At last we have a weed free surf in February to enjoy the wonderful fishing opportunities on offer at this time of year.
The clean surf is the result of southeasterly winds replacing the prevailing northerlies, which makes fishing conditions a little awkward. Irrespective, at least the opportunity to catch fish exists and just being on the beach is a far more pleasant experience than with a brown smelly surf that prevents all water activities.
It seems as if almost every species of fish that can be found in this region is putting in an appearance for anglers willing to bide their time and take advantage of the small windows of weather opportunities. Bread and butter species like dart, whiting, bream, tarwhine and flathead are in reasonable numbers in the gutters along with healthy numbers of quality tailor. Dart are usually small and can be annoying at times, but larger fish are available under the whitewater at the back of the gutters. Snub-nosed dart are often caught with dart so persistence here can be very rewarding.
Tarwhine numbers are far from what they were in the 70s and 80s due to netting, but they are still available around rocky sections of beach or in the narrow parts of the channel. Small portions of pipi or beachworm are the best way to fish for these tasty fish. Bream often school with the tarwhine so take the same baits and you might also score dart and whiting. There are many formations along the beach that are ideal for tarwhine, particularly between Teewah and the third cutting. A 2kg tarwhine was caught near the third cut only a couple of days ago.
Although time for me to fish has suddenly become drastically reduced since I began working for BCF Noosa, I did manage a day chasing mackerel with friends in Laguna Bay. The breeze backed off just before we left so all we had to contend with was 5-10 knots of east-nor-east and plenty of spotties. The spotties were pretty good while the tide was running out and nearly as good after the turn of the tide with the smallest fish around 75cm.
Mackerel were feeding aggressively on small whitebait that were trying to hide in slicks of dead algal bloom a few kilometres south of Teewah and 500m from the beach. The mackerel were smashing 25g, 40g and 45g Sliders along with a 30g Prickly Pete’s slug.
Several schools of spotties have been seen working in front of Teewah. These schools along with longtail, yellowfin and mack tuna should be around until the end of April. On occasions schools will come close enough to shore to be targeted by beach anglers who drive in search of schools and are prepared to get wet to reach them. The usual trigger for inshore pelagic activity is a low-pressure system or cyclone that whips up big seas and floods the streams. As conditions calm down and the water starts to clear, mackerel, tuna, tailor and trevally can often be found feeding close to shore on shoaled baitfish. Spinning slugs or plastics through these schools is the only realistic chance of any success, and it’s rare that baits work at all in these instances. The most likely locations are the southern end of Teewah Beach from Teewah to the river mouth and on Rainbow Beach from Middle Rocks to The Leisha Track.
Flushing of the streams causes high numbers of prawns, gar and mullet around the river mouth. Tailor can be found at the Noosa River mouth whenever there is a flood, particularly between Christmas and May. I’ve struck it many times when the water is filthy and the tailor are all in excess of 3kg and can be taken on spinners all day long. Cyclone Wati, the last event of this type, went past after a low-pressure system the previous week early last year. The keys for success here are dirty water (the dirtier the better) – a channel running from the river on either the southern or northern side of the mouth with a sand bank out the back that can be reached with long casts with spinners. Tailor like to sit underneath these sand banks with the swell breaking across. Landing the lure on the sand bank or at least into the white water and retrieving at high speed is critical in achieving success here. Large 55g lures and upwards work better on fuller tides and smaller lures between 40g and 55g on lower tides. An outgoing tide works better than an incoming tide in general, but I have had success here on incoming tides as well.
Bream tend to be more readily available also after floods. Large seas are generally associated with flooding which causes at times significant beach erosion. The southern end of Teewah Beach from Teewah to the first cutting has a lot of coffee rock that has been largely covered over since the early 80s. When these beach rocks become exposed, holes and gutters often form in front of them and tend to have rock within them. These locations are ideal for bream and tarwhine and on occasions, sweetlip and trag jew. While the water is dirty, the best bait for bream is mullet gut, then mullet flesh, pipis and sandworms as the water clears. The same gutters and holes are ideal for spinning lures for trevally, tailor and mackerel.
The Christmas school holiday period this year was a fairly quiet affair compared with previous years. Whether this was due to less than perfect conditions at the time or because of weed and crowd issues from previous years I’m not certain. No matter what the reason, it was a far more bearable break with line-ups at the ferry being minimal and behaviour on the beach on the whole quite good. Changes to the number of campers permitted in future, means these holidays were the last occasion that vast numbers will be on the beach at any one time. The word is that only 1500 camping permits will be issued next Christmas and Easter and long weekend will have a capped number of 750 permits available. Given that there were 5000 campers on Teewah Beach at Christmas 2005 and 4000 this year, then these numbers are a very significant and welcome reduction indeed. Welcome, that is for those that live here or who get in early for their permits. Combined with the introduction of vehicle permits and new speed limits, Teewah Beach will in future be a safer and more pleasant beach to enjoy for all.Reads: 552