Many anglers come to Teewah Beach during August to chase the tailor heading north on their spawning migration.
4WDs with bullbars loaded with Alveys and swags piled in the back become a common sight as anglers scout the beach for gutters and holes. It's virtually a part of our culture in Southeast Queensland to don the waders and beanie in preparation for long hours standing in the surf in chilly southwesterlies. When it comes to the size of the catch, expectations are lower than they were 30 years ago, but the enthusiasm of these dedicated souls is as strong as ever.
Some of my fondest memories are of camping near Double Island or on Fraser in the 80s and fishing into the night catching tailor and the odd shovelnose or whaler. Standing beside a hot fire at the back of the beach with fresh fillets on the hotplate and a beer in hand is hard to beat.
Unfortunately, with all the camping restrictions nowadays, you can no longer set up camp on a gutter unless you’re fortunate enough to find one in a camping area that doesn't already have a crew of round-the-clock anglers smothering it. Camp fires on Fraser are banned too, and this will soon to be the case on Teewah Beach as well. It’s unfortunate but necessary; I’ve seen many fires on the coloured sand hills of Teewah Beach and Fraser and the scarring that results, and I can understand the bans are for the best.
Camping on Teewah Beach is confined to areas of the beach in Cooloola Shire, which starts about 25km from the entry cuttings at the southern end of the beach. The Noosa Shire Council does not permit camping on the beach in any form, and that includes sleeping in the back of the 4WD. On-the-spot fines apply and the council is diligent in policing these areas. As is often the case, it is a small minority of litterbugs that makes this practice a problem, and poor parking positions make travelling along the beach at night quite dangerous at times. Vehicle permits are soon to be mandatory for any vehicle on Teewah Beach, and camping permits are likely to have their numbers capped in the near future. Camp fires are currently still permitted but change is in the wind.
All these changes might seem to dampen the whole experience, but they do make for a vast improvement at peak times. Camping at Double Island is still a fantastic experience for 4WD owners, but the good old days of being able to camp on a gutter and cook over an open fire are soon to be just a memory. Not that the area is exclusively for 4WDers wanting to fish all night for that elusive greenback. Many people are seeking a more comfortable experience but still want ready access to everything this beach has to offer.
There are good camping alternatives to be had at both The Wilderness Park and the Noosa North Shore Retreat. Both these locations are camping areas with toilet and shop facilities that allow for caravans. The Wilderness Park (ph. (07) 5449 7955) is right on the beach with easy and close 4WD beach access.
The Noosa North Shore Retreat (ph. (07) 5447 1225, www.noosanorthshore.com.au) is nearly 1km inland from the first beach cutting but it does have comfort advantages when strong onshore winds are blowing. With the High Tide Hotel providing good meals and service these days, it’s a much improved place to stay. There are cabins and units at the resort, with Lake Cooroibah a few hundred metres away and the Noosa River a two-minute drive.
Many people wouldn't be aware that Teewah Village has several houses that can be rented and are all fully self-contained at very reasonable rates. Access is by 4WD only, but it’s a great location for holidaying anglers with walking trails and Lake Cootharaba a lazy half hour stroll away. Ian and Anne Turner can assist with any enquiries for these houses on (07) 5449 9607.
For those looking for something a little more luxurious in Teewah, a newly constructed beachfront house with views of Noosa Heads and all of Laguna Bay can be viewed at www.teewahbeachhouse.com or enquiries to myself on 0419 773 137.
There isn't a great deal to report in the way of fishing on the beach at the moment. Many anglers are reporting not being able to get a bite but a few have managed to find some fish. Flathead are the main species being caught, with most coming from inside the river mouth on lures and livies with a few quality fish being taken on baits in the surf. Golden trevally to 3kg have been providing great sport for anglers using Sliders inside the mouth and retrieving at high speed. A few whiting and the occasional dart, tarwhine and bream have also made appearances at times at the northern end of the beach, but rarely in any numbers.
Chopper tailor schools have come inshore on a couple of occasions and those fortunate enough to be there at the time would have found a feed if they went searching. Most anglers reported that the choppers were fussy and would only take metal lures, but I saw a few caught on bait. Things will improve as the mullet netting slows down and other species will begin to return.
Fraser Island should see a good tailor season this year for the first time in a few years. Clean, weed-free surf with good beach formations and westerly winds will mean the tailor should be relatively easy to find. This will attract a large volume of anglers, and I am worried that a slaughter is on the cards. Please respect the bag limits and don't just catch fish for the sake of it.
It’s a sad fact that many fish that have been caught and released die later from fungal diseases from being handled – although catch and release is certainly better than keeping more than you need. A better method of conservation, however, is to stop fishing or try alternative methods, or target other species and experiment a little. Spinning for queenfish and GTs at the Cape is one option I always enjoy at Fraser. These fish provide some wonderful sport, and there’s also the possibility of spotted or Spanish mackerel taking the lure as well.
Soft plastics fishing for flathead, dart, bream and whiting is another method that’s growing in popularity, and it’s proven to be very effective. Such alternatives often produce the more unusual and memorable catches and are of great benefit to your overall angling skills. And it sure beats all those hours of cleaning, filleting and storing tailor when all you want to do is sit down with a beer and enjoy the scenery!Reads: 1983