Tuna in the bay, 10Apr08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: tuna in the bay
Date: Thursday, 10 April 2008 2:22 PM

G'day yakkers

This is the third Thursday in a row where we've harried the local pelagics.

As agreed, several of us turned up this morning: Jaro, Harvey, his son Tim (in my spare Espri), and I. The wind was 10-15knots from the SE and we could see that it would be pretty uncomfortable out at the reef but we could also see birds working with accompanying splashing just off the beach, where conditions promised to be quite pleasant. So, of course, off we went, launching through a clean, small surf in bright sunshine.

Jaro was the first with runs on the board, announcing that he'd boated (or should I say yakked), a mac tuna. Shortly afterward he paddled over to me, just as a school showed its presence nearby with wheeling birds and copious splashing. We both cast and I hooked up, but my fish managed to cunningly get my taut line in the way of Jaro's lure. It took a tense minute or two for me to bring his lure to the tip of my rod, then disentangle it from where it then became hooked in the second runner from the tip (how DO lures get into such places) while still maintaining sufficient pressure on my fish to keep the hook in place. But it came clear and shortly afterward I boated a mac tuna.

There were clearly more than one species working the bait schools as Tim reported losing a lure to a possible spotty mac (cut off during retrieve after casting to a school) and both Jaro and I caught several Leaping bonito (Cybiosarda elegans) -- see pic below.

We gave it away about 0930-ish having never been further than about 800m from launch, paddling through schools of feeding tuna and bonito as we left the open water for the surf zone, which all four of us transited without incident. I managed a pic of Jaro, but not of the others as they went in before I did.

My mac tuna was 57cm long and weighed 2.5kg.

We're hoping to get out to JS in the next few days -- Seabreeze gives us some hope for that.

Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09, Call Sign: sunshiner

longtails, 03Apr08

Subject: Fishing Expedition 3/4/08
Date: Thursday, 3 April 2008 9:11 PM

Hello Noosa Yakkers,

It has fallen to me to write the report today. Starters were Kevin, Bob, Mal and I. Mal started earlier than the rest of us as he had to finish early.

It was a glorious morning... sunny skies, warm, no winds to speak of and a small swell. It was an easy get out past the almost non existent breakers on the western side of the groyne. I was first out and seeing birds active headed in that direction towards the spit while (and I had not noticed this) Bob and Kevin decided to head straight for JS. It took me a while to get to the fish action but on my second cast the fish struck as soon as the lure hit the water. I then had an exciting fight for about 15 minutes and finally landed a tuna. I knew it wasn't a mack tuna from the last one I had caught and a guy nearby thought it was a yellow fin but later Kevin informed me it was a blue fin (editor: actually a northern bluefin, more commonly known as a longtail tuna). I bled it out before stowing it away. By the way, I was using a 10kg line with a 60kg nylon tracer and a Gillies 40g baitfish blue and white lure.

Noticing the others were out of sight I called Kevin on the VHF to find out that they were at JS. So I set out after them and joined them trying to catch snappers etc but to no avail.

Kevin hooked a nice one and played it for a while but could not get it off the bottom before it reefed him leaving Kevin no alternative but to bust off. Kevin thinks it likely it was a good sized sweetlip. After about 1.5 hours of no activity Mal (fishless) headed for home troubled by a very sore elbow which he thinks will keep him out of the water for a while. I headed back to try my luck inshore and Bob also fishless headed for home. I paddled well west of the spit and found birds diving. I cast many a time without success and slowly found myself near the shark nets and was ready to call it a day when I got a strike. I knew it was a tuna from the way it fought long and hard. After an exciting 20 to 25 minutes I finally gaffed a beautiful blue fin (editor: actually a longtail). I bled this one out also. It was caught on the same lure as the first.

I headed for the shore and learned a valuable lesson. NEVER take the sea for granted. The waves were small and I paddled in without sizing up the sets only to find myself in no man's land between two unexpected huge waves one of which was definitely going to get me. Knowing I had no chance I jumped off and grabbed the back of the kayak to no avail as the wave took it and rolled it even though I managed to keep hold of the paddle. I eventually made a very undignified landing onshore feeling the gaze of all on the beach. But having everything well secured nothing was lost. The looks on the faces changed once I took the tuna out to clean. Soon I had a very interested audience asking the usual questions.

Kevin of course surveyed the scene carefully and made a very successful and professional return to shore.

Tuna one was 83cm long and weighed 5.5kg cleaned. Tuna two was 1 metre long and weighed 7.25kg cleaned.


A very happy yakker.