School is over for yet another year and that means packing away the lunch box, pencil case and library bag to reinstate the camping gear, beach rods and wide-brim straw hat. At 3pm today I would expect to see quite a few 4WD's packed to the roof with camping and fishing paraphernalia rolling into the quick pickup zone in the school car park. This is one Queensland tradition that occurs every Christmas holidays and has done so since before I was a school-goer.
The beaches are very popular and should be busy from this weekend onwards and right through to Australia Day's long weekend, especially when the beach fishing is at its best during our long, hot Queensland Summer. Most beach-going holidaymakers respect the beach and dunes, exercise safety while driving and know how to share the beach with others. But there is always someone who doesn't play by the rules and behaves selfishly, recklessly or destructively. This is why an unwritten Code of Conduct must be observed while fishing and camping on our beautiful beaches. For those of you who need a refresher, Swan Boat Hire staffer and beach four wheel driving/fishing enthusiast, Tommy Harvey, has compiled a Top Ten essential guide for safe driving and fishing on the beach:
Driving on the harder sand between the waterline and the high tide mark will offer the firmest surface. Consider reducing your tyre pressure when driving on soft sand but keep within the manufacturer's specifications. Vehicles should be kept off the sand dunes except at designated crossing points for access to and from the beach. It's best to travel at low tide, or within two hours either side, however fishing is often best either side of high tide so leave this time free for fishing only!
Set up camp and get out your deck chair. Find a good elevated position where you can spend some time observing the water. Visually identifying structure is the way to go on a surf beach. Knowing how to identify banks, gutters, drains and rips becomes essential if you hope to regularly catch fish from the beach. Additional observations of swooping birds and for the more experienced, identifying bait fish and the species of fish we wish to target will give you the edge over 99% of other anglers.
With constantly shifting sands due to wind and wave action, the sand banks, gutters and holes are ever changing. Whiting, dart and bream feed in the surf gutter year round. At the moment there are some quality tailor and cobia being taking along the Teewah stretch. Big jew can be caught in the deeper gutters as they cruise through feeding at dawn, dusk and over night. Sand flathead and tarwhine also feed throughout a variety of gutters.
Things to look for in a good gutter can be plenty of white water which fish like dart and tailor like to feed in. Deep entry and exit points also allow fish to migrate through. Bait fish within the gutter, pipi and sand worm in the shallows on low tide also help. Because when bait or food is available for the fish, they are more likely to stay and feed longer. Like all forms of fishing, dawn and dusk are excellent times to try your luck.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Schoolie, spotty and Spanish mackerel up to 6kg from Sunshine reef. Whiting and flathead just north of Teewah. Large numbers of whiting in the Frying Pan on poppers during the outgoing tide. Bream and flathead from Weyba creek. A few mud crabs in the upper reaches.
Maroochydore: Parrot, snapper and schoolie mackerel around the blinker. Small snapper and a 4.5kg cod from Currimundi Reef. Mudjimba beach has been producing a few bream, whiting and flathead. Whiting to 40cm and tarwhine to 30cm from the mouth. Flathead to 72cm from Chambers Island. Grunter bream on the Bli Bli flats. Plenty of mud crabs from Bli Bli bridge and further upstream.
Kawana: Snapper, red throat, parrot and Dolphin fish from the Barwon Banks. Good numbers of school mackerel from the Inner Gneerings and spotty mackerel from Currimundi. Grunter bream from McKenzie’s bridge on high tide. Quality whiting and flathead along Kawana beach and also a few whiting from Mooloolaba beach. Mangrove Jack and Mud crabs in the canals.
Caloundra: Mangrove jack and a few bream from the Blue hole overnight. Bream and a good number of trevally from the mouth of the Pelican waters canals. Whiting and a few flathead close to the bar on the incoming tide. Mud crabs throughout the upper reaches.
Andy Gunn braved the wet weather and venture to Currimundi Reef, where he was rewarded with a solid 4.5kg rock cod on light spin tackle.
The grunter bream have been very active over the last week and Cory Duckett fished in Petrie creek and caught this 35cm grunter.