jaro solo, SR, 28Aug09

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Today Friday 28th Aug 09
Date: Friday, 28 August 2009 4:39 PM

Originally there were 3 would-be starters. One (Harry) retired hurt with a bad back before the event and another (Steve) had an appointment that he could not break leaving yours truly as the sole goer.

I woke up at 4.00am and decided to get up as I felt if I fell asleep again I would not wake up before the alarm and thus wake up dear Carolyn which is a no-no. So after breakfast I went to MG in the dark, arriving at 5.00am. I launched in the dark and let me tell you it is quite a daunting experience as you can't see the sets but you could see the dark shape of the waves which were a lot bigger than I had expected. Anyway I got in and paddled along the groyne. It seemed ok so I made a dash for it and just made it over the top of one wave before reaching the safety beyond the break. As it was dark I just kept paddling, planning to organize my gear etc when it was light. I started out at 5.26am and then took a photo at 5.45am, not realizing I had my flash on but the result does give an idea of the eeriness of the surrounds at that time.

5.45am... an eerie morning

As I paddled towards north sunshine reef I got to see a lovely sunrise.

Sunrise at 6.10am with lumpy seas

A few minutes later

I got to my mark at north sunshine reef, set up my trailing line and started casting my soft plastic with the other rod at 6.30am ie an 1 hour paddle in lumpy seas. I immediately caught a small yellow tail on my trailing line... kept for bait. Caught a striped sea perch with my second cast. Released as too small. I thought this is encouraging but then nothing and by 8.30am after a number of different drifts I was day dreaming when I suddenly had a strike on my soft plastic and after a vigorous fight I boated a 50cm snapper and just as I had put it in the bag my trailing line rod bent over and soon I had a nice sweetlip also in the bag. At this time the wind picked up causing white caps but it was warm and not unpleasant. However, it was causing me to drift much faster and I had no more action and so at 10.30am I decided to pull the plug and proceeded to tidy things up for the trip back home leaving my plastic jig line in the water as the last job before the paddle back and would you believe as I went to pick up the rod I got another strike and shortly after bagged another sweetlip. I had one more cast for luck and then headed home as I had achieved what I had set out to do and that was to get some fresh fish for a meal tonight to entertain friends, a Tassie couple, who are arriving today and staying a few days with us.

The paddle back was uneventful even though it took 1 hour 20 minutes as I had to battle against the wind and waves. The shore entry was exciting as I decided to see if I could surf the waves in, which I did succesfully as the waves were small enough to be able to control the ride.

Here is a photo of the fish.

One snapper and 2 sweetlips

So all in all, a great day.


DB, Jaro's epic ride vid, 27Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 27aug09
Date: Thursday, 27 August 2009 4:00 PM

After my mid-day foray yesterday launching from Sunshine Beach and fishing Sunshine Reef, we just had to do it again today, especially as the weather forecast was at least as good. But this time it was an early start and there were five of us.

Brian, Jaro, Jim and I assembled in the doggie beach carpark before sunrise. Steve had warned us he'd come out later.

0602hrs. Brian and Jaro choosing their moment...

Jim made his dash first and got away cleanly. Jaro and Brian followed and I got some video of their launch. It was then my turn. I picked a quiet time, hopped into the yak, missed my footing and sat down in the surge. This woke me up somewhat but I was back in the saddle very quickly and paddling like hell to join my companions out the back. I understand that Jaro and Brian had an interesting trip through the peaking waves... perhaps they'll tell us about it.

0610hrs. Jaro setting up while our nearest star and greatest benefactor peeps over the shoulder of our home.

We all set out for the close-in marks we'd fished before, less than 2km from shore. The vista was the sort that travellers to distant parts pay a fortune to view and we were getting it for nothing except the small effort required to get out of bed early (oh, and paddle through the breakers).

I'll be upfront with this. Today, I caught nothing, a performance matched today only by Steve (turtleboy) who spent less time fishing than I did but at least caught a giant toado. And, I'm knackered. So I'll summarise the fishing situation, throw in a spectacular video of a heart-stopping return to the beach by our oldest participant and then provide a few pics of interest.

Although Jaro very soon caught a keeper snapper it was clear that the action wasn't exactly going to be hot. We fished in close and also out wide, meandering out to about 4km from our launch spot in perfect winter conditions. Jaro, Jim and Brian caught fish (photos soon). The largest caught, by Jaro, was also an unusual capture, a netted sweetlips (Plectorhynchus flavimaculatus) aka Rubber-lip and a well known mother-in-law fish.

Eventually we elected to return to the beach where we were delighted to find that the swell had increased during our absence. What fun lay ahead? Turtleboy was first to chance his arm and managed an upright arrival on the beach only to fall in (but only up to his neck) when he was caught in the shore break. Brian and I lined up -- I turned the chest cam on and we went through unscathed, hitting the beach together after getting a dream run.

Next came Jim and Jaro, who were given directions for the best approach from us on the beach, by radio and arm signals. Jim's run was well managed and safe and soon he also was on the beach (4 safe yakkers out of 4 attempts -- very good). Jaro left the best till last. He approached the breaking waves and was in the middle of the transit zone when we on the beach spotted a nasty wave rearing up behind him. Although Jaro couldn't hear us we started yelling at him to increase his paddling rate in an attempt to outrun the wave. Jaro was having none of this -- he just kept coming at a gentle pace. I was operating the video camera at the waters edge and felt certain that this wave was likely his nemesis. Anyway you can see it all on the video. Did he make it in, and if so, how or did we have to phone 000? You'll just have to watch. Here's what it looked like from my POV.

Is Jaro a goner? See the full performance in this video:


Some fish etc pics:

Above: At one stage our yaks were surrounded by millions of very tiny critters (about as large as a pin head) drifting near the surface in the 30m deep water. I scooped some up to take a look and discovered that they had legs and resembled crabs. (Pic from underwater)

Above: Brian's catch: two sweetlip, one snapper, one striped sea perch. Sorry about the pic, Brian -- I must have had water on the lens.

Above: Jim's two snapper

Above: Jaro's netted sweetlips and snapper.

Harvey W was waiting and watching on the beach when we came in. Nice to see you Harv. -- we're hanging out for the day when you can rejoin us on the big blue.

Thanks for organizing, Jaro. Hey, wasn't that beach return fun? Maybe we should have a beach day (no fishing).

Hope you enjoyed the video...

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


Subject: Jaro's epic ride
Date: Friday, 28 August 2009 10:11 AM

G'day guys

I thought Jaro's epic ride yesterday was worthy of greater publicity so wrote a quick story for AKFF, including a link to the video. It's here.

solo at sunshine, 3 vids, 26Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 26Aug09
Date: Wednesday, 26 August 2009 6:31 PM

This morning the weather was too good for me to ignore. As forecast, the wind had faded to nothing after several days of strong norwesters. A quick recce of surf conditions down at Sunshine Beach confirmed the situation. Glum looking board riders stared wistfully out across a sea with just a tiny NE wave. Perfect for yakkers.

I shot an email out to Noosa yakkers at about 1015 telling them I was going and by 1115 I was sitting out on my mark, 1.5km out from Sunshine Beach with two rods deployed and on the hunt for a fresh snapper. The breeze out there initially was barely sufficient to put a ripple on the surface but gradually the sea breeze kicked in, just enough to power a drift over the reef.

At 1130 I had a hookup on the casting outfit. It lasted all of about ten seconds and the hook pulled free. This was sufficient for me to know that there were fish around and that they might bite. The drift was N-S, very slow -- so slow that I could maintain bottom proximity for several minutes with the 1/4 oz jig in the 30m of water without recasting. At 1215 I eventually boated my first fish, a maori cod of about 35cm (undersize -- released), so you can tell that things were slow. But conditions were magnificent and I had no pressing need to return to the beach.

One of the reasons I was keen to go today was to test a new helmet-based camera mount -- fabricated from a piece of slotted PVC pipe mounted with cable ties (what else?) on a cheap bicycle helmet I'd picked up while doing a litter clean up and hoarded away in my goodies box just in case a need for its services might arise. As things were really quiet I thought I'd go through the procedure of attaching the camera to the helmet and strapping the camera on my head, followed by turning the camera on (by feel) and starting to shoot video (also by feel -- because the camera's on top of my head). Anyway, in preparation for this first-time trial, I laid out a cast with the light casting outfit then went through the helmet camera set up drill, step by step, including turning on the video. This accomplished, more or less as I'd planned, I discovered that my inattention to the light casting outfit had caused it to become reefed. I swore a couple of times, camera running, and started to go through the un-reefing drill when there was a loud buzzing from the trailing outfit. My first thought was that this too was snagged but the line was being removed from the spool far quicker than the drift rate so this had to be a fish. So, one line snagged and the other with a fish on it and the helmet cam is running and needs commentary. What's the drill for this? Make it up as you go along!

A minute or so later, a nice snapper, just under 50cm, lay in the footwell. To make things even better, the snagged jig head unsnagged itself when I applied pressure sufficient to nearly snap the line. Bewdy!

The snapper comes to gaff... Pic courtesy of helmet cam

Helmet cam video of this capture:

Oh, and I marked the spot on the GPS where I'd been snagged and hooked the fish so I was a busy guy for a few minutes (snagged rod, hooked fish, camera running, commentary, mark the spot on GPS). Once I'd tidied up after this frenetic burst, I paddled back upwind of the newly-created mark and deployed weapons again, while watching the GPS count down the distance to the mark. Getting close to the mark I reached up and turned on the camera and then pressed the start button. Pow! Another strike, same place. This action was also captured on video but the snapper was marginally legal so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and released it.

Helmet cam video of second capture:

And then the whale turned up. I was drifting along peacefully when I started hearing whacking noises, such as are generated by a fast moving boat in a swell. There was a moving boat in the distance but I thought it unlikely that the noise could be emanating from it as it was planing peacefully and throwing up no spray. The noises continued and eventually I scanned the horizon and discovered, directly astern (the most difficult place to see from a kayak seat) a whale's tail protruding from the ocean's surface and whacking the surface from time to time, typical tail-slapping behaviour. Of course, I just had to get this on video, so tidied up my fishing gear, turned on the helmet cam and started paddling the several hundred metres toward the tail slapping only to have the whale grow tired of this play and decide to move on. Back to the fishing...

About now I snagged up the light casting outfit and in the process of trying to break it off, managed to break off both the jig head and the last 4cm of the rod tip. @#%^!. As this needed to be repaired before the fishing trip tomorrow I decided to pull the pin and head for the beach. Now it was time to use chest-cam, which you've met before. The swells were small and manageable with practice (and boy have I had some practice) and so I turned the camera on, started the commentary and ended up a very happy chappy right way up on the beach after riding a wave sideways when it ran me down after breaking behind me (the video will be up on youtube as soon as I get the time to edit it).

Leaning into the wave and riding it sideways -- pic courtesy of chest cam

Chest cam video of return to the beach:

My take home snapper
Yak and snapper on Sunshine Beach.

Life's tough

See some of you early tomorrow.

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

SR, snapper, vid 20Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 20aug09
Date: Thursday, 20 August 2009 4:22 PM

Having lain awake since 2am mulling over a multitude of ideas (I suppose everyone gets those night brain-racing episodes?), I wasn't particularly keen on climbing out of our warm bed at 0515 but then, it was for fishing, and I'd promised I'd be there... So up I was, checking the weather, just after 0500. DI Point's automatic weather station was showing a 10 knot southerly breeze at 0500 and further south the weather information being magically channelled into our kitchen gave even more encouragement. So the trip was on -- 0545 for a 0600 launch.. Destination -- somewhere out there.

For once I was the first to arrive at the carpark, at around 0535. There was enough light for me to quickly confirm a very kind surf zone, almost suitable, but not quite, for a dry launch in a baby bath. As I walked back from my beach vantage point both Jaro and Mark pulled in to the carpark. A few minutes later we were on the beach, our yaks ready to go. Our destination was now agreed, north Sunshine Reef.

0602hrs. I'm experimenting with a home-made camera holder and the above is the result. I climbed aboard, turned on the video and headed out. The small shore break was enough to spill a little water over the bow and into the footwell but that was the worst of it. The pic above is one of the early frames of the video.

0605hrs. Mark in his Scupper Pro, breathless at the grandeur of dawn in Laguna Bay, immediately after launch.

Guess who was already on the horizon. You're right -- Jaro -- off like a shot again. I'd earlier decided to troll via the SE corner of Jew Shoal and so set a course for one of my marks out there aware that Mark would be following me soon. Having reached the Jew Shoal mark I turned for the agreed location at Sunshine Reef and was shortly joined by Mark, who travelled out with me to where Jaro said he'd be. Sure enough, there he was, right on the bow as we tracked toward the RV, even though we couldn't see him until we were about 400m away. There were fish to be caught and the weather was perfect so we settled down to the task very quickly and before long were drifting as a trio with lines out and breath bated.

Mark was first on the board, but his fish was nothing to create excitement -- a giant toado (the place must be infested with them at the moment) attacked his Rapala trolled lure as he retrieved it to start drfit fishing. Then a triumphant yell from Jaro about 15 minutes into our drift caught our attention. Mark and I turned our gaze toward his yak and enviously eyed his bent rod -- clearly a reasonable fish. And so very shortly afterward Jaro boated a keeper snapper. It's always satisfying if one of the group scores a decent fish early on -- it's a solid indicator that the fish are on the bite. And so it proved, as a few minutes later my light casting outfit came up tight against a good fish hooked up at the maximum depth (around 30m) of water available nearby. I turned on the video cam during this fight and got some useful footage. Shortly a nice snapper was floating tiredly next to the yak. Mark was watching closely as I muffed the gaff shot a couple of times before pinning the fish and safely depositing it under my feet in the footwell.

0755hrs. My snapper hits the deck.

Mark was now on notice. He's a very experienced fisho but this was only his second kayak fishing trip, I understand. And very soon his trailing outfit went off and he boated his first snapper from his kayak. Congratulations, Mark, we're sure there'll be many more.

Then things went quiet. We'd drifted some 600m from our start point, in a near perfect drift when Jaro announced he was going back to try the drift again. Mark and I stayed on the drift for another 400m or so before Mark decided also to go back to the start. Shortly after this Jaro announced that he'd boated a second snapper. Then my lighter jighead got slammed in mid retrieve as I was bringing it back in to recast. I fought the fish for perhaps 30 seconds before it spat the hook out. It didn't seem like a big fish but it certainly had enough power to strip line off the reel against the drag -- possibly a snapper. Then I hooked a much smaller fish (again on the cast soft plastic) which put up a spirited fight. I decided to photograph this fish as an aid to future identification for those who are unfamiliar with it.

0857hrs. Yellowtail (aka yakka). A prized live bait. Note the mouth structure -- one of the keys to identification. Not closely related to yellowtail kingfish. Released.

This was the extent of the action for the day. Mark left around 10am while Jaro and I hung around a bit longer before opting to paddle to Jew Shoal to give that a try. It was dead also, so the impression we got was that all of the action was over by 0900. Jaro and I enjoyed a pleasant paddle back to the beach in ideal water conditions, arriving there around 1230, having paddled and drifted some 20km (as measured by my GPS). And we still felt pretty good and could still stand when we got there some 6.5 hrs after launch...

Fish kept by Jaro and me arrayed on the rear deck of my yak on the beach.

Video from today:

We didn't get to photograph and measure Mark's fish as he'd presumably left the beach long before we got back. Anything else to report, Mark?

Thanks for coming along, guys. That paddle out to Sunshine Reef seems easier and easier -- maybe we're getting fitter.

Doesn't look very good for an offshore trip for several days although Sunday afternoon might present an opportunity.

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

fairly quiet, SR, 15Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 15aug09
Date: Saturday, 15 August 2009 3:56 PM

Four of us opted to go today -- initially Jaro, madcow, Jim and I, with Jim being a late addition ("Can't bear the thought of you buggers bagging out again and me not having a piece of the action."). Jaro had called a 0545 arrival for a 0600 launch. I was out of bed in good time, sufficient for me to check the live weather stations at DI Point and Cape Moreton, but I didn't bother checking my email. Both of these weather stations were showing a slight increase in breeze over the last couple of hours and both had the latest breeze at slightly greater than 10 knots, from the south. As we proposed to drift the deep water at Sunshine Reef, this was not good news.

Nevertheless, I decided to join my companions at the MG carpark. I followed Jim and Jaro down Noosa Hill, swung into the carpark to find, in addition to Jaro and Jim, another Subaru (Forester) with a yak on top. This vehicle and yak turned out to belong to Mark Powell, colleague of Jaro and newest Noosa yakker. There was no sign of madcow, however, which was unusual (After getting home, much later, I checked my email to find an email from Brian sent at 1159pm saying he couldn't make it). Mark was busily assembling his gear, head torch assisted, for a first offshore trip with Noosa yakkers.

And so, before long we were away in easy conditions. Jaro first, then Jim, I and Mark.

0604hrs. The Laguna Bay vista immediately after launch. As Mark said "Wouldn't be dead for quids!" That dot on the horizon at right is Jim, already paddling for Sunshine Reef.

I, being in no particular hurry, waited for Mark to launch and then he and I paddled off after our companions, already only faintly seen from time to time to the north east.

0621hrs. Sunrise was scheduled for 0618, so it also was on time. Note the wind ruffle on the water, a little further from the sheltered shore than the previous pic.

The breeze was steady at around 10 knots from the south and I had some misgivings as to whether it would be feasible to drift fish Sunshine Reef. I elected to paddle out to Hells Gates, the last shelter from a southerly wind, reassess the situation once more, and then decide what to do. The journey took around 30 minutes and once there I could see that although things were a little sloppy, it was fishable so proceeded the next 2km or so out into the open ocean.

I was paddling straight toward one of the marks I'd created last Monday and came upon Jaro, set up and fishing some 600m short of the mark. When I mentioned that my mark was somewhat further out, Jaro opted to tag along with me and so we shortly arrived at my mark and soon afterward were joined by Mark. Jim by this time had arrived at his chosen mark, further south, and helpfully informed us that he was drifting north which meant that we would too.

Having deployed the same gear that was used so successfully last Monday, in exactly the same area, I expected (hoped?) that the action would start soon. Fishing for me started at around 0715 and by 0745 I hadn't had a touch. Then my trailing outfit rod took on a bend which was not normal but nothing to get excited about so I took up the pressure, half expecting a snag as there was no sign of a decent fish. However the line was retrieving OK and my hopes were briefly raised only to be dashed when the pressure on the line was found to be caused by a giant toado, the first I've caught on a soft plastic.

0746hrs. Giant Toado. Possibly worth a small fortune in Japan, but of no value in my yak, which it visited only briefly.

Now we enter a very quiet time during which 1) a whale surfaced and swam between Mark and me 2) Mark decided to head toward Jew Shoal as he was having difficulty getting his bait down near the bottom in the conditions 3) Jim decided that, as there was no action he'd head further inshore and try there and 4) Jaro and I eventually finished up fishing back at the extreme southern end of the drift line in generally improving conditions as the breeze slackened. Jaro had mentioned by radio that there was another yakker in his view, slightly further west. I guessed, on the basis that I'd noticed his battered Subaru in the MG carpark, that this was Ian Tagg, a local yakker famous for successfully fishing the local reefs at very unusual hours (like 0200). So Jaro and I paddled over to say hello and check on his success, if any. Yes, it was Ian alright, bobbing around in his yellow/red Swing, wearing his trademark large straw hat. Having left MG a full hour before we had, he'd caught a reasonable snapper early on, and had also lost a bigger probable snapper after a tough fight. Other than that things were very quiet for him. This made Jaro and me feel a little better -- it wasn't just us having a quiet time of it. We opted to drift fish a little more fairly close to Ian and at last, around 1030, Jaro yelled out his characteristic shout that signalled he was hooked up. Before long he'd boated a keeper snapper. But by this time we'd been fishing solidly for over three hours and I for one was starting to think about pulling the pin and heading for home, a 1-hour paddle away.

With no more action other than Jaro catching a small yellowtail (not to be confused with the yellowtail kingfish) we headed for home, leaving the reef around 1045. The trip back was easy and not unpleasant and a tiny surge made our beach landings easy.

1200hrs. Jaro's fish, displayed on the beach.

As usual, curious beachgoers asked heaps of questions.

Thanks for coming along guys. Let's go again soon (Thursday?)

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

snapper galore, 10Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing (snappering) today -- 10aug09
Date: Monday, 10 August 2009 5:41 PM

The day started early, really early. The plan was that we'd paddle to Sunshine Reef (northern end) from Middle Groyne because a) the fishing at Jew Shoal had been pretty slow lately and b) the swell was too big to launch safely from Sunshine Beach. So we were facing a 5.8km paddle just to get to the fishing grounds. But, the weather forecast was great so that plan was firmed up on Sunday evening, at which time Jaro, madcow and I declared our hands and elected to GO.

Above, the plan -- 5.8km from MG to A4 01.

Jaro had nominated a 0545 arrival for a 0600 launch. Bugger me, the sun doesn't rise till about 0625. Never mind, come first light this morning, there were three cars in the Middle Groyne carpark and each was carrying a kayak and a sleepy, grumpy, noosa yakker. It all went like a military operation. Hardly a word was spoken apart from perfunctory good mornings and before long the three yaks were on the beach and their owners were pondering the complexities of launching into the surf in the half light. Jaro, as usual was jumping with enthusiasm, even though he'd verbalised some reservations while standing peering into the gloom, watching the white water appear at the end of the channel. He was away first...

0558 hrs. Jaro enters the channel first. How's that for timing -- nominated launch time being 0600?

I launched directly after Jaro, aware that he would probably hold in the deep hole near the exit while awaiting a lull in the surges. Sure enough, very soon we were nose to tail, manoeuvering our tiny craft in the cramped space of the deeper channel between the rocks and the area of breaking water. A lull soon appeared so Jaro and I shot out of the exit without getting wet. Very nice on such a chilly morning! Madcow followed without needing even to wait near the exit. Phase 1 successfully executed.

Jaro was clearly pumped up because he was set up in a jiffy and next thing announced on the radio "See you out there" and paddled off toward the place on the horizon where the sun seemed likely to first appear. Brian (madcow) and I followed a few minutes later.

We were facing a 1 hour paddle, but the breeze was very light and the swell, though growing as we left the Bay, was no real burden. Just after passing the Boiling Pot I saw a chunky tuna (probably a longtail) clear the water directly in our path, then soon after, another. Brian and I were both trolling hard bodied lures and I half expected that we might get a strike from a tuna here but it seems they'd moved on before we got to their hunting area.

Passing Hells Gates we were tossed about like corks in the reflected waves and the steep swells caused by the shallows thereabouts but were soon through and heading into the open ocean. Or rather, I was. Jaro had headed south after rounding Hells Gates and Brian had opted to go with him, while I, having preset my GPS last night with a known mark, was heading SE. Before long Jaro, by radio, asked me where I was headed. I told him, and he and Brian decided to join me. So it happened that we arrived at my mark together, with my companions gradually closing with me from my right. Once at the mark, both Brian and Jaro saved it as a waypoint on their GPS and fishing commenced. I noted that the depth was around 30m, but we were prepared for this greater than usual fishing depth and very soon our various rigs were deployed and we commenced a drift, not sure where we'd go as the current varies here and the wind was very light. I put out my trailing outfit first then rigged up my casting outfit with a 1/4oz jighead instead of my customary Jew Shoal 1/8 oz head, in recognition of the greater depth. Brian was very close to me at this time and he had a great view and heard the sound effects of my trailing outfit bent over and line pouring from the spool. My first thought was that I'd possibly been snagged but one glance at the rod was sufficient for me to know that there was a substantial fish on the other end of the line. A short, dogged fight ensued which ended with the first fish of the day popping up next to the yak...

0736hrs. A beautiful Sunshine Reef snapper. Very welcome, after two trips in a row without bringing a fish home.

Shortly afterward Jaro announced that he was hooked up and he also boated a snapper (pic later, on the beach). Then our paths diverged a little as individual preferences took hold. For me the action was pretty consistent. Some pics:

0901hrs. My snapper #2. This time on my light casting outfit.

0908hrs. Snapper #3 -- 69cm of fighting snapper taken on the trailing rig

0919hrs. Jaro with his second or third snapper. Madcow behind, and Coolum headland in the distance behind him.

For the record. This is the rig I used on the trailing outfit. Note the snapper teeth marks on the jighead. The soft plastic is a Snap-back, a particularly resilient type of SP. In fact, after taking three fish today, this Snap-back was returned to the packet unblemished to be used again next time. The jig head is one I made myself more than 30 years ago, for the purpose of high speed trolling for pelagics.

1020hrs. My snapper #4.

1135hrs. My snapper #5. This stopped me fishing because I'd reached my bag limit.

During all of the above I'd hooked at least three other snapper, all on the light casting outfit. In one case the fish self-released at depth (hook became free) and in another the line broke at the knot where it was tied to the jighead, and probably abraided by teeth.

Having reached my bag limit I stopped fishing, tidied up and turned for home (Middle Groyne) which I discovered by GPS was some 5.4km distant (I will verify this later as I have the reef marked on my GPS). Jaro and Brian opted to hang about for a while longer and I informed them that I'd hang around on the beach for them in order to take photos and watch them come back through the surf zone.

My trip back was uneventful, but about 1.5km into my journey Jaro told me by radio that a pod of whales had appeared between him and me. I understand that Brian may have taken a few pics.

I arrived off the beach at Middle Groyne around 1300 after a non-stop 1 hour paddle which I found very invigorating, especially as I had a following swell and light breeze. I tidied up and prepared for the surf zone transit, picked a slot and went for it only to find a larger wave than I'd expected breaking behind me. I could see it coming out of the corner of my eye and reckoned that it was too big to surf in nose first so opted to partly broach the yak just before the wave hit me. This had the desired effect and I had the great pleasure of riding the wave in at about 45° yaw until the wave lost strength and I straightened the yak up and hit the beach at right angles and nose first. Wow! I was very pleased that this worked so well as I could see several beachgoers watching me closely, no doubt hoping that I'd go arse-up.

1311hrs. On the beach. My catch arrayed on the back deck of my yak.

My largest snapper, 69cm.

My bag limit catch.

As usual, heaps of questions emanated from beachgoers. This father and son pair would really benefit from owning and using a kayak. They couldn't believe that such fish could be taken from such a tiny boat.

And then Jaro and Brian came in, both very professionally picking a clean gap in the swells.

Above: Jaro's best fish (of four caught) -- 59cm.

Jaro's take home catch after giving a fish to Brian.

In the carpark, just as I was leaving, Mark Powell, the newest Noosa Yakker, introduced himself and I showed him the fish. Nice to meet you Mark. See you on the water soon.

This was one of the best yak fishing trips ever. I think we've now found a viable alternative to Jew Shoal, even if the paddle distance is greater. I note that we could sometimes easily try JS first, then adjourn to this particular part of Sunshine Reef should JS be unproductive.

Thanks for organising, Jaro and thanks to you and Brian for coming along. When are we going again?

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

gannet, surf video, 07Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing yesterday -- 07Aug09
Date: Saturday, 8 August 2009 12:51 PM

G'day guys

We took a punt on the weather yesterday afternoon. The forecast was spot on, as it turned out and we got a great afternoon if you discount the fish aspect as they didn't show up, apart from the juveniles always out at the shoal.

Anyway, I got there first around 1115-30, found a carpark and launched without knowing whether anyone else was coming, although I was pretty sure that Jaro would show later. I was just about to set off after setting up when I heard a shout, turned and saw madcow paddling toward me. We paddled out together in perfect conditions, very light NE breeze, small swell, clear sky. Then the radio started to blare and soon I was aware that Jaro and turtleboy were on their way, and then, quite a bit later, jimbo.

The drift was perfect and I would have put money on getting a snapper but the place was shut down. Never mind, it was invigorating to be out there and enjoying the company of fellow yakkers and other wild creatures. My one bit of excitement came around 1400, after I'd been fishing without success for at least 1.5 hrs. I cast my jighead and SP bait downwind about 20m in my normal style and turned away to attend to something or other. A few seconds later I looked up to see a gannet flapping on the surface close to where my jig had commenced its watery descent. "That's odd!" I thought, and then the squawking gannet decided to take off straight across my bow. A couple of seconds later my line came up tight, the drag screamed and the gannet stalled, flopping into the water. I realised then that the bird had chosen to attack my SP and jighead and was likely hooked. I've mentioned this before, but the best way to unhook a gannet is to grab it by the neck just below the head, holding its head (with attached very strong and menacing beak) away from your face while removing the hook. The other trick is to leave your dominant hand free to wield the pliers, camera, radio, etc. For me this means bringing the gannet to the left side of the yak, which I managed to do after a fairly lengthy process of gentle subduing. Of course, as soon as the bugger gets next to you it starts pecking away at anything that seems capable of being damaged. The next thing you have to do is to distract it, or better, temporarily "blind" it. I was unwilling to apply a blind using my $25 Columbia hat as it was tethered to my PFD and so not conveniently located (I could also imagine the gannet flying away wearing my hat), so I turned to distraction. I offered up my dive-bootee clad left foot which the bird seized in its bill with characteristic viciousness and held on to with tenacity perhaps believing that it was doing its attacker serious damage. This achieved, it was my turn to seize and the next instant I had the bird in the required grip and more-or-less under control, dragging it into the yak and onto my lap.

The hook was just slightly impaled in the port wing and a minute or so with the pliers was all it took to free the jig hook, put on a dab of antiseptic, make sure the now cut line was not entangled, and set the bird free. As it flew off I noticed that a small memento had been left with me, but I managed to wash most of this off later.

(Above) The grip.

If possible, offer a distraction while working to extract the hook... Don't worry, my Columbia hat is tethered to my PFD.

This is the pointy end which you must keep away from your face, in particular. Oh, and keep your sunnies on, just in case.

And so that's the report guys. No fish. Back at the beach Dan (spooled1 in AKFF) from Byron Bay was waiting to have a chat and I then took the opportunity to video my four colleagues who were following me as they arrived at the beach. To my disappointment, no one got smashed or rolled but the video demonstrates the professionalism and care with which these guys approach and execute a surf zone transit, even though it's only a small surf, as in this case. "Always assume that you're going to be rolled and rig accordingly" is their maxim.  Here's the video:

Thanks for coming, yakkers

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

quiet, JS, 05Aug09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 05aug09
Date: Wednesday, 5 August 2009 3:43 PM

Jaro, Brian and me. Very brief report today -- virtually no action. Things weren't helped by the stiff SE breeze which we encountered at JS which caused our drift to be a bit fast. We all caught something but pulled the pin after three hours fishing in sloppy conditions and headed for home without a keeper between us :-(.

0626, Brian leads the way, with Jaro and me not far behind. Lovely morning at MG...

Friday may be looking good... then Monday

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

madcowes at JS, 04Aug09

From: "madcowes"
Subject: fishing today 4 aug
Date: Tuesday, 4 August 2009 1:54 PM

Harry, jim and I launched from MG around 6:30 am.

Good conditions but slightly more swell than expected.

On his way to freedom after inhaling half pilchard fished on the bottom.

another few more of these and I'll be having a fish finger for dinner!

Small tailor taken on a trailing bait while moving spots.

All in all a pretty quiet day on the fish front with the only fish being brought home a 30cm sweetlip by harry.

Conditions were absolutely perfect & everyone surfed in safe and sound.

Cheers brian.
(probably will front up again tomorrow)