Weather chops and changes
  |  First Published: April 2012

Like everywhere else in South East Queensland so far this year, Teewah Beach continues to be beautiful one week and abysmal the next.

This isn't a bad state of affairs at all given the consistency of bad weather that has been the norm during recent wet seasons and does at least provide some opportunities for anglers to enjoy the terrific fishing that can occur at this time of year.

April in particular has been the month over the last decade or so that has produced outstanding pelagic action with mac and longtail tuna, school and spotted mackerel, giant, golden and big eye trevally and up until the last couple of years tailor, being available to beach anglers. Despite the lack of each of these species to date, they should become more prevalent over the month ahead.

Flooding of the Noosa River in March historically triggers a feeding frenzy in Laguna Bay as the waters clear and I would be surprised if the recent flooding doesn't once again do the trick. Australian anchovy that spawn in the heavily nutrient rich waters of Laguna Bay at this time of year are the draw card for the pelagics. As the water clears and they become exposed to predators, the anchovy will gradually be herded closer and closer to the mouth of the Noosa River by the pelagics with the receding fresh.

Anglers wanting to tap into this near annual event should be armed with metal lures such as Spanyids, Raiders, Halco or better still, Prickly Pete's slugs in the weight range of between 30g and 65g. Ideally you should have an outfit rigged with a metal ready to go at all times, as surface feeding pelagics can appear at any time and it is a frustrating exercise to change rigs while the fish gradually work out of casting range.

Other species such as dart, tarwhine and possibly the odd bream or tailor tend to be around in April and would be worth targeting. But keep your eyes open while fishing for these species and while driving along the beach as pelagics off the beach are something special.

Fisheries response

In October I released the 'Proposal for the Creation of Recreational Fishing Havens: Cooloola and Fraser Island'. The proposal was sent far and wide and attracted quite a deal of interest in various circles. Now following communication with each of the relevant government ministers, Queensland Fisheries and the Shadow Fisheries Minister, it appears that there is no intent by either of the political parties to rectify the situations presented in the proposal and which have relevance to each commercially netted region in Queensland.

Naturally I am a little frustrated that a more positive result hasn't eventuated at this point, but I am well aware that to expect an immediate result would be fanciful. However the response by Queensland Fisheries to the proposal and every question ever posed to them relating to the Noosa North Shore and Fraser Island fisheries that 'the fishery is sustainable', really makes me quite angry.

This standard response is never accompanied by evidence that the fishery is sustainable and my recent inquiry to Fisheries to provide evidence of sustainability, was met with a less than satisfactory response. It would appear that there is no scientific evidence that populations of tailor, dart, bream, tarwhine, whiting, jewfish, snub-nosed dart, golden trevally and other surf species of the region are sustainable and that it is up to 'others' to provide evidence that the fishery is not sustainable.

My inquiry also asked for a response to the situation of nets spooking fish and the fairness of resource allocation with anglers not having appropriate access to these fish species as a result of the nets spooking the fish. I didn't receive any response to this aspect of the inquiry and I suspect that Fisheries will be trying to avoid this matter for as long as possible due to the severe implications in all of Queensland's fisheries.

It is not just in Cooloola and at Fraser Island where the nets are causing fish to avoid dangerous areas with anglers prospects radically reduced as a result. This situation happens with every net that is ever shot in estuarine or ocean waters irrespective of where.

To me this head in the sand attitude is counterproductive to effective fisheries management and at some stage in the near future will be an embarrassment to FQ for not at least trying to understand the dire implications of this situation. As I have stated to Fisheries – this is never going to go away'. And it won't, as there are scientists around the world who are currently striving to be the first to prove that nets spook fish and that migrations and spawning are adversely affected.

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