Calm Seas for Good Fishing
  |  First Published: July 2006

It’s hard to know what to expect in July. The seas inshore will be fairly calm with a westerly pattern starting to predominate and the water will be blue and clear. But that’s as much as I can predict as I don’t know what to expect from the fishing side of things.

Those who have read my previous reports would know that there has been some excellent surf fishing from Teewah Beach over the last few months. Unfortunately that came to a very sudden halt when the K8 mullet netters took their first two hauls of the year. The change was immediate with tailor, tuna, golden trevally, dart and mackerel feeding in close on baitfish one minute, and gone the next, on the first day of the two shots.

There hasn’t been any netting since then and fish have been starting to return. There were some isolated catches not long after the netting and reports have been improving daily. I saw dart in the waves for the first time in a month recently and tailor even came in to the gutters in reasonable numbers. Baitfish are still around in numbers and the gannets have been bombing schools behind the surf all day long.

We are all hopeful that the netters will be kind to us this year and not turn up to spoil the fun that seems to be building. To be able to fish the winter for the first time in decades without netting influence is something Teewah locals have been waiting a long time for. To actually be able to catch fish from May to September would be a novelty for locals. However we all know that at some stage the netting is going to start again and we’ll all be looking at a barren ocean once again. If netting wasn’t a factor then there would be lots to look forward to.

Bream have been showing up in the surf gutters with a number of good quality 40cm+ fish. Whiting, also 40cm, have been caught along with good numbers of dart, flathead and small tarwhine. All things being equal, catches of these species should increase as the fish return. Tailor have been scarce with only 1 or 2 fish taken at a time, but have shown signs of a comeback. Most of the fish I've caught recently have been in the 1.5-4kg bracket. A school of tailor flooded the gutter I was in one afternoon, sending dart in all directions and making for an interesting 15 minute session. If we’re lucky tailor will keep coming from the south and flood the gutters daily on dusk as they used to.

Good gutter formations exist all along Teewah Beach at the moment and which one to fish is often a dilemma for anglers. Obviously proximity to camp is important with high fuel prices and difficult high tides. But these things aside, where are the best locations to look for fish holding gutters on the north shore?

Firstly, wind direction plays a role. With Laguna Bay curving initially towards the northwest at the mouth and then straightening to the northeast towards Double Island Point (D.I.), wind direction can have differing effects at opposite ends of the beach. For example, a northwesterly wind would be a directly offshore breeze at the northern end of the beach and a sideways and difficult wind at the southern end. Or a southerly wind would be onshore and uncomfortable at the northern end but offshore at the river mouth.

Swell size and direction also need to be taken in to account. Teewah north receives the full force of southeasterly swells and south from there the swell reduces as protection from Noosa Heads kicks in. This usually leaves the mouth free from swell. The northern side of D.I., also being sheltered from the southeast is a calmer location, which becomes more exposed close to Rainbow Beach township.

It’s also important to consider what species are available at this time of year. In July we are anticipating tailor, bream, tarwhine, whiting, dart and perhaps golden trevally, jew or snub nosed dart. To target an individual species we need to know about their feeding habits and how the best locations for food relate to the beach conditions at hand.

In July tailor will be travelling north on a spawning migration. They tend to round Noosa Heads in schools and head for land. Some schools will move to the close in reefs or to the river mouth to feed at the southern end of the beach and others may not come in until D.I. to feed. One thing is for certain though, more tailor go through the gutters at the very northern end than at the southern end. So the rule of thumb for tailor is to fish the northern ends of bays and beaches when tailor are heading north in winter and the southern ends when they return south in summer. The exception to the rule is when a south/southeasterly wind makes the northern end difficult to fish. Anglers should then consider the sheltered areas facing north as they can be very productive at times.

Bream, dart, whiting, tarwhine and snub nosed dart feed mainly on beachworms and eugaries (pipis). The greatest concentrations of these are from Teewah north, due in part to the many bait collectors stopping in this area over a long period of time. Target these fish from Teewah north using both pipis and worms for bait. Large eugarie banks on the edges of deep, washy gutters are the things to look for when targeting snub nosed dart. The dreaded southeasterly can cause havoc here for anglers so it is a good idea to have some other options. Rainbow Beach has very few eugaries or worms to be found on it and bread and butter species can be difficult to find as a result. If anywhere, the more turbulent water half way around the bay and through to Rainbow township from D.I. is more likely to hold these fish in the deeper gutters.

For the anglers who like to throw metal lures for pelagics the rules are a little different. Most of the reef structure on Teewah Beach is at the southern end between Teewah and the first cut. Spinning lures over these patches of reef can produce tailor all year round and has the added benefit of shelter in a southeasterly. Other patches further north near Freshwater and D.I. are particularly good locations when tailor are heading north. Rainbow Bay has numerous patches of rocks in gutters that can also produce year round. The rule of thumb for spin fishers is to spin over rocks, and only a strong northerly or southeasterly can affect that rule in this region.

Well, let's hope that the netting gods smile on us and the build up of fish is allowed to continue. With the annual tailor run just starting to fire and waders and Alveys being dusted off all around SEQ, it would be a shame if everybody went home disappointed.

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