Bribie Island – the old oyster jetty flats – 21 June 2013

Friday

It’s been a long time between fishing sessions. Work and the dreadful weather – particularly the wind, have limited my fishing opportunities. On Friday the rain and strong south-easterly winds were forecast again but I had no choice, I had to go for it. Fish don’t really care about the wind in an estuary, but if it is really strong, it makes it very hard to feel the bite and cast accurately, not to mention the cold, if it has some west in it.

On Friday morning, on the flats opposite Bribie Island, the wind was switching between a strong south-easterly and south-westerly and bringing plenty of rain with it. The tide had been high at 7.10 am and we were approaching the full moon, due in a couple of days.

I started fishing at about 9.00am. I wanted to fish the second half of the run out tide, through to about midday. I waded out under the bridge in a disposable rain poncho and my waders – I was dry underneath but the wind was very cold. The rain varied between a steady drizzle and heavy squalls.

Despite the wild weather the water was clear and cold. Unfortunately the algae (snot weed) are all over the sea grass and rocks on the bottom, between the bridge and the old oyster jetty. If you let your lure hit the bottom, it just gets clogged up with this stuff, straight away.

The situation improved to the south of the oyster jetty. I think the current is a little stronger here so the algae find it harder to take hold. I was fishing with a GULP 4” minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. After an hour of casting around I connected with a fish, but after a short fight, it slipped free. I persisted in the same spot for another 20 minutes. Eventually, I hooked the fish (or one of its neighbours) again. It was a flathead about 45cm long. Given how tough the fishing had been it seemed I was unlikely to catch the three fish minimum that I would need to feed my mob, so I released it.

I was now about 200 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty and the tide was running out, strongly. It was time to continue the sea trials of the Zman Minnowz. I chose the fairly natural, Houdini colour and put it on a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I covered much of the same ground I had covered with the GULP Minnow and after about 20 minutes, I caught another small flathead about 35cm long.

I moved up and down casting at the edge of the weed beds but the after another 40 minutes with no bites I swapped back to a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. This produced a result on the first cast – another small flathead about 30cm long. I continued fishing the same area for another 30 minutes, but could not find anymore.
The wind was really building now, so I turned back and waded towards the bridge. On the way, I slowed my retrieve right down and left it longer on the bottom between hops. This produced one more flathead, just before low tide at about 1.00 pm.

Tough session – but the fish were there – as they nearly always are.

Iluka – The Harbour wall – 9 December 2011

Friday

The sea was too angry at Frazers Reef

I woke early to a very damp morning. There had been heavy rain during the night and I hoped it might have dampened the wind. I drove round to Frazer’s Reef, hoping to have a look for some Jewfish, from the rocks in that area. I stepped out on to the beach by the carpark and was greeted by a very angry sea. I gave up and drove down to the Iluka rockwall where the swell was also too lively to fish.

Still too much swell to fish the Iluka rock wall

I decided to give the Iluka harbour a try with a light spin rod and some soft plastic lures. It was now a couple of hours after dawn and the tide would be high around 8.00 am. I was fishing along the northern stretch of the rock wall that separates the harbour from the Clarence River. The water in the harbour was a dark, tea-tree stained colour but still clear and as the tide was running in strongly, the water on the river side was also quite clean.

The rock wall around the boat harbour

There were lots of Mullet in the shallows

Sometimes there are good Flathead in this corner - close to the wall

Small fish with a big appetite

I started with an almost see through Powerbait Minnow on a 1/8th oz, 1/0 hook jighead. This yielded a tiny Moses Perch and a 30 cm Flathead. There were a few good size mullet schools cruising up and down and a couple of dolphins came through the harbour entrance to chase them around. I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I walked along the rockwall casting into both the Clarence River and the harbour.

A small Flathead from inside the Harbour

Another small Flathead - this time from the Clarence River

After another hour, I had caught two more small Flathead – too small to keep. I tried a couple of hard bodied, sinking vibe lures – which produced nothing. I switched back to the soft plastic lures and finally caught a Flathead that was just over 40cm long. One small Flathead would not feed us, so I released it. At about 9.30 am I gave up. There was still nothing for dinner.

Bribie Island – Oyster Jetty Flats – 3 Sept 2011

Saturday

I have been catching fish but not catching dinner. A few trips to unfamiliar fishing locations and my inability to land anything decent , closer to home, has left the fridge empty. I decided to head up to Bribie Island for a land based fishing session on Saturday.

Unfortunately the weather was not kind. I arrived around first light to be greeted by a 20 knot southerly wind which showed no signs of easing off. I tried to fish the mouth of the lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole but the wind made it too hard.

I crossed back over to the mainland to fish on the flats around the old oyster jetty. You get a bit of shelter from the southerly wind here. Low tide was around 6.30 am and the water was slowing, as I waded along the exposed flats. The sea grass beds are just beginning to grow up through the ‘snot ‘weed. Hopefully in a few weeks it should start to disappear.

I waded south casting along the edge of the weed banks. I fished for an hour or so, with only a couple of bites, which I think were Pike. I stopped for a chat with a fellow fisherman, who was also not having much luck casting soft plastics. Around 8.00 am, just as the tide started to run in properly I felt a good bite and dropped the rod tip. A few seconds later I lifted it and had a fish hooked. It was a small Flathead that was just about legal size. I decided to let it go.

I was fishing with the GULP 4” minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour. This lure is about as close as you can get to a replica of a small mullet or pilchard and often seems to produce a fish when nothing else can. I was fishing with a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I fished on for another hour but I could not find anymore. The fridge remains empty of fish!

Tweed Rockwall – Tailor – 4 August 2011

Thursday

On Thursday morning conditions looked perfect – light north-westerly breeze, low tide just before dawn, not much swell and not much moon. I went to bed early but sleep was elusive, the big Snapper encounter of Tuesday morning was playing on my mind. By 3.00 am I gave up on sleeping any longer and decided to go back down to the Tweed River north rockwall. By 4.30 am I was walking along the rockwall under a fantastic night sky. There were a few clouds but no moon so the stars formed and impressive canopy.

I stopped at couple of points along the wall, on the ocean side and put in a few casts. I find fishing these locations on a moonless night pretty difficult. You cannot see where you cast lands or keep track of how fast / slow you are retrieving line. You have to estimate when to ‘jump’ the plastic over the rocks at the end of the retrieve. I caught the line in the rocks a few times, snapped it off and re-rigged. It was now about 5.30 am and I had not had a touch from a fish.

I was fishing with a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour rigged on a 3/8th oz 2/0 jighead. I had about 2 metres of 30lb fluorocarbon leader tied onto 40lb braided main line. This set up will work well with both a heavily weighted soft plastic lure and a metal slug or popper, so it is great for fishing the rock walls.

I moved on to the end of the wall as the horizon began to glow. The first few casts produced nothing. There was no surface action – things did not look good. The hour around dawn is always the most productive for me, in this location – if nothing happens in the first few casts, it is often the same for the rest of the session. I cast all around the end of the rock wall, I changed the plastic from a bright colour to a dark silhouette, from a Jerkshad to a Paddletail, and tried heavier and lighter jigheads – still nothing.

Finally at around 6.00 am, just before the sun came over the horizon, I felt a couple of touches. I was now fishing with the trusted GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I was casting into the river mouth and letting the last of the run out tide sweep the soft plastic around the end of the rock wall. I got another solid hit, then another and I struck. It was a Tailor – just over 35cm – nothing spectacular but at least I had a fish. I confidently let it go – hoping for something bigger. A fish also hit the next cast but there was no hook up – just a solid bite mark through the plastic.

A 35cm Tweed rockwall Tailor


Despite numerous further casts, that was it. I fished on for another hour or so, but there was no further action and needless to say, the Snapper did not reappear. Finally around 8.00 am I gave up. If fishing was easy it would be no fun – but right now, I am struggling with just how hard it can be!

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – A couple of Flathead – 1 Aug 2011

Monday

I only had time for a late morning fishing session today, so I drove up to Bribie Island for a couple of hours this morning, from the 10.00am high tide through to around noon. The wind had dropped significantly, since yesterday. There was still plenty of weed floating around but the water was a little clearer.

I caught a couple of Flathead that were just about 40 cm long. I got the first under the bridge, on the island side, using a GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour and the second down on the sand flats, in front of Buckley’s Hole, on a GULP 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger colour. I was fishing with a 1/6th 1 jighead. Hopefully the calmer weather and smaller tides will mean that the weed will start to settle down for the next week or so.

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Bribie Island – From Buckley’s Hole Lagoon to the Jetty – 15 June 2011

Wednesday

I only had time for a late morning session on Wednesday. I decided on the Pumicestone Passage again. I arrived at Bribie Island around 9.00 am. It was just about high tide. I decided to go back to the area where I had caught so many Flathead last week – the mouth of the tidal lagoon in front of Buckley’s Hole.

The sky was clear but there was a cold, westerly breeze blowing at about 10 knots. The wind was blowing the weed on shore. I waded out onto the sand spit and started walking north, along it to the point where the lagoon drains over the coffee rock ledge into the Passage.

I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and using the old favourite GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic lure, in the Pearl Watermelon colour. I had a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Something aggressive grabbed at the plastic a couple of times but I could not seem to hook up. Usually this means small Choppers (juvenile Tailor) are hanging around. A few casts later, I lost the lure to a bite off. I re-rigged with the same set up. With my first cast I hooked another fish. The frantic headshakes suggested it was a Tailor and then it leapt out of the water to give me a better view. It was hooked nicely in the mouth and I dragged it back to the sand. It was just about legal at around 35 cm, but I released it.

35 cm Tailor


Unfortunately then Dolphins turned up. They are beautiful creatures and it is nice to get close to them but their presence does nothing for the fishing! They splashed around just beyond the drop off and made a couple of surges, sending bait flying everywhere.

55 cm Flathead


I moved a bit further north and waited for things to settle down. The tide was really running out now. The weed had cleared and the wind had dropped away. As I waded towards the Island jetty I caught my first Flathead of the day – it was just under 40cm so I released it. I then caught two more small ones from the same spot. I moved further north and cast into the shallow water, just before the drop off. There was a solid thud – I dropped the rod tip and counted to ten. When I picked it up, I had a decent Flathead on the end. I waded back to the steps and landed the fish. I kept this one for supper – it was just over 55cm.

At about 12.45pm I gave up and went home, to thaw out. The fish were certainly not as thick as last week but they are definitely still around.

Bribie Island – More Flathead from around that jetty – 31 May 2011

Tuesday

When you are catching fish in a particular spot, it is difficult to tear yourself away. So at sunrise this morning I found myself back to the south of the old oyster jetty, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island.

I started at about 6.00 am, just on first light. High tide would be just after 8.00 am. The wind was a very light south-westerly. From 6.00 am to 8.00 am, all I could find were a couple Pike. I often find the last hour of the run in tide is difficult. I think the fish need a bit of current to get them in feeding mood. When the water is completely still, at high tide, they just stop biting. Around high tide I was also limited by the water depth, to within 30 metres of the Mangrove fringed shoreline.

Around 8.30 am, as the tide started running out, I caught my first Flathead of the day – 42cm long, on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead loaded with a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pumpkinseed Colour. As the run out tide grew stronger and the water level dropped, I walked further and further south, catching Flathead all the way along the big sandbar. I turned around when I reached the green channel marker and waded back up the Passage, casting into the run out tide. I swapped between the Pumpkinseed and Pearl Watermelon colour soft plastics and both caught fish. In total I caught 11 Flathead, of which 7 were over 40cm – the biggest was 61cm. I caught 4 fish on the sand right next to the green channel marker. All the fish were caught in less than a metre of water.

I finished up back at the bridge by about 11.00 am. All the fish caught today were released, so get out there and catch them!

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Bribie Island – Jew and Flathead – Good Friday – 22 April 2011

Good Friday

I am back in Brisbane for Easter and so I decided to drive up to Bribie to fish, wading the flats, early on Good Friday. I arrived by the bridge on the mainland side, at around 4.45am and low tide would be at about 7.00 am, so there was not much water under the bridge lights.

I cast around in that area using the GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. There was plenty of surface action with Long Toms and a few Pike cruising around. After wading around for a while I felt a light tug and paused. When I raised the rod tip and set the hook – I had a fish. I assumed it was a Flathead but as I saw a flash of silver I realised it was a Jewfish/ Mulloway at 40cm. I took a picture and released it. These are the one species that really love dirty water and after all the recent rain, conditions are currently perfect for them. I could not find any more and so as first light started to glow above the horizon, I waded south.

I passed under the Oyster Jetty and fished the weed beds, rocky bumps and dips, just to the south. I stuck with the same soft plastic and soon found a few Flathead. I caught 6 in this area in the next couple of hours, of which four were between 42 and 56cm. I kept these for the Easter BBQ and the rest went back. Things seemed to slow down with the turning of the tide and just after 8.00 am, I went home.

Bribie Island – Bridge, White Patch & Oyster Jetty – 8 March 2011

Tuesday

Up early and back to Bribie Island. I arrived at the mainland side of the bridge at around 4.00 am and started by casting soft plastics in amongst the pylons. The tide was in the last hour of running out and the rain showers overnight had again stirred things up. There is also a storm water drain under the bridge that empties out from time to time, further clouding the water.

I had rigged up a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Satay Chicken colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was fishing with 10lb braid and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader, on my light spin combo – a Loomis GL2 rod with a Shimano Stradic 3000 reel.

I started just to the north of the bridge and got no bites for a while. I moved quietly, round to the north and cast into the area where the light and bridge shadows meet. Thud – a solid hit, I dropped the rod tip, paused and then struck. The fish took some line then settled into the current. I gradually eased it up on to the sandy area at the foot of the rocks. It was a nice, 46cm Flathead. I let it go, straightened the plastic on the jighead and peppered the area with more casts. It was about 4.20 am. A few retrieves later there was a smaller bite, in about the same spot and I caught another Flathead. This time it was just on 40 cm. I released it and moved all around the bridge area and down to the street light beside the boat hire outlet, but I could not find any more.

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As dawn broke, I drove up to White Patch to look for some more fish. I walked down on to the beach and out towards the drop off, that runs all the way along the edge of the Pumicestone Passage. It was just after low tide and I waded along casting in all directions, out over the drop off and on top of it, in the shallow water. I did not get a bite on the soft plastic lures. I swapped to a 1/6thoz weight, Berkley Big Eye vibration blade, but this did not find any fish either. After an hour of wading up and down, I decided to change locations again.

I drove across the bridge to the Oyster Jetty and waded out beside it, on the south side. The tide was now running in solidly and the water was much cleaner than it had been up at White Patch. However, the wind was really getting up and there were some very nasty clouds on the horizon. I hooked a decent fish but was disappointed when it leapt out of the water – a huge Long Tom. I got rid of it and waded south for about 60 metres, casting in front of me, into the run in tide. I swapped to a GULP 4” Pearl Watermelon Minnow soft plastic and rigged it on a 1/8th 1 jighead. After a few casts in this area, the line came up taught and I had another fish. There was a bit of weight to it, so I decided to wade back the shoreline. It was a good size Flathead at 49cm.

I carried on for another 45 minutes but then a couple of monster rain squalls gave me a good soaking and the cooler southerly wind was really getting up. At about 9.45 am I headed home.

Bribie Island – Old Oyster Jetty – Flathead & Cod – 20 Feb 2011

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Sunday

Back in Brisbane and it was time to go looking for some fish in the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. Conditions looked pretty good for Sunday morning so I was wading out in the pre-dawn light, by the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at around 4.45 am.

It was just after low tide and there was no real current flow. The water was very murky with plenty of sediment stirred up by the big tides of the full moon (which was the night before). I started with a 1/8th 1 hook jighead and a GULP 3” minnow soft plastic in the lime tiger colour.

There is plenty of debate about the use of bright coloured soft plastics for murky water. I am yet to be convinced that they work better than natural colours, in these conditions. I think darker, natural colours, which create a clear silhouette in the water, probably work better. I am also a convert to using bright colours in extremely clear water, although this is somewhat counter intuitive and has taken a while for me to accept. Today the lime tiger had produced nothing in the first twenty minutes and as this was the bite window around dawn, I switched to a more natural coloured pearl watermelon minnow in the 4” size.
I waded slowly south, parallel with the shoreline casting in between the patches of rocky reef that are exposed on a low, low tide in this area. I got a couple of bites from what felt like Bream, or perhaps Long Toms, but no hook ups. At about 6.00 am the tide started to flow in with a bit more power and the water began to clear slightly.

At a point about 50 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty, I felt a light thud as I jerked the soft plastic off the bottom. I waited and then struck, but there was no fish. I cast back in the same direction and in the same spot, another thud. I dropped the rod tip slowly and then struck and I got the fish. It was a very small Flathead, around 20cm long, but at least I was off the mark.

The tide was really moving now and it was covering the weed beds very quickly. I found a patch of weed in about one metre of water. I cast up current and let the plastic hop across the bottom. As it reached the weed patch – thud. I set the hook and realized this time I had a better sized fish. I walked it back to the shoreline – it was another Flathead – just over 40cm long. With plenty of fish in the fridge I decided to let this one go.

I waded back out to the same area and over the next hour or so caught three more similar sized Flathead and a 40cm Estuary Cod – all on the same 4” pearl water melon coloured soft plastic. The water had been quite clear for a while at the beginning of the run in tide but now it was full of stirred up sediment again. By 8.45 am it was already around 30 ° C so I stopped fishing and headed for the air con.

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.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Tailor & Queenfish – 23 Dec 2010

On Wednesday morning – the rain looked like it would stop for a bit and as the wind was forecast to come from the south for a while, I decided to go for one more Tweed rockwall session before Christmas. The couple of hours either side of dawn has always been the most productive for me in this spot, so I was up at 3.00 am again. I drove down from Brisbane and was at the end of the rockwall, watching the red glow on the horizon at about 4.15 am.
There was a light south westerly blowing and it was quite cool. There was a little more swell as a result. I started with a River 2 Sea 110mm Dumbell Popper in the Pilchard colour. I was blooping it back slowly across the front of the rockwall. Suddenly there was a boil on the surface so I cast out, in that direction. The popper was knocked out of the water by a marauding fish but there was no hook up. After several more casts and hits – but no connections. I quickly tied on a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the lime tiger colour. I used a ½ oz 4/0 jighead. As soon as it hit the water is was snaffled by a solid fish. I had the drag fairly tight and got the fish round to the left (north) side of the rockwall, fairly quickly. Its head was shaking and then there were a few leaps and I could see it was a Tailor. I got it up the rocks and it measured up at just over 60cm.
Then everything went quiet. I switched from popper to metal slug, to plastic, several times but I could not raise a bite. I could not find any Kingfish but after another hour or so, I had another hook up on a GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the pearl watermelon colour. This time it was a tiny Queenfish. The range of species in this spot is amazing. After a quick snap I returned it to the water. I carried on for another ½ hour without success and finally headed home around 7.30 am.
Happy Christmas to all and I wish you the best of luck for your holiday trips. Get out there (in your rain gear) and find some good fish. Even if it is raining, the fish still have to eat!

Bribie Island – The Old Oyster Jetty – 17 Nov 2010

Wednesday
I started fishing at about 9.15 am – not ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way of my true calling. It was a fantastic Queensland day with bright sunshine and light breeze from the North West. I was at my usual haunt – Bribie Island. I headed up to Whitepatch where I had caught a few fish on Sunday. The tide was about half way out with low tide forecast for around 12.45pm.
I rigged up with a very light 1/32 oz jig head and put on a Gulp Sandworm in the Camo colour. I was trying for a few whiting. There were plenty around – I suspect their favourite food is the soldier crabs that come out on to the flats, in huge numbers, at low tide.
I caught a couple of very small Whiting and then decided to look for something bigger. There was plenty of bait in the water – whiting, garfish etc. I upgraded to a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and put on a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Peppered prawn colour. I walked up and down the ledge that runs all along this section of the Passage and cast alternately; one over the edge and one out in front of me, into the shallow water on top of the ledge. I did this for well over an hour without success. At one point a hungry Pike made a great lunge at the lure just as I lifted it out of the water, but I did not get it.
At this stage I think it is fair to point out that I usually find November, December, January and February by far the toughest months to fish the Queensland estuaries from the shore. If I look back through my diaries there is a dramatic drop off in my catch rate after the Flathead finish spawning and the water warms up. However, summer brings the possibility of rarer, but exciting species such as Mangrove Jack and Sweetlip and even the occasional pelagic, like Tuna or Mackerel. It is a different style of fishing and requires a bit more work. You have to find them and this means lots of long casts and long walks/ wades.
I decided to switch spots and drove over to the mainland side of the Bribie Island Bridge. I waded out onto the muddy weed banks just to the south of the old oyster jetty. By now these were only covered with about 60cm of water. I put on the Gulp 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour – I stuck with the 1/6th 1/0 weight jighead. I was aiming at the sandy patches in between the weed and the edge of the rubble piles that dot the area. There was a bit of weed floating around but not enough to make the fishing difficult. About 40 metres to the south of the jetty I cast into a piece of clear sandy bottom and just as the plastic hit the edge of the weed, I felt a dull thud. Finally, after three hours of fishing I was on to a reasonable fish. I gave it plenty of line and gradually towed it back to the shore to unhook. It was too valuable to try to risk grabbing while wading around in the water. When I got it up and away from the water it was a respectable 46cm Flathead. It was now right on low tide and after a few more casts to see if the fish had any friends around, I gave up.
The fishing is getting harder but the harder they are to find, the sweeter they taste!