Snubbies on the Nose
  |  First Published: December 2008

As poor as the surf fishing has been of late, there is still cause for some optimism for anglers over the summer break. Although I wouldn't anticipate any huge numbers, there has been a few decent fish turn up recently and, algal blooms and weather permitting, they should still be around through the holiday period.

With the surf being clean of algae and reduced commercial activity along the beach, the beaches have been fishing better. Most of the fish in the gutters are juvenile dart that are looking to feed on small pipis. While pipi numbers are currently low, there are plenty of worms for the fish to feed on as an alternative.

Snub-nosed dart (permit/oyster cracker) inhabit the surf gutters of Cooloola and Fraser Island during summer. Each Christmas holidays, a few lucky anglers have the good fortune to beach these highly sought after fish.

Good locations to fish for snubbies are any shallow or deep gutter along the entire length of Teewah Beach. Be patient and put in some work and you will reap the rewards.

Pipis and worms are scarce in the area from Noosa River mouth to the third vehicle access cutting. Snubbies are not likely to be found here. The worm and pipi numbers increase dramatically northward from the third cut, north of Teewah village. A patch of pipis adjacent to a gutter with reasonable depth and a little white water within casting range, is the place to find a snubbie. Dart, bream or tarwhine are a regular by-catch in these gutters.

A dart or bream outfit is perfect for targeting snubbies. A rod of at least 8ft fitted with mono line of 9lb is ample to handle most specimens. But a minimum of 200m of line on the reel is a must as these fish can make a lengthy first run. Snubbies will take either a worm or pipi bait.

When hooked allow the snubbie to make any runs applying a great deal of pressure. The dorsal spines of snub-nosed dart can easily cut through the line when too much pressure is applied on the running fish. Simply be patient when playing these fish.

The eating quality of snubbies is not too bad. But a very quick photo and release is one of the great joys of angling and I would encourage anyone beaching these beautiful fish to do just that.

Juvenile dart also inhabit the gutters of Teewah Beach at this time of year along with whiting and tarwhine. These fish often draw Spanish mackerel into the mix and are definitely a worthwhile target species off the beach.

Spaniards are best targeted in the late afternoon using whiting, dart or tarwhine flesh. Conventional tailor gear of a 12-14ft rod and an Alvey or spinning reel is all that is required. Add 30cm of wire to the swivel, and then another similar length of wire with the sinker running on this section to another swivel tied to the main line reduces the risk of being bitten off. Mono of 15lb mono and 300-400m of line on the reel is adequate for Spaniards.

When hooked, allow the fish to run with a medium drag setting and on completion of the first run, the fish can generally be easily brought back to the beach.

Since early December we've seen the arrival of a few school and spotted mackerel and small schools of yellowfin tuna into Laguna Bay. These numbers should increase after Christmas along with schools of mac and longtail tuna. Although spotties, mac and longtail tuna are sometimes close enough to the beach for shore based anglers to access with metal slugs, the most likely way of targeting these speedsters is from a boat.

The best launching locations for boaties to access pelagics in Laguna Bay are the boat ramps on the Noosa River. However in good conditions, the mouth of the river on the North Shore can be used to launch smaller craft behind a 4WD. To minimise the risk of bogging the vehicle, I would encourage dropping tyre pressure to no more than 18PSI and spending as little time in launching and retrieving the boat as possible. Wave action around the wheels of the vehicle and trailer at the mouth can cause the wheels to sink in to the sand quite rapidly and major traumas can result with incoming tides.

The northern side of Double Island Point is safer alternative for launching boats. The lagoon there is an ideal and calm launching location with excellent ocean access.

Rainbow Bay should have pelagics such as the mackerels and tunas working not too far from shore along with the potential for schools of large queenfish.

Site fishing for these same species from shore along Rainbow Beach with metal slugs is a possibility too with early morning the prime time to be looking. Spinning slugs over the numerous patches of coffee rock along this beach will often find tailor, trevally and queenfish.

But the trees to the north western side of the Leisha Track still pose a significant obstacle to vehicles on anything other than dead low tides and can even be treacherous then. No fish is worth losing a vehicle for, so take great care in this area.

Summer also produces quality tailor. Weather permitting; this summer could be the best tailor season we have seen for several years.

The surf is unlikely to have any weed this season and with gutter formations currently quite good, particularly on the lower tides, try spending some time in the early morning or late afternoon targeting tailor with a pilchard or flesh bait. There are possibilities of a Spaniard or cobia.

Off the rocks at Double Island Point or Noosa Heads are productive areas in summer, conditions pending. Double Island has potential for golden trevally, mackerel, tuna, GT, yellowtail kingfish, jew and tailor. Noosa Heads has already produced a few longtail tuna off the rocks this season and Spanish, school and spotted mackerel are also likely catches. GT, big eye trevally, tailor, yellowtail kingfish and jew can be found there too.

Of course any angling activities these holidays will be dictated by the weather. So be mindful of conditions and keep a close eye on weather forecasts to avoid a nasty situation.

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