Iluka – Woody Head – 14/15 November 2020

Very strong south easterlies had been blowing all week. I had tried a few sheltered spots around Iluka, but had only managed a few bream and small trevally. Everything was just too stirred up and finding anywhere safe to stand was too hard.

The winds dropped off on the Friday and the south easterlies were replaced by a strong northerly wind. This flattened out the seas a little and by lunchtime on Saturday I decided to try fishing at Woody Head. It was an early afternoon low tide at about 2.30 pm. The northerly wind was forecast to fall through the afternoon. The moon would be new on Sunday. The wind was still gusty from the north but the swell had flattened considerably.

I started fishing with my heavier set up – 40lb leader, 40lb braid, casting a DUO Drag Metalcast around. This produced nothing. Then a Gulp Jerkshad (various colours). This produced a 45cm trevally and then a 35cm bream. Initially I was fishing with a 1/4 ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead and then on a heavier 3/8th ounce, 2/0 hook jighead, to counteract the fairly strong northerly wind.

I had been casting a GULP Lime Tiger coloured jerkshad around and I was thinking of swapping to a more natural coloured soft plastic when something grabbed the plastic very close. It initially turned to swim away but soon rethought its strategy and headed under the ledge. The drag was pretty tight but the fish didn’t even pause. My braid was soon rubbing on the rocks and then – snap! I re-rigged and tightened the drag, but things seemed to go quiet for a while. The tide was now pushing in quite quickly. I kept casting and the next fish on the scene was a trevally, about 45cm long.

At about 3.30 pm I had moved a little south along the ledge. I dropped down to the light rock fishing rig with 16lb leader and 20lb braid. I cast out a GULP Lime Tiger coloured Crazylegs Jerkshad. This was smacked on the drop and taken straight under the rock ledge – the braid snapped almost instantly. I cursed my impatience and swapped back to the heavy rod with 40lb leader and a 3/8th ounce size 2/0 jighead. I put another GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad on. This paid off and after a few casts something whacked the soft plastic on the drop and took off. Fortunately it decided to swim away from the ledge and this gave me some time. It was powerful but after an initial run I seemed to have it under control. I pulled it up with a wave surge and was delighted to see it was a snapper (later weighed in – gutted and scaled – at 3.8kg)

The next day would be an even lower low tide and I started fishing in the same spot at about 3.00 pm. The swell had continued to drop off and the wind was a light south-easterly. The first taker was a bream. I released it and carried on. About 10 minutes later I felt a fish grab then lure then drop it, a few metres out from the ledge. I cast out again and slowed down my retrieve. Something fast grabbed it and took off with a long run. I got some line back but then it ran again. I tightened the drag and wound like mad as it suddenly turned and decided to swim straight for the ledge. Fortunately, by the time it tried to change its mind, I had virtually locked up the drag and pulled it in on a wave. It was a surprising small (50cm) kingfish. I have only ever caught a few of these and their power and speed always surprises me. I released it, hoping for more, but did not get any.

Kingfish fight very hard

I moved further south to where I had caught the snapper the day before. I was temporarily out of the Crazylegs Jerkshads so I found a 6″ GULP Squid Vicious in the New Penny colour and cast that out. It was now almost 5.00pm and the tide was running in. On about the third cast I thought I had the bottom, then it started wriggling and took off. One long solid run and then a couple of head shakes but no real power (compared to the kingfish). It was decent school jewfish and I was able to successfully pull it up to my feet. It was just over 75 cm long and so it joined the snapper in the fridge.

A couple of great sessions once the weather allowed me to get to the fish, lets hope it stays calm for a while.

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Bribie – Whitepatch and the old oyster jetty flats – 22 January 2016

Thursday’s fishing had not been that great but when I woke up on Friday I was confident that the fish would be there. The moon was virtually full and it would be a big high tide at about 8.30 am. More importantly the wind had dropped off considerably.

I decided to fish the first half of the run out tide at Whitepatch on Bribie Island. On a big tide the water comes right up to the tree line and the fish will often move up with it. There are often good whiting in the shallows here and where there are whiting there are usually flathead.

I started at the north of end of Whitepatch beach, fishing with a GULP 3 inch Minnow in the New Penny colour. I waded off to the north casting in the direction of the outflowing tide and then hopping the lure back towards me. I soon caught a tiny flathead that was sitting right next to a ledge of coffee rock at the foot of the tree lined beach. When I cast the lure out further it was grabbed a few times by what I think where the cruising long toms. I fished for about two hours but could not find any more fish.

At about 11.15 am I moved down to the old oyster jetty flats. The tide was still fairly high so I waded along close to the mangrove line, casting out towards deeper water. I was now fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Satay Chicken colour on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead. The wind was picking up and there was lots of weed floating around. The tide was running out fast and by about 12.30 pm I was about 30 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty. I felt a solid bite and hooked a nice 55cm flathead. When I pulled it in it had a nasty scar on its back.

I carried on towards the channel marker and about 40 minutes later picked up another 45cm flathead. As I moved south I caught two more, a 48 cm and a 50cm in fairly quick succession. By 2.00 pm I was hot and knackered and the wind was really blowing so I decided to give up. It had been a long session but I had found some decent fish.

Bribie Island – Jan to March 2015 – Catch Up – 24 March 2015

I am ashamed to admit that January to March 2015 has been a fishing black hole as far as the Landangler Blog is concerned. I apologise to those of you who check back here regularly for a fishing fix.

Once more the irrational requirements of modern society – funding for food, clothing and shelter – have diverted me from the most noble of pursuits. I have fished a few sessions at Bribie since returning from 1770 in December, but I have largely been overseas working.

As usual, when you increase the time between fishing sessions it gets much harder. You lose track of which tides work best and where and when the fish are feeding.  You lose your touch with the rod and start to forget what a snag feels like and what a fish feels like. Fishing is often a process of elimination. If you fish in one general location for three or four sessions in a row, in a short time frame, you get a far more accurate idea of what works and what does not. So the moral of this story is fish as often as you can!

In late December 2014 I had a couple of session on the flats beside the old oyster jetty at Bribie and caught a few flathead on each occasion. There were always flathead lies under the bridge after the big night time high tides and because there had not been much rain, up to that point, the water was fairly clear. The GULP 4” Minnow in the New Penny colour proved successful as did the 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I rigged both on 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jigheads with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and I was using my light spinning rod and reel combination.

My next session was a beautiful morning in early February. Conditions were good with an early morning run out tide and a light south easterly wind, but I fished the same area for dismal results. There was no evidence of bait around and no lies under the bridge lights. I fished from pre-dawn to low tide with all sorts of soft plastics and hard bodies. The only thing I caught was a tiny foul hooked whiting. At low tide it was very clear that the consistent summer wind pattern of early morning south easterly followed by afternoon northerly had flattened out the terrain quite considerably. This could also be a result of the cleared area where the new resort is being built creating a wind tunnel.

My next session was early March on Red Beach at Skirmish Point, on the southern tip of Bribie Island. I fished the last of the low tide on a beautiful hot morning. I did not start until after 9.00 am and stuck with a light leader and 1/8th ounce, size 1 jighead. I was using the ‘dart slayer’ soft plastic – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. This plastic seems to really work well off the beach. After a few casts I hooked, then dropped, a small flathead. I found the point where the current flows from either side of the island meet and started casting in to it. I could see plenty of small garfish schools and every now and then something would send the schools of smaller bait flying in all directions. The soft plastic lure was getting bumped and snapped at and I soon caught a small dart and then a bigger dart. The next taker was a tiny chopper tailor. They continued to nibble but I did not get any more and left when the tide turned.

In late March I returned to the same spot at about the same time of day with almost identical results. My cousin was visiting from the UK and I was keen to put him onto a fish or two. A great gutter had formed along the beach at Skirmish Point. At its mouth there was constant activity with garfish and other small bait schooling up. There was virtually no breeze, but the tide was coming in this time. I caught a small dart and half an hour later I was delighted to see cousin Joe land a feisty bigger dart. That was it for the day.

Cousin Dangler

Hooked up on a Skirmish Point dart

 

That’s a quick round up of the story so far this year. I hope to be posting more regularly now – sharks permitting.

Bribie Island – White Patch – Unexpected Jewfish – 23 August 2013

Friday

Another cold fine morning and I decided to try Whit Patch on Bribie Island again. As you will see from recent reports fishing can be hit and miss here. The coffee rock ledge structure that appears at various points all along either side of the Pumicestone Passage creates several holes and submerged mini rock bars along this stretch of shore.

I started early in the cold at White Patch

I started early in the cold at White Patch

There is a lot more sediment around after two years of floods, followed by a very wet period at the beginning of winter. This means that water clarity is not very good at the bottom of the tide. It also means that the weed/ sea grass beds that clump on the sand above the ledge, are taking longer than usual to spring up. But there must be something to eat in the area, as the first thing I saw, as I walked out in the pre-dawn light at the north end of White Patch beach, was the bristly snout of a Dugong. It was cruising along the ledge surfacing every now and then, to blow.

Great minds think alike and Bribie Island local – Colin was already out flicking some soft plastics further up the beach. I saw him pull up a legal Flathead, so I was enthused. I rigged up with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I was sticking with the 8lb fluorocarbon leader.

An ambitious pike was my first customer

An ambitious pike was my first customer

Low tide was at about 5.30 am – just on first light. There was no wind to speak off and I was starting fishing in the slack water just on low – which is not ideal. The first half an hour was uneventful – apart from the Dugong sighting. At about 6.15 am an ambitious pike grabbed the soft plastic but it was only about 15cm long. I wandered up and down casting diligently, but I had to wait another hour for a decent bite. I connected with the fish, which felt like a Flathead, but after a few moments it was gone.

At about 7.15 am, I caught a Flathead that was not much bigger than the pike and was sitting in only about 10 cm of water. I always forget just how quickly these fish will move up the beach with the tide. I decided to swap to the Zman range and put on a Minnowz paddle tail shape soft plastic, in the Houdini colour. I cast in all directions but this did not produce anything.

This one was only 20cm long

This one was only 20cm long

At about 7.30 am I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the flecked New Penny colour. I cast it over the ledge and let it sink. I paused until I was sure it was on the bottom then hopped it up and paused again. On the second lift the rod bent over and then line started peeling – something decent had eaten the soft plastic. It mad a solid and long initial run. My drag was not very tight and I need to re-spool this reel, so I quickly found myself down to the backing line. Patience is the key at moments like this. I left the drag alone and wound every time the fish paused. I kept the rod tip up and maintained the fairly light pressure. I gradually covered the backing line with braid and felt more comfortable.

The fish did not have very much power left after that first initial long run and so I had an inkling it was a jewfish/ mulloway. Now I tightened the drag just a little so that I could pull the fish cleanly over the ledge. As I did so I saw the silvery blue spots along its lateral line and confirmed it was a Jewie. A gentle stroll backwards and I had it up on the sand.

I measured it – 68cm – still not legal in Queensland, but a cracking fish nonetheless. I took a few photos in the shallows then sent it on its way. I fished on for a while but I could not find anymore. I looked back through my archives and realise this is the farthest up the Pumicestone Passage that I have caught a Jewfish/ Mulloway – it’s a very encouraging sign and more evidence of a healthy fishery.

68cm - still not a legal Jewfish - it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year

68cm – still not a legal Jewfish – it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year


I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I stopped for a coffee at Scoopys and ran into an old friend – local Brisbane children’s author – Julie Fison. Her Hazard River series of adventure stories are a great tool for engaging both reluctant and accomplished young readers. She has also just launched a series for teenage girls. I should warn my readership to check their pacemakers before they delve into these! Its book week in Queensland, so she was spreading the word about the wonder of reading, at the Bribie library. I would think there are some sections of our community where children don’t know what a book looks like! So full marks to Julie for taking this on. For more about the books visit http://www.hazardriver.com/. or Julie Fison visit http://juliefison.wordpress.com/. She also has an amazing and painful tale related to a Garfish encounter – but that is for another time.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – but it took a while – 25 October 2011

Tuesday:

I got out amongst the Flathead at Bribie Island again on Tuesday morning. We are back to very early starts if you want to be fishing at first light. I was awake at 3.30 am and standing under the bridge on the mainland side at around 4.30 am, just as the sky began to light up.
The water was dead calm and the tide was running in. It would be high at around 8.00am. There was no breeze but it was forecast to grow into a strong north-easterly by lunchtime. I could see bait everywhere, flickers of silver glinted under the bridge lights. Occasionally there was a splash on the surface, as a predator struck from below.

I cast around with a GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour. I felt a few bites but nothing serious. The tide was coming in fairly quickly and the strong south easterlies of previous days had stirred up the weed again.

Mullet like this were everywhere


As it grew light and the tide got higher a constant stream of floating sea grass made the fishing difficult. After a while I jagged a small Mullet. There were big schools of these cruising under the bridge.

I decided to switch locations and drove across the bridge and down to Bongaree, on the island. The tide was really moving now and I could not fish over the ledge in front of Buckley’s Hole, so I gave up after a few minutes and switched locations again. This time I decided to try the flats at White Patch.

I started at the second set of steps and waded south, casting my soft plastic at the edge of the rocks and sunken logs that were now semi-submerged by the rising tide. No luck – but I did see some big fish smash into the Mullet schools that were hovering off the ledge, further out. I could not see what they were. At first I thought Tuna, but I have rarely seen them this far up the Pumicestone Passage. The attacks were highlighted by the calmness of the water in between. After a big swirl sent Mullet flying in all directions I think I saw a good size Queenfish jump clean out of the water in pursuit. I have heard about them being caught here, but not seen them.

Despite the show going on just out of casting distance, I was still without a fish. The weed carpet that had slowed me down earlier now arrived with the top of the tide. Sometimes you need to change the dynamic. I drove down to Scoopys Café and had a coffee, looking out over the Pumicestone Passage. At about 9.00 am I walked back along the beach in front of Buckley’s Hole and went back to basics. I tied on a 12lb fluorocarbon leader, loaded the natural looking GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 jighead . I then moved south along the beach casting into the shallow water, mindful that this was where the fish had been last week – right up close to the beach, in the shallows.

Low tide at the lagoon in front of Buckleys Hole


The tide was running out and the weed had washed away again. After 10 minutes, a fish grabbed the soft plastic a couple of metres from the beach. It was a 45cm Flathead and after 5 hours of fishing I was happy to see it. I continued down the beach and turned around when I reached the no.1 beach flag. I waded out to about waist deep and started to walk back, to the north. I was casting up, into the out-going tide, aiming at an angle back towards the beach. I felt a good bite, but there was no hook up. I carried on and was soon rewarded with another Flathead, a little smaller than the first – things were improving.

The first one took a GULP Pear Watermelon Minnow

This one grabbed a GULP Lime Tiger Minnow

All along this stretch of beach the wind and tide is starting to carve small bays in the sand. At the south edge of each of these bays is a long sand lip. This was where the fish were loitering, in less than 25cm of water. I decided to change to a bigger soft plastic and chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the New Penny colour, still on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. Just short of the next sand lip I disturbed a good-sized Flathead. Then, with the next cast, I felt a solid – thud, as I pulled the lure back to within a few metres of my feet. There was a big swirl and line started peeling. The fish started to swim north, against the current, which meant it got tired quite quickly. I kept the rod tip high and the pressure on. I could see it was a reasonable size and realized in the shallow water it might surface and start shaking its head, so I loosened the drag a little. It made a couple more runs. As I pulled it closer to the beach, I tightened the drag back up a bit and in one long, gentle sweep I pulled it clear of the water. It was a 66cm Flathead.

A 66cm Flathead on a GULP Crazylegs in New Penny


It was just after 11.00 am and I had been fishing since 4.30 am, it had been a long morning and I had covered plenty of ground but it had paid off!

A good size Bribie Island Flathead - 66cm

Iluka – Woody Head -The Barnacles – 24 June 2011

Friday

A long weekend with my daughter, camping at Iluka, gave me the opportunity to put in a few fishing sessions on the rocks at Woody Head. I was limited to fishing when she got up, which meant no early starts, but fortunately, the low tides were mid-morning. The chilly morning weather and occasional showers also made staying in bed a little longer, an attractive option.

I wandered out by the boat ramp with my light rod at about 7.30am, thinking I might catch a Flathead or a few Bream on the receding tide. The wind was light from the south west. I rigged up with a 3” GULP Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour on a ¼ oz 1/0 jighead tied on to a metre of 12lb Fluorocarbon leader and 10lb braid.

I was fishing along the line of partially submerged rocks that juts out from the shore just to the north of the boat launching area. I felt a couple of knocks and bumps that did not feel like the rocks and so concentrated my fire by casting in the same area for a few minutes. After about ten retrieves, a fish grabbed the lure, just at the edge of the rocks. It took off, jumping clean out of the water. It was an Australian Salmon and it carried on leaping for the next few minutes as I wrestled it to the shore. These fish really fight hard and they just never give up. Every time I got it near the rocks, it took off again and on the light rod it took a while to wear it out. Eventually I dragged it out of the water and took a few pictures. Although they look magnificent and fight hard, they taste dreadful. So I took a few pictures and then released it.

After a quick breakfast, I headed out to the rocks at the front of Woody Head, to the area known as ‘the Barnacles’. The weather was gloomy and rain was threatening but there was virtually no swell and a light south westerly wind. Low tide would be around 10.00 am. I was now using the heavy rod – the Daiwa 9 Ft Demon Blood, with a Shimano Stradic 6000 reel – loaded with 20lb braid and 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I loaded up with a GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour mounted on a 3/8 oz 3/0 jighead.

I cast out over the rock ledges and let the soft plastic sink for five seconds or so. As soon as I took up the slack, a fish hit the lure. A few more jerks and pauses and I was hooked up to something. After a quick tussle, I pulled the fish up, over the rocks on an incoming surge, grabbed the leader and landed it. It was a nice Trevally, around 50cm long.

10.5 kg Jewfish

Caught off "the Barnacles" at Woody Head

A solid fish

The next cast got snagged – so I broke the line and re-rigged with another GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad, this time in the New Penny colour, on a 3/8 oz 3/0 jighead. I cast out again and waited for the lure to sink, when I lifted the rod, I had a fish on the end. It made a long, steady initial run. The steadiness suggested it was a Jew. It swam up and down parallel with the shore a few times then tried to bury itself in the rocks. It seemed like it was stuck but I loosened off the drag and it swam out again. I gradually tightened the drag again and pulled it round to where I thought I could land it. After about 10 minutes it was pretty tired and with the aid of a big wave, I pulled it to my feet and grabbed the leader. It snapped, but I got my hand in behind the gills and pulled it across the rocks. It was a great Jewfish at 10.5 kg (gutted and gilled) and measured around 1.1 metres. It was my ‘personal best’ Jewfish and I was delighted.

At 10.30 am after just three casts I called it a day. I had a great fish and I was knackered but I had a very big smile on my face.

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