WB, TB, Jaro, SR, surf vid, 24Oct09

From: "madcowes"
Subject: Fishing Today 24Oct09
Date: Saturday, 24 October 2009 3:42 PM

After harassing Jaro via email last night to join me for a trip to sunshine reef first thing in the morning he agreed, and met me shortly after 4:30 am at MG.

Our first challenge was to avoid the nasty little sets coming in and the lines from the guys fishing off the groyne.

Jaro times it beautifully

This done, off we headed to our usual haunts at sunshine reef.

An hour's uneventful paddling saw us at our chosen marks and harassing the fish.

Steve (turtleboy) soon joined after having a nice sleep in.

The drift was quite fast and nothing much was happening so I decided to put a dry t-shirt on which involved...
>>Removing hat
>>Removing PFD
>>Getting tshirt 1/2 way over my head

Of course my trailing Soft plastic which had been totally ignored for the last hour went screaming off to the depths of sunshine reef.

Somehow I managed to get my head thru the tshirt & set the hook simultaneously!

It felt like a reasonably good fish and I still had my PFD on my lap and #$@# everywhere.

I eventually brought a nice snapper of 53cm to the side of the yak & unceremoniously dumped him on top of my PFD.

I was surprised that the fish wasn't much bigger, as it fought way above its weight class and actually bent the hook on my jig head.

Shortly after that Steve came over and I gave him a heavier jig head and a nice new snapback plastic to try, as he suspected he wasn't getting near the bottom. Back to the start of the drift we went.

After Steve's first cast with the new jighead & plastic, I hear... "I'm on" and in no time at all he boated a lovely 53cm snapper and then vowed to go straight the to the tackleshop and buy some new SPs.

Jaro, who wasn't having any luck yet came over and we all went back to the start of THE drift and sure enough right on top of the mark his trailing rod with a pilchard bent over, followed by shouts of "it's a biggie" "it's a reeaal biggie" in typical Jaro fashion.

Jaro hooked up

Jaro proudly showing off my snapper - whoops I mean his snapper.

The rest of the morning:
>>I boated a nice sweetlip around 38cm
>>Jaro boated another snapper this time smaller at 40cm, then a tailor

Headed in about 9:30 am - just as well by the time we rounded Hells Gates the conditions were somewhat atrocious and to make matters worse I had just snapped my rudder cable, which on my yak, as it has a very flat bottom is an absolute nightmare.

I think I had to virtually do twice as many strokes on the right than the left just to keep heading towards MG as the wind was pushing me towards DI point.

Just past Granite Bay I hooked a 40cm tailor on a trolled pilchard rig, then another one which threw the hooks.

Then a small mackerel around 45cm just past the shark nets making for a rather interrupted trip back in.

Back at MG Jaro timed his run beautifully, I went next & nearly made it until a wave picked me up & I was heading straight for a boogie boarder whom I collected, in the process rolling my yak, no damage done, except to my dignity.

Steve also managed a lovely ride in unscathed.

We had a bit of fun at Middle Groyne yesterday and today. Warning: Some embarassment involved.

Kev was waiting for us on the beach with morning tea, which goes down a treat after a long paddle. (Thanks Kev - I think we'll have to organize this on a roster basis from now on).


Sorry no bikini girls today - just the three stooges!

Jaros' catch


... And mine

Thanks for coming guys, one of those days of what it's all really about - good mates & good fish.

Cheers Brian

newbies to SR, 23Oct09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 23Oct09
Date: Friday, 23 October 2009 3:01 PM

A few newbies today. In addition to Jaro and me, we had Alex Terrill, a uni student from Brisbane who'd got in touch with me through AKFF, and Tewantin yakkers Roger Hunt and Brian Gram, recent additions to NY.

The meeting time was 0445. I was ten minutes early but was shocked to find that I was last there and that Alex had already snaffled my favourite parking spot. The Tewantin guys had a huge operation going with their two big yaks on Brian's car, and two yak trolleys (made from a total of three SupaCheap Auto red steel trolleys) which had somehow fitted into the car. I was ready to go in a few minutes and headed down to the beach to await the arrival of the others as I wanted to make sure that they had a good start by not getting clobbered on their launch.

As I didn't know how much launch experience there was among the three newbies I asked Jaro if he'd demonstrate the recommended launch path and procedures while I stood on the beach explaining Jaro's actions to the three "students". There was a small wave running but nothing dangerous but nevertheless I could feel a bit of tension building in the trio as they watched Jaro's demonstration of a perfect launch. Then off they went to do it themselves, one at a time, with me last.

0513hrs. Alex, by far the yougest of the group at 21 tender years, crashes out through the break.

I watched the last of the trio, Roger, safely cross the break then launched and got comprehensively wet, with the chest cam running and mouth closed...

Splat at dawn! Just as well the water's warm! (Still from video)

So there we were, all safely out the back. Before long we were all headed toward our intended destination, Sunshine Reef. Jaro had got away first, shepherding Brian and Roger, while Alex and I hung back a bit as we weren't quite ready. Quite soon Jaro came up on the radio announcing that his trolled lure had been taken by a small pelagic. He described it to me and I though it most likely to be a leaping bonito. Barely had I started trolling when my lure was grabbed too. I reeled in a small school (or doggie) mackerel and released it. Probably this was what Jaro had caught and probably there will be some bigger specimens around soon (legal length: 50cm, bag limit: 10).

A current running from west to east aided our transit to the reef with the result that we were in our fishing location before 0630. All of us had opted to drift across the reef fishing with baits or soft plastics. Pretty soon I discovered that we were moving pretty quickly in the current but a lack of wind made this OK except that the current was taking us south and thus further away from our launch point. In the next couple of hours, these were the highlights:

>>Alex was first on the board with a very fine sweetlip;
>>Brian capsized his yak in the joggly conditions, did a fine job of getting back in very quickly (helped by mental images of sharks cruising below) but lost one rod/reel combo which was not tethered and was lucky to retain a second which became hooked onto the yak
>>Jaro caught a very nice snapper
>>Alex scored another sweetlip, then a snapper
>>Roger started to become seasick (very joggly out there today)

0830 hrs. Roger cruises past, Sunshine Beach in the background.

We saw no whales during this time and, having decided that we'd leave for home around 0900, we started to paddle off just as Jaro caught (and released) a small shark. On the way back, just over the shallow banks north of Hells Gates I saw a cobia eat a small baitfish which was vainly trying to escape by leaping out of the water. And then, paddling along with Alex, he spotted something floating in the bay. I paddled over to take a look and discovered that it was a sea snake, apparently dead. A prod with the paddle soon brought it back to life and for a while it swam along just under my drifting yak.

0952hrs. Sea snake in Laguna Bay.

Just after this Jaro reported that he'd hooked another school mackerel, but released it as undersized and so we hove to off the beach to perform our pre-landing preparations.

1011hrs. Kneeling Alex takes care to stow his fishing gear inside his Kingfisher, just in case... Very wise

Jaro went first, no problem, then I, then Alex. Whalebait and turtleboy met us on the beach (but didn't bring morning tea!!) as Jaro and Alex pulled out their fish in preparation for measure mat photos.

Brian and Roger had been leisurely in their return from the reef. Now they arrived off the beach. Brian came in first and encountered a small wave right at the end of his run through the surf zone.

Brian about to take out the rock wall with his polyethylene boat. He staggered away with dignity mostly intact. (Still from video).

The fish on the measure mat...

Jaro's snapper, taken on pilchard. 64cm.

Alex's nice bag: 2x47cm grass sweetlip, 1x43cm snapper. His best ever yak catch.

Then Roger came in, doing a fine job in the tiny but potentially tricky shore break...

Roger hits the beach, very glad to be back at the end of an approximately 14km ocean paddle. (Still from video).

We had a bit of fun at Middle Groyne yesterday (23Oct) and today (24Oct). Short video has just been created and posted. Warning: Some embarassment involved. And yes, Tewantin twins, you're both in it

There followed much enjoyable discussion on the beach among the four veteran and three new members of Noosa Yakkers -- one of the great aspects of our pastime.

During the washup I couldn't help but take a photo of Brian's 4-wheeled yak trolley...

Resembles one of those medieval battering rams, doesn't it? Innovation has always been a strong point of kayak owners...

An enjoyable day for me, even though I caught nothing of significance (1xundersized maori cod, and 1 bite-off which cost me a jig head and SP). Hope to see you again soon, Roger, Brian, and Alex. Don't fret, it gradually gets easier on the body.

Good luck to those going tomorrow -- I think I need a break (but I may come down to the beach for your return, whalebait)

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

WB and Jimbo, SR, 22Oct09

From: "madcowes"
Subject: fishing today -- 22Oct09
Date: Thursday, 22 October 2009 4:49 PM


Having woken early today I checked seabreeze, forecast was good it's on!

I arrived down at MG full of enthusiasm and expectations for a productive trip.

Unloaded the yak all set ready to go, only one problem it was still bloody dark.

So I sat patiently until I could a least see the end of the breakwall, as my eyes adjusted to the half darkness I could see that although not big sets, the waves were very close together making a dry exit probably impossible.

So I stripped my tshirt off & stashed it so that I would have something dry for later & set off.

I managed to get most of the way out when a larger wave reared menacingly at me out of the darkness, here we go I thought, but my trusty yak which happens to be on the rather heavy side went straight through the breaking wave & out the other side (mental note close mouth next time).

After an uneventful trip to sunshine reef I started my first drift at about 5:30am and shortly after lost a good fish when the hooks pulled, woke me up at least.

Jimbo then called on the radio letting me know he was on his way out.

Shortly after that my SP was smashed under the yak resulting in a nice 52 cm snapper joining me.

In the space of a 1/2 hour period I proceeded to catch & release 4 small snapper 30 - 35cm all on SP's over the same drift.

Hoping for something more substantial I paddled back & continued the same drift, this time yielding a very feisty sweetlip once again on the cast SP.

Both jim & myself managed a couple of small mac tuna which both attacked our soft plastics while being retrieved.

Jim headed out a bit wider to one of his marks & boated a nice sweetlip.

Lots of yakkas/bait fish 2-3 meters under the yak and also on the surface, they didn't appear to be being harassed by anything predatory.

Things went pretty quiet by about 9:30 - I'd managed 1 more sweetlip and jim reported no further action.

So we had a few more casts and pulled in lines and left sunshine by about 10 & arrived back at MG approx 11:15 after being escorted by a few dolphins on the way back.

Back at MG Kev & Jaro were there to meet us & get a rundown on the days proceedings and provide some well earned morning tea, which I had jokingly suggested earlier would be nice after a long paddle back.
(compliments to Mary on the fruitcake).

A nice easy return to the beach - a change for me (if you look closely they have now erected a sign warning beachgoers of my erratic and somewhat haphazard landings)

My fish: Snapper 52cm, sweetlip 42cm & 39cm

Jim's sweetlip 47cm

* More sweetlip than usual.
* Great conditions.
* Only a couple of whales.
* All fish taken on SPs
* lots of bait fish around sunshine.
* launching in the dark is not fun.
* Keep your mouth closed when punching through waves.
* Morning tea upon return should be mandatory.

Cheers - Brian (aka whalebait)

Good luck for those venturing out tomorrow I can't make it but probably will fish on Saturday if anyone is interested.

whale scare, snapper, 21Oct09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 21Oct09 -- I'm still here, whew!
Date: Wednesday, 21 October 2009 3:03 PM

Bloody whale -- scared the crap out of me (details later).

Only Jaro and I had indicated we'd be going today. Last night, over a glass of red or two at the surf club, we agreed to meet at the doggie beach at 0445 this morning to check launch conditions. I was a bit early and was there at 0435, to make the hurried judgement in the half light that it was do-able, but there was no way one could avoid getting wet on the way out. Accordingly, aware that Jaro preferred to launch at Middle Groyne unless conditions were perfect at Doggie Beach, I left the carpark before 0445 intending to intercept Jaro on his way down there. This all happened and a few minutes later we were pulling in to Middle Groyne carpark where the sleeping occupants of the adjacent (illegally?) parked campervan probably got an unexpected wakeup call as we went about getting our gear ready.

0502hrs. Launch time -- for once I was ready before Jaro.

As you can see, perfect conditions. And they remained so all the way out to Sunshine Reef, at which Jaro and I arrived together. We'd both trolled baits/lures all the way without a touch, but it was noticeable that there are schools of baitfish in Laguna Bay -- just no big predators yet.

Starting around 0610hrs I deployed the usual rigs, and started my drift from the area I'd been frequenting in the last few trips. There were few fish on the sounder but that doesn't mean they aren't there, as I've discovered in this area before. As we had a SW breeze, we initially drifted toward the east, very slowly, probably because we had a small southerly current. It didn't take long to get some action. My cast jig head was seized near the bottom as I jigged it upward, probably an indication that fast movement of a lure probably makes it stand out from the background in 28m of water with early morning light levels. A smallish but keeper snapper was soon in the footwell.

0621hrs. Snapper #1 in the bag.

I don't know exactly when it was, but it was likely around 0630 when Jaro and I, drifting along peacefully about 70m apart, both heard a snort. A whale, which I spotted about 200m away, was heading toward Jaro, who couldn't see it because he had his back to it. I warned him and he decided (probably wisely, as it turned out) to immediately pull in his lines and drogue and pick up the paddle to turn the yak. He did this just in time to see a massive tail rise above the water as the whale slid steeply toward the bottom, still headed in his direction. Jaro needed no further urging -- he was off, heading into what was most likely to be safe water, behind me and well out of the whale's last known path. Jaro paddled past me and headed west, back toward where we'd started our drift. I fished on and after a couple of minutes hooked up on what was clearly not a big fish and which was soon revealed to be a maori cod about 35cm long (undersize). I was just pulling my camera out to get a pic of this fish while still hooked, in the water, when I heard a commotion behind me. I glanced around to be met with a vision one does not relish when sitting in a kayak, bum one inch above the ocean surface. Nightmare stuff! There, apparently suspended briefly against the sky was the entire body of the whale. I clearly remember seeing the tail out of the water, and everything else too. And this was about 50m away. For a moment I thought "What a fantastic sight" as the whale now hit the water sending a huge splash which seemed to block out 30% of my sky view. My fish was still in the water on one line, I had a trailing line out also, and my drogue was still deployed. The whale hit the water pointing directly toward me and then did it all again, even closer, perhaps 30m away. Holy shit, if it did it one more time it could drop on top of me! Driven by a huge surge of adrenalin, I immediately paddled frantically away at right angles to the path I'd mentally computed the whale might take. I wasn't going to bother about looking behind me, what was the point. I just went in a straight line. The hooked fish, still in the water, was being pulled along the surface by my frantic paddling, even though, as I soon discovered, the drogue was still out and reducing my paddle effectiveness by at least 50%. This last matter was very quickly corrected.

NOT my pic. This is what the whale was doing, except that in my two close experiences today, it was fully clear of the water and was rotating.

As far as I'm aware the whale didn't breach again (I wasn't looking) but as I paddled toward Jaro, who hadn't seen any of this, again because he'd been (wisely) paddling away, I gradually calmed down from an adrenalin high unmatched by my other recent experiences. It seemed to me that had the whale breached again it might have dropped right on top of me. It was at least 2-3m above the water and could have crashed down on top of me and my yak, probably ruining my day.

Once I'd calmed down I took the hook out of the mouth of the maori cod which had been waterskiing along beside the yak and he swam strongly away, a puzzled look on its face. Things were back to normal -- or normal as they are ever, in a fishing kayak, on the ocean. Now if I'd only had the presence of mind to take a pic... I might have posthumously won the AKFF monthly photo comp.

Back to the fishing... It took me a while to settle down and I started to feel slightly lethargic as the adrenalin wore off. The breeze gradually dropped and after a while I noticed that we were now heading much more southerly as the relative strength of the current became dominant. By around 0715 Jaro, still without any fish action, had decided to head out further to some marks he had out there, while I decided to continue fishing the shallower water (still 28m deep) closer inshore. There was very little action and few fish on the sonar so I decided to go further north, about 200m past my mark, in order to allow the drift to sweep me along through this area which had previously been productive for me. I reached the planned drift start point around 0755, deployed the drogue and my trailing outfit (1/2oz jighead with snapback SP on it) and cast out the light jighead (1/4oz with Squidgy SP). My attention was then seized by a remarkable (to me) piece of drifting biology, just under the yak. I grabbed the camera, pushed it under the water and took a quick pic...

No idea!! But it was close to the yak (Later: the string of objects is a colony of salps).

The sea was so calm that the lines I'd deployed were cutting straight tracks in the trichodesmium floating on the surface. Trichodesmium, an algae which occurs in all warm ocean waters, was known as "sea sawdust" by mariners in previous centuries, a pretty good analogy, really. Then all hell broke lose. First the trailing outfit went off, the loosely set drag howling as the rod tip was bent to below the surface. In retrospect, the drogue should not have been deployed (no breeze) for soon it somehow managed to entangle its holding cord in the line being pulled from the reel. Some swearing at this point... The sounder was displaying many fish within the last 5m of the seabed and I was keeping one eye on this, and marking the location on the GPS and simultaneously trying to entangle the drogue cord when, you guessed it, the casting rod, now cradled in my lap, went off with its rod tip also being bent steeply toward the seabed and line pouring off the spool against the drag. With my newly-found third hand I grabbed this rod and set the hook. I then decided the priority lay with this light outfit, already in my hand. I played out this fish (a snapper) and dropped it into the footwell on top of the drogue which had been earlier placed there in an attempt to minimise the tangled mess on the starboard side. My left foot was then placed on the fish to hold it down while I dealt with the trailing line/drogue cord combo which was still showing signs that a decent fish was attached, 30m down. After some juggling and some assistance from me the tangle resolved itself and I played out the hooked fish which soon joined its companion in the footwell on top of the drogue. Had the whale turned up in the middle of all this I hate to think how my sanity would have been affected.

There are two fish there, both still hooked up, one under my left foot. The black "Noosa" bag is the drogue.

It was near 0820 by the time all of this was tidied up and I was back to normal. By radio I reported my success to Jaro who revealed he was now anchored up and unwilling to return to where I'd found the fish. Although I fished on for a while longer, I decided soon to start the lengthy paddle back to Main Beach. Jaro having been informed of my intention, decide also to head back. I turned for home around 0850 and was back on the beach just before 10, with Jaro still about 20 minutes behind me as he started from much further out.

1005hrs. My fish, on the beach. Not big, but good enough.

Thanks for organising and keeping me company, Jaro. Hope you bag some next time. I'm probably going on Friday, not tomorrow, but will possibly be on the beach when jimbo and whalebait (and any others) come back in.

Now for a well-earned nap...

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

DB launch, big snap, video, 15Oct09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 15oct09
Date: Thursday, 15 October 2009 3:18 PM

The crack in the weather opened up beautifully. A fierce NW wind had caused us all to swelter yesterday but it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good -- it killed the SE swell and made Sunshine Beach viable for a launch. 0445 this morning saw me just arriving at the doggie beach car park and pulling up beside the yak-laden much flashier cars belonging to whalebait and jaro, who were down at the beach carrying out a launch recce. I joined them in the half light and could see that there was a small NE swell curving in to the beach, but nothing that we couldn't handle. It was GO!

All of 10 minutes later we were all on the beach with our yaks still on their trolleys. Jaro was adamant that the best launch spot was up in the far northern corner, so off we trundled the 400m along the beach which fortunately had been wetted in the last few hours and provided us with some firm sand.

Doggie Beach. Point A is where we emerged from the carpark path onto the beach. Point B, 400m from A, is where we trundled our yaks to and launched from.

This morning stroll was breathtaking to say the least, especially as we were pumped with adrenalin. Jaro was heard to say on arrival "I'm knackered already!" But he soon came to his senses as he was correct: it was a perfect launch spot at that stage of the tide and with a northerly swell. We eagerly did our pre-launch checks and stashed our trolleys at a nearby good hiding spot.

0506hrs. A hastily-patched together pic of our pre-sunrise launch. Note the lone surfer on the wave just to the right of whalebait.

During the launch none of us took on any water -- possibly a first for a Sunshine Beach launch. Within a couple of minutes I was watching my GPS tell me that it was a whole 1.3km (~15 minutes paddle) to my intended Sunshine Reef fishing spot! A bit of a change from the 5km or so from Middle Groyne.

As we set up our gear after launch the sun's brilliant red disc slowly peeped over the horizon, its rays unobstructed by cloud or haze. The sea shimmered, the air was warm, much warmer than on the land and we were all captivated by the silence and awesomeness of the setting. No wonder we keep coming back for more.

The fishing was dead slow, in stark comparison to recent trips in the same area in the last couple of weeks. I started out at my close-in mark. When nobody had reported any fish of any consequence in the first hour I decided to move out further to another mark. No fish there either. But we did receive a radio call from doctor dog, who had decided to join us but to launch from Middle Groyne. He was on his way.

Still none of us had reported anything by 7am, when I decided to head back to my original mark and work it for all I was worth. I espied whalebait, anchored up, very close to my track back to the old mark and so decided to close with him and compare notes. About 50m away from him I saw his his heavier outfit load up and he struck, obviously meeting with considerable resistance. Here was a possible opportunity for a bit of footage and some pics.

0710hrs. Whalebait hooked up, Mount Coolum in the distance, under the rod. (Still from video)

And a couple of minutes later he boated a lovely snapper (taken on whole pilchard).

0715hrs. Whalebait with a very nice Sunshine Reef snapper.

So, at least one of us was on the board! Jaro still reported not a single bite and I'd caught two or three of our smiling friends, the grinner (not a well-regarded member of the fish family). I paddled onward to my intended start point. Doctor Dog had by now joined us and was drift fishing nearby -- no fish yet!

The quietness resumed. It wasn't until 8am that at last I got on the board. I'd just finished paddling to restart my drift and had deployed my trailing rig armed with 1/2oz jig head and 4 inch snapback SP. Having placed that rod in the rod holder, I turned my attention to my main weapon, the casting outfit, cast it out and was waiting for it to quietly descend when I became aware of a buzzing noise. It seemed to take forever for the penny to drop, but it could only have been a second, as I turned round to see the trailing rod bent over and line pouring from the spool (very lightly set drag to ensure I don't get rolled over in a heavy strike). The fish was going well and I was surprised to feel after picking up the rod that it wasn't a very big fish at all. I was even more surprised when I got it to the surface to find that it was a sweetlip around 40cm long. This was a welcome catch as they are excellent eating but I think this fish punched well above its weight.

0804hrs. Beautifully marked and hard fighting grass sweetlip. Note the pink and white SP still in its mouth.

Around this time doctor dog informed us by radio that he'd caught and released a small unidentified pelagic. But otherwise there was nothing else happening. Several whales appeared nearby, presumably searching for whalebait, but, not finding him, moved on. About 0900, doctor dog announced that he was leaving for Middle Groyne and around 0915 I announced that I was going to mosey on slowly in to shore, looking for new reef areas as I went. I didn't find any and shortly arrived off our launch point and opted to pack up, especially as whalebait and jaro had both announced that they were also coming in. Just as I'd packed up, a pod of dolphins appeared nearby and I paddled over to get some video.

1001hrs. Dolphins off Sunshine Beach. (Still from video)

And so I turned to go back in through the surf zone, which it now being low tide, was somewhat cluttered with board riders intent on getting practice in the small swell. I turned on chest cam and went for it, at the same place as we launched five hours earlier.

Coming in on the end of a quite long surf zone. Probably the easiest return to Sunshine Beach I've ever had. (Still from video)

Whalebait and Jaro were now outside the surf zone waiting to do the same run so I got out with the camera.

1016hrs. Whalebait digs in the paddle to hold off a small wave. (Still from video)

1018hrs. Jaro powering along at the end of the surf transit. (Still from video)

So, all three of us were successfully on the beach where we could answer the questions of the beachgoers, clean the fish and take a break before hauling our yaks the 400+m back down the beach to the beach access path.

Whalebait's snapper on the measure mat. 68cm. His best Queensland snapper so far.

A French lady visitor (from Corsica) begged to have her photo taken with the fish and its captor. Another beachgoer admires my sweetlip, or my kayak more likely.

Jaro kindly retrieves the trolleys ready for the 400m trundle back down the beach. But the extra 200m from the water's edge, over the soft sand and up the path was a greater challenge, one to which we were equal, I might add.

VIDEO 2 mins -- highlights of 15Oct09 trip

So, new ground was broken today. In future the north corner should always be considered as a launch option, but always subject to recce before committing.

Thanks for coming guys and thanks for organizing, Jaro.

Late addition from doctor dog who travelled via MG:
Nothing to report fish wise on my return to MG via Jew shoal but there was plenty of marine life on show with a school of cobia gliding underneath my yak and a manta ray allowing me to get very close as well.

I towed my Rapala hard bodied minnow across the bay only to suffer the same fate as Whale bait --- hit and lost lure --- my 60 lb nylon trace was inadequate I should have listened to you and put some wire on.

Landing at MG was uneventful. No sign of Roger.

I will broadcast details of the Harry hut adventure later . I will be away out at Goondiwindi from Sunday for a week helping a mate with Wheat harvest.

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

SR, wind, surf, vid 12Oct09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 12oct09
Date: Monday, 12 October 2009 3:39 PM

Although there was a small window of decent weather forecast for Sunday, by very early Sunday morning that window had largely disappeared and so only Jaro and whalebait went. They caught a couple of fish (see Jaro's report), but were unable to make it to our prime fishing spot because of wind and the sea it generated. Today looked better, albeit with the near certain intelligence that a stiff northerly would kick in by mid morning.

And so six of us stepped up to the plate, two of whom had also done it the day before. Having duly arrived at MG just before 0500 I there encountered Jaro (yak unloaded and ready to roll down to the beach) and whalebait (already on the beach and about to launch). My quick recce of the beach conditions allowed me to greet whalebait just before he hit the water, which was looking OK, albeit requiring some care in timing the swells for a dry exit.

A few minutes later Jaro was launching and I had just arrived at the water's edge. Jaro played it really carefully, waiting a minute or two in the "ready to board" attitude before picking his wave set and going for it:

0511hrs. Jaro in the "ready to board" attitude.

Whalebait was starting his paddle toward Sunshine Reef, and Jaro had almost completed his setting up by the time I launched.

0515hrs. Paddling like hell to get through the slot before the next wave arrives. (still from chest cam video)

No worries. Sometimes I wonder why I keep dragging myself out of bed in the pre-dawn darkness to go kayak fishing. But whenever I'm immersed in the grandeur which is Laguna Bay at dawn, I remember. It's the exhilaration, stupid!

OK, now to set up my gear -- rods/reels/terminal tackle -- GPS -- sonar. This all takes a few minutes, especially tying monofilament knots in the low ambient light. Soon I'm ready and off toward Dolphin Point, my two companions now out of sight but paddling on a similar track to mine.

The time flies and soon I'm in the choppy water which is characteristic of the shallows near Hells Gates. Glancing down at the GPS from time to time I notice that my speed is greater than I'd expect. At one stage, 9kph registers for a few seconds and much of the time I'm travelling across the earth's surface at around 7kph. Could there be a current here or is it just that I'm a more efficient paddler than usual?

3.5 km into the trip and 1.5km to go to my mark and I've been travelling only ~30 minutes -- pretty quick. Jaro has radioed that it's lovely out there, no appreciable wind yet and small swell. I have to agree with him but, having reached my mark and stopped paddling, I'm amazed at the glide characteristics of my yak when I find I'm still doing 5kph after putting the paddle down. Drogue deployed, I cast out my soft plastic before setting up my trailing rod, keeping one eye on the GPS while doing so. Within a couple of minutes the info I'm collecting from my GPS tells me that there's a pretty fast drift to the south, but there's almost no breeze. Clearly there's a current; this observation is confirmed by the hang angle of my trailing outfit and the angle of the drogue. By radio I ask whalebait, nearby, for his judgement on the drift, without revealing my opinion. He quickly comes back with a judgement similar to mine. For ten minutes I get carried on the current then check the distance from my start point. Four hundred metres! It doesn't take Einstein to work out that I'm being carried along at 2.4kph toward the south. An additional factor: we're expecting a wind from the north! Armed with this info I put a radio call out to Noosa Yakkers giving them my findings. Hollywood, who has now joined us, agrees that the current is "pretty fast".

Meantime, by radio, we've been informed that jimbo and doctor dog have launched and are on the way. The latter had a bit of an adventure when, having discovered after launching that he'd left his pilchards (a smelly bait) in his car, he opted to return to the beach to get them rather than have them stink the car out during his planned several hour absence. Apparently he picked a few nasty waves and got very damp going in and then again on his second launch. Perhaps he'll tell us about it -- how about it doc?

So, back to Sunshine Reef. I'd opted to immediately turn and paddle NW the 400-500m back toward my mark rather than continue the drift. On the way back the strong current was confirmed -- I could barely muster 4kph over the ground, about 2/3 of my normal speed. No one had reported catching anything and the breeze was now starting to pick up from the WNW -- pretty much in accord with the forecast. Passing my mark I made the decision to leave the area and head for a fishing spot which might offer more benign conditions -- Jew Shoal, some 3.5km up wind and up current, but likely to give me a tail wind when I eventually turned for home. This decision having been taken (at around 0640), I relayed it to my fellow yakkers and got the whip out. Doctor Dog heard my call before he'd left the shelter of the headland and so turned north toward Jew Shoal immediately. As I travelled, one by one the remaining Noosa Yakkers at Sunshine Reef called in saying they too were heading for Jew Shoal. Except jimbo, who'd only just arrived and wanted to spend some time fishing before heading for shelter.

By my calculations I was facing a one hour paddle to cover the 3.5km to Jew Shoal. But the wind was still reasonably light and I was making progress pretty much as I'd calculated. GPS devices are wonderful for this reason alone. They can give you confidence that you can make the distance -- all you have to do is keep on plugging away. Which I did. Then jimbo came up on the radio -- "Into something pretty big here', then later "a shark", and later: "bit through the line". I'm still plugging away but about half way now.

Jew Shoal doesn't always have a current, but today it had, not as much as at Sunshine Reef, and more toward the east. But the breeze was lighter in here and conditions were pleasant when I eventually arrived at my chosen drift start point, on the western side of the shoal, at around 0745, about an hour after leaving Sunshine Reef. It's still 3.5km from our launch point here but we've become so used to paddling to Sunshine Reef, it seems like no distance at all. Starting near "Old Faithful", I quickly deployed the trailing outfit then fired off my SP. Watching the depth on the sonar quickly go from 20m to 15m I decided to pull in the trailing outfit (for fear of snagging) and fish only with the SP. There were plenty of bait shoals featuring on the sonar display so I knew I was in with a chance. Any snapper in feeding mode would likely be harassing these bait shoals -- or that's the way I rationalised it. I was in touch with doctor dog (but couldn't see him and he radioed that he'd hooked a bonito which had "self-released"), and I spotted Jaro and whalebait arriving at our old stamping ground.

Then hollywood showed up, heading directly toward me, about 400m into my west-east drift. He was about 30m away and had a great view when my cast SP was engulfed vigorously only about five seconds after it hit the water. The line tightened, the rod tip pointed toward the water and line screamed off the reel. Almost certainly a snapper, I thought. This fish was no slouch, going for several runs against the drag and lugging down deep for a while before eventually running out of puff and succumbing to the gentle pressure I was applying (no need to 'horse' in snapper -- they're generally clean fighters). Soon I could see it, all pink and white, shimmering 3-4m down. Once on the surface he splashed me a couple of times in a last ditch attempt to escape but the gaff did its job and he was headed for the yak footwell. While all this was going on, hollywood was acting as commentator, radioing to Noosa Yakkers and deliberately putting out false information that I'd hooked the fish on a pilchard.

0813hrs. I'm happy to share the footwell with a fresh Jew Shoal snapper on a sunny day.

Same fish. Note the depth (metres). The fish was taken nearby in around 15 metres.

Once I'd tidied up and stowed the fish, I turned and paddled back to my start point to do the drift again. The winds were light when I'd hooked the fish but in the short intervening time I'd been dealing with the snapper, the wind strength had increased, but still from the NW. Whitecaps were starting to appear on the crests of the swells. This was the forecast wind and it picked up strength quite quickly. I figured that I'd only get one more drift in before it would become intolerable but at least it would be a tail wind (or not a head wind anyway) for our trip back to Main Beach.

On this drift I came across a big shoal of baitfish and while gently jigging the SP through their judged location, I got another snapper strike. This was a smaller fish than the previous but the fight lasted only 30 seconds or so before the hook and SP were returned to me, slightly more dishevelled than when I'd sent them out. Shortly after this I hooked an undersized (aren't they all?) maori cod (min legal: 45cm) which of course I returned to the water in lively condition. And shortly after this I resolved to pull the pin. Occasional waves were breaking nearby and slopping in to the yak so I reckoned time was up. Hollywood beat me to the punch, announcing to all that he was about to head in.

I was 3.5km from the launch point, had a nice snapper in the fish box and the wind from the right stern quarter. I made good time, but not as good as hollywood who eased past me about half way in (as he normally does), and Jaro who left later and from further out and arrived at the shark nets at the same time as I did. That yak and paddle combo are starting to look formidable in the speed stakes, Jaro. Whalebait was very close behind, as was doctor dog, while Jim, who'd arrived later at JS than the rest of us, was just leaving the shoal. Whalebait was bemoaning the loss of a probable mackerel on his way back in -- he'd got a hard strike but was not protected by wire and so had his monofilament bitten through. Soon, whalebait, you'll get your mackerel -- just use wire, mate.

At the beach there was a fair chop on top of a small swell and the tide was low, just coming in, so some surf action was promised. Accordingly I did all I could to get in before everyone else to take their pics as they went arse-up in the surf but hollywood and Jaro beat me in (and got in right way up anyway). But that still left whalebait, doctor dog and jimbo, so I was in with a chance. My own re-entry went OK, but while deliberately broaching, I turned hard to port on a small wave, and finding myself pointing out to sea, decided to try paddling in backwards, as I'd heard that some successfully use this technique in bigger seas than we had today. This experiment went OK for a few seconds but eventually I tired of it and swung in on the back of two small broken waves and hit the beach nose first (kayak nose that is), right way up. 3 out of 3.

Doctor dog was not far behind me so the first priority was to get back into the surf on foot with the camera.

0954hrs. Doctor dog digs the nose of his Scupper Pro in, during a wholly controlled and well timed landing. (Still from video)

Then whalebait...

0955hrs. Oh dear! (Still from video). Yes, that's the underside of the yak you can see.

Incredibly, whalebait recovered from that unusual angle to arrive at the beach right way up.

And so, with five of us on the beach and jimbo still some distance out, it was time to pull out the only fish and compare hard-luck stories.

If you're only coming home with one fish, this is not a bad choice. 64cm snapper, fresh from Jew Shoal.

An old acquaintance (Jenny -- not forgot) sauntered over and agreed to pose with me and my fish.

Pic by Harry. He took two pics, but I can't use the other -- he'd been fiddling with the zoom.

Then jimbo arrived off the beach. Back into the surf with the camera...

1019hrs. Jim buries the nose of the Espri. (Still from video).

And then...

...sticks one leg out to maintain balance (Still from video).

Yes, he got to the beach right way up. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you arrive the right side up.

Short video of the return to the beach yesterday by doctor dog, whalebait and jimbo. There was a tiny swell but a steep chop caused by the strong northerly made it a bit tricky...

An interesting day today. We all paddled between 12 and 18km and those over 60 deserve a nice nap, especially after dragging ourselves out of bed before 5am.

Thanks for organising Jaro, and thanks for coming, fellow paddlers. Thursday a possibility? I'm ready.

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

jaro & madcow, JS 11Oct09

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing... 11/10/09
Date: Sunday, 11 October 2009 12:50 PM

Hi Yakkers,

I woke up this morning at 3.45am and went outside... good... no wind. Had a look at seabreeze... no change from last night but DI Point blowing 15-20knots. Still seabreeze said the wind would abate so what the heck I was now wide awake and unlikely to be able to get back to sleep and I didn't want to let the others down. So I had a hearty breakfast with strong coffee then had another look outside the wind was now there... not a good sign. Worse was to follow... decided to check the emails and sure enough Kevin had decided to go back to bed after checking the wind outside his house. Anyway I decided to press on and drove to MG to find Brian (whalebait) there also dubious about going. We looked at the sea and it was lumpy with a strongish breeze. We had noted that Ian Tagg had already ventured out so we decided to have a go. We could always turn back.

Getting out was very easy and soon we were heading for SR (5.30am) against the wind and a lumpy sea. Progress was slow and as we passed Granite Bay (edit: possibly Tea Tree Bay?) a whale meandered 50 metres in front of us on its way south. As we started to pass Dolphin Point it became noticeably rougher due to the current, backwash, wind and swell, whereupon we decided discretion was the better part of valour and aborted going to NSR but having got this far we decided to to turn and head for JS.

I went toward my new found mark while Brian went to one of his marks. My anticipated drift path did not work out so I went direct to my mark and was encouraged by seeing many fish on my fishfinder. Sure enough I had a few bites and a good strike but it got off the hook after 5 seconds. Then I got a good strike and after a short tussle boated a 42 cm snapper. Brian joined me but after a number of drifts over my mark without success Brian decide to continue his drift. A little while later a rain squall hit us and shortly after I suggested we head for home. Brian at about this time had just boated a 40 cm sweet lip. With this we pulled up stakes and headed for shore at 9.05am. The trip back was fast and easy, and with both the wind and waves pushing us we arrived at MG in under 30 minutes. Our return was easy and we both had good surf rides in.

So all in all it was not the most enjoyable trip we have had but we did at least catch a decent meal each.

By the way, for those interested in how I assessed my new carbon fibre paddle, I found it performed beyond my expectations... it is unbelievably light and definitely made paddling far less tiring and is easier to use and handle. I am also certain it enabled me to paddle faster with the same effort.

Many thanks for coming Brian.

Re tomorrow, I will confirm later this afternoon.

Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro

schoolie, snapper, SR, 06Oct09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 06oct09 -- mackerel
Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2009 3:41 PM

'Twas a full moon, and a clear sky all night. Full moon the night before, but overcast. Do fish bite during the day on the full moon? This has been one of the ongoing debates among some of us. Yesterday, of course, is now recorded as one of Noosa Yakkers' best fishing days EVER. What about today?

0539hrs. Note the setting moon at the end of a ~12 hour crossing of the sky. A near-flat sea.

OK, I was a little late, but I'd warned Doug (more about Doug later) that I probably would be late as I was a little weary from my activities yesterday. Nevertheless, I was a little taken aback at 0515 to find I was the first at the MG carpark, not counting the enormous semi trailer which was there delivering sand slurry pipes. I'd expected that Mark (Doctor Dog) and Jimbo may be there but there was no sign of them on this -- another magnificent morning, much prettier than yesterday. The semi was just starting to reverse down the narrow access path to the top of the beach when I strolled up towing my trolley-borne kayak to use the same path. The driver, somewhat younger than I but no spring chicken, spotted me approaching and immediately halted his backward progress to kindly allow me and my yak to access the beach first. Such courtesies are common in Noosa on the beach at dawn but still appreciated. If you're the driver: Thanks mate.

Doug had emailed me last night and indicated he'd meet me at MG at 0500. We'd never met, but had exchanged a few introductory emails as he was keen to get out fishing in his Swing yak. Possibly he was out there somewhere but I could see no sign of a car which might have been used to deliver the yak, so possibly he wasn't. But I had noticed, when taking a quick glance at the sea on first arrival, a fishing kayak being paddled into Laguna Bay so perhaps this was Doug.

So I launched and had almost completed my setup "out the back" when the radio blared. Jimbo was telling me that he and Doctor Dog were about to launch. Good, so now there were at least three of us. Soon I was paddling toward the points, the rising sun just starting to make a strong impression as it peeped over the hills. Somewhere behind me my two companions were about to follow.

Crossing Granite Bay I spotted a lone kayaker and could just discern in the growing light a fishing rod -- probably this was Doug, especially as he was trolling near Fairy Pools. So it proved to be. The kayaker was paddling a grey coloured Swing, so it had to be Doug. Sure enough, a minute or so later we met and introduced ourselves. I quickly explained the situation to him (heading for Sunshine Reef, distances, etc) and he agreed to go along, if only for the ride. This short delay was sufficient to allow the other two to catch up and so the four of us left the shelter of the Noosa Headland together, line abreast, emerging into a near windless ocean.

I headed for my latest favourite mark, noting the presence of a slight SE breeze which might propel us toward the north as we drifted. My first cast of the SP was at around 0655hrs. The yak gradually drfited toward the north, as expected, and just as the jig was directly below me, about 25m down probably, I lifted the rod tip a couple of times to impart some "life" into my offering. Pow! I was on! First cast! Both Doug and Doctor Dog (DD) were nearby and I let them know of the hookup in the traditional manner. The fish fought hard but it took only a couple of minutes of steady pressure before it was beaten and lifted into the yak. I was very pleased that Doug was nearby, as at least he could see, on his first brief foray with us, that it is possible to catch snapper from a kayak in deep open-ocean waters.

0659hrs. Fresh snapper from the deep. Note jighead and soft plastic (SP) in the corner of its jaw.

Then the whales turned up near us. It's remarkable that, even though Whalebait wasn't with us, the whales still came to check. A mother and calf gently passed about 150m away, heading NW, lifting their tales in apparent greeting as they disappeared.

Because I was now drifting into deeper water whose productivity was unknown to me, I decided to paddle back and do the drift again. In the middle of my preparations to go back I noticed that Doug had hooked a small fish. He showed his Queensland heritage (he's a Bundaberg lad) by immediately announcing by loud voice that he'd caught a grinner, a despised species not commonly caught in southern waters, from where many Noosa Yakkers have sought permanent refuge. Shortly after this, the breeze started to strengthen from the SE and our drift speeds started to increase. Jim announced the capture of a snapper, so he was on the board and then DD told us that he'd caught a grinner too. From my viewpoint, the fish were active as I'd had several tentative hits in which the fish mouthed the tail of the bait without hooking up. The proof of this situation lies in the bite marks on the SP, or the partial withdrawal of the SP from its position on the hook shank.

The breeze grew stronger, whitecaps starting to appear. In my judgement it was blowing a few knots greater than yesterday and the result was reflected in the drift. I placed my heaviest jighead (about 2 ounces) on my trailing outfit and even it was streaming along at about 45° or less from the horizontal. This jig was soon taken, however, by a small mac tuna which came unwillingly to the yak after a vigorous fight and was then quickly released. It would have been a great drift bait for a large mackerel but I wasn't equipped for such fishing.

We were now travelling way too fast for effective drift fishing of the reef bottom with the gear we had aboard and were discussing early departure options (Doug had left soon after his grinner encounter as he had an appointment ashore) when DD announced the capture of an undersized snapper. The fish released, he followed this up with a stated intention to fish on for only another five minutes in the hope of catching a larger specimen. Jim and I were in agreement. A couple of minutes later the radio blared with a garbled and hurried message from an unknown caller (suspected: DD) which included the words "hooked up". I glanced across at DD, about 200m away and saw that he was apparently quite busy, as he was holding one (bent) rod in one hand and seemingly winding another line in with the other. Kayak fishing demands the mastering of all sorts of simultaneous multi-tasking skills and DD was clearly getting some practice which will stand him in good stead in the coming few months when the pelagics turn up for their annual festival.

Jim was closer to DD than I and shortly relayed to me that DD had boated a mackerel of some sort, possibly a spotty. This was an occasion which cried out for Captain Camera so very shortly he was on his way, through the increasing slop, to DD's yak.

0852hrs. Mark (Doctor Dog) displays his mackerel (spotty or schoolie? -- see later).

So all three of us now had a keeper fish and, as the wind was showing no tendency to abate, we turned for home, after Mark and I jointly had safely stowed his mackerel inside the forward hatch of his yak. Incidentally, the mackerel took a trailed pilchard rigged on an "easy troller" which could not have been down very deep in the water column, given the relatively small size of the weighted head and the speed of the drift. Possibly Mark will give us a rundown on the rig at the upcoming social meeting.

Off Granite Bay, inbound, the radio blared again. Hollywood, formerly Dirty Harry, was out there and paddling toward us with a friend, a visitor from south of two borders. We three and they soon rendezvoused, off Tea Tree Bay, and Harry introduced us to Princess and she in turn was introduced to our fish, of which she asked strange questions such as "Is any preparation of the fish required before eating them?" Be that as it may, we spent a few pleasant minutes chatting in the sun, bobbing about in the sheltered bay, as you do when you're in a kayak.

0923hrs. Princess (in a kayak for the very first time) and Hollywood (he really does look like a Hollywood person, don't you think?) surrounded by a bloodthirsty Noosa Yakkers hunting party returning from a successful expedition.

And again...

And so to the beach... Easy landing, tiny swell, high tide. How long can this dream run of small swells continue?

My snapper, 53cm

Jim's snapper 45cm

Mark's mackerel (species discussed below). 85cm long, it weighed 4kg.

Is it a schoolie or a spotty?

Mark holds up its first dorsal fin.

Which of the following two more closely matches Mark's fish?

The above drawings are from the Qld DPI & fisheries website. Note the first dorsal fins and also the lateral lines' positions.

Discussion to continue Thursday evening. Perhaps you'd like to consult the following:



Important note: If you check the current size and bag limits you'll see that they differ for these two species, so it's important to be able to identify which is which, or just assume that they're all spotty macs (more stringent rules). Except that you need to make sure that you can also identify Spanish Mackerel, which have more stringent size and bag limits again.

Thanks for coming along, Jimbo and Doctor Dog. Another excellent day. See some of you Thursday night.

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