Tailor at Teewah
  |  First Published: September 2009

The prolonged spell of calm surf conditions looks like continuing through October with northwest to northeast breezes prevailing. This will allow anglers to fish the beach for the majority of the time without big seas or howling southeasters to shut down prospects entirely.

There is a school of thought that northwesterly winds put the fish off the chew. This theory may have some merit in certain situations and especially offshore, but I have never noticed northwesterlies to be a problem in the surf and can recall a number of excellent sessions with the breeze coming over my left shoulder.

When the sea breeze kicks in from the north to northeast, and can blow in excess of 20 knots, then angling becomes a little more awkward. There also isn't really anywhere on Teewah Beach other than the southern side of Double Island Point to escape these northerlies.

Therefore it is important to take advantage of the usually still early mornings, before the northerlies begin to build and when fish tend to feed. The dusk feeding period could well be blown out, but the good thing about northerlies is they generally die down just on, or after dusk and don't increase surf size.

Personally, I quite like northerlies of 20-25 knots and have found that as uncomfortable as it may be, results can be good. A local old timer told me when I was very young: tailor come on the chew in strong spring northerlies and you just have to adapt your technique to cope.

When fishing with baits, this means casting low and punching a weighty sinker into the breeze so that it doesn't get blown southwards with a large billow of line acting as a parachute. Selecting gutters that open to the sea at the northern end and where a southerly sweep is bottlenecked by the sand bank at the southern end.

While waiting for bites, keep the rod low and pointed into the wind so that as little line as possible is subjected to the wind – again the line can act as a parachute and increase sweep speed. As much tension as possible should be maintained without dragging the sinker, and even allow the sinker to bury so as to not sweep at all.

Spinning metal lures can be a very productive method of fishing in strong northerlies and in October with large tailor about, this is the method I favour. Sweep is of little consequence when using metals and means the retrieve can be slowed a little due to the added speed on the lure that a sweep provides.

The most productive technique with metals is to punch densely weighted lures with a high lead content into the wind at 45-75º to the beach. The lures can then be retrieved with the current and there is minimal line ballooning.

A ballooning line reduces the impact when the lure is struck by a fish and doesn't allow for effective hook-up rates. Of course, good casting technique is a must when casting into the wind in order to achieve suitable punch.

Metal lures which are made with lead include Prickly Pete's range of slugs, and also Sliders – made specifically for tailor.

I personally would never use anything other than a Slider when chasing tailor, particularly if greenbacks are on offer. I have lost far too many big tailor when using attached hook lures over the years and Sliders solve the headshake problem entirely. Sliders are also back in stock at last and are available in 40g, 45g and 55g.

Netter and Algal Blooms

Unfortunately, catches of late of any species on Teewah Beach haven't been all that common. The majority of anglers are starting to wonder where the fish have gone. I hear this every year during the netting season and expect to continue to hear it until netting on Teewah Beach ceases. But fish should become more abundant inshore following the August 31 season closure for netters.

Tailor will still be a target for a local netter, and his efforts will definitely mean recreational anglers on Teewah Beach will catch a hell of a lot less fish. This same professional will also be netting at Fraser, which will drastically affect catches in October north of Indian Head and south of Dilli Village. Similar results can be expected for the Noosa River and lakes while netting continues there too.

To me it seems fairly sad that one license holder can affect thousands of recreational anglers who have invested heavily in being able to catch a few fish. There are also grim ramifications to an already depleted resource and the seabirds, turtles and dolphins whose survival is dependent on healthy fish stocks

I do fear that a return to an el nino weather pattern will have dire consequences for angling here and at Fraser Island over the next few months. Calm conditions with hot northerlies have in the past delivered algal blooms.

There has already been a small outbreak of Anaulus australis south of Teewah in late August, which was fortunately killed off by a cool change. But I think it’s just a matter of time before a sequence of days above 30ºC will see the surf zone turn brown with this microscopic algae.

Surf Fishing lessons

There have been a number of people over the years ask me if I conduct surf fishing lessons. With a recent flurry of interest and now having some time available to do so, anyone interested in learning about surf fishing or improving their surf fishing, can contact me to do so. Phone 0419773137 or email me on --e-mail address hidden--

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