Optimism all over the beach
  |  First Published: November 2013

‘So far so good’ would describe the thoughts of anglers local to Teewah Beach and Fraser Island. The prognosis outlined in last month’ report of an algae free October and increased recreational catches has proved a reality and guarded optimism for the coming months continues to prevail where frustration had existed previously. Impossible as it is to know whether the algae will make appearances as temperatures rise into summer, the signs are only positive at this point for at least the month ahead.

The clean surf happens to be coinciding with increased fish numbers this year along the South East Queensland coast generally, with tailor being of particular note. Catches from North Stradbroke have been excellent since August where 2–4kg fish haven’t been uncommon, which is good news indeed. While I am only aware of tailor caught in the Cooloola and Fraser Island region up to 2kg, it would seem likely that bigger fish could well be found with persistence and probably are being taken. Fish between 30cm and 40cm are being regularly caught in small numbers at dawn and dusk but all catches are mainly taken over the new and full moon phases. The catches to date this season are certainly encouraging following 3 very lean years and it would be surprising if they didn’t continue into November.

Flathead are being caught consistently from all along the beach and many are 60cm and over. Dart haven’t been plentiful but there are positive signs for increasing numbers in coming months and high recruitment looks to have taken place last year and this year with juveniles now more abundant than previously. The same can be said for whiting and with reasonable pipi and worm populations to assist their growth, the years ahead could see a solid recovery in both species in this region.

Continuing clean conditions along with a variety of quality gutter formations and various access points to the deeper channel beyond provide an ideal scenario for beach anglers looking for any of the conventional, or less conventional surf species. Experimentation with baits and lures in various formation types at different times of day and tide can be fruitful at this time of year. Many species come into play such as yellow-tailed kingfish, queenfish, tarpon, permit and several species of trevally.

It should be revealed this month what the region’s prospects for inshore catches of mackerels and tunas which aren’t uncommonly taken from the beach, are likely to be this coming season. These schooling pelagics which historically arrive in the Hervey Bay region during November and then move south to Cooloola and the Sunshine Coast appear to have diverted around this region for the past 3 years. A good early season in Hervey Bay for these species generally indicates a bountiful inshore season over Christmas and into autumn on the Sunshine Coast. Spanish mackerel are often taken during November on the Sunshine Coast and can also indicate where the following pelagics may focus their seasonal feeding migration. Perhaps given the current indicators, this year might see a return of all these terrific sports fish and be available to anglers that are land based or in small craft or kayaks .

Mulloway are another species that appear to be increasing in number. Regular catches from the surf at Fraser Island have been occurring over the last 2 years although large fish are rare. Similarly, school sized mulloway are often being reported from Teewah Beach, which in my lifetime has never produced terribly many captures. Double Island Point and the immediate vicinity to the south of the headland are the locations most likely to hold mulloway although the Noosa River mouth to 3rd cutting stretch of beach can also be worth trying.

Dry conditions through spring look like persisting through the early summer and with accompanying northerly winds and high temperatures. While this has made beach access cuttings very soft, surf conditions tend to be fairly calm for fishing, especially early in the morning before the northerly gusts up and turns onshore.

These same conditions are also such that bushfires can easily be started. Campfires near the base of the tall coloured sand dunes which are well foliaged and fanned by strong onshore breezes can get away quickly and burn for weeks in the Cooloola National Park behind. It is imperative while conditions like this exist that campfires are well maintained to a confined spot and then thoroughly doused with water when finished with each night. This also prevents accidents associated with treading on fires that have only been covered with sand causing countless serious burns to children and adults alike. When most people have buckets of one variety or another with them when camping and the surf is so close, there are no excuses for not putting out fires properly. It would however be normal in these conditions should they persist for Qld Parks and Wildlife to implement a fire ban and campers should check prior to arrival on the fire status during November.

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