A perfectly planned big day out
  |  First Published: April 2011

I look forward to April each year. The volatile summer weather is calming down, algal blooms have succumbed to the cooler water temperatures and the windows of opportunity for surf fishing increase dramatically.

As well as improved surf conditions there is a variety of species available specifically at this time of year, including bream, dart, tarwhine, whiting and flathead, along with the pelagic species like tailor, mackerel and tuna.

Added to this list are giant, big eye and golden trevally and the popular snub-nosed dart that always seem to be most regularly caught during the Easter school holidays. Even black and yellowtail kingfish are taken from this beach during autumn, with the yellowtails often seen herding schools of tailor close to shore.

Come the beginning of May the mullet netting season begins and once the first net is shot, then all of the above mentioned species will be trying their best to avoid these nets and will become very difficult to find in the surf.

So in the spirit of making the most of every opportunity that April provides, an angler should have some sort of strategy so as to not waste this precious time they have available.

Easter Saturday usually sees most anglers out and about and makes for a good day to use for this example. A quick look at the tide chart shows tides falling following a full moon the previous Monday. Though the new and full moon tides generally have fish feeding harder, the tides on Easter Saturday are still ok, but by Sunday they're close to neap.

First light To breakfast

A 6.30am low tide on Teewah Beach has several possibilities. Fish the low tide gutters for whiting on beach worm in the calm shallow sections and target bream, tarwhine and dart at the openings of these gutters to the channel using worm or pipi. Dart, bream and tarwhine can also be targeted in the channel itself if conditions are calm and a suitable sand bank exists to stand on.

Targeting tailor in the channel or deeper sections of gutters using bait or pilchards on ganged hooks is another option. But the 6.30am low means that the tailor will most likely go off the bite at around 6am over the slack tide.

The same could be said for the bream, dart, whiting and tarwhine, but they are more likely to be available after the turn of the tide by around 7am than the tailor. By 8am it should be clear whether a renewed bite is going to occur in the chosen location or whether breakfast and a change of location is more desirable.

Breakfast to Lunch

During this period of the day when the sun is at its brightest target whiting, dart, tarwhine and flathead. Fish the low tide gutters as they fill up for whiting and flathead on pipi and worm baits; the deeper sections are ideal for dart and tarwhine. Fishing soft plastics for flathead in the same locations is popular and has accounted for many of the flathead caught here lately.

If the packed lunch is the preferred option then driving to Rainbow Beach is always a terrific way to spend a few hours, particularly if onshore winds are making Teewah Beach difficult to fish. It is worth noting that Teewah Beach generally fishes better for the above species, so it depends on preferred target species as to where lunch is best served for your crew.

Lunch to Dusk

Usually by this time of the day there is a bit of breeze, rippling the water's surface and lessening the impact the sun has on the fish feeding. All options are open as far as targetable species, but wind and wave action can make all methods more difficult.

Teewah Beach during the early afternoon on an outgoing tide is best fished with pipi and worm in the gutters as mentioned for the breakfast and lunch sessions. But as the sun recedes behind the coloured sand hills, changing to a pilchard or flesh bait for tailor is traditional behaviour for a Teewah angler.

Schools of chopper tailor making their way north on their spawning migration arrive at Teewah Beach during April and can bite through the afternoon and into the night at times. A 5:30pm low tide on Easter Saturday afternoon means bite time for tailor would most likely be between 3-5pm.

Deeper sections of gutter or accessible spots in the channel would be ideal locations to find tailor, especially where white water is on the surface.

After Dark

After a full day on the beach, I find that few anglers are keen enough to continue on into the night. But those who choose to fish at night tend to chase tailor and jew on flesh baits or pilchards. Flesh baits of bonito, mac tuna, tailor, mulle, dart, whiting, tarwhine or bream would be my preferred bait options at night. Apart from the tailor and jew, these baits also bring Spanish mackerel into the equation.

Bream can also be targeted at night with small flesh baits best, but bite-offs from tailor are common. Dart, whiting and tarwhine are not common night captures, but do occur occasionally.

Again the deeper sections of beach gutters that aren't sweeping quickly are the locations to look for. It's not much fun sweeping through a gutter during the day and having to recast to an upstream position every five minutes let alone doing that in the dark. Be prepared for long battles with shovel nosed or whaler sharks.

Of course, should a hot bite of some variety be stumbled on to in the process of executing the chosen plan, then the plan invariably goes out the window and the hot bite is pursued.

Permits and Fines

Since the introduction of vehicle permits and new laws pertaining to domestic dogs on Teewah and Rainbow beaches, many fines for non-compliance have been issued. Most people seem to be aware of the requirement for vehicle access permits, but any number don't seem to know the restrictions now in place for dogs.

Dogs are now only allowed between the 1st vehicle access cutting and Teewah and only if on a leash or in the vehicle. Dogs are not permitted anywhere outside of this zone. Even if in the vehicle, fines can be issued to owners for having a dog outside the specified area.

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