Expect the Unexpected
  |  First Published: March 2011

Attempting to predict what fishing opportunities might in a ‘normal’ year is always a challenge, not the least along the beaches of Fraser Island, and with the great Queensland flood, this has hardly been a normal year so far. Fishing aside however, those who have been affected by the floods are still in our thoughts.

So what can we expect so soon after such extreme weather events? My conclusion is: expect the unexpected. A convenient cliché, certainly, but it is based on experiences on the island after other significant events. Perhaps we should start by looking at what might be expected, then disregard it!

March should be a month with most beach species on offer. Tailor is the exception with only a few scattered schools of choppers working the gutters. Whiting should be well established right along the beach. However, regular readers will be aware of my disappointment in the last few years.

Some experienced Fraser regulars are predicting the return of this species in decent numbers, based on the freshwater inundation of the Sandy Straits. I’m not convinced but I sure hope they have it right.

The headlands and coffee rocks, given reasonable conditions, should hold bream and tarwhine, with flathead in the sandy patches along the edges. You can expect dart right along the beach throughout the year but if there is still any dirty water about, they will be harder to locate.

Fraser Island certainly receives its fair share of rain; in fact it is often torrential on days that the Hervey Bay mainland hardly receives a drop. Much of the rainfall is absorbed into the sand to support the almost endless supply of ground water while some finds its way into Fraser Island’s perched lakes.

A number of creeks, including Eli and Akuna on the eastern side and Woralie on the western beach, are fed by springs in the water table. These tend to run at a fairly constant rate throughout the year and are not affected so much by sudden fluctuations in rainfall. On the other hand, creeks towards the southern end of the ocean beach depend less on the water table and more on direct rainfall.

I am encouraged to mention this at this time of the year as these southern creeks, when running high, can cause serious potentially hazardous washouts and following serious rain the alternative road behind the dunes can be cut by these creeks. Otherwise the beach is in reasonable condition for travelling. Inland tracks have a firm foundation thanks to all the wet weather but some quite rough.

On the western beach, Moon Point has seen quite a bit of dirty water from the Mary River and the island outflows from Moon and Coungul creeks have been black from the tea-tree swamps that they drain. Along the beaches adjacent to the creek mouths bream have been taken along the mix of dirty and clean water. There is still quite a bit of weed around Moon Point and outside the mouth of Coungul Creek but it is starting to collect in clumps and wash up on the big tides.

Anglers who often make the trip across the island will be disappointed to know that the barge hole at the Moon Point landing is almost filled in. This has been a great spot for bream, tailor, mackerel and trevally. The reason for its demise is simply due to the fact that the Urangan to Moon Point barge is no longer running. The hole was kept excavated by the barge on its trips into the beach.

Back at the ocean beach, the weed that came in during November has been clearing gradually. So much so that it has become possible and pleasurable to be able to wet a line again along some of the most affected beaches.

Hopefully next month I will have much more news about what is being caught along the beach. We will also journey across the island to check out another one of those heavy weather alternatives.

Fraser Dingoes

Once again the debates regarding the Fraser Island dingo are in the news. In mid January a Korean visitor was bitten on the arm and required first-aid treatment before re-joining her tour party. There have been other reports, some unconfirmed, of unpleasant interactions between dingoes and visitors. These invariably involve the dogs being attracted to perceived food sources.

On one side of the fence is the official view and the legislation and fines that go with it. Fences and dingo grids around townships and some camping areas supposedly protect locals and visitors inside the fence. However this does nothing to protect the majority of visitors who are out on the beach. The official rules also involve the non-feeding of the animals and the care that should be taken of young children.

There are some who claim that the dingoes are starving and therefore become more aggressive in their search for food. They also are very much against killing proven problem animals. There are actually more than two sides to this story with many other strong points of view as to dingo management.

Without declaring where I am sitting on this, one thing is certain: the present management is not working. The tragic death of Clinton Gage almost ten years ago proved an incentive to do something about dingo management. Since then there have been many recorded incidents but is it going to take another fatality to do something serious and workable?

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