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 – Under the bridge – 5 March 2013

Tuesday

The rain is easing but it is just being replaced by howling south-easterly winds. The only real option would be to fish the couple of hours either side of dawn, in a fairly sheltered location. So it was off to Bribie again, to fish the area under the bridge, on the mainland side of the Pumicestone Passage, as the tide fell.

I arrived at about 4-45 am to find I was not the only mad angler wetting a line. A couple of fishos were on the bridge casting to the north – a few pylons out. A couple of good jewfish have been landed from the middle of the bridge, at night, recently. The favoured technique is to fish with very heavy gear then drop a grappling hook down once the fish is worn out. This strikes me as a pretty tough proposition – but it does work.

I rigged up and waded along the edge of the mangroves, to the south of the bridge. The wind was from the south east and was blowing around 15 knots. The water was dirty and running out, against the wind. High tide had been at about 3.00 am.

I started by fishing with a GULP Jerkshad in the Orange Tiger colour, on a 1/8th oz, 2/0 jighead. There was a bit of surface action on the edge of the pools of light, cast by the bridge lights. Every so often, I could trace the path of a cruising predator by the scattering bait fish. There were some pretty big surges and splashes which made me reluctant to wade out further.

I had no luck with the brightly coloured Jerkshad, so I made a counter-intuitive switch to a 3” GULP Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. This is a gold colour that would not really stand out at all in the sediment rich, murky water. After about ten minutes of casting without result, I switched my attention to the deeper water, just out of reach of the bridge lights. I carried on peppering the area and was about to swap soft plastics again when I felt a solid bite and a few moments later, I set the hook on a good fish. As I pulled it in between the mangroves, bait went flying everywhere. There is plenty of food around. It was a good flathead, about 55cm long and I kept it for dinner. It was 5.10 am and its possible that the sun was trying brighten the sky but the clouds were too thick.

The heavens opened and I retired under the bridge. The fishos on the bridge had disappeared – probably washed away by the relentless rain. I started casting to the north and gradually moved along between the pylons. It was now a little lighter and the rain had stopped. The water was getting dirtier as the tide ran out. As I cast out, around the base of the third bridge pylon, I felt a good bite, but did not connect. I cast back in exactly the same spot and got hit again, still no hook up. I cast another ten times in the same spot gradually slowing the retrieve right down and increasing the length of my pauses. On the eleventh cast I felt the solid bite of a committed fish. I dropped the rod tip and slowly counted to ten. After what seemed like an eternity, I lifted it and felt the lure lodge in the mouth of the fish. The rod bent over, I felt the resistance and the tip started wobbling. I waded back to the shoreline and safely landed my second flathead. It was a little smaller than the first, just under 50 cm. It was 5.23 am. I also kept this one for dinner.

I swapped to a 4” GULP Minnow soft plastic in the Smelt colour. I concentrated in the same area, around the third pylon. At 5.34 am I caught another flathead, almost exactly the same size. Three fish is about right to feed my mob for dinner.

It was now light but the sun could not break out above the clouds and the rain showers just kept coming. I persisted in the same area but things seemed to go a bit quiet, as the traffic on the bridge built up and the water receded. I swapped down to 3” GULP Minnow in the Smelt colour and moved a bit further out, to the south of the bridge. I felt a couple of taps and then hooked a small Bream. It was now just after 6.00 am. A few casts later the same plastic produced flathead number four. The smallest of the morning, but it was still a healthy fish, at 47cm.

I waded south, past the oyster jetty and on to the windy flats. The sun almost emerged above the clouds but the now howling south-easterly immediately blew some more rain clouds in, to block it out. One of these gave me a thorough soaking and despite casting around for more than an hour, I did not get a bite out here.

Just before 8.00 am another nasty black cloud opened above me and I decided to call it quits. It had been a successful morning but the wild weather had made it a challenge.

Bribie Island – Bridge and Sandstone Point – 1 March 2011

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Tuesday

Up at 3.45 am and back up to the Pumicestone Passage in search of more Flathead. I decided to start by fishing the Bribie Island side of the bridge, this morning. There is always plenty of surface action in this area with Jew, Pike, Moses Perch, Bream, Tailor, Flathead and even juvenile Snapper, all drawn in to feed on the jelly prawns and small baitfish that gather under the bridge lights.

In recent sessions, I have noticed the small jelly prawns are everywhere and the Flathead that I have caught and gutted, generally have a belly full of them. I therefore grabbed a bag of the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Jelly Prawn colour and decided to try these out. The tide was running in so I decided to start by casting my soft plastic at the base of the first bridge pylon, on the north side of the bridge and jigging my plastic along the bottom , all the way back to the edge of the rock wall. On the first cast, just as it reached the base of the wall, in about 30cm of water, the lure was grabbed. I was using a 1/8th 1/0 jig head and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. The fish took a bit of line but I soon subdued it and swung it up, over the rocks. At 42cm it was the first keeper Flathead of the day. It went in the bag and I cast back out. A couple of casts later, I had another – this one was just on 40 cm so I let it go. I moved to the south side of the bridge and carried on. I had a couple of bites from Pike and dropped a better fish, which was probably a Flathead and then I decided to move over to the mainland side of the bridge.

I put on a GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad soft plastic in the Lime Tiger colour, waded out and cast to the south of the bridge. The tide was now rushing in and a few Pike grabbed the bigger plastic but usually released it just before they reached me. There were some big surface bust ups erupting, in close to the Mangroves, so I cast straight into one and the line came up taught. I brought the fish in – the headshakes were too rapid for a Flathead and as it came close there was a flash of silver. It was either a Bream or a juvenile Snapper, but it spat out the lure so I will never know.

With the dawn I decided to change positions again and I drove round to Pebble Beach. I walked out onto the beach and turned left. I walked to the end of the beach and along the rocky area that fronts the Mangroves. I was casting in to the sandy areas amongst the rocks and although I lost a fair amount of jigheads, the strategy paid off. Over the next couple of hours, I caught nine more Flathead in this area – between about 25cm and 48cm. I experimented with different colour and size plastics and they did not appear to be fussy. I caught fish on the GULP Crazy Legs Jerkshad in Lime Tiger and Pink Neon, the 2” Shrimp in Jelly Prawn and Banana Prawn, the 3” and 4” Minnow in Pearl Watermelon and the 4” Minnow in Vader. The Long Toms were a constant menace – slashing through the soft plastics and often wrecking the last few cms of the leader.

I kept the first four fish over 40cm, to add to the one I had kept at the bridge, so I had another bag full. It was another good session and as there was a Northerly wind blowing the whole time, it did not really support my idea that the fish don’t like it!

Iluka – Shark Bay – 8 Feb 2011

Tuesday

I arrived at Iluka around lunch time and it was raining heavily. I checked into the cabin – too wet for camping – and drifted off to sleep thinking of where to fish that evening. A few hours later I wandered out on to the rocky promontory at the southern corner of Shark Bay. This is a good spot to spin for Tailor in the cooler months, using metal slugs. But at this time of year they can be hard to find. The rain had flattened out the sea and I decided to fish with my light spin rod again – using lighter jig heads and soft plastics lures.

Iluka - Shark Bay - rock promontory

The rain just kept coming and I fished for an hour or so, with little success and plenty of gear lost to the rocks. About 7.00 pm, as it started to get dark, I switched from a 1/4 oz to a 1/6th oz jighead and rigged a GULP 4″ Pearl Watermelon minnow soft plastic. I cast out into the whitewash and bang, a fish grabbed it. There was not much weight to the fish but it used the swell to try to bury its head in the rocks.

Iluka - Shark Bay Bream - 28cm

I pulled it out and wound it in. It was a 28cm Bream but had felt much bigger. I let it go and on the next cast scored another. I caught 3 more over the next half hour, all around the same size and all on the same soft plastic. It was now dark and wet and I was actually feeling cold for the first time in a few months, so I headed home for a hot shower.

Fingal Head – Jew & Trevally – 8 Feb 2011

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Tuesday

I could see that the weather looked reasonable for a few days so I decided to head south. Plenty of showers to come but the wind and swell looked like they were finally calming down.

I was heading for Iluka, in Northern New South Wales, to chase a few Jewfish from the rocky headlands of the Bundjalong National Park. I decided to stop at Fingal Head for a fishing session on my way down, on Tuesday morning. I arrived around 4.45am and crossed the causeway out onto the rock platform and rigged up my light 2-4g 7ft Nitro spin rod. I wanted to try fishing with lighter weighted jigheads – around a 1/4oz – and to do this effectively, I had to dump the traditional heavy rock fishing rod.

Unfortunately the wind was howling (southerly) and the swell was up – fishing a 1/4 oz jighead was not working, so I switched to a 3/8 oz. I was fishing with the GULP Crazy Legs Lime Tiger Jerkshad and using a 16lb fluorocarbon leader. I was casting out from the northern side of the rock platform and bumping the lure back along the sand to the base of the rocks. As dawn broke there was a huge school of birds working above a bait school, but they were too far to cast at.

After fishing for about 45 minutes the lure was hit about 6 metres from the rocks and I hooked up. It was a Jewfish – just over 50 cm and after a couple of runs, I landed it safely. I tried for another 30 minutes and then swapped to a more natural GULP 4″ Peppered Prawn minnow soft plastic. The birds were still working but not moving any closer.

I was casting out from the northern tip of the rock platform. The wind and swell was washing the plastic back into the rocks fairly quickly, but it was on the bottom. Suddenly there was a jerk and the line started peeling. There was a blistering initial run and then I tightened the drag and started to get line back. On a decent surge I pulled the fish up, on to the platform. It was a 45cm Big Eye Trevally.

Now it was really blowing, the tide had started to really run and the heavens opened. I took it as an omen and packed up. – Next stop Iluka.

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 – A bit better – 7 Jan 2011

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As a committed fisherman – or perhaps a fisherman who ought to be “committed” – I have to work around this awful weather. Mid week I thought I might be able to get back out in the estuaries but then the rain arrived again and everything turned to chocolate. So on Friday morning I was off down to the Tweed River rockwall again at 3.00 am.
The forecast was for 10 knot East South East wind but when I arrived it was considerably more than that and gradually building. There was a faint glow of red as the sun came up and then a three mad souls headed out over the river bar in what looked like a very small boat. I thought I was brave standing on the rocks!
The wind made throwing a surface popper lure too difficult so I started by casting an 85g SPANYID raider slug out in a semicircle around the end of the rockwall. I tried fast and slow and jerking the slug around a bit but after about 50 casts I decided to change tactics. I put a GULP 7” jerkshad in the pumpkinseed colour, on to a 1oz 4/0 jighead and started to cast it around at the base of the rocks. Even the 1oz head could not really hold the bottom, as the wind was catching the line and holding the jighead too high in the water column. It was, however, just heavy enough to get nicely snagged in the rocks. I put on a 5/8oz 3/0 jighead and switched to a GULP 4” jigging grub in the peppered prawn colour. I was trying to get the plastic in close to the base of the rocks without getting snagged. This was proving increasingly difficult. I was about to give up at around 7.00 am, when I got a hit, right in the foamy wash. I dropped the rod tip and when I lifted it, I had a fish. The drag was set pretty tight for a Tailor or Trevally so I did not have much trouble winding it in. When I got it to safety it was a Stripey Snapper. Not what I was expecting but at least it was a fish. It was just over 35cm long.
Next cast I was hopeful but the wind was now blowing the barnacles of the rocks and the swell was give me a soaking now and then. When the rain started I finally took the hint and walked back to the car. Another frustrating morning on the rocks but that’s fishing.

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 – 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?

Brisbane River – Pinkenba Rockwall – 25 Aug 2010

After a great week of fishing down at Iluka I was keen to get back out on my home patch around Brisbane. On Wednesday the weather was not too promising. With limited time and strong westerly winds I decided to try fishing along the Pinkenba rock wall on the north side of the Brisbane River. I usually access this spot by parking next to the QCL Cement Plant and walking around the plant to the river bank. There is a long stretch of rock wall that goes from the plant all the way to the mouth of Boggy Creek. It is fairly shallow all along here so I find it fishes best around high tide. My timing was good as I arrived right on high tide at around 9.45am. All along the rock wall there are areas where it has it has broken down and there is therefore plenty of structure at its base and as you move further out the lower rocks are completely covered in oysters.
My tactics here are to walk along the rock wall casting back up river and letting the soft plastic bump along the bottom with the current, with a few jerks every now and then. I have almost always caught fish right at the foot of this rock wall – I assume this is because the riverbed further out is fairly featureless and the bait stays close in. I walked slowly along the wall towards the river mouth but after an hour of casting, I had nothing to show for my efforts. I had been using my favourite GULP 4” Minnow soft plastic in the Pearl Watermelon colour on a 1/6th 1/0 jighead with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I decided to swap it for a ¼ oz blade lure in a silver rainbow colour. Sometimes the blades can be more effective at getting reluctant fish to bite. I think they annoy the fish into an attack. They have a great action and fish will feel their vibration in the water long before they see them.

Buy this time I had reached the spot where the rock wall has water on both sides. The north side is a shallow, tidal inlet next to the refinery tank farm. The bottom is mud and weed beds and as long as there are a couple of feet of water, there are nearly always flathead in here. After a few casts with the blade I finally found my first fish of the morning – a flathead just on 40cm – I took a picture and put him back (we are still finishing the Jewfish from Iluka at home). I carried on in this spot for a while but could not raise anymore. The water was very cloudy after the recent rain. I then put on a smaller, GULP 3” Pearl Watermelon Minnow and decided to walk back along the wall, up river. This is an excellent soft plastic for Bream – especially when lightly weighted. I swapped the jighead down to a 1/8th 1/0. The tide was really running out hard now and I started to get a few touches close into the oyster clad rocks. After another twenty minutes with no hook ups, the lure was slammed by a solid fish. The initial hit was very hard but it was only a 30cm Bream. I put him back assuming there would be more but despite trying a few other weights, plastics and putting the blade back on, I could not find them.

By now it was just past 1.00pm and even though it was warm and sunny, the wind was really blowing and there was less than a foot of water at the base of the rock wall, in places. I decided to stop for the day.

Iluka – Browns Rocks – Final Session – 14 August 2010

On Saturday the swell from the big low that was moving past offshore, arrived. This was my last day at Iluka. The rocky headlands were a no go area and the key sign that fishing was out of the question was the arrival of all the surfers. I decided to have a lie in and fish in the afternoon.
At about 2.00pm I headed off up the Clarence to look for a good Flathead spot. I crossed the bridge over to Goodwood Island, at Woombah and drove past Browns Rocks and the Norfolk Island Jetty to a couple of weed beds that have produced good fish in the past. It was the perfect afternoon. The tide was running out, there was a bit of breeze and the water was about 2- 3 feet over the weed beds. The water was very clear and I have been told that the wild colours go best when this is the case – so I put on a 5” Lime Tiger Jerkshad and used a 1/6th 1/0 jighead and 12 lb leader. I would usually go lighter, but with all the choppers around, bite off’s are a common problem.
I put the waders on and wandered out until I was about waist deep and walking through the weed banks, up river, parallel with the shore. I was casting up into the run out tide and letting the plastic sink. I would then bump it along the sand beside the weed, at the edge of the main channel. I walked about two hundred yards like this, before I got a hit. I hooked up with a small (30cm) flathead. I released him and cast back in the same spot a few more times. Third time, I got another one, slightly bigger. I carried on for another 30 feet and got a decent, 48 cm keeper. On the walk back to the car I got bitten off by what I presume was a Chopper. I had to get back for dinner but I had that feeling that all fisherman get – if only I could have stayed a little longer the really good fish would have come on the bite!

Iluka – Frazers Reef Tailor – 13 August 2010

Friday brought a slightly warmer morning so I headed back to Frazer’s Reef at Iluka to see if there were anymore Jewfish to be had. I was fishing with a mate who is yet to land one and expectations were high. The conditions were still very good but the wind had turned around to a light northerly. We started just in the pre-dawn light and predictably lost a few jigheads to the bommies. Just on dawn my mate’s rod goes off and he is on to a very solid fish. It had better be a Jewie – me thinks – but it looked a bit too lively and it was taking plenty of line. Then it jumped and we realised it was an Australian Salmon. The fun of the capture made up for it not being a Jew – well that’s what I told him anyway. He pulled it up via a few rock ledges and weighed it at 3kg. He was using the GULP 5” Crazy Legs in the Lime Tiger colour on a 3/8 3/0 jighead on 20lb leader. These fish taste awful but everyone takes the first one home just to see for themselves and this one was no exception – yes, it went home and yes, it tasted like rubber. However we made sure the kids were starving before dinner – so they scoffed most of it.
Back to work and we were still hopeful that the Jewfish would come back on the bite. I was now fishing with the GULP 5” Jerkshad in the Peppered Prawn colour. When things get slow I often find switching back to the more natural colours can tempt a reluctant fish. Sure enough on about the 5th cast with this lure, I scored a solid hook up. The rapid head shakes and frenetic runs suggested it was a Tailor and with the aid of a big wave I had it up on the ledges before it could chew its way up the plastic to bight through the 25lb leader. It measured up at just over 50cm.
We fished on but the Jewfish did not put in an appearance. It was interesting to note that all the fish we gutted during the course of the week had virtually nothing in their stomachs. There was plenty of bait around so one can only assume they were not really feeding.
I decided to walk right around Frazer’s Reef putting in casts wherever I could. After half an hour, this strategy paid off and I caught another similar sized Tailor. I hooked him quite a long way out and through the very clear water, I watched his mates take several snaps at the plastic that was hanging from his mouth. They followed him right to the base of the rocks.
We retreated to stop ourselves from being caught by the tide and although we did not find the Jewies we had seen some good action.

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.

Brisbane River – Boggy Creek – 23 July 2010

If you have children of school age you will know that most officially classified biological weapons are far less toxic than the coughs and colds they bring home. I succumbed this week and I have been feeling like crap. I missed my usual fishing session on Thursday, so I decided to put in a couple of hours this morning, close to home, at Boggy Creek, on the Brisbane River.
For those of you who don’t know it, Boggy Creek is a small arm off the Brisbane River on the north side of the Pinkenba Shell oil terminal. You can fish all along the northern bank, but I usually start by the small pedestrian bridge that leads across to the refinery. You cannot fish on the bridge as it has a security gate and belongs to the refinery.
I find this creek fishes best for a couple of hours on either side of the high tide and it is a great spot pre-dawn. There is a small rock wall on either side of the bridge and the channel narrows significantly at this point. This has cut a fairly deep channel under the bridge. There is always plenty of bait under the lights and once the tide is running there are large swirls, eddies and sections of slack water where the big fish lurk.
I started around 9.00 am – the wind (from the southwest) was getting up and the run out tide was really moving. The water was fairly clear so I started with a 3” GULP Pearl Watermelon Minnow on a 1/6th 1 jighead on 10lb leader. My strategy was to cast out, upstream and let the plastic float with the current down under the bridge. I would jig it every 5 seconds or so to stop it getting snagged. There is plenty of manmade structure under that bridge ranging from tyres to shopping trolleys. After a few prospecting casts I switched to the GULP Pumpkinseed Minnow Grub. I find the paddle tail pattern is good when there is a strong current. The tail moves realistically even when the plastic is at rest on the bottom and it is almost irresistible as it sinks. Sure enough – second cast a hungry Pike wallops the plastic. This scenario played out a few more times and then I cast over towards the far rock wall. On the retrieve there were a few nudges and tickles and then a solid hit and hook up. As I brought the fish in, a great school of Pike scattered before it. It turned out to be a 28cm Bream with a Mohican fin! I released him after a picture or two and then decided to move up the bank towards the Brisbane River.
There are a number of openings all along the bank from which you can fish. I stopped at each one and did a semicircle of casts in each location. When I reached the mouth of a small drain I was a bit more thorough with my coverage and on about the 6th cast I pulled up a 35cm Flathead. I let him go and got another smaller one from exactly the same spot. The water was getting very shallow now and it was blowing a gale so decided to give up for the day.
It was good to get the rod in the water and find a few fish – even if there was nothing for dinner.