Mediocre weather, magic fishing
  |  First Published: February 2010

It's that time of year when the weather isn't generally favourable to anglers trying to fish exposed sections of coastline.

But that's not to say there won't be opportunities for surf anglers this month, as these conditions are just what is needed on Teewah Beach to prompt a feeding frenzy in the surf. Good seasonal rainfall flushing the Noosa River and lakes into Laguna Bay rarely fails to draw pelagics such as tuna, mackerel, tailor and trevally inshore, along with species like bream, tarwhine, bonefish, whiting and dart into the gutters.

The extended calm conditions associated with the northerlies have deposited massive amounts of sand along Teewah Beach, which doesn't allow for the creation of gutters and holes. We can afford to, and would like to lose some of this sand in order to expose the coffee rock patches at the southern end of Teewah Beach and to create the necessary gutters along the length of the beach.

Rainbow Beach has quite a lot of coffee rock between Double Island Point and the Rainbow Beach township. When exposed in gutters, this coffee rock provides the best angling on the beach. Without the coffee rock, Rainbow can be a barren wasteland with nowhere for baitfish to hide and therefore no predator fish. The lack of worms and eugaries (pipis) along Rainbow enhances the need for structure.

So as much as we all despise the weather interfering with our fishing, these conditions are a necessary evil that we just have to be patient with.

But it’s hardly cold outside at the moment and the worst that can happen is we get wet and catch nothing. However at this time of year, the potential to catch something really good is there, and nobody really minds the conditions when a prized fish is lying in the esky.

There is a long list of species available along Teewah and Rainbow beaches during March, and especially during the calming period after rough weather.

School, spotted, broadbarred and Spanish mackerel seem to be returning in numbers and are all available from the beach on lures or bait. Rainbow Beach is the most likely location to find the mackerel, with metal lures being the preferred method. But flesh baits on dusk and after dark along Teewah account for most of the Spaniards taken from the beach.

Longtail and mack tuna can often be taken from Rainbow Beach, but do get within casting range along Teewah Beach also. Use metal lures only for these speedsters, but finding the right sized lure for them to strike at can be a frustrating exercise.

Queenfish, giant, big eye, cale cale and golden trevally are not uncommon catches, with Rainbow Beach often producing very good quality queenies on metal lures retrieved at high speed through bait schools or over coffee rock.

Goldens are mostly taken on worm and eugarie baits, but metal lures account for plenty, with coffee rock patches along Rainbow and the mouth of the Noosa River delivering most of these.

GT are taken mostly on metal lures from coffee rock patches along Teewah or Rainbow beaches, but do also take worm and eugarie baits. This year has been the best for quite a while for me on the GT with rocky gutters south of Teewah regularly producing trevs up to 5kg.

Cale cale trevally are another, less frequent catch on lures at Rainbow and the big eye trevs take lures retrieved around bait schools or in rocky gutters.

Tailor can be taken virtually anywhere along Teewah and Rainbow beaches in March on lures or baits. Flesh or pilchard baits in conventional gutters on dawn and dusk or metal lures retrieved usually at high speed in rocky gutters at any time of day when the tide is running in or out, can find tailor. The year to date has been promising with schools of choppers and greenbacks providing good sessions for some anglers.

March and April used to be wonderful for bream along Teewah Beach, particularly following floods. However, bream catches here in recent years at any time have been very poor which may be a reflection of the low eugarie numbers, over fishing, or both. Mullet gut or flesh are most effective when the surf is dirty with fresh, and worm and eugarie baits work best when the surf is clear.

Rocky gutters, turbulent water beside sand banks in a gutter and steep drop-offs are where bream like to be. Teewah Beach provides better habitat and food for bream than Rainbow, but the rocky gutters there can work also.

Tarwhine can be caught all year round along Teewah Beach on worm and eugarie baits and are an exceptionally good eating fish. They are found in similar habitats to bream and often mix with the bream.

Dart are another species that has diminished in numbers in recent years, but are still the most commonly caught species along Teewah and Rainbow beaches.

Worm and eugarie baits work best in gutters with some white water cover for the bigger dart to hide under. Small metal lures can also be effective on better quality dart when juvenile Australian anchovy are present, which is late summer and autumn.

Flathead are available on pilchard, worm and eugarie baits as well as plastics, metal and hardbodied lures retrieved on the bottom. When the weather is not suitable for the open beach, flathead are a good option in the sheltered areas of the Noosa River mouth and the northern side of Double Island Point.

Whiting have been a consistent catch for anglers over the last few months on both beaches. Beach worm, eugarie and the valves of the eugarie are best for whiting here in shallow gutters on a making tide. Again, the mouth of the Noosa and northern side of Double Island provide sheltered locations where these fish inhabit.

Bonefish are a species that was rarely seen here prior to about 2001. However, recent years have seen any number of these incredibly strong fish being caught by anglers using worm baits in dart and bream type gutters and particularly following a flood at this time of year.

Snub-nosed dart are a prized, but common catch in the surf. Many anglers each year find themselves attached to these wonderful fish, but usually only by 6-10lb line intended for whiting, bream or dart. Which is ample to handle these fish providing there is a couple of hundred metres on the spool to let the fish have on their first run.

There is no need to apply a lot of pressure to these fish and to do so, often causes the light line to break on the dorsal fin and spines when the fish is running.

These fish are not beached quickly and require patience and skill. Snubbies have a habit of running hard with receding waves here. Walk back up the beach while playing the fish so you have at least 20m of cushioning monofilament line out to absorb the sudden changes of direction the fish can make.

Jewfish have become a more common catch on Teewah in recent years with most fish coming from around Double Island Point. But there have been some jewfish taken from gutters near the Beachfront Caravan Park at the southern end of Teewah Beach on beach worm.

The mouth of the Noosa and a zone between 4-8km north of Teewah also seems to produce a few. Beach worm, tailor and bream flesh or livies are the baits to target jew in the surf here.

Tarpon are sometimes taken on metal lures from around bait schools in the surf. They are a terrific sport fish that I've caught here up to 6kg, but are not worth killing for the pan.

Yellow tailed kingfish can be taken on metal lures from rocky gutters, around bait or dart schools or using livies off Double Isalnd. I have seen many times over the years, big kingies herding schools of greenback tailor to the shore at this time of year, but have only ever caught the tailor on these occasions.

Cobia are another species that is only occasionally taken from the beach and this is the best time of year to try for them. Anglers fishing with pilchard or flesh baits for tailor or jew may encounter cobia. But they will also take metal lures.

Bronzed whalers and shovel nosed sharks are regularly hooked by tailor and jew anglers at night in the surf. I don't see any value in keeping any of these except for blue spotted shovellies under 15lb, which are palatable.

Grunter, which are generally more at home in the estuaries, can be found in the surf after floods. Beach worm, eugarie and mullet flesh are the baits known to account for the limited number of fish taken here.

Grassy sweetlip are regularly caught from deeper rocky gutters between the first and third vehicle access cuttings on worm following floods.

Stargazer are a renowned table fish that take pilchard, worm and eugarie baits and can be caught anywhere along Teewah or Rainbow beaches. Although not a commonly caught species, most anglers will find one at some stage of their surf fishing exploits.

Their reputation as a wonderful eating fish is well deserved despite their unusual appearance, which is somewhat like a toadfish.

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