Beaches start to fire again
  |  First Published: October 2006

There has been a dramatic improvement in fish catches over the last few weeks. Flathead are in every hollow, drain, gutter and hole along with good whiting, bream and tailor. Dart have been available in fewer numbers than expected and will become more prevalent as the pipi spawning season approaches.

Col Payne from Deception Bay landed a great tailor south of Teewah on a pilchard at 8am on a calm morning. It took a little while to identify what he was hooked up to but a spectacular head shaking leap gave the tailor away. Col then tried to prevent any further leaps especially in a very awkward high tide shore break. After a 10 minute battle, Col and I were relieved to get the 5.319kg greenback on dry sand. Well done Col!

October is traditionally when the big greenbacks arrive at Teewah. Unfortunately, it’s also when the Hincksia weed grows like crazy. The weed at the northern end of Fraser has taken over and is quickly working its down the island. We can only hope that the southeasterlies keep it in check.

Brian Griffin caught a 12kg Spanish mackerel off the beach at Ngkala Rocks on Fraser Island. He was fishing with a 65g Slider. I was pleased to see that fish were still available at the top end of the island after netting at Sandy Cape started recently.

Finding fish further south on the island wasn’t been nearly as difficult. South of Poyungan is some very rocky country that has a low tide channel running all the way along the beach. Over the nine days that I was on the island recently I spent five of them there. Tailor were available all day, every day except at dead low tide. Choppers between 30-45cm never failed to take slowly retrieved lures and 2-4kg greenbacks were common in the morning and on higher tides during the day. Small 2kg GTs also took faster slugs and tested my gear and fitness.

Queensland Parks And Wildlife Service (QPWS) are very active on Fraser and enforce all dingo related camping infringements. The minimum fine is $225 and includes feeding dingoes and any scenario whereby the dingoes can scavenge food from the campsite. This includes unlocked garbage and food containers and can apply to fruit, vegetables, cooking oil and even soft drink. Storing these items in the tent isn’t sufficient as the dingoes can easily tear through the sides of the tent. Any items that a dingo could eat must be secured in a lockable place such as a trailer or vehicle when you are not at camp in order to avoid these fines.

QPWS’s long-term objective is to stop the dingoes from associating humans with food. This is all very well, but how can it possibly work with all the fish offal on the beach? When I purchased my camping permit, QPWS staff told me that the dingoes had become aggressive to humans in the Happy Valley region. I realised that this was where the largest numbers of tailor had been taken and where the most food for the dingoes was. I saw a QPWS vehicle drive over several discarded or dug up tailor frames which made me think that the fines are pointless if effective policing of offal disposal isn’t being carried out. I have grave concerns that Fraser Island is now being managed with economics and politics as the main driving forces rather than with scientific analysis and decision making processes.

I’m heading back up to Fraser for a week soon and have just heard a report that the water is clean and fish are available north of Waddy Point, which is great news.

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