September at last! I'm so pleased the days are getting longer and warmer, and the mullet season is finally finished. Having had the forced winter lay off, we can now resume the business of catching fish again. And I'm quietly confident that there might be some trophy fish available for those prepared to put in the hard yards.
For the first time since 2001 the likelihood of the dreaded weed, hincksia sordida, putting in an appearance along Teewah Beach or Fraser Island, are down to zero. The other troublesome algae, auralis australis, which also impacts on fish movement, should also be absent. This in itself will improve all surf angling prospects.
The immense rainfall that has fallen since August last year and the big seas associated with the rain causing systems will have largely killed off any chance of weed, for a while at least. The fish will be more inclined to venture into the surf gutters, and the annual spawning habits of greenback tailor will only be affect by a couple of commercial licenses that are now focused on chasing them at Teewah and Sandy Cape.
In the 1970s and 80s, September was the month that the greenbacks arrived on Teewah Beach, which seemed always to coincide with the arrival of flocks of black cockatoos to the region. This changed during the 90s as the tailor avoided beach netting activity and drought conditions, and despite the continuing appearance of the cockatoos it hasn't seemed to improve. However, the large presence of gannets bombing bait in Laguna Bay over the last few months adds to my level of confidence that there will be some improved action to come this year.
The high rainfall has assisted various bait species, such as yakkas and frog-mouthed pilchards, to have a successful spawning season that has lead to increased numbers in the bay. There has certainly been an awful lot of yakkas in the surf of late, scattering away from landing lures. However, despite the presence of the bait, very little in the way of predatory fish have been about to take these lures. This should change somewhat during September due to less netting activity.
All species, other than it seems flathead, are affected by netting, therefore an increase in all surf species can reasonably be expected. Large summer whiting in particular would be worth pursuing as they school up for their spring spawning season. Eugaries intended for dart, bream and tarwhine in water deeper than would normally be fished for whiting tend to account for many of the really big specimens. Nevertheless, they can still be found in the shallow surf gutters on worm or eugarie. The bream, tarwhine and dart are certainly available to some degree, so fishing the deeper water could be rewarding on several fronts.
Reports of tailor at Fraser Island have been very encouraging to date and there is no reason to suspect that this should slow during September. If anything, the quality should improve along with the comfort level for those fishing the nights and early mornings. Cathedral Beach has its usual heavy presence of anglers and tailor have been readily available there for those that can tolerate being shoulder to shoulder with other fishers.
South of the Maheno tends to be where I spend most of my time in recent years and results in this area have on occasions been fabulous. As regular readers would know, spinning sliders over submerged rock is my preferred method of targetting tailor and the section of beach between Poyungan Rocks and the Maheno offers plenty of structure. And with the erosion that has occurred over the last 12 months, there is more structure to work with than there has been since the early nineties.
My favourite location is on the immediate southern side of Poyungan Rocks. There is always rock here that has a variety of species hanging around it and the tailor always turn up at some stage of the tide to be taken on spinners. Bait fishing here is near impossible due to the snaggy nature of the gutters, but for those prepared to lose some gear, results can also be excellent. Jew, tarwhine, bream, golden trevally and tailor can be taken here in September.
Ngkala Rocks and Sandy Cape are also locations where I've worked hard over the years with spinners and baits. Again, results can be wonderful for tailor, spotted and Spanish mackerel, giant and golden trevally and the usual bread and butter species such as dart, bream, whiting and tarwhine. Queenfish at the cape and giant trevally at Browns Rocks, about 10kms south of the cape, have occupied much of my time in this area.
On the whole results have deteriorated steadily over the years due to the constant netting. Rule number one for me now is: if the netters are at the cape, then head back to Poyungan as it is impossible to catch fish there for at least a week following a shot net. The same shot can dramatically affect all fishing as far south as Indian Head. Poyungan is as far away from any netting activity as one can get these days and is the reason why this stretch of beach provides fish on a consistent basis with very few other anglers to compete with.
The former Noosa Shire and Cooloola Shire Councils in conjunction with EPA and QPWS last year put in place a plan to implement vehicle permits on the Noosa North Shore, along with capped camping numbers. Furthermore, the section of beach between the first and third beach cuttings is to be closed to vehicle traffic to provide a safe bathing area. A sequence of events involving road closures and relocations on the North Shore needed to take place before this plan could be enacted, but it would seem that this process has now been completed. The Council has stated that the wilderness track that runs behind the dunes from the first cut to the third cut will be bitumen by Christmas and the beach access at the third cut will be upgraded and relocated slightly north.
Last month I organised for DPI&F to supply a freezer to the Beach Front Camping area (formerly The Wilderness Camp) at the third cutting. Fisheries are requesting tailor and mackerel frames to study for age determination, and this freezer is to store these frames before being sent to Fisheries. This a worthwhile cause and I would ask any anglers who find themselves with frames, to drop them in to Joe and Yvonne at the shop.
A lot of enquiries come my way regarding accommodation in Teewah and generally I'm able to advise a suitable house for these people to stay in. Anyone wishing to seek my advice in this regard or on any other matter is more than welcome to contact me on 0419773137.
I've just returned from three weeks on the western side of cape York at Pennefather River. I can't speak highly enough about the river and what a fabulous place it is to camp and fish. The biggest problem encountered was the number of fish being simply too large to hold despite the heavy nature of some of the tackle used. Future trips are currently being planned and I can't wait to get back there.
Surprising was the number of tourists that are now heading to this area and the last couple of years have seen a marked increase. Irrespective, it would take a lot more tourists to detract from the qualities that Weipa and Pennefather has to offer.Reads: 1646