Bribie Island – White Patch – Unexpected Jewfish – 23 August 2013

Friday

Another cold fine morning and I decided to try Whit Patch on Bribie Island again. As you will see from recent reports fishing can be hit and miss here. The coffee rock ledge structure that appears at various points all along either side of the Pumicestone Passage creates several holes and submerged mini rock bars along this stretch of shore.

I started early in the cold at White Patch

I started early in the cold at White Patch

There is a lot more sediment around after two years of floods, followed by a very wet period at the beginning of winter. This means that water clarity is not very good at the bottom of the tide. It also means that the weed/ sea grass beds that clump on the sand above the ledge, are taking longer than usual to spring up. But there must be something to eat in the area, as the first thing I saw, as I walked out in the pre-dawn light at the north end of White Patch beach, was the bristly snout of a Dugong. It was cruising along the ledge surfacing every now and then, to blow.

Great minds think alike and Bribie Island local – Colin was already out flicking some soft plastics further up the beach. I saw him pull up a legal Flathead, so I was enthused. I rigged up with a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, #1 hook jighead. I was sticking with the 8lb fluorocarbon leader.

An ambitious pike was my first customer

An ambitious pike was my first customer

Low tide was at about 5.30 am – just on first light. There was no wind to speak off and I was starting fishing in the slack water just on low – which is not ideal. The first half an hour was uneventful – apart from the Dugong sighting. At about 6.15 am an ambitious pike grabbed the soft plastic but it was only about 15cm long. I wandered up and down casting diligently, but I had to wait another hour for a decent bite. I connected with the fish, which felt like a Flathead, but after a few moments it was gone.

At about 7.15 am, I caught a Flathead that was not much bigger than the pike and was sitting in only about 10 cm of water. I always forget just how quickly these fish will move up the beach with the tide. I decided to swap to the Zman range and put on a Minnowz paddle tail shape soft plastic, in the Houdini colour. I cast in all directions but this did not produce anything.

This one was only 20cm long

This one was only 20cm long

At about 7.30 am I swapped to a GULP 4” Minnow in the flecked New Penny colour. I cast it over the ledge and let it sink. I paused until I was sure it was on the bottom then hopped it up and paused again. On the second lift the rod bent over and then line started peeling – something decent had eaten the soft plastic. It mad a solid and long initial run. My drag was not very tight and I need to re-spool this reel, so I quickly found myself down to the backing line. Patience is the key at moments like this. I left the drag alone and wound every time the fish paused. I kept the rod tip up and maintained the fairly light pressure. I gradually covered the backing line with braid and felt more comfortable.

The fish did not have very much power left after that first initial long run and so I had an inkling it was a jewfish/ mulloway. Now I tightened the drag just a little so that I could pull the fish cleanly over the ledge. As I did so I saw the silvery blue spots along its lateral line and confirmed it was a Jewie. A gentle stroll backwards and I had it up on the sand.

I measured it – 68cm – still not legal in Queensland, but a cracking fish nonetheless. I took a few photos in the shallows then sent it on its way. I fished on for a while but I could not find anymore. I looked back through my archives and realise this is the farthest up the Pumicestone Passage that I have caught a Jewfish/ Mulloway – it’s a very encouraging sign and more evidence of a healthy fishery.

68cm - still not a legal Jewfish - it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year

68cm – still not a legal Jewfish – it is taking a while to find one at Bribie this year


I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I had not expected to find a Jewfish at White Patch

I stopped for a coffee at Scoopys and ran into an old friend – local Brisbane children’s author – Julie Fison. Her Hazard River series of adventure stories are a great tool for engaging both reluctant and accomplished young readers. She has also just launched a series for teenage girls. I should warn my readership to check their pacemakers before they delve into these! Its book week in Queensland, so she was spreading the word about the wonder of reading, at the Bribie library. I would think there are some sections of our community where children don’t know what a book looks like! So full marks to Julie for taking this on. For more about the books visit http://www.hazardriver.com/. or Julie Fison visit http://juliefison.wordpress.com/. She also has an amazing and painful tale related to a Garfish encounter – but that is for another time.

Yeppoon – Byfield National Park – 3 June 2013

Monday

Sorry I have not posted a report in a while, but once again paid work has interfered with fishing. It has however, given me the opportunity to fish a few interesting spots.

In early June I found myself back in Rockhampton and decided to spend a few more days fishing in the Byfield National Park – just north of Yeppoon. Last time I was up this way the rain pretty much washed out the fishing. Unfortunately, this trip was not very different. Whilst it was not actually raining, the accumulated downpours had left the creeks and estuaries of Byfield very fresh and muddy.

On Monday it was also very windy with a 15 knot south-easterly forecast. I drove in to the national park across the causeway and along the four-wheel drive sand tracks. There was a big bog on the track in and someone had cut a crude bypass through the forest beside it – but this required the car to get over a few fallen logs and stumps. The car was up to the challenge and got through ok. I carried on over the sand hills and drove down Nine Mile Beach to Corio Bay.

I decide to fish the Corio Bay estuary where there had been a bit of action last time I was here. When I walked around to the inside of the headland the wind was blowing harder than 20 knots and it was coming from the south. This meant there was not much shelter. We were a few days off the new moon but the tide was running in, very strongly.

I started with my medium rod and reel combo – an N.S Black Hole Cabin II – S-862 L Spin Rod 2.59m long (8’6”) and rated 8-14 lb, matched with a Shimano Sustain 4000 reel. I had it spooled with 15lb Super PE Braid in the green colour. This will cast big and small soft plastics, small hard bodies and slugs.

The water was dirty and muddy and full of fresh and there was very little surface action. The water was considerably colder than it had been a month or so ago. I started with big soft plastic jerkshads on light jigheads and gradually swapped through heavier jigheads until I settled on a ¼ oz 2/0 jighead and a GULP 4” Minnow in the Rainbow colour. I cast into the incoming current and let the lure sink as it was carried past the rock bars by the current. I got snagged a few times and re-rigged. I had a couple of quite aggressive bites, but no hook ups. It was about 7.30 am and high tide would be at about 11.00 am. The sun was out but the wind was getting stronger and stronger.

I swapped to a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow hard body for about 20 casts, but this did not tempt the fish. I swapped back to the soft plastic minnow in the Rainbow colour and at about 8.10 am I felt a solid bite. On the next cast a fish grabbed the soft plastic as it landed in the water. It was quite powerful but small. After a couple of runs a pulled a very small blue salmon from the muddy water.

I carried on fishing through to the high tide and tried a number of the bays on the inside of the headland but after a few hours, the wind just made it too tough, so I gave up.

That afternoon I followed a very narrow four wheel drive only track down to Five Rocks Beach. This looks like a spectacular fishing spot and I tried a few casts, as I explored it. On the north side of the headland I was sheltered from the 25 knot southerly wind. But the water was now very stirred up and I did not get a bite. It was good fun exploring this area but it would have been better if I had caught something.

Bribie Island – Sandstone Point flats – 26 March 2013

Tuesday

A good run of predominantly south-easterly winds and not much rain had me feeling confident on Tuesday morning. It was also full moon which meant plenty of tidal flow. It would be a 2.3m high tide at 8.46 am, at Sandstone Point, on the mainland, opposite Bribie Island. The wind was forecast to switch from east-south-east to north easterly in the middle of the middle of the morning.

I arrived at about 4.45 am and found the water lapping around the feet of the third set of bridge pylons and just covering the patch of reef to the south of the fifth set. The pylons are smooth and polished and the cleaning / survey process has created a few new holes around the footings.

I started with soft plastics – the GULP 2” Shrimp in the peppered prawn colour on a 1/8th, size 1 hook jighead. I cast around north and south of the bridge without result. There was not really enough water here yet.

I moved south, past the old oyster jetty and stuck with the shrimp soft plastic. The tide was not moving very fast so I dropped back to 1/16th oz , size 1 hook jighead. I aimed at the sandy drain area, just south of the jetty. I was casting at around in just less than a meter of water. The sun came over the horizon at about 6.00 am and I immediately started to get a few hits. I caught a small bream about 25cm and then another two. The peppered prawn shrimp was hanging off the jighead, so I swapped to a banana prawn coloured version.

After a few casts, this produced a big Pike – perhaps 35cm long. Then, at about 6.45 am I felt a bigger fish attack the shrimp, as it sank. It took a little bit of line and then settled down. It had a strange tail beat and I could not figure out what it might be. After a few lunges I pulled it in closer and could see it was a nice tarwhine – about 35 cm long. It’s strange action in the water was probably due to the fact that it only had half a tail. I kept the tarwhine and caught a few more bream, all in the same spot, before the incoming tide pushed me back towards the mangrove line.

On a full moon the flats towards Sandstone Point are covered in a metre of water for a solid couple of hours around the high tide. This gives the fish plenty of time to move up in to the area looking for bait. I decided to wade along the mangrove line, in the direction of Sandstone Point and see if I could find them. I stuck with small GULP soft plastics in the natural colours, smelt, pearl watermelon, peppered prawn and banana prawn. There were plenty of long toms cruising around and they were the first takers. They are hard to hook but once they are solidly connected they put on an impressive aerial display – thrashing and leaping around. More often than not their sharp teeth just sliced through my 10lb fluorocarbon leader.

By about 8.00 am I had waded all the way round to Sandstone Point and the water was so deep that it was only just possible to continue fishing along the mangrove line. I turned around and started wading back to the north east. I pulled up one small (less than 35cm) flathead, who was lying close to the edge of the mangroves but the rest of the fish interaction was with the long toms. By the time the tide turned at 8.45 am I was back on the corner at the sandy drain.

As the tide started to run out I focused on this area. I tried a few brightly coloured GULP jerkshads but these did not produce anything so I swapped back to a natural coloured offering – the GULP 2” shrimp in the banana prawn colour. I also swapped to a heavier 1/8th 1 jighead, as the tide started to run out. This did the trick and after a few long tom hits, I connected with a sold fish that turned out to be a 55cm flathead. I kept casting around this area and after another ten minutes, I found two more 45cm versions.

By about 9.45 am I was close to the old oyster jetty again. I was now using a GULP 3” Minnow in the Pearl Watermelon colour. The water is still full of sediment on these big tides and the bridge cleaning barge was out again, further stirring things up. I was fishing from memory, aiming my casts at areas where I thought the weed beds thinned out and dropped off to sandy bottom. I pulled up another good flathead, about 60cm.

As I reached the bridge area I put in a few final casts with the same soft plastic and found my fifth keeper – a flathead – about 50cm long. My apologies, I did not have my camera with my while I was fishing today. You will have to make do with a couple of pictures of the bagful that I took with my phone, when I got back to the car.

It looks like the south-easterlies are gradually bringing the water temperature down which is firing up the traditional winter species. If the weather behaves there should be some great fishing over Easter.

Not worth fishing – so here are a few pics of my favourite lures in action – 31 January 2013

Surveying the dirty brown waters of our estuaries and Moreton Bay – I have decided this week, and probably most of next, will be a write off as far as land based fishing is concerned. But there is nothing more depressing than not being able to fish and not having any fishy pictures to look at, so I have put up a few of my favourite captures and lures from the last few years.

If you have a sore back from cleaning the mud out of some flooded area of your house I hope these will represent light at the end of the tunnel!

Bribie Island – White Patch & Bongaree – 10 September 2012

Monday

I promised to take a friend fishing and introduce him to soft plastics on Monday. Unfortunately the weather was far from perfect and we arrived at Bribie to find the wind blowing from the south-east at about 15 Knots.

I decided to start at White Patch, as it is sometimes just a little less exposed to the elements. I showed my mate the basic plastics rig and set him to work with a 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I started with the same.

Why is it always so bloody hard to catch a fish when you need to? I tried all the usual spots and swapped through a load of different soft plastics. I don’t think I managed to prove it was worth getting him up at 4.00 am by catching one small Pike in 3 hours.

The wind did drop off a little, so we moved down to Bongaree to fish around the Seaside Museum drain until low tide. This was a bit more exciting as after about 20 minutes there was a big swirl and splash in between us, as something slammed into the bait just in front of the drop off. This process was repeated every few minutes, as whatever it was moved up the edge, heading north. The angler a bit further north, thought it was a small group of Tuna – difficult to say, as I did not get a look.

Whilst it made interesting viewing I still had not caught anything and nor had my mate. I was about to give up when I felt the solid ‘thud’ of a Flathead. In the end he had grabbed the lure I had started the day with – the GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour. It was a decent fish – approximately 50cm long and it was immediately donated to my patient, but cold, fishing guest.

Finally a fish

At about 10.30 am we gave up – I take my hat off to fishing guides everywhere – and will not be calling myself a ‘Gillie’ any time soon.

Brooms Head Lagoon Drain – 21 Sept 2011

Wednesday

It was to be another land based fishing session at Brooms Head just south of Yamba, in Northern New South Wales. At dawn the wind was already gusting strongly from the south-east. It was forecast to blow up to about thirty knots during the morning but the area on the west side of the lagoon was sheltered by the Brooms Head Bluff. I decided it was worth an early morning wade.

Low tide was at 7.30 am and I was wading across the mouth of the lagoon, at the western end, at about 5.45 am. I had broken my lightest rod the day before so I was using my Nitro 7’6” distance spin rod and because of the breeze I had moved up to a heavier 1/8th oz, 1/0 hook jighead and 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I soon found the fish. They were lurking just on the border of the rocky northern wall of the lagoon, where the weed covered rocks met the sand. I started with a Pike and then 30cm Tarwhine and then three of the striped Trevally. I released them all and with nicely chilled nuts, I waded back for a hot shower and breakfast.

Wreck Rock & Middle Rock – Tuna & Trevally – Deepwater National Park – 14 May 2011

Saturday

On Friday evening the keen fisherman camped nearby told me he had hooked up to a freight train Tuna, off the beach, in the early afternoon and unfortunately pulled the treble out. He had spent the rest of the day running up and down the beach trying to get his metal slug back in front of the fish but they just never came close enough. I decided to try the slugs in the morning down at Flat Rock where I had also seen the Tuna working. As the sun came up I cast and cast and cast in the direction of the feeding Tuna – but they just never quite came close enough.

Flat Rock beach - with the rock just covered - just after dawn

After a couple of hours I gave up and went back to camp for breakfast. I was greeted by my neighbour whose persistence had paid off and finally he had a good size Mac Tuna. He had eventually caught up with a school that came into less than 3 metres of water, only about 25 metres from the shore, about 1km south of Wreck Rock, along the beach. He had followed the birds and dead Whitebait that littered the beach until he saw a boil of feeding fish on the surface close in to the beach. He hooked up on his second cast and hung on. I was delighted for him, but he looked almost as tired as the fish. Who said angling is a sedentary sport?

Mac Tuna caught off Wreck Rock Beach on a chrome slug - May 2011

Mac Tuna off the beach - does not happen very often - full marks to this fisho for putting in the hard work

Now I was really fired up but I needed to have a look at some other spots, so that afternoon with a high tide due for about 6.00 pm, I jumped in the car and drove along the track to Middle Rock. Middle Rock, predictably sits between Flat Rock and Wreck Rock. It is a set of three rocky promontories that are almost completely submerged on the bigger high tides. It was approaching high tide when I started fishing there just after 5.00pm.

I was using the light spin rod and was casting out a 1/6th 2/0 jighead loaded with a GULP Jerkshad in the Pumpkinseed colour. I was hopping the plastic over the submerged rocks pretty quickly so that it would not get snagged. Suddenly a fish smashed the soft plastic lure ran with it for a few metres, then dropped it. A few casts later and I was in contact with a fish again. It took off and took plenty of line. The light rod has no real strength so I had to wear this one out with the drag and use the waves to bring it in. It put up a good fight but it was solidly hooked and I soon had a 50cm Trevally at my feet. I think it was a Big Eye – but I am never quite sure as some of the species can look pretty similar. The sun had gone down by now and the south-westerly wind was chilling so I gave up for the day.

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