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.
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.