Surfs up!
  |  First Published: November 2009

Good surf fishing conditions continue to prevail along Teewah Beach this year with December likely to deliver more of the same. Hot northerlies, thunderstorms and the occasional burst of cooling southeasters is a huge contrast from this time last year when southeasters and rain prevented any consistent fishing prospects.

Hopefully weather patterns don't also deliver algal blooms that seem to be ever-present in the warmer months these days. A bloom of Anaulus australis that turned the surf zone brown from Agnes Water to Ballina in early September has finally died off with just a slight green tinge to the water remaining.

Clean conditions present anglers with a good chance of finding fish in the surf gutters, with most fishers taking home a feed lately. Whiting have been the most common catch with some good quality fish mixed in with smaller, but well and truly legal sized, whiting.

An occasional bream, tarwhine and dart have added to the bags of many, and flathead are in good numbers for this beach. Several school jew have hit the beach also with a couple of better fish around the 10kg mark.

Tailor haven't been plentiful of late, but there are certainly a few fish entering the gutters to chase small anchovy and gar that are hiding from the tailor. Schools of juvenile dart are also hiding out in the gutters from yellow tailed kingfish along with the Spaniards that have been in Laguna Bay for quite a few weeks now. Big kingies and golden trevally will be haunting Double Island Point headland in December and will be well worth chasing. Just remember to use heavy gear so they don’t get away.

December usually sees the arrival of small yellowfin and longtail tuna, school and spotted mackerel and the first of the southbound greenback tailor. Boaties will be preparing in anticipation for the spotties, which do seem to be increasing in numbers each year.

Unfortunately, the last couple of years have been too awkward weather wise to regularly get amongst the spotties. Let’s hope the weather is more consistent this year, not just for the spotties, but for all species either in the surf, out in the bay or on the reefs.

Whiting should also remain constant through December providing the surf stays clean.

But just remember that no fish is worth risking life, limb, or your drivers license to catch, so ensure that safety is the first order of each days fishing.

Still of real concern to many is the lack of eugaries (pipis) along the beach with similar repeated reports from Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser islands. November and December are conventionally when eugaries spawn in South East Queensland, and if they are not about in any numbers along any of our beaches to spawn, then the situation can only go rapidly backwards with the Christmas holidays guaranteed to deplete numbers further.

It is very important now that anglers only take enough eugaries to serve their angling purposes. Keeping in mind three baits can be obtained from each mature sized eugarie, then surely 20 pipis per day is ample to suffice.

It is common to see eugaries that have been dumped dead on the beach after being left in a bucket too long. If you want to keep eugaries for any length of time, they should be kept in a bucket full of surf water in the shade with twice daily water changes. But in the height of summer 48 hours is as long as it’s safe to keep eugaries in this fashion. Return unused eugaries to the surf and not to the dry sand at the top of the beach as we often see.

It would be a massive disaster if eugarie populations were to collapse, as they are a very significant part of the ecosystem with many fish species timing their spawning around that of the eugarie.


We are all now waiting for an announcement from the minister regarding her decision on how the permit system is to be structured.

Probably of greatest interest to most, given the certainty that permits will be introduced, is whether a one day or three day pass will be available in addition to the monthly and yearly permits.

Rumour has it a three day pass is on the cards and to my way of thinking it would be preferable to a day pass which would effectively undo the benefits that the new strategy can provide.

The proposal to have the sections of beach from the mouth of the Noosa River to the 1st vehicle access cutting and from the 3rd cutting to Teewah to be permit free has been heavily opposed in submissions to the minister. The Sunshine Coast Regional Council, various environmental groups, the Teewah Landowners Association and a high proportion of local individuals are all calling for the permit to apply to the entirety of the beach.

I believe the minister will relent to this significant opposition on the basis of environmental degradation the 'free beach' proposal would cause, with a three day pass providing some compromise for irregular users.

My proposal of using revenue from vehicle permits to buy back commercial fishing licenses in Cooloola and to create a fishing haven of Cooloola and Fraser Island continues to gather momentum. The idea has so far received support from a wide circle of scientists, environmental groups, angling personalities and anglers. I will continue working on coordinating this effort despite the silly games being played by some.

The beach closure to vehicles between the 1st and 3rd cutting that will coincide with the introduction of permits has been a recent topic of discussion from a commercial fishing angle. It has been stated the pros won't be able to access this section of beach either and therefore the area would be a net free zone and fishing here will improve.

Unfortunately I don’t think this is the case, as netting at the river mouth for mullet will spook all species other than flathead away from the area anyway. This occurs every time a net is shot at the mouth, or anywhere else along the beach for that matter and has done for decades.

Another allocation for some of the $2.74million that is to be directed into Cooloola each year would sensibly be in the control of litter. Bins are never going to work as some people just don't seem to know how to use them and the source of the litter is often from exposure during erosion events, washed in from the sea or blown out of vehicles travelling along the beach. So a contractor to physically clean the beaches would be required.

If everyone is to pay more through vehicle permits and compulsory porta-potties and the government is sprouting a 'better quality experience', as a result of the introduced measures, then there should be a reasonable expectation from users that attempts be made to reduce a litter problem that has been serious for decades.

Broken glass in the camping areas at the northern end of Teewah Beach and on the beach generally is a huge problem. People persist in putting empty stubbies on the fire which is always situated where someone is going to camp when they leave and oblivious to the danger. Access to medical help in this area is limited and such safety concerns must be addressed given the circumstances of RAM.

It is anticipated permits will come into force by early 2010.

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