatewaybaitandtackle.com.au  a few weeks ago and he suggested I give it a try. It seems like a great leader and almost as important it comes in a great little dispenser. It feels like it is probably tougher than the rated 10lb – I was hoping to give it a good work out and find out.

It was gloomy and I edged my way towards the drop off that runs along this section of beach. The sand banks are always moving around in this location, so I usually poke the ground in front of me with my rod. I have seen more than one keen angler wade boldly over the edge and filled my own waders, a few times.

I found the edge and cast over it. I got a couple of hits on the first cast. A few casts later, I caught a tiny moses perch and then another. I caught about 6 of these on various plastics and also found a ‘Happy Moment’. I moved up and down the ledge for about an hour.

I tried swapping to a small MARIA MS 1 D45 SP hard bodied lure. This is a 3.4g, 45mm, suspending deep diving minnow. It is very light but will get down to about 1 metre, very quickly. As with many of the lures still made in Japan, it is beautifully crafted. I was using an olive green colour. The moses perch and whiting kept attacking it but I did not hook any. I covered the same ground that I had with the soft plastics but did not catch anything.

The incoming tide had pushed me a long way back from the edge and another, heavier shower had started up so I decided to swap locations. I crossed back over the bridge and waded out to the south, under the bridge. The water was already up around the mangrove roots along the shore and coming in fast. It was now just before 7.30 a.m. I waded along the edge of the mangroves, past the old oyster jetty to the drain, which runs around the corner from Sandstone Point. The easterly wind was now picking up and the water was getting choppy.

I was back using the soft plastic lures and had tried a GULP 2” Shrimp in the New Penny colour with no luck. I swapped up to a heavier, 1/6th ounce, 1/0 jighead as the wind, swell and current made it too difficult to fish a 1/8th ounce. I also swapped over to a GULP 4” Minnow in the grey/ black and white Smelt colour.

 

The tide was getting higher and so was the wind and there were not really many places to cast from. I was about to give up when I felt a touch on a slow retrieve. I cast back in approximately the same location and let the lure sink, until I was sure it was on the bottom. I waited about 15 seconds then hopped it off the floor and I felt a solid bite. I dropped the rod tip again and then paused. Then I struck. The rod tip bent over and a little line peeled away and then the tip started wriggling. I finally had a fish.

The current helped the fish and it took a bit of line. I looked for a gap in the mangroves, behind me. The tide had come up and there were not many options. I let the fish play itself out in the open water and then slowly pulled it towards the shore. The big tide and wind had created a floating carpet of loose weed, about a metre deep at the foot of the mangroves. I managed to skid the fish over the top of it and find some firm ground.

It was a fine example of the dusky flathead species, about 50 cm long. It had been hard won and would make a perfect lunch. It was good to be back in business.

Bribie Island – Whitepatch – 16 December 2012

Sunday

A hasy still morning at Whitepatch

A hasy still morning at Whitepatch

I was back in Brisbane and after a few interesting but largely fishless sessions, I decided to give Bribie Island a try, on Sunday morning.

Now, on the first Sunday of the school holidays it is not likely to be quiet anywhere. Also with a hot, sunny day on Saturday, a lot of popular spots will have been fairly thoroughly fished and disturbed. So I decided to try the north end of Whitepatch beach, about half way up the west coast of the island. I arrived at about 4.15 am and pulled in next to Colin, an experienced local fisherman, who obviously had the same idea. He explained he had caught a few Flathead earlier in the week, but they had been pretty hard to find.

The sky was thick with smoke haze and the wind had died down to nothing. The water was still and it was hot. Low tide would be a very low one at 0.2m at 5.22 am. The water was still slowly running out but there was not much pace in it.

I was back with my Loomis GL2 light spin rod and started with a GULP Lime Tiger Jerkshad soft plastic on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was only fishing an 8lbh leader as the water was quite clear, initially. Colin started with a small jerkbait, an Ecogear, I think. He caught a couple of small moses perch.

Troy arrived and put out a pilchard bait, which was grabbed pretty much straight away, and then bitten off. Colin waded south and I waded north. Neither of us found much. Eventually I ended up back at the bottom of the steps close to Troy, where I caught a just legal size moses perch – but it released itself before having its photo taken.

The tide was now running in. Troy was trying various baits and I knowingly told him that the squid would not catch anything. I wandered along the shore for another twenty minutes or so, and when I came back he had caught the fattest Whiting I have ever seen…………on the squid!

Troys very fat whiting

Troys very fat whiting

By about 8.30am, fishermen were lined up all along the beach. I was now fishing with a smaller GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic. I felt a few aggressive hits and saw some swirls but could not hook up. Then I saw a thrashing long tom, chasing the lure.  A few minutes later Troy landed one…… on the squid. It was time to give up!

The flathead were around - somewhere

The flathead were around – somewhere

Iluka – Shark bay – Plenty of Variety – 30 March 2012

Friday

Unfortunately the wind and swell were up again so my favorite Rocky spots were out of bounds. It was however, a beautiful clear morning. The wind was from the south at about 10 knots but there were also gusts from the west which made things very cool, once my legs were wet.

I started at Shark Bay with the light rod. I focused on the shallows, on the west side of the rock platform. There is often a Flathead lurking in here, amongst the rock bars and sea weed. I started with a big soft plastic – a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curry Chicken colour on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead, with 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I had a few hits and then lost the tail. I moved down in size to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and 8lb fluorocarbon leader.

The down-sizing converted the bites to fish but only tiny Moses Perch and then a Long Tom. I moved along the edge of the platform and there was a bite on almost every cast, but nothing significant. When the Tailor are around this is a great place to cast a 65g slug on the big rod.

I watched another great sun rise and kept catching small fish. Soon it was time to call it quits for the week. It had been a challenging week. The weather had made things tough, as it often does, but I had found some good fish – particularly the Bream. I had seen a few Tailor in the waves but only caught one from the rocks and one in the river. I always think that its a good trip if you are catching stuff and there was plenty of variety.

I managed 10 species this week – Bream, Flathead, Tailor, Luderick, Trevally, Jewfish, Moses Perch, Long Tom, Pike and even a few tiny Whiting. The weather had been too difficult for the hard bodies, so everything was caught on soft plastics.

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I drove back to Brisbane in the afternoon and as I unloaded the car, I was already considering my options for avoiding the wind and the Easter crowds to find some fish.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – 26 Jan 2011

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Australia Day – Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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 – Whitepatch – 29 August 2010

Sunday Morning
The advantage of fishing from the shore is that provided you are prepared to wrap up, you can still fish in a 15 knot wind. Especially if you chose somewhere like the Pumicestone Passage which has a few, fairly sheltered areas. The other advantage of fishing at these times is there is almost zero boat traffic. All the wise boaties are tucked up in bed having lie in or just listening to Nugget’s fishing show and cursing the weather gods. I am not sure that I subscribe to the idea that there are less fish around in the estuaries than there were 20 years ago – but I do believe the massive increase in boat traffic and other noise and disturbance, has a big effect on our ability to find and catch the fish that are there.
On Sunday morning there was plenty of wind forecast but when I arrived at Whitepatch on Bribie Island, the water was reasonably calm. It was about 5.15 am and the wind had dropped away as the sun was about to come up. This hour around dawn nearly always produces slightly calmer weather. It was just on low tide and I started fishing on the slack water with virtually no tidal flow. I often find this is a slow time. I presume the fish are beginning to reposition themselves and are slightly confused as to where to lie in wait to ambush prey. Sunday was no exception and nothing of note happened until about 45 minutes later when the tide really started running in.
I was fishing a 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic lure in the Banana Prawn colour on a 1/6th 1 jighead. This is another great lure for bream but will tempt almost anything. There is a sizeable drop off all along the shoreline at Whitepatch – it is perfect to fish for about two hours either side of low tide. I had parked at the last car park before the entrance to the Bribie National Park and I was wading south, along the shore, casting up into the run in tide. I caught a few Pike and then a tiny Moses Perch and then I got a touch, a pause, another touch and then bang – the blistering run and head shakes that had to be a Snapper. Over the course of each year, in this spot, I catch perhaps two or three legal size snapper and many more just undersize. Unfortunately this one was in the latter category. He measured up at 28cm and I threw him back, after a quick mug shot. What is uncanny is the consistent way I get these fish when the start of the run in tide coincides with dawn.
I switched to a 2” GULP Shrimp plastic, also in the Banana Prawn colour. I was fishing with about a metre and a half of 10lb fluorocarbon leader, tied onto a spool of 1.8kg Fireline. About 40 minutes after catching the Snapper, I found a patch of Bream. I caught three fish in quick succession. The largest was approximately 30 cm long. Shortly afterwards I reached a large drain with weed beds on either side. These were now covered by approximately a metre of water. I cast out, methodically in a semicircle and caught several Pike and then a very small (25cm) Flathead. I moved on and about 30 minutes later reached a similar drain. I used the same tactics and was rewarded with another Flathead that was just on 40cm. Like all the other fish, I released it. By 9.30 am the water was now effectively too high to continue fishing over the edge of the drop off and the wind was steadily building, so gave up for the day.

Bribie Island – Oyster Jetty & White Patch – 11 July 2010

 Sunday morning and finally a good forecast – 4 knots SE wind and only a chance of a shower. I was out on the Bribie sand flats at 5.15 am wading in the dark. I moved down to the old oyster banks on either side of the jetty, on the mainland side of the Passage. I flicked soft plastics – 2” Gulp  Shrimps in the Peppered Prawn colour  and 4” Gulp Minnows in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. As the sun came up I was constantly dragging up the slimy algae. This now seems to be covering the regular sea grass in that area. I caught a pike and the plastics kept getting tugged and bashed by Long Toms. The sky reddened and suddenly I could see what I was doing but then, after 10 minutes, it was grey and overcast as the sun moved up behind the clouds.

I decided to change locations and drove up to White Patch to a spot at the foot of one of the staircases, which I have named Pike Rocks. Sure enough, on the first cast I caught a 40cm Pike and then got a fish a cast for about twenty minutes – all Pike except for a  small Bream and a Moses Perch. I kept the big Pike for the cat and wandered south casting out over the coffee rock ledge that runs the length of the shore. I caught more Pike and then a 25cm Flathead. Finally I got slammed by a 30 cm Tailor which jumped and dived and shook as only Tailor can. I put him back after pulling the mangled GULP 3”  Minnow from his jaw. I cast all around but could not find any more so at 8.45 am – almost the top of the tide – I gave up and headed for a hot shower and breakfast. Only the cat got to eat fish today.

PIKE

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.