After such a long period of filthy conditions through summer and early autumn, it's easy to forget how magical Teewah Beach can be when the winter weather pattern finally settles in.
Brisk mornings warming quickly as the sun rises into a clear sky, reflecting off a calm and blue ocean. And for any angler, a fishing line reflecting the early morning sun and disappearing into the depths of a good high tide gutter completes the scene.
That's the way it is here nearly every day now with predominantly westerlies and the dreaded south easterlies just a bad memory. Of course a few fish is the bonus that we all seek whilst lapping up paradise and most have had some success of late in finding a feed.
Whiting in particular have been a constant from the shallower drains and tarwhine and dart can be found in gutters with a little more depth. Bream aren't in any numbers, but there is some being caught along with the odd bonefish and flathead. Pipis and worms are reasonably plentiful from Teewah north and would be the baits to use for these species in the clean conditions. Tailor remain scarce, but there is the occasional fish to be found for those putting in the hours at night or spinning metal lures over rocks during the day.
Just offshore, the close in reefs have become the focus for boaties now that pelagic activity on the surface has slowed. Sunshine Reef continues to deliver good coral trout along with parrot, sweetlip and the odd legal red emperor.
Halls Reef still has quality sweetlip and spotted and Spanish mackerel are feeding deep on most reef structures but may not be for much longer. A few small skittish schools of yellowfin and longtail tuna are occasionally breaking the surface in Laguna Bay, but chasing them with slugs or fly gear would be a frustrating exercise.
Trolled deep diving lures are accounting for some Spaniards and longtails over reef structure. Livies are also useful for targeting a variety of reef and pelagic species.
A recent excursion from Teewah on jet skis proved another effective method of targeting mackerel is allowing metal lures to sink to the reef and then retrieving at a high speed. Teewah locals, Ash Palmer and Kyran Blandford found the spotties responding to slugs at an inshore reef near Teewah. On reaching their bag limit, a bait jig provided livies, which were promptly taken by sweeties and Moses perch to top off a rewarding morning effort.
Ash, keen for a repeat performance the following day, invited me to take the back seat of the jetski for an afternoon spinning session at the same location. Always eager to throw slugs at mackerel and good conditions, I was only too happy to oblige.
We were quickly onto the spotties when we arrived at the mark. After several drifts across the same location spinning Sliders from the bottom, it even looked like we'd reach our bag limit in short time. That was until a hook up on a fish that initially felt a little better and then swam directly at me, interrupted the flow of spotties. The fish then took off towards shore before heading northwards at such a speed we thought we had a Spaniard.
In no time 250m of 15lb mono was gone and the 12lb mono underneath from last spotty season was starting to look decidedly thin on the spool. Ash by this stage had wisely taken advantage of the distance away my fish was and the fact we were still on the school and hooked up on another spotty. So with no prospect of chasing it down, it was a great relief when the fish's run stopped with around 450m of line out and only metres left on the spool.
Within minutes the Spaniard was back at the ski, and Ash had landed his spottie, he meticulously gaffed the Spaniard and in preparation for a photo. At 18kg, this was my best Spaniard and to take it from Ash's jetski using a cast and retrieved 45g Slider was a great buzz for both of us.
The jetski is simply a fantastic way to access the close in reefs along this beach and was perfectly comfortable to fish off. The only downside is the limited tackle and fish the ski is able to carry. But we had no trouble at all with the Spaniard and half a dozen spotties in a calico bag in the footwells. A 30lb red emperor could be a different story but where there's a will there's a way. Thanks Ash for a very memorable afternoon and no doubt we'll do it again soon.
The recent Anzac and May Day long weekends highlighted once again the need for a controlling of vehicle numbers along this beach. The race up the beach for Cooloola camping positions was not only chaotic but an absolute danger for pedestrians on the beach.
The lack of caution from the usual idiot element hasn't changed over the years, but the number of idiots has gone through the roof. It seems like almost every weekend that a car rolls it while doing doughnuts and often people are seriously hurt. It is hoped and I would think fairly likely, that this situation will improve dramatically with the introduction of capped camping numbers and a vehicle permit system which should be in place by the middle of 2009.
The closure of the beach to vehicles between the 1st and 3rd cuttings will also provide a safe swimming zone that will have nearby lifeguard facilities. In my opinion these changes can’t happen quickly enough and Teewah Beach will be a better and safer place as a result. So for those with young families who have refrained from visiting due to safety concerns, things will improve.
On a more positive note, living in Teewah, I am very fortunate indeed to be able to enjoy the best that the beach has to offer and the current conditions are as good as we've had for many years. The surf is finally completely free of algae and is the cleanest and clearest I have seen since 2000. Gutters and holes are plentiful and baitfish populations seem fairly healthy. Mullet netting hasn't as yet commenced and there is little beach traffic.
While this is all good news, fish populations are certainly not what they used to be, but there are some fish to be found of all species, and it is still well worth the trip.
A little while ago, I received an email via Boothy from Peter Sutton who subscribes to QFM and lives locally at Tewantin. Peter, has been coming up this beach since the 1950’s and was eager for me to appreciate what it was like here well before I was born. So armed with an album of old pics of the region, I called in on Peter and his wife Pat to reminisce times gone by over a cuppa. A very enjoyable and interesting couple of hours disappeared in their company with me now somewhat wiser on how things were and inspired to explore the history of Teewah Beach further. Thanks Peter for taking the time to make contact and for the information shared – I'm sure to be dropping in again before long.
I'd like to remind readers that feedback from you is most welcome and I will always respond on any subject. Also any readers that are looking to visit Teewah Beach can email me at --e-mail address hidden-- or call me on 0419 773 137 for up to date information on the beach and what's being caught where.Reads: 781