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Brisbane River Bully and other predators


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OK well after a good morning fish on Wednesday which included my first Yak squire and Yak shovel nose, I decided to pass on the night mission with al and the boys and have an earlier start fishing the same spot. My hope was to get some more squire and maybe, just maybe catch that first fish I missed for the day, or that big jew I am on a mission to catch.

I arrived nice and early and managed to get more than enough poddy mullet in my first cast of the net, just as the sun was starting to show. With a spring in my step…sorry stroke I headed off paddling out from Boggy Creek and arriving at the spot soon after. The water was glass, bait was moving everywhere, and some decent sized fish schools were showing up on the sounder so I think to myself “today is going to a great day!†:)

After a few passes drifting and one massive hit which was missed the tide started to move out and I decided to drop my anchor and flick my SP up current while dangling a live poddy in the rear rod holder.

After a good ten minutes and only a few small touches I hear this almighty sound behind me and turn to see a 5-6ft bully re-entering the water after a breach just…and I mean just behind the rudder (less than a metre). Time seemed to slow and I rapidly pulled up the anchor as I was not all to happy to be so close knowing that they breach to stun baitfish and a bull shark feeding so close is not a comfortable thought. :huh:

In record time I had the anchor in between my legs instead of the usual spot in the well behind me and off I went. I think in the first 20 metres I would have rivalled Usain Bolt on land, such was the sudden rush of adrenaline I felt which comes along with flight or fight syndrome. :blush:

Ok this is where I knew I needed to get out. After 30 metres BUMP, on the right rear of my yak moving me an estimated foot side on and causing me to use my paddle to slap the water and prevent a capsize. :unsure:

This time it was more of a shove, and in comparison to another bump in which I did see bait being chased and lost a lure first bite to a shark (was bumped lightly several times after losing the SP), this was much more aggressive. At this point I am not ashamed to admit I was in flight mode, and steadily cursing myself for not having practiced re-entry just in case I capsized my Kingy. Another shove and I was really packing it, only 50 metres away from Bulwer Island Rock wall and I was moving…BUMP..I keep paddling with my neck twisted fully around trying to get a visual and then I see it. Just behind me, one inch of dorsal fin easily keeping pace with me until he BUMPED me again so I stop. And wait thinking; “hold on, you know that you should never run from a predator when they have the advantageâ€. So I wait for what seemed like an eternity (which in reality was probably only 30 seconds), and then I see him again, coming slowly from the side. I wait, grasp my paddle one quarter of the way from the left blade along the shaft and whacked the water just in front of him. Wait, wait, wait and nothing, so then I head over to just inside the mouth where I landed the shovelnose on a small bit of sand and pulled up. :cheer: :)

I sat down chilled out to a cold can of coke and muesli bar until I was happy enough that by now he would have lost interest in my yak, and would be far away.

I decided then that it would not be smart to hang around here and headed in to Boggy Creek.

That over with now I can report my less successful days fishing, and a bit of wildlife seen in the area which is not attracted to my sexy shark attracting orange yak!

Changing tactics I started to flick smaller SP’s with my 4000 spinning reel and heavy rod on the flats at least trying to catch something for the day, figuring I would see him coming in water less than a metre, and staying close to shore at all times (less than 40 metres).

I rigged up my bait caster with an sx48 and did a little trolling, and every now and then flicking my SP at snags along the shoreline. Unfortunately all I managed to hook during this first hour in Boggy creek was a small whiting (foul hooked).

I heard the call of a pair of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) and turned around to see one dive and take a fish. What a beautiful sight to see, and seeing it made me forget about looking around the water for toothy wildlife and open my eyes to what was around me! I managed to get close enough to take a pic of one of these beautiful avian predators perched on a branch. :D

I then continued to just look around and open myself up to the surroundings and counted 3 kites before noticing a White Bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) perched on a tree about 60 metres away. I did my best to paddle slowly up to it for a pic and managed to take one photo before he took to the air, before seeing the other half of a pair (if you see one the other is ever too far away). I had to see just how close I could get and I cannot believe how close I got (no zoom at all in second pic). :o

By this time the sun was high, the effectiveness of the sunscreen was wearing off and I decided to continue the troll/flick combination on route to the launch site. I dropped a small flatty on the sx48 before managing to land a just 40 cm specimen and releasing him fight another day.

Just over 24 hours after this encounter the nerves have settled (courtesy of an incident last night working in town), however I have decided to give the solo Brisbane river trips a miss until the weather cools down a little. I am also going to take my Kingy somewhere with CLEAN water…maybe a pool and practise re-entry and hit Red up for a tutorial (ice coffee is on me ;-) ). In saying this I am still a Yak fishing addict despite having this encounter, it will not deter me from fishing at all however I will take precautions to ensure I decrease the chances of this happening again. Whilst it was a very scary situation I enjoyed the rush! Nothing like having the s&$t scared out of you to know your ALIVE! :woohoo: ;-)

All in all it was a very interesting day and I was very happy to see a breeding pair of sea eagles in such close proximity to Brisbane’s CBD!

Cheers Andrew wseagleperched.jpg

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No marks on the yak, just bumped me, albeit a very good bump! I was not keen to stop and get the camera out of the centre hatch as I was alone and just wanted to get out of there! However I do plan on getting a waterproof video camera to mount on the yak and will work out how fix it so I can pan around 360 degrees in case I have another incident and can get footage, hopefully I have had my share of encounters for a while though!

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sounds like a really interesting trip out- it's amazing the adventures we can have on our own doorstep. White breasted sea eagles are among the most beautiful raptors in the world and every time i see one i get a little thrill. Sounds like we will have a strong shark season- i wonder if they are starting to breed or are just getting more active as the water warms up?

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Nice to meet you at the Xmas party the other night. B)

I have seen how bullsharks can jump out of relatively shallow water at the Pine river and make me think twice about kayaking with Tom. :dry: I have also seen reef sharks up north cruising the shallows swimming around Toms legs while fishing, so have no doubt your encounter happened. :ohmy:

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bull sharks are well known for jumping and that little bump is their way of tasting you i've had them rub past my leg in dirty water in a canal entrance when i was a teenager felt just like sand paper but lucky not to have them come back to be chewed on . very beleivable and i remember a news story of a surf ski getting bite taken out of it down the gold coast


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Thank you nickers, it was lovely meeting you too!

I did not panic as that would be the worst thing to do as it clouds the mind, but I do admit to feeling scared and the adrenaline was pumping!

On the subject of BRC I will do my utmost best to be there however if i can make it it won't be until sat arvo as my son has cricket and my friend work. I have decided to forget about my boat as its only small and since i have my son it is not suitable for an over night trip (I would do it if I did not have him). And since my friend just bought a 8 metre Regal with a big cabin and 3 beds I figure why take the tinny out if I can bring my son, stay the night, and set up some big rigs!

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scary stuff.

when i was living in mackay i had some close calls but as a kid you have no fear. i get spooked to easy these days out on the water on my own as i have seen some very aggressive sharks (tho i cant cast as far as the shark nets so i think they should go :laugh:)

im not sure if you have but if you could post some shots of your yakk setup as i am very interested. i really want a hobie (think the peddle thing is better than the paddle) but its on a long list of stuff i want and the stuff i need is up the top.

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Thank you Kriso, again I do apologise and in future will not reply to any negative or abusive posts, or allow myself to be drawn into it again :blush:

No worries rastus I will post some pics of My kingy which is not an expensive yak, and similar to a few out there. I will also tell you my likes and dislikes which I have encountered so far and any mods I have made (not many and I have more to come).

I bought it second hand already set up and although I need to make a few changes to make life a little easier for me, these are minimal. The thing is that once you get out o it you will more than likely alter it to your own personal needs, try things, and then change them again. The best advice I can give you as a novice yakfisher (advice I have picked up from seasoned offshore yak anglers) is to think, think, think, re-think re-think some more before you make any major mods involving cutting or drilling holes.

Like you I would like to buy a hobie one day but at the price I paid I could not turn down my Kingy, and am very happy with my purchase.

Fergie please do not think twice about going offshore in your yak if your well prepared. The fact is that the incident was inshore in murky water. Once I have enough money to buy a VHF radio and Epirb and have practised surf entry and re-entry, I will be very keen to get offshore, and will not hesitate to do it. Like many people have mentioned your more likely to have an accident on route to fishing than be attacked. I stress that I do not think I was in any real danger but admit to having the &^%^ scared out of me, and altough it was scary it will not stop me from fishing the same area again, and definately will not stop me from going offshore in the not too distant future! Actually I am licking my lips just thinking about getting out to chase reefies while I type this ;)

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