1770 – Tom’s Creek – 17 May 2016

Tuesday

On Tuesday the wind was forecast to blow pretty hard from the south east so I decided to fish the run out tide in Toms Creek. This is a small shallow creek system that comes off Round Hill Creek. The Town of 1770 is situated on the banks of Round Hill Creek.

The moon was about 85% full and low tide would be at about noon. You can reach Tom’s Creek down a very rough four-wheel drive track that leads off from the showground/ market area. I started fishing from the bank and as the tide receded, I followed it out.

I fished with various soft plastics all on a 1/8thounce, 1/0 hook jighead, using 10 lb fluorocarbon leader and my light spin rod. I caught a few small Moses Perch, one flathead that was just about legal size at 40 cm. It was good to explore this territory on a very low tide and see where the holes and slightly deeper patches of water are located.

I fished until about noon and finished by catching a few tiny trevally that enjoyed attacking my small minnow soft plastics.

1770 – Baffle Creek – Flat Rock – 22 October 2014

Wednesday

After a windy and stormy night with a fair amount of rain, I woke to grey skies on Wednesday. Agnes Water and 1770 can be a tough place to fish. Half the problem is that everywhere just looks so fishy. The mangrove lined creeks, the rocky headlands and unspoiled beaches. It raises your expectations but as with fishing everywhere, you still need to put in the hard work. That means fishing at dawn and dusk – when the fish eat. It also means trying everything in the tackle box and trying lots of different locations.

Wednesday morning would be wet with rough seas but it was still worth a fish. I was up at 4-15 am and drove down to Flat Rock Beach in Deepwater National Park. I walked out on to the beach and watched the sun come up as I cast a few soft plastics around. The water was murky and it was just too windy, so I retreated and put plan B in to action.

Plan B was to drive further down the sandy track and head for Flat Rock boat ramp on Baffle Creek. It is a fairly wide stretch of Baffle Creek with a few scattered rock bars and mangrove lined edges. The main attraction is a wide rock bar that juts out into the channel and is submerged on high tide. Sadly, despite its fairly remote location, this spot seems to get fished quite a lot and there is a fair amount of boat traffic coming and going from the nearby ramp, especially at weekends and later in the day. When its windy out on the ocean this is the only option.

I arrived at about 11.00 am and only had to share the space with one other land based fisherman – a friendly Kiwi called Chris – who was camping nearby at Wreck Rock. He had had a fair bit of success using flesh baits and pilchards, he had landed a nice mangrove jack, a day previously.  There was sickly sweet smell and I could see it was coming from the nasty green algal bloom covering the mud and the sand, as the tide receded.

 

I started with my light spinning rig and 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I was fishing with a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I cast along parallel with the mangroves. The tide was running out. I soon picked up a dusky flathead – 50 cm long. A few casts later the lure was slammed by a fairly significant fish. I hooked up instantly and it took off. On the first leap I could not see what it was. On the second, its black back gave it away as a pretty big (60cm +) Tarpon. It leapt three or four times and kept making blistering runs. With 10lb leader I could not muscle it in so I let it have its head. Unfortunately, as soon as I tried to tighten the drag and put some pressure on, it snapped the leader.

 

I fished for a little longer with the GULP Shrimp, then swapped to a Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour. I had now re-rigged with 15lb leader. After a few casts I had a solid bite and about 3 casts later, another smaller Tarpon hit hard. I set the hook and let it take line and leap around for a few minutes. When it had worn itself out I reeled it in, unhooked it and released it. These are tough fighting fish with small hard mouths, so they can be hard to hook.

I fished on through the falling tide but the wind got stronger and stronger and even made fishing this sheltered spot hard. I had a few bites from smaller fish but at about noon. I gave up for the day.

1770 – Baffle Creek – Flat Rock Ramp – 10/11 June 2013

Monday/ Tuesday

By Monday work was done and I was on my way back to Brisbane. I did have time for a quick stop at 1770. The weather was far from encouraging with heavy rain and persistent strong southeasterly winds. So on Monday morning I trekked round to the stretch of coast between Workman’s Beach and the beach I call Getaway Beach. This area is quite sheltered in a strong southerly. The top of the tide was just before dawn and I tried everything, big and small soft plastic and hard bodies – nothing raised a bite. The water was stirred up and murky and the swell made things tough. Every time I fished with heavy lures, I pulled up lots of weed and displaced rubbish from the bottom. When I fished lighter, I could not keep the lures in the water. After a few hours I gave up.

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

The weather looked good for Jewfish at 1770

Tried everything in the tackle bag

Tried everything in the tackle bag

In the afternoon I decided to drive back to Brisbane, via Baffle Creek. I arrived at the Flat Rock boat ramp, just after lunch, at the top of the incoming tide. The wind was still a strong southerly and the rock bars to the east of the boat ramp were all covered in at least 30 cm of water. This area took a pummeling from the flooding, earlier in the year and there was plenty of evidence, with grass and debris still high up, in the mangroves. The ramp and picnic area were badly damaged but have now been repaired.

I waded out on the biggest rock bar just west of the picnic area and cast around the edges. The tide turned and started to run out just after 1.00 pm. There are big rock bars on either side of this channel. They form a funnel in the middle and on a big tide the water really races through. The water was quite clean at high tide, but got dirtier and dirtier as it ran out.

I started with GULP and Zman soft plastic on 1/6th oz, 1/0 jigheads. I had a few bites and watch the bait fish follow the lures in. Across from me on the other side of the channel, something was feeding in the eddies, formed by the opposite rock bar. I tried to land a few long casts in the right spot but I could not tempt them.

After about an hour, I move back upstream to the west of the boat ramp and cast around in the shallows. I was now fishing with my all-time favourite plastic, the humble 4 “ GULP Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour, on a 1/8th oz, 1 jighead. I was now down to 8lb leader, in the hopes of attracting a fish. After a few casts I did. It was a small dusky flathead. I continued along the sandy banks, casting at the base of the mangroves and soon found some more. I caught six in the next hour, but only two would have been just over 40 cm.

At about 3.00pm it was time to pack up. Overall, I had had a pretty disappointing couple of weeks on the fishing front. The fish had been small and hard to find. However, I had enjoyed exploring some new territory and as always, learning what does not work can be as important as learning what does. I found that when the going gets tough small, natural coloured soft plastics, like the GULP 4/3″ Minnows and light leaders, still produce results. The Zman Minnowz did not produce a fish on this trip – and they had plenty of outings. I will have to try their natural coloured minnow shaped range, but I still think the GULP scent and softer texture give their lures the edge. The weather had made things very hard but I believe the big flush out will set the area up for some great fishing in late winter. I am planning to get back up here as soon as I can.

Bribie – Oyster jetty flats – 26 June 2013

Sunday

I was up early and even though it was cold and windy, I had to get my fishing fix. I drove up to Bribie and waded out under the bridge, on the mainland side, at about 6.00 am. Low tide had been at about 4.30 am. I had filled a bag on Thursday, so I was confident.

My target area would only be in range until about 7.30 am. The sky was clear but the wind made things tough and it was building. I waded straight to the north of the oyster jetty, to target the edge of the weed beds. This is where the fish are usually laying up.

I tried lots of different lures – Gulps, Z-Men, hard bodies, but I could not find the fish. Just as I was being pushed back by the incoming tide, I finally connected with a fish. It was a 46cm Flathead and I caught it with a 4” Gulp Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour.

The tide was too high to stay in this spot and the wind was making things tough, so I gave up. There was a big moon in the sky behind me and recent trips suggest the fishing is tougher in this spot when the moon is full. Maybe that is true – but I maybe had just failed to find them today.

1770 – Workmans Beach – 7 May 2013

Tuesday

The wild weather continued; strong south-easterly winds and plenty of rain. On Tuesday morning I braved the rocks at the southern end of Workman’s Beach, near Agnes Water. This area is sheltered from a southerly and south-easterly and there is plenty of fishy looking territory.

After a few days of big seas, the water was all stirred up and a milky brown colour. I started with soft plastics and then switched to slugs and hard bodies, but nothing yielded results. The sun came out mid-morning, but not for long. As the day wore on, the wind picked up. It then brought the clouds back in. Just after lunch, there was another downpour, so I gave up. Tuesday had been my first zero fish session for quite some time!

Nothing seemed to work today

Nothing seemed to work today

Bribie Island – The oyster jetty to the channel marker – 23 June 2012

Saturday

Now there are a whole host of reasons why it would be inappropriate to do your tax return at the weekend – so it will just have to wait until Monday.

The weather looked like it might be on the turn and you have to fish when you can. It was not quite so cold on Saturday morning but the wind was forecast to pick up. I drove back up to Bribie Island and arrived on the mainland side of the bridge at around 6.00 am.

It was still dark and the tide was out. I had a few casts by the bridge but could not raise a bite. I walked along the water line until I had passed the old oyster jetty. Low tide had passed just before six. Here at the edge of the Passage, the water was still slowly running out over the exposed seagrass beds.
I was back to the soft plastics and started with a GULP Jerkshad in the Lime Tiger colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I cast out and slowly retrieved the soft plastic along the bottom with plenty of pauses. I felt a few small bites and lost a bit of the tail on the soft plastic – probably the Pike.

I moved a bit further south, casting along the edge of the weed beds. The sun was trying to get over the horizon but the scattered low cloud ensured a gloomy, cold start to the day. As it gradually got lighter, I could see where I wanted to cast and not long afterwards I had my first fish on the line. I dragged it up to the sand – it was a Flathead just under 50cm long.

I carried on casting in the same area and had a couple of solid bites and then hooked another Flathead who spat the lure just a few feet from me. I carried on south and swapped to the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. About ten metres further south, I found another Flathead but it was only just 40 cm, so I put it back. On the next cast – in exactly the same spot, I was rewarded with a bigger one, about 45cm so I kept that one.

The fish in the fridge has all been consumed so I needed to re-stock. I think the 45cm to 55cm fish really taste the best. At this size, you get reasonable size fillets and the flesh is still very tender. Flathead is definitely a favorite in our house – which is fortunate!

I kept moving in the direction of the channel marker and over the next hour, I caught 5 more Flathead – only two of which were too small. With my bag full it was now time to experiment.

I tried a small popper – with no luck. I switched to a regular ¼ oz blade lure and this caught a Pike. Then I tied on the DUO Tetraworks Bivi again. Predictably the Pike got stuck in and I caught three or four. I then slowed the retrieve down and shortened the lure hops. I kept pulling up weed but I persisted. I felt a bit of resistance and then the line started peeling – this was a big fish and it was heading for the main channel. But it was moving very slowly and something did not feel right. I tightened the drag and it started to come towards me. After about three or four minutes I saw a great flap come out of the water and realized it was just a big stingray. Eventually the lure pulled free and of it went.

I now turned back towards the bridge. On the way to the car I kept casting the small DUO Bivi. Just short of the jetty I felt a solid bite and saw a Flathead come to the surface, angrily trying to spit the lure out. It may have succeeded because the line went slack for a moment but then came up tight again. I set the hooks hard and let the fish have some line. It was not too big but there was plenty of structure nearby, so I dragged it back towards the muddy shore and away from the rocky patches. I pulled it up on a sandy patch. The DUO Tetraworks Bivi had finally managed to catch a Flathead. I had my five so I removed the trebles (with my pliers) and sent it on its way.

The keeper bag was heavy and I needed a hot drink so at about 8.45 am, I gave up and headed for the car. It had been another good land-based fishing session.

Bribie Island – The Oyster Jetty to the channel marker – 17 June 2012

Monday

I had to do the tax return on Monday. But one look at the weather and I decided that Wayne Swan would have to wait another few days. Fishing conditions were perfect. I could not start early so I arrived at the Bribie Bridge just after 8.30am. It was just after high tide. There was no real wind and the new moon was due on Tuesday. The water was very clear despite the recent high winds.

I got straight down to business with a GULP 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jig head. I was using my light spin rod and had it loaded with 8lb braid and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I waded out to the north of the bridge, on the mainland side. The Flathead come right up to the edge of the mangroves on a high tide and this was what I was looking for.

It started with Smelt

It was a 1.8 m high tide which is a fairly ‘low’ high tide for this area. I waded out a bit further on the north side of the bridge to cast at the rocky area, just in front of the third set of bridge legs. The lure bumped on a few rocks and then the line went tight and started wiggling. It was a 44cm Flathead and my first decent fish for a while.

Under the Bribie Bridge

The first decent fish for a while

I moved south towards the oyster jetty. The tide was just starting to run out. I cast all around the rocky reef just south of the bridge, with no luck. As I got a bit closer to the jetty I felt a solid bite. I paused, counted to ten, then struck. This one was a bigger Flathead – just under 50 cm. It tried a few headshakes, as I waded up into the shallows, but I soon had it landed by the mangroves.

Also took the Smelt colour

Then came a bigger one

I moved under the oyster jetty and continued to cast out into the Passage. I was casting into the run out tide and working my lure back along the bottom with the flow. I felt a good bite and cast back in the same spot. This time I saw the Flathead follow the plastic but it turned away at the last minute. I kept casting at the same spot and felt another bite, but I just could not hook it.

I swapped soft plastics to a GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour. I moved further south, over the sand flats towards the green channel markers. At about 10.30 am I felt a solid hit and the line started peeling. This was a bigger fish and it had grabbed the lure on the drop, so it was a long way away from me. The tide was running out but there was still no nearby sand bank to land the fish on. I decided to play it out and try and grab it – this usually ends in tears – with me getting a quick spike and then dropping the fish. This time, I let the fish make lots of runs and then maneuvered my keeper bag, like a landing net, under the fish. I shortened the line and pulled the fish into the bag. I then took out the hook in the bag. This was the best fish of the day at just under 60cm.

This one took a Cajun Chicken

I continued wading across the flats and soon caught two more Flathead on the same soft plastic, about 50cm long. With a full bag it was now catch and release for the rest of the day.

A bag of Bribie Flathead

A bag of Bribie Flathead

I had reached a sandy patch by the green channel marker and decided to try the DUO Tetraworks Bivi small hard body vibe lure. After a couple of casts I found some Pike. The lure may have worked on the Flathead but the problem was getting passed the Pike. I caught seven Pike in ten casts and realized that I was not going to beat them.

The DUO Bivi could net get past the Pike

I swapped back to a GULP Jerkshad – this time in the Satay Chicken colour. The Pike left this alone so I turned around and started to wade back in the direction of the old oyster jetty. At the edge of the weed banks I found the Flathead again. I caught another six on the way back to the bridge – all were legal size, from about 50 to 60 cm. They all went back for someone else to catch.

Satay Chicken for this one

The weather was perfect and the fishing matched the weather – shame about the tax return!

Conditions were perfect

The spectators were unimpressed

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole – Stonefish Encounter – 5 May 2011

Thursday

The weather forecast looked windy but not until about 8.00 am, so I set out early to fish on Bribie Island. I crossed over the bridge around 4.30 am and decided to fish around the base of pylons on the island side. I met another keen fisherman there, flicking soft plastics. It’s always nice to know that there is someone just as mad as me out there!

The bridge lights had attracted the prawns, and they had attracted the Pike and a few small chopper Tailor. We cast either side of the bridge for about 45 minutes. I hooked up with a few Pike, but could not find anything bigger. The other fisherman had found a couple of Flathead earlier and then been busted off.

The Pike are back with the cooler weather

At first light I moved down to fish the drop off in front of Buckley’s Hole. The wind was starting to pick up and it had stirred up the water. The tide was running in. I waded south, in about waist deep water and cast around in the area just before the coffee rock forms a ledge at the main channel. I was using the GULP 3” Crazy Legs Grub on a 1/6th 1/0 hook. After ten minutes or so I hooked up with a Flathead that was just under 50cm. I released it and cast back in the same area. I hooked another fish immediately, but then somehow it wriggled off the lure.

50cm Flathead

I moved further south, parallel with the shore. Then disaster struck. I felt a sharp needle under my wader boot and instinctively hopped away. Something had pierced the gumboot sole and gone into the sole of my foot. I thought things through and concluded it was probably a Stonefish. It did not hurt initially but after about ten minutes all that changed and it really went off! I limped back to the car and fortunately for me, the ambulance station was only a few hundred yards away. It was around 6.30 am, so I rang on the bell. A paramedic sat me down and had a look at the puncture mark. She then put my foot in a bowl of hot water. The relief was pretty much instant. Apparently the heat neutralises the toxin. After 15 minutes the pain was far more manageable and I hobbled off to the car and drove home. A few hours later the pain was just a tingle.

I was lucky. I was wearing my Horne waders which have a very thick soled, Blundstone boot. This meant that only one spike actually got to my foot. I was also able to find a qualified paramedic only a few hundred yards away. The paramedic explained that without the boots on it would have been very messy! If you are ever fishing in that area, I would certainly advise protecting your feet with some form of shoe and being very careful where you tread. I will certainly be a little more cautious in future.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point Flats – 1 May 2011

Sunday

After a week of wind I was keen for some fishing this morning. I decided on Bribie Island, as the forecast wind and swell were not great and it offers a few sheltered spots. I drove up from Brisbane and arrived at about 5.00 am. I would be fishing the last few hours of the run in tide and the first few hours of the run out. With all the recent wind and rain, the water was predictably dirty and as high tide approached, there was plenty of weed floating around.

I started in the dark, next to the old oyster farm jetty on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge. The area under the bridge was being flogged by the cast netters who had a few crab pots out on long ropes. There were already a couple of boats anchored in by the bridge pylons so I decided to wade south towards Sandstone Point.

I have been experimenting with which plastics to fish in the dark and pre-dawn. My latest theory is that the high contrast plastics with a solid silhouette seem to work better than the lighter/ white glow colours. I decided to put it to the test this morning. I started about 5.30am by fishing with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic lure in the Midnight Tiger colour. This is a predominantly black colour with a flash of orange on its underside. It has been a great Bream lure for me at night. I rigged it on a 1/8th 1 hook jighead, as the tide was not running very fast. I was fishing with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader and my light spin rod.

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Just before six, it was still pretty dark and I was wading south, parallel with the shoreline, about 10 metres out. I cast into a spot about 3 metres out from the Mangrove roots, where the water was around 30cm deep. As the lure hit the water, there was a great splash and line started peeling. The water was shallow and the fish started shaking its head immediately and splashing about. I let get into some deeper water and calm down and then gradually walked it back to a gap in the mangroves and pulled it up onto the beach. It was a good size Flathead at 58cm. I released it and moved back to the same spot to try for more. I could not get another bite so I moved on.

I worked the flats around the corner, towards Sandstone Point. At the top of the tide the water was very dirty close into the Mangroves and the cleaner water was just out of reach of my wading capability. I waded along the edge of the shoreline casting out onto the flats and slowly retrieving my soft plastic. As the tide started to run out at about 8.30 am I got a couple of hits from some Pike and then a few casts later, a solid hook up. I pulled the fish back to the shore and it was another good size Flathead at 54cm. I released it, as well and headed back to the car.

The fish were not thick and there was not much bait around so I was happy with two good fish from my session. Conditions look like they will improve as the week goes on.

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 – Sandstone Point Drain – 26 Feb 2011

Saturday

After a good session on Thursday, I headed back up to Bribie Island early on Saturday morning. I was wading out under the bridge, on the mainland side, just after high tide, at about 4.30 am. I decided to try some big GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshads, to see if I could find some bigger fish, under the bridge lights. I rigged a pink shine version on a 1/8th 2/0 jig head and cast out to the north side of the bridge. After a few casts, nothing was happening so I moved to the south side. The first cast came up taught as soon as I flicked the reel bail arm over. The fish held on until it was only a couple of metres away and then let the lure go. The same thing happened, a couple of casts later. I could not see what was biting, but I think they were probably Pike or Moses Perch.

As the sun came up I moved south, past the old oyster jetty to the big drain that empties round the corner from the direction of Sandstone Point. The tide was really running out now and I decided to try a 1/5th of an ounce Berkley Big Eye Blade lure. I cast it out let it sink briefly, and jerked it back towards me fairly quickly. To get the right action you really need to keep these lures moving fast. After a few cast, I had a fish. The small, soft hooks on these blades mean I often lose the fish before I can get it back to shore. There was no problem this time. I had a nice Flathead around 48cm.

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After a 15 minutes more fishing with the blade lure, it got snagged and I lost it. I switched to a GULP 3” Minnow Grub soft plastic in the pepper prawn colour and rigged it on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I was now fishing along the edge of the big sand bank that channels the water down through the drain. After a couple of hits I cast back in the same spot about 6 times before I finally connected with the fish. It was another, bigger Flathead at 52cm. I wandered around this area for another hour or so. I hooked up with a couple more fish but dropped them or they spat out the lure. Finally I connected with a good size Long Tom who jumped clean out of the water when it realised it was hooked. These really are ugly fish.

Another great morning fishing and as we have plenty of fish in the fridge, they were all released today, some unintentionally!

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.

Bribie Island – Plenty of bait – 25 Jan 2011

Tuesday

After a couple of disappointing sessions fishing off the rock wall of the Tweed River, I decided to go and have a look at the estuaries, to see if they are clearing up. I decided to fish the last few hours of the incoming tide at Bribie Island.

I arrived about 9.00 am and fished soft plastic lures around the weed beds on the mainland side, under the bridge and along by the old oyster jetty. There was a fairly big tide and you can see that the water is still holding a lot of sediment. There was also a lot of weed and other rotting vegetation floating around.

I fished a 1/6th 1/0 jighead using a very slow retrieve and tried both bright and natural coloured plastics – the 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour and the 3” Minnow in the lime tiger colour. I soon found a few Long Toms. They are a mean looking, thin fish with a long, toothy jaw. They grab the plastic and play ‘tug of war’, only letting go just as they reach you. I rarely hook them as they have such a hard and narrow jaw. They were obviously getting stuck into the bait schools which were cruising around. I was surprised at just how much bait there was – I suppose it has been washed out of the rivers. There were plenty of Garfish and other small bait schools, so there must also be some predators lurking. After an hour or so of walking and casting, a good-sized Flathead grabbed the plastic. It has been a while since I caught one and maybe I struck a bit too quickly. The fish was on for about 20 seconds, then it was gone. All I was left with was a big bite mark in the back of the pearl watermelon Minnow, just below the hook.

I carried on for another 2 hours and covered plenty of ground. I had a few grabs from the Long Toms but I did not find another Flathead. At around noon I gave up. The water is far from clear and I was only fishing the run in tide but it is encouraging to see there is plenty of bait in the Pumicestone Passage. I assume that if we can have another week without torrential rain the water should be pretty clear. I will be out there again soon.

Tweed River – The Rockwall – Jewfish Weather – 27 Dec 2010

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Monday

Rain – will it ever end? You have to look on the bright side – Jewfish/Mulloway must be hanging around all the mouths of our rivers and creeks in that murky, turbulent water that they love. They also love big soft plastic lures. With this in mind, I decided to brave the rain on Monday and drive back down to the mouth of the Tweed River to fish the north rockwall.

It was the usual drill, up at around 3.00am and on the rocks (in the rain) by about 4.15 am. As the faint glow on the horizon began to illuminate the river I could see it was a caramel coloured soup, with plenty of debris floating out on the last of the run out tide. I set up my rod and reel – 11’Ft Rovex Bario (which I think is now called the Aureus) matched with a Shimano Stradic 6000 reel. I had filled the spool with 20lb breaking strain, hi-vis yellow Fireline, with 2 metres of 30lb fluorocarbon leader. Jewfish love a plastic right on the bottom so I put on a ¾ oz jighead, to make sure that is where my lure would end up. I think Jewfish are not too fussy when it comes to colour. If you can find them and they are feeding – pretty much anything will do. But in low light, a dark silhouette seems to work well for me, so I started with a GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad in the watermelon colour.

I cast out, due north from the end of the rock wall. Before my lure hit the bottom I had a fish. The frenetic activity suggested a Tailor and a couple of leaps confirmed it for me. I tightened the drag and safely hauled it up to where I could grab the leader. It was around 45cm long. We have been spoiled with plenty of fish in my house lately and there is enough ham and turkey around to feed a football team, so I put it back. It would be catch and release today.

A few more casts and then I decided to change soft plastics to the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the peppered prawn colour. The dirty, fresh water was running out round the end of the rockwall, where it met the clear saltwater water, to the left. There was a clear line marking the boundary between the two and this is where I was casting. There was a surface bust up every now and then and it looked like a school of mullet was breakfast for something. I decided to cast straight out the front into the dirty water for a while. The ¾ oz jighead enabled me to cast a good twenty metres or so. I let it sink and counted to 20 before starting the retrieve. On about the fifth cast I lifted the rod to start the retrieve and it was very heavy. It took a while for the fish to realise it was hooked and then it took off in a long solid run. I had the drag pretty tight but this was no real deterrent. Fortunately, initially it was heading out to sea. I let it go then started to get some line back. It began to come back to me but of course that meant it was also heading for the rocks. I had some success pulling it round to the left but it was too powerful and every time I got its head up, it just turned and, with couple of powerful tail pumps got back down into the rocks. After a minute or two the swell lodged the leader in the rocks and snap – it was gone. I only saw a flash of silver, but from the long slow runs and the rhythmic tail pumps I am pretty sure it was a decent Jewfish/ Mulloway. I checked the leader that had been rubbed through down near the jighead. It had also been thoroughly stretched, so I tied on another. I decided to stick with the same colour soft plastic lure but this time I switched to the 3” Shrimp shape. After three or four casts I was on again and we had a re-run of the first fight only this time, it was over even more quickly. It was a much bigger fish and the initial run was longer. But once I turned it round it paused in the current for ten seconds or so then dived straight down to the foot of the rock and ping – the leader was snapped.

I decided to go back to the clearer water. I put on a GULP 5” Crazylegs Jerkshad plastic in the pinkshine colour and was hit by a small Trevally right at the base of the wall. He managed to wriggle off. I carried on for a while and then decided to switch to a slug as there where now surface bust ups happening all around. I put on a 95g Spanyid Sniper metal lure and cast it out along the line between the dirty and the clear water. After about five retrieves I was on – another Tailor, about the same size as the first. I put in another twenty casts but could not find anymore. Back to plastics – it was time to try out the new GULP 4” Jigging Grub in the peppered prawn colour. I decided to go a bit lighter and rigged it on a 1/2oz 2/0 jighead. After a few casts – knock, knock and bang – I had a fish. It was another small Tailor. I released it and as the rain started to pour down again, I decided to give up. It was great session, I will land a jewfish in this spot eventually – I just need to find a smaller one!

NB – The end of the Stradic drag catch has snapped off again. The drag still works but now it is silent. Fortunately the chaps at Jones Tackle will fix it for me – but come on Shimano – they need to be made of tougher stuff – This is my third one in less than a year!

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole – 17 Sept 2010

Friday
I am off to Broomes Head in northern New South Wales next week so I thought I would get a quick fishing trip in before departure.
I headed up to Bribie and straight for the flats to the south of Buckley’s Hole, arriving around 9.30 am. The water was fairly clear and the tide was running in. I put a 3” GULP Lime Tiger Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th ounce weight, size 1 hook, jighead. I then waded south gradually from Buckley’s Hole, casting up into the run-in tide, just on top of the ledge that runs parallel with the shore.
It was not long before I found the fish. First a couple of Pike attacked the lure and then, a few minutes later I found the flathead. They were in just about 60cm of water sitting in the hollows in the weed beds that are just starting to sprout. In that first spot I caught two undersize flathead, both around the 35cm mark.
I moved on and kept putting in long casts out over the sand flats. Suddenly the lure was slammed, the line started peeling and the rod tip was rattling. I had a chopper Tailor on the lure, about 30 cm long. The water was crystal clear and as I wound him towards me, I could see a monster (70cm plus) Flathead following him. Was he going to eat the Tailor or had been following the plastic? I was hopeful, although not quite sure how to play it. I did not have to wait and see as, at that moment, the Tailor munched his way through the 10lb leader and was off. The Flathead sat there, looking disappointed. Then I cast the lure at the sand a metre or so in front of him, but he just turned and swam slowly away into deeper water.
I carried on towards Red Beach and caught another three flathead in similar terrain. Two were just legal size at around 43-44cm, and one was smaller. After a couple of hours of good fishing I headed back to Brisbane.
I will be posting my Broomes Head reports when I get back on the 27th September.

Bribie Island – Plenty of Flathead – 14 Sept 2010


Tuesday
After a really disappointing land-based fishing session at Bribie Island (see previous post)on Sunday, I was a little concerned on when we were going to eat fish next. Rain was forecast for Tuesday morning but I had to get back out there. So I was up early and fishing under the Bribie Bridge, on the island side at about 4.45am.
I started on the south side of the bridge – a logical spot as the tide was running out and the fish often feed in the eddies, behind the pylons. I put on a 3” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. The water was moving fairly slowly so I rigged it on 1/8th 1 jighead. After a few casts up under the bridge, I felt the solid thud of a Flathead. It was only a little one so I photographed it and sent it on its way.
The northerly breeze had blown most of the weed away. This enabled me to try a 1/4oz blade vibration lure in amongst the bridge pylons. The tide was running out and would be low at about 7.00 am. I gradually waded to the north side of the bridge. I was now standing at the foot of the oyster covered rocks in the sand, in about 70cm of water, casting as close as I could to the foot of the third bridge pylon. Just as the sun started to rise behind me, a fish hit the blade. I dropped the rod tip for a few seconds and then I struck. After a few headshakes I had my first Snapper on a blade. At about 25cm he was not going to be dinner and back he went.
It was a good start but after another half an hour and a few Pike, I decided to move. I drove down to Bongaree and waded out onto the sand flats in front of Buckley’s Hole. The Pike were plentiful here as well. Just on low tide another angler, further along the beach, pulled in a nice 70cm flathead on a whole, fresh herring bait.
I decided to move south, along the coffee rock ledge, in the direction of Red Beach. My strategy was to target the Flathead as they moved up over the ledge with the incoming tide. The water was now very clear and the sun was fairly bright. Although it seems counter intuitive, I have often been told that these are the best conditions to use a bright coloured plastic. So I switched to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the green and orange Lime Tiger colour. After about 15 minutes this seemed to pay off as my line came up tight on another small flathead. I carried on and after covering another 10 metres or so, I was on to a much bigger fish. The problem in fighting a fish in this location is that they will immediately try to get themselves back down deep, below the rock ledge. You need to keep their head above the ledge and walk them back towards the beach, the drag needs to be set fairly tight to achieve this and with only a ten pound leader you really have to be careful. Perhaps I was pulling too hard or had not really set the hook properly. Either way, almost as soon as the Flathead came into view (about 3 metres away), it dropped the hook. It just sat there on the sandy bottom for a few moments then turned and made its way back, very slowly, to the ledge. It had two smaller fish following it the whole time. A few metres further on and I caught yet another undersize flathead.
I switched back to the Minnow soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour and as the tide was now running in quite strongly, I put it onto a 1/6th oz 1 hook jighead. I felt a knock on the first retrieve and after a few more casts in the same spot, I hooked up with 48cm Flathead. I walked it back to the shore and finally I had something to keep for dinner. Using the same tactics I caught four more undersize fish as I gradually waded south. By now it was around 9.15 am and I was almost at the point where the shore turns left and becomes Red Beach. I decided to give myself a few more casts before turning for home. I clearly saw a decent Flathead just miss my lure as I lifted it up at the end of the retrieve. So I immediately cast it out just a couple of metres away, in the same direction and let it sit on the bottom for 10 seconds. As I lifted it, it was smashed by what I presume was the same fish. After a long walk back to the beach I pulled it safely up onto the sand and it was the best fish of the day – a 60cm Flathead. It was now starting to rain so with two nice fish for dinner; I called time on the session and headed back to Brisbane.

Bribie Island – Buckleys Hole & Sandstone Point – 1 Sept 2010

Wednesday
I was off to a late start on Wednesday and arrived at Buckley’s Hole at Bongaree, on Bribie Island at about 9.30am. Low tide had passed at around 7.30 am and so it was getting on for half way into the run in tide. This gave me about an hour to wade out and fish over the coffee rock ledge that runs all along the edge of the Pumicestone Passage.
My first cast was hit on the drop –it was a Yellowfin Pike. I was fishing a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic lure in the Banana Prawn colour on a 1/6th 1 jighead. The next cast produced the same result and so did the next, and the next. I moved along the ledge and the Pike moved with me – or they were resident all along the 50 metre stretch that I fished. I tried bigger plastics, heavier jigheads, but I just could not get past the Pike. After an hour or so, I retreated and decided to go back across the Bribie Bridge to the mainland and fish the second half of the run in tide on the sand flats around Sandstone Point.
I parked up and wandered out past the old oyster jetty and carried on south to the mouth of a mini channel that has quite a good flow on a run in tide. I had my usual estuary fishing outfit. A Loomis GL2 6ft 6” Fast Action spin rod. I have matched it with a Shimano Stradic 2000 reel. I was using 2.8kg Fireline with just over a metre of 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I tie the main line to the leader using a uni to uni knot. I could probably fish lighter but if I am lucky enough to find the odd Snapper or Jewfish, I still have a chance of landing them with this set up. I switched to a GULP2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour. I walked along the edge of the channel, casting up into the current and bumping the lure along the bottom back towards me. Third cast and I felt the definite dull thud of a fish. I paused and struck but there was nothing there. I cast back in the same spot and, in exactly the same position – thud. This time I wanted to be sure so with great patience, I counted to ten and then struck hard. Now I was on and even though it was not a huge flathead, I was delighted it wasn’t a Pike. I got it close and could see it was solidly hooked so I decided to grab it with the glove. That worked and I measure it against the 40cm tape marker on the rod – just legal – dinner at last. I did not take it to the bank to unhook as I didn’t want to lose my position. I have regularly dragged a nice fish back to the shore and then been unable to figure out where I need to get back to, to catch its mates. I put it in the keeper bag and cast out again in the same location. After a few more casts, I caught an almost identical size flathead, just a few feet to the left.
The tide was getting up now and there was a good 70cm of water around the base of the mangroves. I turned around and headed back towards the car casting in as close as I could to the edge of the new mangrove shoots. After 20 minutes or so this paid off with another just legal flathead. At around 1.00pm the westerly wind was really howling so I gave up and drove home.

Bribie Island – The Old Oyster Jetty – 26 Aug 2010

Thursday morning did not look that promising with gusty, cold, westerly winds. I decided to fish at Bribie as you can usually find some reasonably sheltered spots by swapping from one side of the Pumicestone Passage to the other, if necessary.
It was a late start and I waded out in to the water just to the south of the old Oyster Jetty at around 9.30 am. High tide was at around 10.00 am, so the tidal flow had almost stopped. There a couple of good drains in this location that often produce a few Flathead. However to maximise my chances I knew I really had to wait for the tide to start running out. The water was probably the coldest I have felt all year. I flicked various shrimp and minnow soft plastics around on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead. I didn’t get a touch for more than hour. I was so cold I retreated to the car for more clothes. I went out again this time to the north of the old oyster jetty. I was wading back towards the bridge, about 4 metres from the edge of the mangroves. I put on a fresh GULP 3” minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour and cast it out towards the bridge at a 45 degree angle to the shore. I jerked it a couple of times and then felt the plastic stick. There are a few rocks on the bottom in this area and I thought I had snagged the line on one. As I lifted the rod to try and jerk the jighead free, it slowly started to come towards me. Then suddenly the line started peeling in a long, slow, deliberate rhythm. I knew it was a good size lizard. I started to wind and apply some pressure with no result. I thought the drag might have been set to light so I checked it, but it was good. I gradually tightened it and got a bit of line back, but the fish took off again. We went back and forth for a while like this – perhaps for 5 minutes or so. Big flathead can’t be rushed but they will eventually just saw through you leader, so you have decide on a plan pretty fast. I had a 12lb leader on but I was using my very light 6’6 Loomis GL2 spin rod so there was no way to force the pace. I just had to wear the fish out and keep her away from the mangroves and rocks. I gradually steered her towards a small gap in the mangroves and shortened the line down to about 3 metres. I then walked backwards, towards the gap, tightened the drag some more and in one long sweep, heaved her up onto the sand. The leader broke as I did that but fortunately, not until the fish was metre clear of the water.
It was a beautiful fish that measured in at 78cm. I took a few pictures and then sent her on her way. I cast around for a bit longer in the same area without a touch. I ended up fishing for 4 hours and apart from the monster flathead, I got no bites at all. The Pike, Bream and everything else just failed to show up. May it was the wind – maybe the water temperature – who knows?

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point and Buckleys Hole – 5 August 2010

BRIBIE - THE MAKINGS OF A FISH PIE

Thursday looked like a great fishing morning – cool, not much wind and a run out tide through dawn. I decided to start off on the sandbanks of Sandstone Point. I put the waders on in the dark and wandered along by the old oyster jetty, on the mainland beside the Bribie Bridge. The sky was beginning to glow red. I have noticed that I don’t seem to catch many flathead in the dark. I get them around the bridge lights at night, but rarely seem to catch them out on the flats until there is a bit of light on the water. This may just be because I spend more time fishing in the daylight!
High tide was around 4.00 am and I started fishing at about 5.30am. I walked as far as I could along the sand banks and then turned back northwards. I was wading in about a metre of water, parallel with the exposed sand bank. I was casting up into the outgoing tide, trying to land my soft plastic lure right on the edge of the weed banks. As usual, it was the Pike that struck first – a few small ones then a monster – I thought initially it was a flathead but soon realised it wasn’t when it started thrashing around. I got it to the shore and measured it at 46cm – the biggest Pike I have ever caught.
Usually in these conditions I would expect to be getting plenty of flathead but things were a bit slow. I hooked then dropped a small on, about 30 metres short of the jetty and then a couple of casts later; I caught a 42cm fish. I was using the 4” GULP Minnow Grub in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. I could not raise anymore so I walked back to the car and drove over the bridge to Buckley’s Hole to fish the drop off there.
I arrived there at about 8.00am – with low tide scheduled around 10.00 am. I walked to the south and started wading north and casting a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour. I was looking for the Bream that are often to be found here. The tide was running fairly hard so I rigged the soft plastic on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead – this meant that I could get the plastic down deep fairly quickly. I waded up and down the beach casting out over the drop off and letting the plastic float down to the bottom with the current. After about 45 minutes of this, I found a patch of Bream and caught seven in quick succession, all on the soft plastic shrimp. Only three were big enough to keep and all three were about 28cm. The wind was now getting up and it was still cold and overcast so at about 10.00 am I decided to give up and grab a hot cup of coffee.
Next week I am off to Iluka in Northern New South Wales, to fish the rocks and beaches of the Bundjalong National Park. I am hoping to find some Tailor, monster Bream and no doubt, a few surprises. I will post the results as soon as I am back.

Bribie Island – Oyster Jetty to Sandstone Point – 26 July 2010

On Monday morning I looked at the forecast for the week and realised things were going downhill with showers set to increase as the days went on. I decided to go for a quick mid morning session wading the flats at Bribie, hopefully before the rain set in. I opted for the sand flats and weed beds to the south of the old oyster jetty in the direction of Sandstone Point, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage.

I arrived at around 9.45 am just as the tide was beginning to run out. It was dull and overcast and the wind was getting up from the south west. I walked along the shore as far as the large sand bank to the south of the old oyster jetty. Then I waded out into about a metre of water and started with long casts northwards. With the wind behind me from the south west, I was able to put in long casts and retrieve my plastic with the outgoing tide. There are lots of gaps in the weed beds in that area and this is where the Flathead wait. I was fishing my favourite flathead lure – the GULP 4” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/6th 2/0 jighead. I had the rod spooled with 6lb Fireline and 10lb fluoro carbon leader.

The only problem fishing that area is the loose weed and the horrible slimy algae that seem to coat it in places. You have to be persistent as the plastic is constantly getting clogged. After twenty minutes or so of casting, I hooked a small flathead but dropped it as I tried to get it into the keeper bag without towing it all the way back to shore. I cast back in the same place and one of its friends took the plastic. This time I walked it all the way back to the shore – he was just on 42cm. I now had to try and remember where to go back to. When the water is clear you can follow your wader boot marks but the overnight rain had stirred it up a little, so I just had to guess where I had been. I waded back out and carried on moving to the north and just short of the oyster jetty; I got a very solid bite. I dropped the rod tip and counted to five – this is my favourite technique for Flathead – then struck hard. The fish took off and did a couple of good runs, then it calmed down a bit and so I gradually walked it back to the shore. Some wise old fisherman once told me that Flathead often snap at the lure or bait to stun it, then open their mouths and change the angle, to swallow it. If you strike as soon as you feel the bite you might just pull it out of their mouths. Not sure how true this is but my system certainly works. It gave me a few head shakes in the last few metres and then I had it. Once I got it up to the muddy shoreline it measured in at 62cm. Buy now the clouds were looking ominous so I beat a hasty retreat to the car and called it a day. I hope the weather does not ruin the rest of the week.