Harry and kev, JS, 28Oct08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today -- 28oct08
Date: Tuesday, 28 October 2008 12:20 PM

Hi Yakkers

Well, I reckon I must have lost my mojo somewhere. Today was the third time out for me in 8 days and again, for the third time in a row, I didn't boat a keeper table fish -- in fact I didn't hook any fish at all. I can't remember the last time I went out to JS and came home without catching anything at all!

Tide: High 0726 -- 1.83; Moon: New moon tomorrow.

Harry and I fronted at 0500. 'Twas a perfect morning, light southerly initially, clear sky except for a few puffy clouds, low swell. Dolphins playing around just inshore of the shark net, etc, etc.

I made the first cast of my soft plastic out at the reef at 0555 as we made good time out to the reef, aided by the slight breeze. Harry opted to use bait, a fortunate choice, as he actually caught several fish (mumble, mumble, %#@^^*).

One of the strange things out there today was that drift was almost non-existent. There must have been an easterly current opposing the 5-10kn SE breeze as I noticed on several occasions that the drogue was filled and fully deployed, but the GPS was telling me that I wasn't moving toward or away from the waypoint I was monitoring. I was "hovering" over the same area for up to 10 minutes at a time.

Harry reported fish but I couldn't buy a bite (not even a reefie, although one of my soft plastics was severely mauled by some tiddler or other). I had to leave early anyway, so pulled the pin at 0810 after taking this great pic of Harry with a small but keeper snapper. He also had a small sweetlip and a small flathead at this time, and had released an undersize snapper.

Harry does it again. The photographer wasn't pleased.

I trolled a one of my deadliest lures all the way home, but got nothing, nada. By 0945 I was back in the office, dealing with emails!

How'd you go Harry?

And yes, I'm keen to go again soon. Today's trip demonstrates that it is possible to have a paddle out to JS and back and spend a couple of hours fishing and still get home/to work at a very reasonable hour. Might do it more often.

Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Whales close up, 25Oct08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today -- 25Oct08
Date: Saturday, 25 October 2008 3:35 PM

Hi guys

Another quiet one as far as the fish went, I'm afraid, but plenty of interesting whale stuff.

At 2am today I awoke to the roar of the surf on the beach at Sunshine Beach and thought "Maybe it'll be too nasty to safely launch at our usual spot" then promptly went back to sleep to be awoken by my phone alarm at 0430, with the sound of roaring surf still apparent. But the sky was clear and there was little if any wind and so down to Middle Groyne I went, expecting to be first there at 0450, only to find Harry and Jaro already setting up, and a visiting yakker from Brisbane, Antony, whom I'd met on a couple of occasions before, also getting ready, but, as it turned out, intending to go with a couple of friends to Little Halls.

There was no surf noise on the beach at Middle Groyne and Harry confirmed that it was "flat as" so we were GO! I was first to launch, on the western side of the groyne, and barely got a cupful of water into the yak on the way out. Harry and Jaro were right behind me and a glance at my watch told me it was 0515; a look around revealed perfect conditions -- a light SW breeze and very small swell in the bay. Jaro was super keen to get into the fish as he'd missed the last couple of trips because of absence interstate and Harry and I were keen to do better than last Tuesday's trip. At this stage there was no sign of the Nemo team, Steven and Charles, but I knew they'd be not far behind.

As we headed toward the northern horizon, Harry leading followed by Jaro and then me, a whale was prominent to the west, busily engaged in tail slapping for several minutes continuously.

And so we arrived and started fishing. Third or fourth cast I hooked a small sweetlip, just undersize, so back he went. Then Steven and Charles turned up.

Steven (front seat) and Charles in their double Viking Nemo

This small sweetlip was followed by this little fellow (of which I caught at least 5 today), which I decided to photograph to pass on info to fellow yakkers.

Black tipped cod (named for the black tips on the spines of the dorsal fin), legal size 38cm. I've never seen a legal specimen, but be aware that they have a great reputation as a food fish. If you catch a legal one, I'd like to hear about it.

And a few minutes later we all stopped fishing as two or three whales came right up to us and proceeded for a long five minutes or so to put on a wonderful display of swimming along sideways, pectorals slapping and half of tail showing, and lunging out of the water. They approached from the west and once alongside our little group, turned north apparently to seek a closer relationship with the boys on the double Nemo, who wisely decided to move out of their way. A few pics...

The guy in the tinny also had a good view...

The action in the last couple of pics was about 20-30m from me and at this stage the whales were headed for Steven and Charles.

Anyway, it was special to be out there and see this display. As Harry said, he'd paid $100 to go on a whale-watching cruise but this was far better, and much more exciting, given our viewing platforms. My crappy photography doesn't do justice to the actual scene.

Fishing-wise, the whole reef seemed shut down. It was notable that none of the accompanying power boat occupants were catching anything either, and one by one they packed up and went home. But, around 0730 Harry, bless his soul, nailed a beautiful 50cm grass sweetlip.

Harry bags a 50cm sweetlip, caught on bait

Before they left, Charles and Steven bagged a keeper sweetlip and later reported that they'd invited it to breakky.

Jaro, Harry and I fished on, trying shallow reefs and deep reefs to no improvement in the take-home catch, although there were several undersize specimens taken, including maori cod and leatherjacket, and one yellowfin pike which Jaro promptly converted to fresh bait for the pickers' breakfast.

The paddle home was as easy as any I can remember, with a slight NE breeze gradually picking up as we went along. Out at the reef the swell was significant with troughs sufficient to hide nearby craft and land features from view. I, for one, was quite relieved to find that this swell, emanating from the SSE, did not intrude at all into the inner bay, with the result that our beach landings were all uneventful and correctly oriented.

Harry with our take-home catch.

Looks like a couple of good days coming up... c'mon guys, the fish HAVE to come back on the bite soon! Over to you Jaro to organize.

Kev (no worthwhile fish today)
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Poor result, 21Oct08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today -- 21Oct08
Date: Tuesday, 21 October 2008 2:08 PM

Great yakking weather today and a solid rollup, including Andy who hadn't fished with us before. So here they are just prior to launch. There were no tourists around to take the photo so I'm not in it.

What the well-dressed yakker wears in Noosa. From left: Andy and his Prowler Elite, Charles, Steven, Harry, Mike and Doug (a visitor from Bargara).

All mastered the shore break with aplomb and headed north in the gentlest of southerly breezes. I was the last out and stuffed around a bit so was the last to arrive at the reef to find perfect conditions.

The first thing I did on arrival was to retrieve my trolled hard bodied lure which had not attracted any attention during the trip out. Halfway through this retrieve the lure was belted and at first I thought I'd picked up a small snapper but after a brief fight a bonito appeared next to the yak. I yakked him, photographed him and let him go.

Australian bonito, a hard fighter, not a table fish, but allegedly good for bait.

Having sorted out my gear after this, I put out my customary light jig and then rigged up a trailing outfit with a single large jig and deployed it. I'd only had one or two casts with the light outfit when my eye was attracted to colour and movement on the port side and below water. I looked down to have my stare returned by a very large turtle which was gliding along, following the yak, only about 2 metres down, apparently with mating intentions. No sooner had I spotted the turtle than my trailing outfit started to show signs of distress and I realised that the turtle had become entangled in the trailing line. Bugger!

What followed was a hard fight to try to get the jig back and, in the event of failure, to minimise the amount of line the turtle would have to trail behind it. After about five minutes of solid tussle, at last the turtle was visible, about 3 metres under the yak. I was just starting to create a plan for the next phase, dealing with an angry 100kg turtle in the yak when thankfully, the line broke right at the knot and the turtle swam off carrying my jig as a campaign medal. I hope and am pretty sure that the jig hook will rust away in a few days and cause minimal hassle for this beautiful animal.

After an hour or so of fishing, no one was reporting the capture of significant fish, a worrying situation. I certainly had been busy, but hadn't been able to raise a single snapper or sweetlip, or even any reef fish. The breeze was fairly consistent and light from the SW and I tried drifts over all of my favourite spots to no avail. This was in marked contrast to the last two trips to JS in the last two weeks in which we caught reasonable fish consistently. The following is all I can report from a fishing point of view: Harry eventually caught a reasonable sweetlip on bait; Doug hooked and released a grinner on SP; Andy reported a strong run, but no hookup, on a soft plastic which he was trolling and which he'd allowed to fall when he slowed down; I caught another bonito on a soft plastic (pic below).

Another bonito for me, this time on a soft plastic

Mike and Andy left for home earlier than Harry, Doug and I. And I can't report what happened to Steven and Charles, last seen headed south from the eastern edge of the reef, perhaps in hope of a repeat of last week's stellar performance. We'd like to hear from you, guys. Anything else to report?

9.37am. Harry and Doug on the way home.

Despite the decent swell at the beach, Harry, Doug and I managed to land with dignity intact just west of the groyne. This was a pretty good effort on Doug's part, I thought, as he was in a borrowed yak (my spare) and has little surf experience.

Some days are better than others, but all time spent yak fishing with a few mates is time well spent I reckon. Thanks for coming guys. See you next time. So it's over to Jaro for coordination of the next trip, which could be sometime on the weekend according to today's Seabreeze forecast -- although the forecast swell might make it more interesting than today.

Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Great fishing at Jew Shoal 15Oct08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today -- Wed 15Oct08
Date: Wednesday, 15 October 2008 4:48 PM

Somebody mentioned to me that these fishing reports may be depressing to some addressees and perhaps I shouldn't send them out. Please let me know if you find the reports depressing and I'll leave you off the list, unless you enjoy feeling depressed, in which case, don't tell me to leave you off the list and I'll continue to send you depressing reports which you'll really enjoy -- go figure!

Another great day today. Only three of us fronted, Harry, Mike and I. We were also joined for a while by some ultra newbies -- a couple of young guys, Charles and Steven, from Peregian who were mounted on a double Viking Nemo.

We launched at around 0545 through a messy shorebreak and Mike and I, at least, got a little wet on the way out but no cause for concern, although it was necessary to time one's run in order to avoid the odd nasty curling dumper --- you know, those that can blow you out of the seat if they drop on top of you.

The light breeze was initially from the SW and there was a partial overcast with resulting low light levels as the sun was still low on the horizon. Harry got about a 10 minute start on Mike, and Mike about a 5 minute start on me as I had a bit of rigging up to do. About 1.5km from shore I caught up with Mike who revealed that had been busted by a fast running fish in the short distance from the beach. He put the bust-off down to a too tightly set drag...

At about the 3km mark Mike and I caught sight of Harry bobbing in the ocean on his Swing. Once we caught up with him, at the edge of the reef, I found he had, amazingly without GPS, navigated to a position very close to one of my GPS marks. He'd already started fishing and so I left him to move to one of my other marks nearby, intending to take advantage of the SW breeze to drift me over the reef in a NE direction.

Harry very shortly afterward reported, by yelling, a keeper sweetlip and this was before I'd even settled down to fishing. My first cast proved fruitless but conditions looked great and so I laid out a second cast which attracted the attention of a nice fat sweetlip which soon was secured on my stringer. I laid out the next cast and well before the jig had got to the bottom the line tightened abruptly and I felt the weight of a nice snapper as the reel gave line in response to the surging run. A couple of minutes later a very nice 50cm snapper joined the sweetie on the stringer...

I'm experimenting with a new (and hopefully better) method of securing fish (see pic) and it took me a while to sort out the technique, but I soon stuffed him in the fishbox and laid out another cast to come up trumps immediately with another sweetlip. Three keepers in three casts and it wasn't even 0700! Harry, meanwhile was specializing in sweetlip, in response to an order from SWMBO...

As the drift took us away from the initial fishing area, the bites slowed noticeably. Mike caught a small bream, using prawn bait on a bottom bouncing rig, and later reported a keeper bream, before turning a bit green around the gills and deciding to head back to do battle with the shore break. Any more action on the way home, Mike?

The drop-off in the bites didn't bother Harry and me at all as we already had a feed each in the bag, and besides, a pod of whales appeared right on top of the reef just as Harry and I decided to change position. This action took us very close to their anticipated track. So for a few minutes we were entertained intimately by an adult and two calves, the latter of which were having fun leaping partially clear of the water. A very pale sample of some of the action...

Whales up close...

And so the morning meandered along. At one stage I had another powerful run from a strong fish, almost certainly a snapper, only to have the hook pull free (yes, again). And Harry caught on a soft plastic a small but keeper yellowtail kingfish (min size 50cm) which put up a spirited fight. Harry is becoming converted to SPs I think!! We both caught several reefies and small snapper which were returned to the water. Oh, and a small mac tuna which scoffed my jig, was boated and returned to the water.

Harry Crockford and a small kingie taken on SP, and the sun had come out.

By now it was 0930, and we were both very happy with the couple of hours we'd spent out there. Mindful of the strong wind warning, we decided to call it a day and had a very pleasant paddle home with the breeze, which had now swung around to the NE. Having both chosen to land on the beach to the east of the groyne, I have to report that one of us got a wet arse on the way in, but nothing was lost from the Swing in the process ;-).

Here's our take home catch, the bottom three being mine. The better fish were taken on SPs.

Another wonderful morning in Laguna Bay. Does it get any better than this? Tune in for the next episode sometime next week and find out.

Monday and Tuesday are both looking good for next week so who's interested in getting out there? The shoal seems to be fishing really well at the moment.

Oh and best wishes to our yakkers currently waylaid with injury and illness. Get well soon guys.

Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

snapper at Jew Shoal, 08Oct08

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today, 08Oct08
Date: Wednesday, 8 October 2008 3:50 PM

The Seabreeze forecast being favourable, four of us opted to head out this morning despite two of us having been out to dinner the night before.

Jaro set up the event, as usual, placing a latest departure time of 0600. The result was that Jaro arrived before 0530, I at 0530 and Harry at 0535, to be met by a crowded carpark (Wednesday is swimming practice day for seeming hordes of Noosans). Yakking conditions were perfect with a clear sky, insignificant swell and tiny southerly zephyrs.

The three of us hit the water pretty much together and set course for JS, initially focussing on the whale frolicking in our path about 2km ahead. We all trolled all the way out but didn't get a touch, and so, arriving in the vicinity of JS about 0630, chose our locations and started fishing.

Harry set out for the northern side of JS (how he does it without a GPS I don't know, especially as much of the land was shrouded in smoke this morning), Jaro for the far SW corner, and I for one of my marks, closer in on the western side.

I put out my first cast, then set the rod in the rod holder while I re-rigged the trolling outfit with a soft plastic to trail behind as I drifted. Barely had I deployed the trailing outfit when the light outfit went off. I knew straight away that it wasn't a big fish, but was happy to get a hit so soon. A sweetlip of just keeper size appeared but I decided that it should be released so did so after using the pliers to remove the hook.

Immediately recasting the light outfit, I was holding it in one hand while radio-ing Jaro about my first cast success when the light outfit went off again, this time long before the jig got anywhere near the bottom.

It had to be a snapper, and a nice one because I was rewarded with a scorching run which had the reel drag screaming. I leaned back to settle in to the fight and then the line went slack! The air was a bit blue with comments at this stage, and even bluer when, on inspection of the reason for the disconnect, I discovered that the hook had partially straightened, probably because I'd damaged it with the pliers and hadn't checked that it was OK before re-using it. You'd reckon that, with 50 years of fishing behind me, I'd remember the basics, but there you go -- a good fish lost because of inattention to detail.

Jaro soon reported a keeper sweetlip, then a larger one. Mal joined us by around 0645 and decided to hang around near me, but by 0730 we were both fishless but conditions looked promising so I for one didn't feel pessimistic. At 0740, while relocating further up the quite strong westerly current, I paused to watch the progress of some whales coming right across the top of JS, and only 100m or so away. I'd left my trailing rig out while relocating and as I paused, it sank, then got snaffled by a snapper, which very soon became my first keeper for the day.

At about 0815 I hooked a small but keeper snapper and then, on the next cast, same place, I got a solid strike and line poured off the reel against the drag. I guessed another snapper, which was correct, for a few minutes later after a decent fight during which I had to yield line in several runs, a beautiful 64cm snapper (measured at home later) lay beside the yak. This was more like it!

Don't snapper look magnificent in the morning light, fresh from the water!

So now I had three keepers, Jaro hadn't advanced his score of two sweetlip. and Harry and Mal both reported no fish. While being swept along on the westerly current, I was surprised to have the sounder reveal shallow banks around 12-15 metres deep with lots of structure fully 450 metres ESE of JS centre and lots of small fish showing on the display. Clearly this area warrants further exploration in future, and yes I've logged the location in my GPS.

For the next thirty minutes or so things went quiet for me and so I decided to relocate to a spot 150m upcurrent of a bommie I'd detected and marked a few weeks back. By now the wind had almost died out altogether so the effect was that I was being swept along by the current, over the reef, and, as there was no wind, it was possible to just let the light jig hang under the yak, with a slight lift and drop from time to time to bring it to the attention of cruising fish. This technique soon yielded another keeper snapper and a keeper sweetlip, on successive casts only a few minutes apart. By now, around 0945-ish, my fish box was full and so I decided that there was no point in fishing any longer and packed up to go home. Mal had left a little earlier having reported a slight case of mal-de-mer, and Jaro and Harry both opted to stay.

My trip back was easy and uneventful, except for a close encounter with a whale which chose to surface for a breath very close to my track. They are really spectacular close up, I can tell you. On the beach there were the usual questions from beach goers and people hanging around the wash point, including some from one persistent questioner, who unable to take his eyes off the catch, revealed that he "had to go back to Melbourne tomorrow" -- poor bugger.

Before I started writing this email, Jaro sent a contribution with a pic so here it is:

"Hi Kevin,

Just to let you know that I caught a nice size snapper on our last drift and Harry caught a sweetlip. He also had a large snapper that he got up to his kayak (I was there to witness) and then lost it much to his extreme annoyance. We left JS at 11.35 and had a trouble free run home. I don't know about Mal but Harry said he left earlier because he was seasick. Attached is a photo of my fish but they look smaller than they actually were.

I am looking forward to seeing a photo of your monster."

Anyway, there it is, guys. Hope you enjoyed reading it. It was a beautiful day out there today with lots of whales around and several turtles, including one which took a particular liking to Jaro's yak. Perhaps it had mating on its mind?

Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Mixed bag, JS, 03Oct08

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing report 3/10/08
Date: Friday, 3 October 2008 6:57 PM

Hi Gang,

Kevin, Jim and I set off for Jew Shoal at approx 6.20am in perfect conditions (no wind, calm and warm) arriving about 6.50am. Things were quiet for an hour or so when I caught 2 snapper in reasonably rapid succession. Both were smallish but legitimate size. I can't remember the sequence but Kevin caught a sweetlip and then caught a big fish which he fought for about 10 - 20 minutes before it got away taking his jig much to his chagrin. After a lengthy lull we started to get some action with me catching a sweetlip and a wire netting cod (is that the correct name Kevin???). Jim caught 2 sweetlip also of smallish size but keepers and Kevin caught a number of undersize snapper.

It had been extremely calm all morning until the seabreeze came in around 11.00 - 11.30 am which steadily picked up. We decided to call it quits at 12.15pm and headed home with a lovelly tailwind and waves making for an easy paddle back.

No photos were taken as we didn't think the catch was worth it. Still it was a beautiful way to spend the morning.

Wednesday is looking good for the next fishing trip.