Magnificent March Fishing!
  |  First Published: March 2006

With a normal wet season finally operating in southeast Queensland, anglers can expect increased activity in the surf gutters. Noosa received some excellent rainfall that has had the water table constantly overflowing in the catchment area.

All of this fresh running out of the Noosa River seems to have triggered a localised feeding frenzy. Laguna Bay is loaded with shoals of whitebait. Spotted mackerel, small mac and yellowfin tuna are falling for frog mouth pilchards daily. Closer to shore, dart, tailor and the odd school of spotty mackerel are feeding under the terns in the surf and being taken on chrome slugs.

I haven’t seen as many flocks of terns sitting on the beach between feeds since March 2003. Watching the bird traffic each morning and afternoon as the terns leave and return their roosting grounds at the river mouth is spectacular. Unfortunately for the terns, the boat, jetski and 4WD traffic leaves them little time to rest thanks to the increased number of people on the water. I would encourage everybody to take care around these roosting areas and try to avoid them so the terns have suitable resting time.

Although fish numbers have been healthy, it’s been difficult to actually find them due to the near constant weed. Many anglers have been frustrated and given up for a cold beer. Those patient enough to clear the line after each cast have been rewarded with some quality whiting, tarwhine and dart.

Although there have been isolated catches of tailor, it seems the best is still to come with 2-3 months of the southern migration left and healthy baitfish stocks at hand. The trigger for the tailor will be some rough weather or prolonged south easterlies.

Spotty mackerel are boiling on the inshore reefs with each new and full moon phase. The week following each moon has had good numbers of spotties with the odd Spaniard wreaking havoc. Use froggies and whitebait for the best results.

Chrome slugs to 50g are being taken readily along with trolled lures and baits. Multiple hook-ups have been the norm once a school has been located, making for some interesting footwork around the boat with these uncooperative speedsters. Although it's great to see the spotties back, I hope that it's not a short-term return due to anglers taking more than the five fish bag limit. In 2003 when the spotties were last here, I witnessed a number of craft crossing the bar as many as six times in a morning to offload their bag and return for more.

Large schools of mac tuna are feeding within a short distance of the river mouth virtually every day. Most of these fish are juveniles around 1kg but the odd school of 4kg fish are being found with a little patience and motoring around. Bronzed whalers have also been around in good numbers. At times anglers have been taking two out of every three fish hooked.

Cobia have been about and can often be seen on the surface beside the boat when the motor is off. These fish will take the same spinning lures as the mackerel and tuna, so try retrieving on the surface near them or allowing the slug to sink before retrieving.

Dart have been feeding on the whitebait in the surf. Although dart are generally targeted using baits, they will also take small chrome slugs when they are schooled around baitfish. Retrieval speeds need to be slower than those used for tailor or mackerel, but the enjoyment level of landing these hard fighting fish on light gear is not to be underestimated. Nor are the edible qualities when eaten fresh.

Yellow tailed kingfish can often be found around large schools of dart and can make for some entertainment on 3kg spinning gear.

Giant and golden trevally, flathead, tailor and queenfish have been caught inside the river mouth constantly with the increased level of fresh. Poppers and small slugs have been responsible for most catches with livebaits and plastics producing some quality flathead.

The fresh has also got the muddies on the move. Stuart and Marg at Wide A Wake Bait and Tackle in the Noosa Harbour complex at Tewantin are more than happy to advise on what's happening where and have live worms and fresh bait.

The next couple of months are looking terrific. The first cyclone of the season is formed up in late January and a stiff southeasterly has been blowing. After suffering through endless northerlies it’s a relief to finally have a wind hit the other side of my face. One good blow from a nearby cyclone or low pressure system would do Teewah Beach the world of good. Apart from ridding us of the dreaded weed, it would take some of the excess sand off the beach allowing for the creation of holes and gutters that have been missing for many years. These creates habitat for all of the surf species and uncover coffee rock structures in the surf at the southern end of Teewah Beach.

I can't wait to spin some sliders over these rocks in clean water and see how big the tailor have grown since the weed arrived.

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