Bribie – the old oyster jetty flats – 8 April 2014

Tuesday

Stormy weather

Stormy weather

A massive storm hit Bribie Island on Sunday – dumping significant rain and really stirring things up. So I left it until Tuesday to go fishing again. It was now about half way between the new moon and the full moon. The wind was forecast to be a light south-westerly. It felt noticeably cooler as I got out of the car, by the bridge at about 5.30 am. The water was definitely cooler, as I waded out on to the flats beside the old oyster jetty. Low tide would be at about 10.30 am.

Just to the south of the jetty I concentrated on a patch of weed that has produced a few flathead in the past. I was fishing with a Gulp 4” Minnow in the Smelt colour. I had it rigged on a 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 hook jighead. As it is now possible that there are a few Tailor around, I am consistently fishing with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This won’t stop big fish but it might give me a chance with some good sized choppers.

At about 6.00 am, I felt a few very aggressive bites but did not hook up. I persisted in the same spot and after about 10 minutes, I felt a solid yank and line started peeling. I had hooked a big Long Tom and it promptly leapt out of the water for the camera. I let it get rid of some energy then released it, recovered my jighead and chewed soft plastic. The leader was completely lacerated. So I cut off the last 10 cm and tied my jighead back on. I straightened the soft plastic and carried on casting.

The fishing was very tough. I tried a couple of small hard bodies and jerkshads with no success. By about 7.15am I had dropped down to a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. I managed to catch a couple of very small flathead on this plastic.

I waded all the way down to the big sand bar beside the green channel marker, but the fish were elusive.  I swapped to a GULP 3” Minnow in the Smelt colour and this enticed another 30 cm flathead, but it was a long time between bites.

As the tide continued to run out I waded back closer to the oyster jetty and decided to swap to a Z Man Minnowz soft plastic in the Red Bone colour. As I have mentioned before I am no longer a fan of the Headlockz Jigheads. They hold the lure in place but I think they are a bit clunky for this type of estuary fishing. I therefore chose to put the plastic on a Nitro Bream Pro 1/8th ounce, size 1/0 jighead. I hoped the vibration of the paddletail might be more obvious to the fish. It took a while, but after about 30 minutes I did finally catch a 45cm flathead. I swapped to a Minnowz in the Opening Night colour and after about another 30 minutes I caught another, about the same size.

By 10.00 am I had had enough and the wind had picked up. As I waded back towards the bridge a came across plenty of flathead lies – so the fish are around, somewhere. It had been another tough session.

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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 – Large Easter Sunday Flathead – 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

I had a big Easter BBQ planned for Monday. Four Good Friday Flathead was a good start but I would need a bit more fish to make sure my guests didn’t go hungry. That was my excuse for getting out on Easter Sunday!

I arrived at the Bribie Island Bridge at 5.00am and parked on the bank, on the mainland side. I put on my waders and had a few casts around the rocks under the bridge. I caught a small Moses Perch and released it.

Just as it started to get light I moved off to the south. There was lots of surface feeding going on and the tide was running out strongly. Low tide was at around 8.00am. I waded past the oyster jetty with no more bites and then started to fish the drain that runs round from Sandstone Point. I fished all along it without a touch. I moved out to a point where the water was waist deep and started to move north, back towards the bridge.

I was fishing with a new favourite, the GULP 3” Smelt Crazylegs Grub soft plastic. It is a short version of the Crazylegs Jerkshad that has proved so useful. I had it rigged on a 1/6thoz 1/0 jighead. I was using my light spin rod and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

I got a couple of solid bites but could not keep the fish on. Then as I moved towards the oyster jetty a fish grabbed the plastic about a metre away from me. I struck with rod and stepped back. It was a good fish but it did not do much, initially. I decided to walk it back to the shore. I loosened the drag a little, as I did not want a bust off. I started to tow it towards the bank and about half way there it really woke up and made a few powerful runs. As I dragged it up onto the muddy shore the leader snapped, but it was clear of the water.

It was a healthy female Flathead, just under 70cm long. I fished around this area for another hour and caught and released several Flathead that were around the legal size limit of 40cm. At about 8.30 I gave up. It had been great morning land-based fishing in the Pumicestone Passage.

70cm Flathead

Bribie Island – Bridge & Sandstone Point – 3 March 2011

Thursday

Thursday was set to be another hot day with a possible thunderstorm. There would be a slight northerly wind in the Pumicestone Passage, which would freshen through the day. I decided to keep looking for Flathead, as these have been the only consistent fish for me, in recent weeks.

I started under the bridge on the Island side about 4.15 am. The tide was running in and there was about 30cm of water at the base of the rockwall by the shore, to the north of the bridge. There was not much surface action and I think the Pike prefer a little more depth, to feel safe. I cast out a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead and bounced it along the bottom under the lights. Three casts later, after a pause on the bottom, the line came up tight. There were a few head shakes and a short run and then the fish was gone. A couple of casts later; same soft plastic, same place, maybe the same fish, I hooked up again. This time I got him to the rocks – a Flathead – around 45cm, but as I was lifting him in to the bag, he spiked me and slithered out of my grip to freedom.

Dawn by the Bribie Island bridge - the fish come to the lights

After 30 minutes more, prospecting both north and south of the bridge, I could not find any more fish so I decided to change location. Just as the sun was coming up, I drove round to Pebble Beach and walked along the beach to the far end, towards Sandstone Point. The water was fairly high but there were still a couple of hours before high tide. It was a beautiful, calm, still morning. The thunderstorms had passed over earlier and there were still a few flashes of lightning as they moved in land, but the sky was bright red.

A very calm morning

At the end of the beach, I walked out in front of the fringing Mangroves and cast out over the rubble and boulders that dot the ground. I was aiming for the sandy patches in between the rocks, where the Flathead often shelter. As I moved nearer to the corner I had a few encounters with the Long Toms, who kept grabbing and then dropping, the lure. When one finally did get hooked it started leaping and splashing and effectively shredded the 16lb Fluorocarbon leader I was using. I re- rigged and tied on a new leader and put on a GULP 4” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Pepper Prawn colour, on a 1/8th 1/0 jighead. A few cast later as the lure bumped over the rocky bottom, a fish grabbed it and took off. It only made a small run and then settled in the current. I pulled it on to some rocks – a 48cm Flathead – I released it and carried on casting. A few casts later I had another on the same plastic, this time it was just over 50cm.

After working the corner thoroughly I move round it, heading north and on to the broad flats of Sandstone Point, which almost form a tidal lagoon. With another hour to go before a 2.3m high tide, I could still wade out to the middle of the area and cast back in towards the Mangrove roots along the shore. The Long Toms where patrolling and I had a couple of tussles with them. After 30 minutes, the water was getting too deep to stay in the middle so I turned and headed south, in closer. I switched to a GULP 2” Shrimp in the Pepper Prawn colour and put in long casts parallel with the shore. A fish grabbed the lure as it landed and this time it was a Flathead, I dragged it in under the Mangroves – it was around 40cm – and after a quick picture, I unhooked it and sent it on its way.

That was the last fish for the morning and even thought it was only 8.15 am, it was already blisteringly hot. I dumped the gear in the car and had a quick swim before heading home. Another good session, the water is still full of sediment on these big tides but there is plenty of bait around and so the fish will come.

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Bribie Island – Old Oyster Jetty – Flathead & Cod – 20 Feb 2011

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Sunday

Back in Brisbane and it was time to go looking for some fish in the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. Conditions looked pretty good for Sunday morning so I was wading out in the pre-dawn light, by the old oyster jetty, on the mainland side of the Bribie Bridge at around 4.45 am.

It was just after low tide and there was no real current flow. The water was very murky with plenty of sediment stirred up by the big tides of the full moon (which was the night before). I started with a 1/8th 1 hook jighead and a GULP 3” minnow soft plastic in the lime tiger colour.

There is plenty of debate about the use of bright coloured soft plastics for murky water. I am yet to be convinced that they work better than natural colours, in these conditions. I think darker, natural colours, which create a clear silhouette in the water, probably work better. I am also a convert to using bright colours in extremely clear water, although this is somewhat counter intuitive and has taken a while for me to accept. Today the lime tiger had produced nothing in the first twenty minutes and as this was the bite window around dawn, I switched to a more natural coloured pearl watermelon minnow in the 4” size.
I waded slowly south, parallel with the shoreline casting in between the patches of rocky reef that are exposed on a low, low tide in this area. I got a couple of bites from what felt like Bream, or perhaps Long Toms, but no hook ups. At about 6.00 am the tide started to flow in with a bit more power and the water began to clear slightly.

At a point about 50 metres to the south of the old oyster jetty, I felt a light thud as I jerked the soft plastic off the bottom. I waited and then struck, but there was no fish. I cast back in the same direction and in the same spot, another thud. I dropped the rod tip slowly and then struck and I got the fish. It was a very small Flathead, around 20cm long, but at least I was off the mark.

The tide was really moving now and it was covering the weed beds very quickly. I found a patch of weed in about one metre of water. I cast up current and let the plastic hop across the bottom. As it reached the weed patch – thud. I set the hook and realized this time I had a better sized fish. I walked it back to the shoreline – it was another Flathead – just over 40cm long. With plenty of fish in the fridge I decided to let this one go.

I waded back out to the same area and over the next hour or so caught three more similar sized Flathead and a 40cm Estuary Cod – all on the same 4” pearl water melon coloured soft plastic. The water had been quite clear for a while at the beginning of the run in tide but now it was full of stirred up sediment again. By 8.45 am it was already around 30 ° C so I stopped fishing and headed for the air con.

Bribie Island – A few Flathead – 26 Jan 2011

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Australia Day – Wednesday

Although I did not catch anything yesterday, I was encouraged by the conditions in the Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island. I love estuary fishing in Queensland but Bribie Island is by far my favourite spot near Brisbane. So this morning I was up early and wading out from the shore, on the mainland side, under the Bribie Island bridge at around 4.15 am.

There was virtually no breeze and the tide was about half way out. Low tide would be at about 8.40 am, at around 0.6m. The area that is lit by the bridge lights always attracts bait and this morning was no exception. There were surface bust ups all around with prawns and bait fish jumping everywhere. The bottom is a mixture of sand, weed and rubble so you cannot fish too heavy. The run out tide starts to run fast over the rubble areas as the water gets shallower and this forms a few ridges, channels and drains that hold the Flathead. A 1/6th oz jighead with 1/0 or 2/0 hook is perfect in these conditions. I decided to fish my favourite soft plastic for Flathead – the GULP 4” Minnow in the pearl watermelon colour. I rigged up my light spin rod and waded along the edge of the mangroves heading south, so I could come back up and cast from the darkness up into the area lit by the bridge lights.

I was standing in about 400mm of water casting up into the run out tide. The plastic was spooking the bait schools and they would burst out of the water each time I jerked it off the bottom. After a few casts a felt a good crunch and let the rod tip drop. A few seconds later I lifted it and had a small Flathead around 30 cm. It was now about 4.30 am and the sky was brightening very slowly. I continued casting around the same area and about ten minutes later a caught another one on the same plastic – this time it was around 35 cm.
I continued casting – I still could not clearly see the colour of the water but it looked a lot dirtier on the run out tide, than it had when I fished the run in tide, yesterday. I moved into slightly deeper water and lost a couple of jigheads to the snaggy bottom. I re-rigged and on my first cast a Flathead more or less caught the lure as it hit the water. There was a good deal of tail splashing and head shaking but when I got it to the bank, I could see it was not much bigger than the others at around 40cm. I let it go, hoping for something better.
As the sun cleared the horizon the surface activity gradually slowed and I started to walk down to fish around the old oyster farm jetty. My plastic was getting plenty of hits but they were not Flathead and I could not seem to hook up. Finally I set the hook on one of the bites and pulled up a tiny Moses Perch. They certainly have an appetite for a decent sized lure (see photo).

I spent another hour fishing the end of the run out tide and as the water got lower, it got dirtier and dirtier. Finally at about 7.30 am I decided there was not enough water in this area, so I packed up. It was good to find a few fish – even though they were small. Hopefully the good weather will continue and the water quality will gradually improve.

Bribie Island – Buckley’s Hole Sand Flats – 5 Oct 2010

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Tuesday
I could not get to Bribie Island to start fishing until about 9.30 am on Tuesday. I decided to head back to the sandbanks to the south of Buckley’s Hole. This area has consistently been producing fish for me –no monsters but plenty of fish.
The wind had turned around from a northerly to a south easterly and unfortunately, it had brought the weed with it. The tide was running out so I walked down to the bottom of the island then turned around and waded back north. Despite the weed and recent rain, the water was fairly clear and the sun was out. I decided to rig up a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic on a 1/6th 1 hook jighead. I was told once that in clear water and bright conditions the weirder colours often do well, so I chose the Lime Tiger colour which is an orange and green combination. This theory is counter intuitive but it certainly seems to work – especially on a sandy bottom.
I moved forward slowly, putting out long casts in a semicircle, in front of me and then slowly hopping the soft plastic along the bottom. After half an hour of constantly pulling weed of the jighead, I finally hooked up. It was a Flathead but he was around 35cm long so I released him.
The weed was a pain but I could not really find a solid pocket of fish. On the last few occasions fishing here, I have tended to find the fish in groups of two or three. Over the next hour and a half I caught three more Flathead but they were all too small and they were all caught in separate spots. At noon I had to give up what had been a bit of a frustrating session and head for home.