Take Up Chances
  |  First Published: February 2011

Fishing prospects for the month ahead are well and truly in the lap of the weather gods. The year so far hasn't provided a lot of opportunities for anglers to get out on the salty stuff and February doesn't look any better.

Nothing can be done about the weather so we simply need to take the opportunities when they present, which may mean donning raincoats and putting up with uncomfortable breezes. However, compared to the alternative of more house bound days of chores and cricket related depression, a day out in the elements has to be worth the effort!

Naturally there are times when it is simply pointless to try and fish the surf when the winds are nudging 30 knots and waves a couple of metres with sweep allowing just a few seconds for fish, that may or may not be there, to find your bait. However, anything under 20 knots might just be the best window we can reasonably expect until this wet season winds up.

Recent indications are that when conditions are fishable, then the fish are there. Even with the surf brown with fresh, anglers along Teewah Beach have universally been able to find a feed. Whiting, dart, bream, tarwhine, flathead, trevally and tailor are all being taken along with the odd small jew, sweetlip and bonefish.

Mackerel and tuna schools have been threatening to come in close to shore, but always remain just wide of the brown, fresh water. Should the Noosa River stop pouring this fresh out of the mouth and allow the surf to clean up at any stage, then I would expect that these pelagics will most certainly be fair game from the beach. Rainbow Beach being the most likely location for this to occur and the most likely to be clean and also somewhat sheltered from the south east. It is definitely going to be worth a look over the next couple of months.

While the Noosa River has been in minor flood, the river mouth has been a terrific location since before Christmas to find fish irrespective of conditions. Tailor, giant trevally, big eye trevally and at times tarpon have been in healthy numbers and are having a feast on the gar, prawns, whiting, mullet, bony bream, herring etc that are being flushed out by the fresh. The water at times has been nearly black with sediment carrying fresh, but that hasn't prevented the fish from finding the metals being retrieved for them.

Most metals of between 45g and 100g seem to draw strikes from one species or another, but light lures in heavy conditions isn't a good combination. Some of the slugs we have been using that were originally painted but which had had the paint removed by toothy critters are working just as well as the bright shiny chrome and stainless models. This isn't overly surprising as the fish tend to use their hearing and lateral line attributes to locate prey in dirty water and eyesight only comes into play when the prey is very close by.

It is not just the above mentioned species that have been feeding at the mouth either. Several times I have seen jew chasing mullet close to where I have been standing in 30cm of water and Spanish mackerel coming fully out of the water after hitting bait on the surface further out. Bream would undoubtedly be about there as well, as they always are when the river is running, along with flathead and whiting.

Double Island Point always seems to turn it on in the summer months and this year is no different. Big golden trevally have been creating havoc there with anglers using pilchard or live bait. Yellow tailed kingfish in the particularly large category are ever present and sweetlip, snapper, jew, bream, and tarwhine have successfully made it to the bags of several anglers in between bust offs from the goldens and kingies.

Something that I have found to be very encouraging of late is the lack of algae that has been in the surf zone of Teewah Beach. Although it seems that Fraser Island is still suffering with gutters full of hincksia that pretty well prevent fishing, Teewah has a surf that is clean except for the fresh.

At the beginning of December, the surf zone was brown with algae and a long summer of poor fishing looked to be on the cards. But cool conditions and the perennial supply of cool fresh water flowing out of the mouth of the Noosa that prohibits the algae's photosynthesizing seems to have kept the scourge at bay. At this point in time we have every reason to be optimistic that the rest of this summer could well be algae free.

Another reason not to be pessimistic about the surf fishing this summer is the prospect that for the first time since 2004, we could see a pelagic bonanza. In the last week of February 2004, a tropical low pressure system flooded the Noosa and caused very large seas. As the seas settled and the flood waters dispersed, huge schools of Australian anchovy became exposed that had been hiding in the dirty water inshore. The mackerel and tuna were quickly on to it along with the trevally and tailor, and a three month long feeding frenzy took place until netting quickly put a stop to the fun for all.

Conditions this wet season are shaping up for a repeat performance and the heavy presence of anchovy here will help facilitate the frenzy. But it will require a tropical low or cyclone to do the job. In the process, the vast accumulation of sand that has been building on this beach since the 1970s would be sent on its way to Sandy Cape and expose the coffee rock that is such a drawcard for bait and predators alike. Deep holes that were once common would again be available to fish, and best of all the algae would be a hazy unpleasant memory.

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