Bribie Island – Bongaree – 22 September 2015

Tuesday

Its school holidays and it already feels like a chore reminding my teenagers that fresh air and limb movement are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. So kicking and screaming, I confiscated their phones and forced them into the car on Tuesday morning, to drive them up to Bribie Island. Obviously, a pre-dawn start was out of the question and we rolled into Bongaree, at the southern tip of the island, just after 8.00 am.

I have not fished here for quite a while. The shifting sands are the only constant feature. The new stepped sea wall on either side of the Seaside Museum creek drain is the latest feature. This has already had quite an effect. The coffee rock ledge that runs along the whole edge of the Pumicestone Passage has been covered in sand in some parts and stripped down to rock in others.

My children wandered off to Scoopy’s to find lattes and a nutritious breakfast that probably comprised mainly of hot chips – well at least I had succeeded in getting them to leave the house! I wandered south towards Buckley’s Hole. The sky was clear the breeze was light and low tide would be at 9.07am . I wandered passed a couple who had a few baits out and were in the process of reeling in a small bream.

I waded out slowly and quietly towards the edge of the coffee rock ledge. I was casting a small soft plastic GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. I was fishing with my light spin rod and reel combination and there were plenty of small schools of similair sized bait fish, hovering over the edge of the ledge.

The first taker was a small pike. It slammed the soft plastic, just as I pulled it over the ledge. It was followed by another, on the next cast. A few casts, later I caught another. Pike are often look very striped when they are caught and displaying their distress colours.  I moved a little further south and, about 10 minutes later, I found another patch of pike. I tried a few different soft plastics but I could not find any fish other than the pike.

The tide had slowed, turned and started to run in. The beach had started to fill with families, kayaks, inflatables and fisherman and of all ages. It was now about 10.30 am. I waded back towards the Seaside Museum. I was back fishing with the 3” Minnow soft plastic. I saw a two large amber speckled shapes moving slowly just beneath the surface, parallel with the ledge. I cast my soft plastic just in front of them and one diverted to miss it. I quickly wound in and cast again. This time I retrieved the plastic quickly across the surface and jagged the creature. It was a squid and I had sunk the jig head in to one of its wings. I slowly wound it in, keeping up the pressure but being careful not to pull the hook out. As it got close to shore it started pumping out black ink in big bursts. I carefully picked it up and let it empty its ink.

I fished on for a while but could not find anymore and by 11.00 am my children were threatening to report me to social services for child abuse, if I did not get them back to their mobile phones. I was happy – mission ‘fresh air’ had been accomplished and we would be having calamari for dinner.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 15 July 2015

Wednesday

By Wednesday I was back in Brisbane, but I had a few hours for a fish in the middle of the day, that would coincide with the run out tide at Bribie.

I drove up and arrived at about 11.00 am. I had swapped back to my NS Blackhole 6′ SGII 602L trout rod as I wanted to put in some bigger casts on the flats. My new short Loomis ultra-light rod is great in tight terrain, when there are lots of overhanging branches, but it is not necessary at Bribie.

I waded out under the bridge on the mainland side. Low tide would be at 2.54 pm. There was a very light cold south-westerly wind blowing. It was the day before the new moon. The water was very clear and running out fast.

After about 30 minutes of casting and wading to the south, I caught the first flathead of the day. I was using my usual 1/8th ounce, 1/0 hook jighead and a GULP Jerkshad soft plastic lure in the Satay Chicken colour. I had decided to use a 12lb leader to give myself a little more protection against the toothy winter species. I then quickly caught a few pike on the same plastic.

I was now a fair way to the south of the old oyster jetty. I swapped to GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour and caught more big pike. I kept a couple of the bigger ones for my cat’s supper. One came in with a nice mouth shaped bite mark on its belly. There are few better live baits for mulloway, tailor or big flathead, than large double hooked pike.

I managed to move away from the pike patch and caught another legal sized flathead. The pattern of pike then flathead, continued as I moved out along the sand bar towards the green channel marker. I caught fish all the way along, on a number of different soft plastics including the GULP Smelt and Lime Tiger coloured 4” minnows and the GULP Cajun Chicken 5” jerkshads.

As I reached the slighty deeper water around the green channel marker something fast and furious grabbed the Smelt colour minnow and took off. It was a 40 cm tailor and it gave my light trout rod a good work out. I released it and set off back for the bridge.

I caught fish all the way back to the car. They were mainly Pike and I had a couple of bite offs that could have been the passing tailor. In between I caught approximately 8 more flathead, only three of which were under the legal size limit of 40cm.

I finished in the dirty water at the bottom of the tide at about 3.15 pm. Unfortunately I forgot the camera today so I have posted a few pics from my phone and a couple of the home fish filleting area.

Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 26 May 2015

Tuesday 26 05-2015

 

There is not really enough time for fishing at the moment but you have to keep your hand in. I told everybody I had a conference call and bought myself a few hours on Tuesday morning.

It was a cold and I had a little trouble waking up. I did not arrive at Bribie until about 6.45 am.  Low tide would be at 9.45 am and there was a light south-westerly breeze. It was a clear day and the water was cooler again. I waded out under the bridge on the mainland side of the bridge. I started with the GULP Swimmow soft plastic in the Emerald Shine colour on a 1/8th ounce, size  1/0  hook jighead. By the time I reached the jetty I had caught one flathead, but it was too small to keep.

I waded under the jetty and noticed that the tables have been put out in front of the new Sandstone Point Hotel. The old oyster shed is being done up and I have heard it will be a coffee shop – so I will soon have a direct audience, when I am fishing here.

I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the Green Camo colour. I stuck with the 10lb fluorocarbon leader and the 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. I caught another small flathead that was just over 40 cm. The tide was almost all the way out so I walked down to the green channel marker and started to make my way back towards the old oyster jetty. I found the edge of the weed beds and caught three more flathead, only one of which was just over 40 cm.

As I got closer to the jetty I dropped back down to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Sardine colour. This smaller profile soft plastic attracted a few Pike. At about 10.30 am I caught another just legal sized flathead before giving up for the day.

Persistence and changing you bait/ lure offering regularly is the only real strategy when the fish are spread out like this. There are a few fish to be caught but they do not seem to be grouped together for spawning just yet.

Bribie – A few flathead from the oyster jetty flats – 12 May 2015

Tuesday

Up to Bribie Island again to find some more flathead. The cooler months – from March through to September – are traditionally a very good time to fish on south east Queensland. The pike, bream and flathead all fire up and occasionally the mulloway also arrive.

On Tuesday morning I was up early and wading out under the bridge at about 5.30 am. It was before first light so I decided to have a cast around under the bridge lights on the mainland side. There is always plenty of bait in this location and this morning was no exception. The water was cool and the Pike were surging around having a snap at the smaller fish.

The tide had been high at about 3.45 am and was running out. I cast at the areas of dark water just on the edge of the halo from the lights. I was working the area just north of the bridge around eth mangrove roots. I was fishing with the new Loomis light sin rig and a10lb fluorocarbon leader. I had loaded it with a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead. The first taker was a small flathead, about 35cm long, who was sitting in the shallows. I released it and a few minutes later connected with a series of hungry pike.

As the sky turned red I moved south. The sun came over the horizon at about 6.20 am and soon afterwards I found another flathead. This one was big enough to keep at about 43 cm long. I released it and moved under the jetty.

I could see something moving in the water a little beyond the end of the jetty and heard a blow a little like the sound the turtles sometimes make when they surface. About a minute later I heard it again and turned to see a swirl in the same spot. I realised it was a dugong sitting in the 2.5m deep channel that runs through the rocky/reefy area in front of the jetty. I stopped and watched it surface and sink for about 10 minutes. I have never seen one moving along these sea grass beds but I am sure they come and go fairly regularly.

I moved south and left the dugong to its business. There were lots of swirls on the surface and I realised there was a big school of mullet swimming around over the weed. I waded round the corner towards Sandstone Point and watched as the resident long toms harassed my soft plastic lure. There were mullet schools everywhere here but I could not find anything lurking beneath them. I waded around following them for the next ninety minutes with no luck.

I moved back towards the big sandbank and started casting along its edge. I had now swapped to a GULP 5” Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour.  At about 8.20 am I felt a grab but did not hook up. I cast back in the same spot and this time I hooked another just legal flathead. I released it and peppered the area with casts but there were no more takers in the area.

I moved down to the edge of the major weed banks that line the main channel, in the direction of the green channel marker. At about 8.40 am I found another flathead, also about 45cm long. Once more, I could not find any others in close proximity. I turned back towards the jetty and waded along the edge of the sandbanks, casting as I went. At 9.00 am I caught my final flathead of the session just short of the jetty.

I waded back to the car. I had caught a few fish but it had been fairly hard work and they had been very spread out. The amount of bait in the water was very encouraging but I could not find the flathead bunched up anywhere – maybe next time.

Bribie Island – The old oyster jetty flats – 11 August 2014

Monday

After a disappointing outing on Friday I was up earlier on Monday.  It was full moon. In fact, it was a super moon. That is probably why I could not sleep. I did not have much time, so I drove up to Bribie Island for a quick morning session.

The fish are always out there somewhere, so when they are elusive, it is not a bad idea to go back to basics. I decided to drop the leader down to 8lb fluorocarbon, use the fine wire Bream Pro 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jigheads and start with 2” and 3” GULP soft plastics in natural colours – Peppered Prawn, Banana Prawn, Smelt, Pearl Watermelon, etc. This set up should at least attract a few pike and bream.

I started under the bridge lights, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. There was a very light south-westerly wind blowing and the moon was amazing. It was so bright that the fish would certainly have been confused by it. It was just after 5.00 am and low tide had passed at 3.53 am. It had been one of the years lowest at 0.2 metres. The tide was running in fast but there was no sign of any bait under the bridge lights. I cast around with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I felt a couple of grabs and half hooked a couple of pike, but they both wriggled off. I had one solid bite, that might have been a small flathead, but it let go before I could find out.

At about 5.30 am, I decided to swap back to the mainland side of the bridge. I drove back over and waded out into the shallows. I stayed about 10 metres north of the bridge and cast towards it. I soon found the pike hiding in amongst the weed clumps and rocks.

I gradually moved south, under the bridge. The mad moon was creating a fantastic bright orange sky, as dawn was breaking. I think the sunrises on the east coast of Australia are the best in the world and this one was as good as they get. My camera does not do it justice – but I am sure if you are as mad about fishing as I am, you will have seen a few of these.

The tide was moving in quickly and the water coming in from the bay was very cold.  I made my way south to the fast disappearing sand bank and fished around this area. It is tough to fish here when the sun is low in the sky, as you cannot see where the sandy patches and weed beds are. You just have to slowly and methodically cover the ground.

I swapped up to slightly bigger GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. After just a few casts this produced results with a definite hit. I paused but there was no fish there. It was just about 7.00 am. I did not have much more time in this spot as the tide was running in very quickly. I slowed everything down and tried to put the next cast back in exactly the same spot. I left the lure on the bottom for a good ten seconds. I hopped it slowly back towards me – nothing. I cast about a metre to the left and repeated the process. This time after my second pause on the bottom, whack, another solid flathead bite. This time I dropped the rod tip and counted (fairly quickly) to ten. When I lifted the rod the fish was hooked. It felt much bigger than it was (about 45cm) but it was a relief to finally get one.

As the morning progressed the wind picked up a little. The scenery was fantastic and the weather very good but I just could not find the fish. I swapped from small plastics to big plastics, jerkshads to paddletails to grubtails. I tried my DUO hard bodies but nothing worked.

At about 9.00 am I had to give up. It looks like I am going to have to put in a lot of practice to find my form again!

Bribie – the bridge and White Patch – 2 June 2014

Monday

No time for anywhere but Bribie at the moment, but I decided to try a few different areas. These bright winter dawns are the best of the year and although the cooler weather makes it a bit tougher to get out of bed in the dark, it’s dark for much longer.

I started on the Bribie Island side at about 5.45 am, just north of the bridge. I would be fishing the low tide and the start of the run in. The water was still and the tide had slowed down. I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour and I have now swapped back down to fishing with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This definitely produces more hits than fishing with 12 lb leader or heavier. It is also a good strategy to try and catch a few bream.

There was not much going on under the lights below the bridge. A few prawns skittered around, which was why I chose the Shrimp patterned soft plastic. At about 6.00 am, I caught a couple of small Pike. I moved a bit further to the south and a few minutes later, I caught two 35cm flathead, which had been lying in the shadows on the edge of the weed beds.

The sun started to light things up and nothing much was happening, so I drove up to White Patch Beach, further north on Bribie Island. The drop off that lines the edge of the Pumicestone Passage, also runs along the shoreline here. I parked at the set of steps down to the beach and wandered down. The fishing can be tough here but the scenery is fantastic, so it’s worth a regular visit.

 

There are nearly always lots of pike here and whilst you do catch the odd snapper, queenfish, mulloway and trevally, it is the core estuary species of cod, bream, flathead and tailor that dominate. Predictably, I found a patch of pike straight away. It was now about 7.30 am. I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour and the pike liked this as well.

I moved slowly to the south and swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR a suspending hard body that has caught a few bream for me. I put in some long casts further to the south and I slowly twitched the lure back along the edge of the drop off. I felt a few grabs and then, as I slowed things down a little I connected with a fish. It was a small bream – about 28cm long. A few casts later, I connected with another, but I had the drag set a little tight and I pulled the trebles out.

It was now 8.30 am, well after low tide but the water still appeared to be running in, on the surface. The water was quite, murky and stirred up, so I decided to swap to a big bright coloured soft plastic lure. I chose the GULP Crazylegs Jerkshad in the Curried Chicken colour. I was now close to Wrights Creek, casting ahead of me into the shallows.

I was now close to Wrights Creek, casting ahead of me into the shallows. I got plenty of grabs and small bites, as I worked the soft plastic along the edge of the drop off, but I had to wait another hour to find the next fish. It was another small flathead about 35cm.

At about 9.45 am I had to pack up. I had found a few small fish, which usually means the bigger ones are nearby, but there was nothing for dinner.

Bribie – the bridge and the Seaside Museum creek mouth – 19 May 2014

Monday

It would be low tide at Bribie just after dawn. I could not resist a quick fish before work. With the water getting noticeably colder, I was sure the tailor would be around somewhere.

Small ‘chopper’ tailor often hang around under the bridge, just before dawn. The bait fish and prawns are drawn to the bridge lights and the tailor, pike, bream and flathead can’t resist trying to ambush them. To the north of the bridge there are some established weed beds which are good fish habitat. The bait is also drawn to the light of the big street lamp, near the boat hire spot, a little further up.

Low tide would be at 7.06 am. Unfortunately, this side of the Pumicestone Passage gets a bit more breeze when the wind is coming from the south, south-west, or south-east. Today it was a cool south-westerly, initially and then turned into to a much stronger south-easterly, later in the morning. There had been rain over night, but not much.

I arrived at about 5.00 am and the moon was completely blocked by some ominous looking clouds. It was growing smaller in its waning gibbous phase – a bit less than half way between full and new. The water was very clear but the wind had lifted a lot of weed.

The tide was running out, so I went round to the south side, and waded into the shallows, in the dark. I cast up, towards the circle of sandy bottom, lit up by the bridge light, nearest to the shore. I started with a DUO hard body that is perfect for clear, shallow water. The DUO Realis Minnow 80 SP is a suspending minnow. Because it is fairly long at 80mm and light at 4.7 grams, you need to rig it on a light leader (10lb breaking strain or less). This enables you to cast it over longer distances. You need to do this, as it is a fairly shallow diver and it takes a few metres to get down to its running depth, about 10 cm below the surface. I think this will be a great bream lure.

As always at Bribie, the floating sea grass was a pain in the neck. After a couple of casts, I saw the lure get knocked out of the water by a small fish. A few moments later, something grabbed it and started shaking its head. It was a tiny pike.

 

I carried on casting in the same spot and had obviously found a patch of them. I caught 3 more small pike before they decided to leave the Realis Minnow alone. I swapped to the DUO Realis Shad 59 MR  – another suspending minnow,  but this one dives a little deeper. I moved closer to the bridge and cast into the shadows underneath it. Once more, it did not take long for the Pike to find this lure. There were a couple of casts when nothing hit the lure, then a tiny flathead grabbed it and came to the surface angrily shaking its head.

It started to rain so I moved north in to the shadows, under the bridge. I cast over the shallows, on the south side and soon foul hooked a tiny bream. It was now about 5.30 am but with the clouds and rain, there was no sign of first light. The surface activity increased as the fish sensed dawn was on its way. I felt a few very aggressive knocks and bumps and decided to increase the speed of my retrieve. This produced immediate results and on the next cast, I saw a small tailor grab the back end of the lure, a few feet away from me. It fell off but on the next cast, I landed one. It was only about 25cm but I was delighted that it had been hanging out just where I thought it would be. I then had a frantic twenty minutes with my lure getting bumped and smashed on almost every cast. I connected with about 8 fish, but only 4 stayed on until they reached the shore. They were all small choppers, the largest of which might just have made 30cm long.

At about 6.00 am a grey dawn started to break and I decided to move down to the drain in front of the old seaside museum, to see what has happened to the terrain there. The works to secure the sea wall are continuing but clearly, the finished, stepped, wall is some months off. I waded out on to the patch of coffee rock that sits in front of the seaside museum. With about an hour to go until low tide, the rocky bottom was completely exposed.

I cast the DUO Shad 59 MR around, but it kept picking up weed so I changed it for GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and loaded this up on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I moved south, along the edge of the coffee rock, casting into the deeper what beyond. I got a couple of strong hits and then, at about 6.30 am I felt a solid bite and set the hook. The fish tried to run away under the ledge but I had the drag set quite tight and the rod absorbed its lunges. I soon saw a flash of silver. It was a chunky bream that I later measured at 34cm. I tried for more and had a few hits but could not land any.

At 7.30 am, the wind was up and another rain shower threatened. It was time to head back to work. But a day of work is always easier to bear, when you have caught a fish before it starts!