Weedy Problems
  |  First Published: February 2006

Unfortunately Teewah, once again, fell prey to the dreaded algal bloom over the holiday period. Northerly winds and their high temperatures caused the weed to grow making the beaches between Sandy Cape and Noosa Heads virtually unfishable and unpleasant for swimming.

With no southeasterlies in sight, the frustration levels were high. The weed tends to penetrate up the Noosa River as far as the vehicle ferries creating problems for the estuary fishos as well.

So what should an angler with time on their hands and 50km of weedy beach in front of them do to relieve the tension? The options are rather limited, but here are a few suggestions that might be of some value.

When the northerlies are blowing, Rainbow Beach and the northern side of Double Island Point are generally thick with weed. However, the southern side of the headland is sometimes clear as far as the Cherry Venture. Trevally, yellowtail kingfish, tarpon and tailor are commonly in the area at this time of year. Spinning surface lures from the headland or over the reef between the Leisha Track and D.I. can attract each of these fish although the big kingies at the headland prefer live bait. If there is some weed then spinning with the rod held vertically to keep the line out of the water can prevent weed collecting on the line. This doesn’t work when hooked up on a fish. Many times I have had to put the rod down and pull the fish in by hand after my tip runner became clogged.

In calm conditions the weed often settles in patches allowing for there to be areas in between that are not so weedy and can be fished. Using bait in these areas is still not easy, but by casting and using a slow retrieve to reduce weed collection time, dart, whiting and flathead should all be available in the many shallow gutters that currently exist.

Snubnosed dart (oyster crackers) can be caught between December and May by using pipi or worm as bait. The best locations to find these magnificent fish are dart in front of large pipi patches in the last two hours before low tide. It can mean sorting through a lot of juvenile dart before finding one but that is surely a small price to pay. Also remember that snubnosed dart are a schooling fish and there is one there is likely to be more nearby.

Although the Noosa River is likely to have some weed problems, it’s usually cleaner than the surf. Casting surface lures inside the mouth for trevally and tailor is probably the best way to avoid weed and with some recent rain there have been good numbers of fish available. Mudcrabs were around before Christmas in the lower reaches of the river. Be careful to select sections of stream that are not weedy when placing the pots.

February is a great time to target big tailor. These fish are generally 3kg or better and have already spawned. These tailor are very active and as such they like large surface lures retrieved at high speed. 45-65g Sliders are the only ways to successfully spin for tailor of this size. Any lure with attached hooks is going to be thrown by these headshakers early in the fight nearly every time. The most likely places to find schools of tailor from December to April is from Teewah Village to the Noosa River mouth with the coffee rock patches acting as a major drawcard. Any significant rain that causes the river to rise and run dirty will also attract big tailor to the mouth to be caught on Sliders, as baits rarely work in this situation.

In January spotty mackerel made a very welcome appearance in front of Teewah. There were acres of spotties feeding for most of the day. Unfortunately there were fewer mackerel the next day and a lot more mac tuna. I managed a few spotties for dinner and had a bit of fun with the macs as well.

Despite the weed problem there is still plenty to be positive about for the next few months of fishing with the wet season likely to be better than previous years. Low pressure systems and cyclones could solve our weed problems for a while and trigger some pelagic action as it did here in 2003. When it does it will have been well worth waiting for.

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