Busy times for better fish
  |  First Published: December 2013

From an angling perspective, this month is one that can test the patience of the best of us. Weather windows are often only very brief in between lengthy spells of unfishable conditions and competition for prime locations with other recreational users often intense. Making matters worse is that holiday traffic, whether it be beach or boat has the potential to move fish away from the busiest regions.

Teewah Beach is certain to be extremely busy as it always is during the holidays and finding a quiet location to fish, and the chance of catching fish, is invariably a challenge. While fish are caught from the beach during the day when the traffic is flowing, more fish are definitely caught in the first couple of hours after first light or during the night when traffic is minimal and this is when experienced anglers tend to focus their energies. These anglers also move from gutter to gutter to locate fish, which increasingly is becoming almost a necessity as fish become more and more scarce.

Gutters that hold fish are not necessarily the obvious large and deep gutters that seem to attract most anglers, especially when beach traffic flow is high. Narrow drains adjacent to these gutters that rarely seem to be fished, regularly produce fish when the gutter itself does not. This is because there is more likely to be white water on the surface in these drains from wave action and the drains tend to be further from the beach traffic and the wave action diminishes the sound of the traffic. Fish become shy with large volumes of traffic and they tend to look for protective cover and not occupy the calmer sections in the body of these obvious gutters that tend to be close to the beach.

Anglers should look for any such drains and choose locations, if available, where sweep is minimal. Eugarie, worm, pilchard or flesh baits of mullet, bonito or mac tuna can entice bream, tarwhine, dart, whiting, tailor, trevally or even Spanish mackerel or snub-nosed dart in January. Metal lures are also effective in these locations and sweep is less of an issue when using lures.

Following prolonged spells of calm weather through spring and early summer, enormous volumes of sand have pushed onto our beaches and this has filled to a large extent the formerly wonderful gutters that existed through winter and early spring. While this may seem to be a hindrance to angling success, it is actually an enhancement when heavy traffic is preventing fish coming into gutters easily accessed by anglers close to the beach. The increase in beach sand now provides improved access to the main channel that runs the length of Teewah Beach, which is some distance from the beach traffic.

Depending on gutter formations, certain sections of the channel are more easily accessed than others. These sections that are free of large gutters and have a higher sand build up are fairly obvious to see and provide anglers with deep water to fish in. Sand banks that have formed in the channel, and which narrow the channel, or provide eddies or white water that can be cast to, are the locations that are more likely to hold fish and can also reduce sweep. It is often the case that the best channel locations require wading through shallow and narrow gutters close to the beach. Where shallow beach gutters empty into the channel on outgoing tides can be particularly productive for bream and tailor.

The same baits as mentioned above can be used in the channel for the same species. Metal lures retrieved around the formed sand banks with fringing white water can be effective, as they can also at the mouth of gutters draining into the channel. Rocky outcrops in the channel are also ideal locations for baits or lures, though are fairly rare along Teewah Beach.

Other options available to anglers to escape beach traffic and angler congestion exist at Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach. Double Island point is a very large headland and much of it difficult to access and difficult to fish in anything other than calm conditions. In calmer conditions and towards the eastern extremities of the headland is where golden trevally are often taken on pilchard baits. Fish up to and over 10kg are not uncommon with unstoppable yellow-tailed kingfish inhabiting the same areas. Tailor, tuna, giant trevally and mackerel are also potential catches that can be taken during January on baits, but they are more likely to take metal lures. Bream, tarwhine and dart should always be available on eugarie, worm, crab or cunjevoi baits.

Rainbow Beach can be an excellent location to escape the crowds during holiday periods and an extremely pleasant location to do so. Although beach traffic is high during the low tide period, Carlo Rocks at the northern end of the bay in front of Rainbow Beach township and fallen trees at the southern end and just north of the Leisha Track, prevent through traffic on higher tides. To set up between these beach obstacles, a distance of 10km or so, over the high tide is a great way to spend a day. Minimal if any traffic provides safety along with opportunities for fish on a beach that is quite well sheltered by Double Island Point from southeasterly winds.

Since last month’s report, surf algae has been present at times and sometimes severe enough to alter the surf colour to brown along sections of Teewah Beach. In the main however, the surf has had a green tinge from the algae and hasn’t been too much of a problem. Heatwave conditions could easily bring on a full-blown bloom and we are all hoping that these conditions don’t present.

Fish numbers remain poor despite this year being slightly better than last in this regard. A few tailor have been caught around the full and new moons, the odd dart, whiting and tarwhine are available and flathead are still consistently being caught on whitebait.

A couple of mac tuna schools have been sighted near Teewah and a few schools of spotted mackerel off Double Island during December.

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