Finding weather windows and clean surf conditions continues to be a significant problem all along the coast, and Teewah Beach is no exception.
For the last year, Teewah Beach has produced a definite lack of fishing opportunities. Prior to the high rainfall since Christmas, the surf was discoloured and deoxygenated by an algal bloom between May and August 2007. Before that, commercial beach netting was in full swing, which also restricted recreational catches. Therefore, with mullet netting commencing in May, any weather windows over the next four weeks need to be taken full advantage of.
As readers would note from previous months reports, I am expecting things to hot up once the water has cleared. However, I must admit that the indicators for the sort of action that I am anticipating are yet to materialise, but I’m still hopeful!
When conditions have allowed, I've recently been searching the gutters for any species willing to take a bait or lure. The results have been very patchy with some tarwhine, dart and whiting. And I’ve only caught a couple of bream, despite the excellent bream gutters being fished.
All fish were attacking the baits with enthusiasm but catches have been in low numbers. The whiting in particular have been of excellent quality and seem to prefer whole eugarie to beach worms. As the river cleaned up, a few chopper tailor and big eye trevally made appearances at the mouth, but nothing like similar conditions would have delivered in previous years.
I consider April to be by far the best time of year to fish these waters and, all things being equal, this April more so. As to whether all things are equal is another matter altogether and it remains to be seen if Teewah Beach can still attract the surf species that were once readily available. In the back of my mind there is a nagging doubt about population levels of these species being healthy enough to provide the angling opportunities expected. All of my observations over the last 10 years point to a steady downward spiral in numbers of all species to the point where catches of any kind are now rare.
Reports over the last few years from other sections of coastline have done little to create optimism that a return to our gutters en mass will occur once water quality improves. But if ever there was a circumstance to create improvement, this current monsoon, coupled hopefully with repeat doses in the next few years, is the catalyst for such an improvement. Decades of dwindling numbers can't be repaired overnight, but let's hope that a return to a La Nina weather pattern can help reverse the trend.
Access to the stretch of beach between Rainbow Beach Township and The Leisha Track is very restricted at both ends due to erosion. I managed to gain entry on a mountain bike carried through the water, to get around the downed trees near The Leisha Track.
I rode to a deserted beach at Middle Rocks, with a surf-spinning rod over my shoulder and spare slugs in a backpack, where I found a few chopper tailor and a small queeny on quickly retrieved sliders. Given that there has been hardly any fishing activity along this beach for months and the surf had just cleaned up after weather events, the results were disappointing. Other than the few fish caught, I saw no other sign of life. I had expected to see at least some pelagic action or terns feeding somewhere.
It looks like it's going to be some time before there is any sand recovery near the trees at The Leisha Track. The tide continues to hit the base of the large dune on the northwestern side of the track and trees continue to tumble down. However, hope is in the air, Mudlo Rocks, at the other end of the beach, should recover fairly quickly once the seas settle for any period but it could be May before this happens. The eastern side of the track towards Double Island Point also has plenty of beach and travel to the last little bay at the headland on low tides is no problem.
There is still no sign of any pelagic action in Laguna Bay, but the mackerel and tuna will turn up soon and in reasonably large numbers. Calm conditions are what is required for this to occur and no doubt there are plenty of anglers willing to participate.
The Noosa Bar has a good deep channel running out past the North Shore, so access to these speedsters on all tides won't be an issue in good conditions. I just hope a repeat performance of 2004 doesn't occur when numbers of anglers were taking way above the bag limit of spotty mackerel. The lack of any Fisheries inspectors on that occasion didn't help, but there are many of us ready to make the call to alert them should we see any illegal captures this year.
We will just have to wait and see what the weather brings for the month ahead. Indications are that we may well be in for more of the same with high pressure systems lining up in the Great Australian Bight and lows from the monsoon in the Coral Sea.
The resulting southeasters tend to be strong, between 25-40 knots, which are unfishable. However, the easing of the rain, for now at least, gives us a chance to fish clean water and any northerly airflow between systems is when conditions will be at their best.
The gutters all open to the sea at the northern end and southerlies create too much sweep in this situation for them to be fished successfully. Northerlies will slow the sweep and allow the corners of the gutters, where they open to the sea, to be fished. That would definitely assist in creating opportunities for baitfishing for tailor, bream, dart and tarwhine with the whiting further upstream.
Recently released by the EPA is a discussion paper entitled 'Strategic Directions for Cooloola'. The general public is invited to make submissions to EPA on the proposed strategy and I perceive that there will be plenty of opponents to the current outline.
In particular, the restriction of camping numbers along the 15km stretch of Teewah Beach to 1200 individuals per night at peak holiday periods, 800 during shoulder holiday season and 400 per night at off peak. Around 3000-4000 campers are usually camped in this stretch during Christmas and Easter so the suggested reduction is quite significant and will force prior booking of sites to occur.
It is predicted that this reduction will be offset slightly by the near doubling of the size of The Wilderness Park camping/caravan site and extension for another 100 people at the Freshwater camp ground.
Changes that are made as a result of this discussion paper will be likely to take place in early to mid 2009. The paper can be found on the EPA site.Reads: 987