Tailor Feature on the Beach
  |  First Published: August 2009

Continuing good surf fishing conditions has attracted a swag of fishos to Teewah Beach over the last few weeks. Results for these anglers have been mixed with some struggling to find any fish and others taking home good feeds.

Tailor has been the species that is most commonly being caught, but bread and butter species such as bream, dart, whiting and tarwhine, have been less plentiful. The tailor have been caught along most of the beach with certain areas holding schools of spawning 1 and 2 year old choppers. The beach from Teewah to 10km north has been the area where most activity has been concentrated with large numbers of gannets and terns guiding the way.

At the start of August schools of tailor could be seen at the mouths of gutters, shimmering the water surface and making for an easy target with metal lures early morning. At times it was near impossible to retrieve a lure without hooking up, but the fish have all been choppers with very few better quality fish turning up. Spinning slugs at any time of day has been productive with only the very top and bottom of the tide slowing the bite.

It has been great to see the tailor in reasonably good numbers and it could well be that Fishing Havens in NSW are responsible for this. But I am not getting too carried away with things, as isolated events in one section of beach, don't necessarily mean that populations are healthy. Results over the full moon in early August didn't deliver any catches of note and I haven't seen any recent evidence of tailor schools. A stock survey by Fisheries this year might be able to shed some light on the actual state of affairs.

As mentioned, other species haven't been hitting the beach in any numbers. I have had reports of whiting and the odd bream from gutters half way up Teewah Beach and flathead are being taken from the river mouth to Double Island. Best results are being attained by those who are prepared to move from gutter to gutter to find fish, as it seems that only some gutters have any fish in them.

I am hopeful that September will see some greenback tailor turning up along Teewah Beach. Fish around 4kgs have already been taken at Fraser and it would appear have bypassed Teewah to get there. Less netting activity can only encourage the more mature fish to come into this beach, but nets remain a factor. September is when the pros target the large greenbacks when they are spawning, and one good haul of these fish will spook the whole beach for at least a week.

Roadworks between the 1st and 3rd cutting are nearly completed and construction of parking areas opposite the High Tide Hotel for the new 'Eco Centre' are well underway. The new 3rd cutting will soon be constructed and the 1st cutting has already been altered for a reduced traffic flow. Now it is up to the Minister for Environment and Resource Management to decide what further changes are to take place.

With the closing date for submissions to the Minister on the 'Cooloola Regulatory Impact Statement' being September 7, it can be anticipated that it will be the end of the year at the earliest before implementation of vehicle permits is likely. As it stands, 3 day, monthly and yearly permits will be made available with 2 sections of beach allocated as 'permit free'. These sections are from the 1st cutting to the mouth of the Noosa River and from the 3rd cutting to the northern side of Teewah Village with the area between the 1st and 3rd cuttings closed to vehicular traffic.

As much as I like the idea of people being able to access our coastline without having to pay for the privilege, I do have concerns about the 'free' sections of beach. Concentrating large volumes of traffic into such small sections can only increase the danger to pedestrians.

And with the people least likely to be able to afford vehicle permits being young families, then this puts the highest risk group firmly into the highest danger area. The closed section of beach between 1st and 3rd cutting should be the area to direct families and which is accessible by standard vehicles.

These sections of beach are also the areas where greatest erosion takes place due to the shape of Laguna Bay and the presence of coffee rock patches. Locations to park a vehicle off the beach and away from traffic flow are non-existent, which will cause illegal dune driving and exacerbate erosion. As will the number of pedestrians on the dune grasses and particularly with toileting in this area.

It is difficult also to fathom the wisdom of allowing increased numbers of vehicles, pedestrians and dogs into the area from the 1st cutting to the river mouth. Tern and shorebird protection methods that have been put in place at the mouth at great cost and effort, will have their effectiveness radically reduced, which can't be perceived as being a responsible decision.

There is a fair bit of water to go under this bridge before any concrete decisions are arrived at. And we can only hope that the Minister visits the areas concerned to see for herself the issues involved. Only a personal visit with advice from people without vested interests can present the true and proper nature of these circumstances that I only touch on. There is a lot riding on the outcome of all this and I would hate to see avoidable mistakes being made through lack of effort.

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