Beach hazard and the promise of good fishing
  |  First Published: March 2008

Not a great deal has changed along Teewah Beach in the last month due to a continuation of south easterly winds and rain. Freshwater run off from the Noosa River is still causing discolouration of the surf at the southern end of the beach and the unavoidable and corrosive brown beach foam that has been plastering every surface of every vehicle.

Water colour improves steadily north from Teewah. However, the Cooloola section is now quite clean and Rainbow Bay is starting to look blue for the first time in many months. Most of the debris that was scattered along the full length of the beach and surf zone has been dispersed and the gutters are now becoming fishable at last.

Reports at this stage have been fairly isolated with sea conditions being mainly boisterous and most gutters sweeping more than is practical to fish in. There are a few good gutters that do provide 'bottlenecks' against the sweep however and anglers fishing these select pieces of water are being returned with a feed. Good quality dart, the odd bream, whiting and tailor have started to be taken along with jew around the headlands. Weather and sea conditions permitting, I expect the regularity of catch reports of all the conventional species to increase. At this stage there hasn't been much action on the mackerel and tuna scene but most punters are still optimistic that things must fire soon.

The weather is going to be the dictating factor as to how well the newly formed gutters are going to produce during March. If conditions continue to improve and there are no more significant rainfalls to flood the river, then all varieties of surf species that can be found here will be available. Bream, dart and whiting should be in most suitable gutters at some stage of the tide and I would expect tailor to make appearances at dawn and dusk and around bait schools during the day.

One certainty is the ocean and streams are likely to have purged themselves of many of the accumulated pollutants, algae, nutrients and litter, most which is now on our beaches. This of course will cover over as the sand dries out and blows across the beach to be forgotten until the next eroding sea brings it all to the surface again. But in the scheme of things it would seem better buried on the beach than manifesting itself in the ecosystems of our waterways. The recent fish kill in the Richmond River, demonstrated again that there are some serious water quality issues in that stream and well and truly focuses attention on the management of all of our water catchment areas.

As many as several hundred mullet and bream that suffocated in the deoxygenated water of the Noosa River in late January and washed in on the North Shore, brings the same issues to life again here. The repeated algal blooms of recent times, fish dying after flood, beach foam getting dirtier and more of it, are indicators of excess nutrient and pollutant levels in the Noosa River.

Along the SEQ coastline, coffee rock patches have gradually become exposed on our beaches over the last couple of months that have not seen daylight in years. In front of Teewah is a significant outcrop and further south towards the 3rdcut is another more extensive patch. Both of these patches have been causing problems for some vehicles and particularly those towing trailers. It is expected the rocks will remain exposed for a couple more months and caution should be taken when crossing them. Travelling at low tide takes them out of the equation altogether, as there is room below the rocks to drive without having to cross them at all. Night travel can be hazardous, particularly when the rocks are semi covered in foam as they are now. So far this year two vehicles have come to grief when travelling at night and hitting the rocks at speed. They are difficult to see at night and extreme caution should be taken until they do cover over again during the calmer winter months. The rocks exposed at the moment are all between the 1st cut and Teewah and there are no rocky outcrops to be wary of north of Teewah to Double Island Point.

The loss of sand in itself is of little concern as it will certainly replenish quite quickly. Comparisons between current conditions and photographs of the state of the beach in the 70s and 80s shows that there is still a lot more sand on the beach now than there was then. I have often wondered if we lose enough sand and have enough rain, whether 'The Bubbler', which was a fresh water spring that bubbled up onto the beach near Little Freshwater Creek, might start bubbling again. So far this hasn't occurred, but it would be something special to see it in action again if it were to after all these years. I think it would be safe to say that drought and sand accumulation stopped 'The Bubbler' from bubbling in the early 80s. It has been suggested that car bodies dumped in the 'quicksand' type surface eventually clogged it up, but on that I'm not so sure.

Other benefits of the continuous rainfall are the swamps and lakes of Cooloola and Fraser Island. Many of the swamps had become entirely dry and were looking decidedly dead. The August rainfall prompted some life to return and new shoots of swamp grasses were visible in December. With the water table full and the wet season ongoing, the recuperation of these wetlands is likely to continue and they should continue to recover fully.

Well with things finally cleaning up in the surf, I'm taking my own advice and going looking. Though happy to play with some good dart over the last few days in front of Teewah, Rainbow’s clean water beckons with the potential for some big tailor and queenies or hopefully a mackerel or tuna. It's time to make hay and not let any window of opportunity pass without getting amongst it. We've waited far too long for some decent fishing to occur on the North Shore and I for one don't plan on missing out.

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