JS, big snapper, 27Nov09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: Fishing today -- 27Nov09 -- good snapper
Date: Friday, 27 November 2009 2:58 PM

. baitfish galore . big, big snapper . scott joins us . huge toado . impromptu dip .

The last time we could get offshore was a week ago and the results were then very ordinary (I wasn't able to go and no report was written, I believe). So several of us had been watching a window of opportunity which Seabreeze had provided for us today. It was identifiable several days ago as a 4-hour spell of light winds early on Friday, with strong northerlies forecast to return by noon. Jaro had to go to Melbourne for his son's wedding this morning so couldn't go today, and Hollywood is in the Cook Islands, paddling his heart out for Noosa. With Whalebait on school delivery and pickup duties every Friday, our usual crew was depleted.

Even so, by Thursday evening Jimbo, turtleboy and I had declared our intentions to get amongst them, especially as the time draws nigh when the pelagics hit the bay -- any day now it could be mayhem out there. Mainly because of the brief window of light winds and because the wind that was forecast for later was from the north, I opted to head for Jew Shoal, which, if the forecast held, would give me a tail wind the whole 3.7km back home. I set my launch time for 0430-ish while Jimbo and turtleboy opted to lie in for another 45mins or so.

So at 0400hrs, still in my pyjamas, I checked Seabreeze. Perfect. Brekky was over in a few minutes and I was dressed in my yakking best and out the door, arriving at the MG carpark at 0430. The waves breaking against the end of the groyne weren't especially worrying and after examining the wave patterns while completing my final preparations on the beach, I launched without pause, getting soaked by the steep shorebreak but easily avoiding the occasional large wave breaking at the end of the gutter we use as an exit to the ocean.

My set up time 'out the back' is not getting any shorter, what with a new, bulky camera to tote and take care of. Nevertheless, I was soon paddling north through a small swell and light offshore breeze toward Jew Shoal, now some 3.2km away on the horizon, according to my GPS.

It was about 1.5km out from my target when I first spotted them. Terns and shearwaters were wheeling and fluttering in a concentrated area right on my track. It takes me about 15 minutes to travel 1.5km and they were still active when I arrived. The reason for their excited behaviour was immediately obvious -- terrified balls of baitfish were being harried by predators and pushed up to the surface. Below the surface would be a dense pack of tiny fish, but above, the part that I could see, consisted of a 50cm width low "mound" as silvery as mercury and in constant churning movement as the baitfish on the ball's outside and top strived to get to the comparative safety of the inside and centre of the ball.

On retrieving my trolled hardbody lure I discovered which predators were likely most numerous. A tiny bonito about 20cm long had attacked the lure which was not much shorter than itself. It had been hooked for a while and was dead. Into the footwell it went for possible use as bait, later.

A few casts of a slug into the various melees surrounding me attracted nothing but some half-hearted bumps and so I became convinced that any large predators (eg spotted mackerel or longtail tuna) were not feeding on the surface, but could be down deep. I changed to a soft plastic, reasoning that snapper and sweetlip might be picking up the odd injured fish drifting toward the bottom. I also paddled upwind, watching the sounder as I went, intent on selecting a suitable drift on which to focus my attention. Plenty of opportunities were revealed by the sonar's digital display. Masses of baitfish were packed into clumps, filling most of the water column from 5m down to the bottom, between 10m and 17m depth. Occasionally the arch of a larger fish or two could be seen around the edge of the displayed masses.

By now, Jimbo had called me up by radio and, based on the info that I'd given him, had also opted to try Jew Shoal first. I'd started my drift and was about 100m or so into it, fishing with only one line, a cast SP outfit, when Jimbo called me again. I told him what I was doing and what I was seeing on the sonar, while occasionally, with my rod hand, imparting some movement into the jighead and soft plastic drifting about 10m down and slightly behind me. While I was speaking to Jimbo, the rod in my hand suddenly came to life and bent heavily toward the reef bottom and line started pouring off the spool against the drag. I hurriedly begged off more radio transmissions and devoted my whole attention to this strike.

A tuna, for sure, I thought, as the 6kg monofilament line continued to pour from the spool, the yak's bow was pulled round into the westerly breeze and towing commenced. The run continued, in a straight line but after a few minutes, it slowed and I felt a couple of headshakes more typical of a snapper than a tuna. "Can this be a big snapper?" I thought. After five minutes I was gradually gaining the upper hand and I decided that this was no tuna as there had been only one long strong run. I was also fishing with monofilament straight to the hook so the prospect of the fish's being a (very toothy) mackerel seemed unlikely. After around 8 minutes I first saw the fish, down several metres in the early morning light. Not a tuna or mackerel, possibly a snapper, possibly a sweetlip.

Very soon the question was answered for me, a very solid snapper lay, thoroughly beaten, next to the yak. The day before, partly as a result of Jaro's influence, but mainly because I needed a means of handling larger fish for photography purposes, I'd bought a lip gripper. This was now brought into action for the very first time as I didn't want to punch holes in this fish and ruin its photogenicity. The lower jaw held securely by the lip gripper, the snapper was dragged into the footwell where I let out a loud "Whoopee" and started to get the new camera out. This fish was clearly at least 70cm and was thoroughly deserving of the attention of my new Canon G11 (in waterproof case).

As it turned out, at 77cm and 5kg, my best snapper from the kayak.

I spent some time taking a lot of photos before securing and stowing the fish and returning to the fishing. Shortly afterward jimbo, fishing nearby on the same drift, reported a hookup. I paddled over to get a pic or two.

Jimbo's snapper. That's turtleboy over there to the right.

Turtleboy, who'd arrived about 30 minutes after jimbo, had picked up another yakker in the carpark and invited him to tag along with him. This, as it turned out, was Scott, from Brisbane, mounted in a red Prowler Elite. I spent a couple of minutes getting acquainted (we're a friendly lot, we noosa yakkers) and was pleased to hear he'd already caught a small keeper snapper.

Shortly after this, I had a most unusual hookup down deep. Clearly the fish had some weight and was able to swim faster than say red rock cod which would never qualify for the fish olympics. But it was no snapper nor sweetlip. Soon up popped a huge toado, the sparse remains of my soft plastic clamped between its fiercesome beak-like teeth.

Giant toado. One of these reportedly nearly killed James Cook when he tasted it in 1770. Very poisonous and also able to take your finger off with its dental equipment.

I'd decided that I'd be home early for a change, so soon after this headed for home, the just freshening northerly breeze giving me a couple of hundred metres free ride by the time I'd arrived off the launch point at around 0920. Timing the beach return through the waves was important to retaining dignity, especially, as I found out half way through, while surfing in on a nice little wave, because whalebait was frolicking in the waves thereabouts no doubt hoping to see something embarrassing.

I glided up to the beach, dignity intact, and whalebait splashed his way over to me. Holding up the tiny bonito, I allowed him to ask "Is that all?" before directing his attention to the fish box in the tank well of my Espri.

Here it is. 77cm on the measure mat. New record for Noosa Yakkers, I understand.

Pic by whalebait.

We weighed the fish and it went 5kg, on the dot. Then there was a fight among the ladies on the beach about who'd be photographed with the fish. Eventually I calmed them down and settled for this young matron who won me over by saying that her husband would have liked to be photographed with such a fish. I know, I'm an old softie, but at my age I can get away with it.

By the time all this had been sorted out, jimbo and turtleboy had arrived off the beach. I hung around just long enough to watch turtleboy perform a lazy aquabatic half-roll in the small shore break. Nice way to cool off on a hot day.

Thanks for going, jimbo, turtleboy and scott. Thanks for taking the pic, whalebait.

Tuesday and Wednesday are looking good for next week. Watch this space.

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

nothing much, SR, 19Nov09

From: "madcowes"
Subject: fishing today -- 19nov09 -- mackeral, cobia & snapper!
Date: Thursday, 19 November 2009 1:28 PM

... None of which we saw today !

Ideal launch conditions!

Jaro & I fronted up today in perfect conditions for a sunshine reef mission.

New moon, overcast conditions, light winds, low swell, how good could it be?

Arrived at our close in marks about 6am, full of anticipation (and other things).

Shortly thereafter we launched our first offerings of the day to the fishing gods. Some more orthodox than others, but with very little interest from below.

Long story short - many moves, easy drift, pleasant conditions - NO FISH.

Jaro 2 x grinners 1 x undersized mackerel, Whalebait 2 x grinners 1 x small shark. Very few fish sounded up.

First fishless trip for a very long time. (early august I think?)

Smile - my what a big nose you have!

After my previous efforts I'm now trying new landing techniques!

Good luck to those that venture out tomorrow.

Cheers - whalebait

Sunshine Reef again, 15Nov09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 15nov09
Date: Sunday, 15 November 2009 3:37 PM

. seven yakkers . sharks . Alex cleans up . a big flathead .

For the third day in four, Jaro and I fronted for the Sunshine Reef marine marathon. "Make hay while the sun shines" is an apt metaphor when it comes to kayak fishing. When the weather's just right you just have to go. The next opportunity may not be for a couple of weeks, or never if you're an old codger like some of us.

And so it happened that there was feverish activity at the MG carpark at first light (around 0430). Alex, a uni student from Brisbane and budding Noosa Yakker was there with his Kingfisher as well as Andy, whalebait, Jaro and I. Ian's car was parked in the same place as yesterday as he'd launched in darkness an hour or so earlier. Hollywood had indicated that he'd probably be a little late and intended to launch from Sunshine Beach.

0446hrs -- launch time. From left: Alex, Andy, Jaro, whalebait. The oldest was 44 years old when the yougest was born.

The sea was as flat as a nun's chest so we all launched without drama, and pretty soon we were paddling toward Sunshine Reef, saying good morning to our friendly local pod of dolphins on the way. It being Sunday, and very good boating weather, a stream of noisy powered fishing craft of great variety passed us as we silently and stealthily made our way along the coastline toward the open sea.

Despite the presence of many baitfish in the bay there were no signs of serious predators. One gets the feeling that the Bay is like a pressure cooker about to blow its top. Pretty soon some big pelagics should turn up to take advantage of the abundance of fresh food.

Andy, Alex and I opted to head for the close-in mark while Jaro and whalebait headed toward the outer marks, more to the north, the better to take advantage of the forecast northerly. When we three arrived at the mark there was Ian in usual pose: large straw hat and three rods deployed. Our questions revealed that he'd caught a pearlie just as the sun rose, but nothing else. Without further ado, we got down to business, I with a slightly different priority than the others: get perfect kayak fishing photos. Initially at least, the fishing was slow, with little showing on the sonar, a westerly breeze and a ~1kph southerly current which vectorised into a drift toward the SE.

Hollywood turned up, paddling from Sunshine Beach as planned, apparently an easy launch. We had no fish to tell him about when he arrived. As the northerly two had reported all quiet on that front, Hollywood opted to stay with us.

The slowness continued, although at some time before 0800 Alex boated a keeper sweetlip. Just after this Ian's Blade lure was nailed by something and I sidled over to him, ready with the big camera.

0814hrs. The sharks are back, but not as plentiful as last Thursday. This one was returned to the water.

And then the action started to pick up, at our spot anyway. Alex caught a nice keeper snapper, and again I was on hand to record the image. Now you possibly understand why I'm not catching many fish these last few days -- every time I wish to take a pic I have to pull in all lines and drogue, stow the rods and prepare my yak for an up-close encounter with the yak of the successful yakker.

0829hrs. Alex and snapper caught on SP.

While this had been going on Andy had been having an encounter of his own with a school of small mackerel tuna. He hooked one, possibly his first and, after he'd paddled over to me I agreed to take his pic "for his Mum".

0837hrs. Andy and his mac tuna, which gave him a a great fight, as they do, on light gear.

Shortly after this Jaro and whalebait announced that they were thinking of heading in at around 0900, as they'd had no action at all. I'd been keeping them up to date with events at my location and I had occasion to update that once more when Alex phoned me and asked about Venus Tusk Fish legal parameters. We had a brief discussion and I had a pretty clear idea that the minimum length was 30cm, maybe 35cm (30cm turned out to be correct). As his tuskfish exceeded 35cm, he bagged it. Passing this info on to Jaro and whalebait, I think, prompted their decision to join us and shortly they could be seen on the horizon, heading straight for our position. Then Ian yelled out that he was hooked up. Again I prepped the yak and paddled over.

0918hrs. Ian with nice fat keeper grass sweetlip, on SP.

By now Jaro and whalebait had joined us and were on our drift, which, as a result of the loss of the westerly breeze, was now toward the south and due solely to the current. In the transit to our position Jaro had been delayed somewhat as he explained over the radio, and in more detail after he'd joined us. He'd been paddling along when his sonar showed a couple of fish directly below. He stopped promptly and deployed his bait rig (pilchard) then cast out his soft plastic. The bait was almost immediately taken, by what turned out to be a pretty big shark which promptly swam around the yak entangling with the SP line hanging limply in its path. As will be readily understood by anyone who has been in this position, this is a situation of chaos. After a long pause in radio reports from Jaro he eventually announced that he had cleared up the mess and returned the shark to the water.

So now he was drifting with us. Andy had left for home, leaving six of us, all on this drift. Whalebait announced over the radio that he was at last on the board. He'd caught a large flathead (see pic later). Just before 0930 Jaro yelled, in characteristic fashion "Yeeesss!". I was nearby and turned to see his rod with a serious bend in it. I packed up and paddled over with the cameras... video first

0925hrs. Jaro fighting his second shark for the day, which is charging at the yak under pressure from Jaro. (Still from video)

... then quality still camera.

0928hrs. That's a neat head grip. I wonder if vets are taught how to handle sharks safely?

Having finished my photography duties with Jaro and his shark I opted to paddle back up-drift intending to fish the drift again. On the way back I encountered whalebait who invited me to take a look at his large flathead. So out came the camera again.

0939hrs. Brian's (aka whalebait) legal-sized flathead (which are slot limited 40cm-75cm) and a neat balancing act especially on a kayak, in the ocean, sporting a damaged left foot (see first pic).

We'd come to general agreement that we'd head back by 10am. Whalebait departed slightly earlier as he had a threatened stint in the doghouse if he tarried, and the rest of us started to pack up to leave just before 10am as the forecast northerly wind kicked in and started to quickly increase in speed. Hollywood, committed to a beach landing at nearby Sunshine Beach, opted to stay on the drift as it was heading in the right direction. The paddle home was normal, quite arduous but bearable, especially if fitness is welcomed as one of the fringe benefits of paddling such distances. Alex reported later that near Hells Gates he'd had an unstoppable strike on a lure he was trolling with the result that he had to bust off or accept a spooling [fishing a tad too light, I think Alex ;-)]

We were all on the beach before 11am so had made pretty good time, especially as we battled a head current in the initial 2km or so.

Ian, a pretty good paddler, had cleared the beach and stowed his fish by the time we last three (Jaro, Alex and I) beached our yaks so I have no pic of his take home catch (1xpearl perch + 1xsweetlip). But Alex delighted the beachgoers who huddled around us when he revealed his stowed fish.

Alex's take home catch. Two snapper, left, a Venus Tuskfish, and a grass sweetlip, lower right.

Some of the beachgoers who expressed interest in the fish and the yaks (and yakkers, of course).

I'm out of the play for several days as I have visitors arriving on Wednesday who need to be looked after. And we all wish Hollywood all the best for his outrigger canoe paddling competition to be held in the Cook Islands over the next couple of weeks. Are you allowed to fish as you paddle, Hollywood?

Over to you Jaro and thanks all for your company and cooperation and patience with the kayak fishing photos.

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

Cobia, SR, 14Nov09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 14nov09
Date: Saturday, 14 November 2009 4:06 PM

. dolphins . cobia . pearl perch . cobia again . new camera .

What a magnificent morning. Jaro and I agreed the afternoon before to meet at MG carpark at around 0430. When I arose at 0400 there wasn't the faintest zephyr and a quick check of Seabreeze confirmed that we'd cracked a great day. I swung the Sierra into the carpark at about 0425 and found I had the place all to myself except for a familiar early model Subaru station wagon -- Ian Tagg's. Ian had mentioned that he would probably be going this morning so I walked over to the car and placed my hand on the bonnet, which was still warm, but not very. Clearly Ian had launched in the dark at least an hour earlier. Within a couple of minutes Jaro's Subaru arrived so all was going to plan.

My main mission today was to take along a new very capable camera contained in a quite bulky waterproof case and to find out what problems were incurred in doing so. Of course, I also needed to practice taking great photos with it so I'd already briefed Jaro and Ian that they were likely to end up as subjects, hopefully accompanied by big fish. Little did I know that they were to take me a little too literally.

0440hrs. Launch time. First operational pic taken with new camera. If you examine the lower left part of the image you'll see Ian's trolley tyre tracks from his early morning launch. (Note that this and other images taken with the new camera have been reduced in size and quality for email purposes.)

Ian later told me that when he launched there was a couple engaged in making the beast with two backs nearby on the sand. His arrival didn't phase them, however -- I wonder if they even noticed.

Jaro and I launched simultaneously, there being no waves to force us to exit the channel in single file, well spaced as we usually need to. In view of my professed need to practice taking high quality kayak fishing photos Jaro kindly agreed to wait until I was set up so that we could travel together. Usually, these Profish days, Jaro is off like a startled gazelle, having minimal setup delays. Anyway, before long we were off, around 0500 I think, destination Sunshine Reef.

Pretty soon we were making good speed past Tea Tree and into Granite Bay. As has happened to me before here, a pod of dolphins made their presence obvious by leaping and cavorting a couple of hundred metres away to the NW. They appeared to be heading toward us, on an interception course, as they've done for me before, so I readied chest cam and kept paddling. Sure enough, pretty soon they were swimming along with us in the small seas as the sun rose. Jaro and I were travelling side-by-side a few metres apart and on several occasions a dolphin came up for a breath right between us, travelling along at our speed. The chest cam was running and I was fortunate enough to record one of these events, just forward of Jaro and me.

0527hrs. Dolphin companion, Granite Bay. (Still from chestcam video)

As Jaro said, one never tires of the antics of wild dolphins at close quarters. Shortly we were paddling past Hells Gates, where a trio of land based fishos watched us (enviously?) as we cruised past. Just at this point I spied a few terns fluttering and diving inside Alexandria Bay and I called out to Jaro and pointed to draw his attention to them. As he looked across he also could view peripherally his trolling rod which was mounted behind him, and this rod then took a strike which really got Jaro's attention. The encounter was finalised very quickly however as it became apparent that he'd been bitten off, despite using wire.

We now emerged to the open ocean and I switched my GPS to now direct us to my close-in mark, which we'd agreed we'd try first, hoping that the sharks which were present in large numbers on Thursday had gone. With 1.3km to go I spotted a dot on the horizon and speculated to Jaro that this might be Ian, whose large and highly visible straw hat is his trademark, so to speak.

And so it proved to be. As we got closer we could see that Ian was happily drifting along, located almost exactly on our intended mark. The first question we both asked on arrival was "Any sharks, mate?". To our relief Ian told us that he'd caught no sharks and not much else, although he did have a reasonable snapper, caught on a SP (I think?) just after the sun cleared the horizon. And so we settled down to fish. As earlier mentioned, my main mission on this trip was to familiarise myself with the complications of carrying and using, on a kayak in the open ocean, a quite bulky encased camera. As anyone who owns a yak will tell you, in a yak there isn't a lot of space in which to put stuff down, especially as the essentials such as fishing equipment in all its various forms takes priority. So for a while I shuffled the boxed Canon around trying to find the ideal location amongst my legs, depth sounder and other necessary but awkward obstructions. I was pleased that I could store the camera in my hatch, but I wasn't happy to leave it there while fishing as at any moment the need might arise to record that great image which will never be seen again. I settled for leaving it in the footwell, sloshing around in the water which accumulates there. I've already identified a better storage solution but its implementation will take a little time and effort, and as always on a working and evolving yak, some built on modifications.

Pretty soon, Ian hooked up. In anticipation of getting the shot of a lifetime, I retrieved my gear and paddled the short distance to his yak only to find that he'd hooked a stingray! on a soft plastic! at Sunshine Reef! He was understandably dubious about taking up my suggestion that he boat it and cradle it in his lap so that I could take a real, operational, yak fishing photo. Seeing that his enthusaism was lacking, I left him to the task of releasing it without getting barbed, unlike our recently departed mate, Steve.

0626hrs. Ian wonders what to do about the stingray.

Jaro, fishless at this stage, announced that he was heading out wide and as I'd earlier agreed that I'd follow him around, for my main aim today was photography, not fishing, I went along also. Ian opted to come along as well, especially as he could thereby copy our marks, which, incidentally, we don't mind in the least, Ian. Some 600m east we pulled up again. Jaro's chosen spot. I popped the drogue, got the camera ready and cast my SP downwind and down drift (breeze from NE, no apparent current). As the jighead swung to directly under the yak, 30 metres down, I hooked up. This fish turned out to be a maori cod, larger than the usual specimens out here, but still undersize at 43cm (legal size 45cm).

0708hrs. Maori cod. Legal size 45cm.

Back he went, except that his swim bladder was "blown" and he couldn't swim back to his home 30m below. Who best to consult in such circumstances? A veterinary surgeon, of course. I brought the cod back into my yak and paddled over to the nearest Vet, Jaro, who performed a cursory examination, pulled out his sharp tipped knife and punctured the air bladder in the stomach area. A little gentle massaging resulted in a much slimmer cod which then, on return to the water, succeeded in his quest for home. It's handy to have a Vet among Noosa Yakkers, and we have three of them!

Jaro (still fishless) moved again. I followed, camera at the ready. First cast at the new chosen spot I caught a small snapper, probably just legal size, and released it. "Come on Jaro, catch something", I called out. No response. After quite some time during which I caught a highly acrobatic grinner, we moved again. By now Ian had decided to stay in one of our spots but we could see him about 400m away, his hat prominent. I should mention at this juncture that Ian is not VHF equipped so we have no means of consulting him, nor he us, other than by phone and yelling. A pity, really, in view of the events of the next hour or so, which Jaro and I passed fishlessly.

It was almost 0900hrs. I glanced up from fiddling with my so-far underused expensive new camera to see Ian paddling up to us. He came within speaking distance of Jaro first and announced casually that he'd done alright "back there" and thought I might be interested in taking a pic of a reasonable cobia he'd just boated, explaining that he'd been trying unsuccessfully to attract our attention by waving his paddle. What a nice guy! He then pulled the wet towel off a very nice cobia.

0904hrs. Ian "Tiger" Tagg with his cobia caught on a prawn -- a prawn! But a big prawn, I hasten to add.

Now this was a fish worthy of the new camera. Ian generously gave of his time to allow me to practice my photography techniques and while I'm clicking away doing this he's telling me about the two nice pearl perch he'd also bagged (his first ever) plus a sweetlip. And he removed his beloved straw hat for the photos. Thanks mate.

Ian then opted to stay with us as he has no electronic fish finder (but clearly has a built-in fish attractor) and as Jaro was saying that there were fish hanging around on a particular part of the drift, as revealed by his fish finder. So we fished on without further action until around 0945 when Ian decided to head back in, possibly he couldn't fit any more fish in the yak anyway. His yak, now much lower in the water than when it came out here five hours earlier, gradually disappeared in the direction of Main Beach.

So it was 0945. I was without take-home fish and Jaro hadn't had a hookup at all, though he'd lost a few pilchard baits, likely nibbled away by pickers. Jaro announced that he was leaving at 10am. I agreed. At 0955 I started packing up and Jaro called for a last cast. He then decided to retrieve his pilchard bait rig... Pow!

I was in ready to shoot mode so hung about a few metres away while Jaro sequentially announced that the fish "has a fair bit of weight but isn't putting up much of a fight", then "it's putting up a bit of a fight (possibly a shark)", then, "Holy Shit it's really taking off" as line crackled from the spool of his reel and his rod tip pointed toward the ocean floor. A few runs like this with appropriate retrievals by Jaro brought the fish into view in the clear ocean water. "Cobia" I said. Jaro's never caught a cobia before so understandably the excitement was palpable.

Several gaff attempts were necessary as the fish, having been fought on pretty heavy line, was still not exhausted when Jaro was ready to gaff. Once the cobia was under control I moved in with the camera and started shooting again. As with Ian, I received great cooperation from Jaro as we experimented with different camera angles as the two yaks bobbed up and down and rocked crazily from side to side while all the time I'm trying to ensure that the shade is not compromising the picture, that the whole of the subject is in the frame, etc etc. Eventually after what seemed like half an hour of fiddling around but was in reality no more than a few minutes, I had the shots I wanted. Here's one of them, and they're nearly all pretty good, thanks to the incredible capabilities of the Canon Powershot G11.

1010hrs. Jaro with his first cobia. I was very pleased to be able to capture the moment. Another pic later...

And so we set off home, Jaro still pumped up over the capture, even as we hit the beach a just under a non-stop hour later, a little wind-assistance here.

Jaro's cobia -- 98cm, but probably 1 metre if straightened out.

At Main Beach.

Thanks for helping me out guys. I reckon I've now got a few pics to start my high quality collection.

Tomorrow, Jaro?

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

sharks and pearlie, SR, 12Nov09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 12nov09
Date: Thursday, 12 November 2009 4:06 PM

. Sharks, sharks, sharks . a nice feed for Jaro . our first legal sized pearl perch .

Depending on the early morning wind situation, five of us had indicated an interest in a yakking trip this morning: jaro, jimbo, whalebait, doctor dog and I. On checking seabreeze at 4am today I saw that the wind had dropped overnight and was likely to be OK so I was soon performing final preparations and into the yak-topped Sierra.

At 0435 I pulled into the carpark to find that Jaro and whalebait had already unloaded their yaks and were presumably on the beach. Sure enough, there they were, ready to launch. I waved, they acknowledged and a few minutes later I was also on the beach, recently deserted by my companions who were now 'out the back' rigging up.

0452hrs. Launch time for me -- the tracks of two other yaks and yakkers in the sand.

Presumably Jaro and whalebait had managed their launches without trauma but I followed my usual practice of watching the break for a couple of minutes before launching. Even after launch I decided to hold back in the waiting area near the end of the groyne, backpaddling and manoeuvering as a couple of larger, steeper waves flung themselves against the northern point of the wall.

0454hrs. Holding in the waiting area near the end of the wall while a couple of biggies go through (still from chestcam video).

Soon the way was clear and I powered through the exit with scarcely a drop of water entering the cockpit. Off on another Noosa yak-fishing adventure!

I trolled a small Rapala HB all of the way to Sunshine Reef without a touch and noticed that there were no terns out hunting. Jaro was a long way ahead, out of sight while whalebait was just visible about 400m away. After clearing Hells Gates the ocean weather situation was revealed to consist of a small easterly swell accompanied by a 5-10 knot easterly breeze. Whalebait and I chose the same destination (the usual close-in section of the reef) while Jaro seemed to have chosen a spot a little further north. Just as I was arriving at my mark at around 0605 I saw whalebait's rod load up on his first cast and watched him boat a small but keeper sweetlip which he immediately and magnanimously tossed back. First cast! Might be a good day!

Shortly after arrival the breeze abated slightly and swung to be more from the south, thus changing our drift from an E->W to a S->N. Whalebait radioed that he'd just lost a suspected cobia after a solid tussle -- the 15kg leader having been bitten through. Subsequent events caused whalebait to reconsider the cobia ID...

A yell from Jaro, who had now moved to be near whalebait and me, caught our attention. His very bent rod indicated a substantial hookup. Whalebait, closer to Jaro than I, was relaying by radio to me the progress of the fight. A shark -- to Jaro's disappointment. Then before he could deal with that hookup completely, his other rod went off. Jaro spent the next ten minutes or so tidying up after what turned out to be two encounters with sharks, one of which had taken his soft plastic.

Jimbo arrived, having launched later than we had, and shortly afterward I could see his rod loaded up. This was getting monotonous! Sure enough, it was another shark. Jimbo opted to keep this one (remember: bag limit 1, no larger than 1.5m). About now, near the end of a drift and still operating in a strike-free zone, I spotted a huge jellyfish suspended about 1m down, very close to the yak. I took a few pics, of which this is the best.

0711hrs. Note the cloud of fish hanging next to this amazing colony of the deep.

Now the last of our group, doctor dog, arrived, having called us on his way out. And just after he paddled past me I got my first strike -- on my cast soft plastic rig. This felt like a snapper but almost immediately I was bitten off. Possibly a shark? One jighead and soft plastic down -- bummer!

Having arrived at what I judged to be the end of my drift, I paddled back up the line of drifting yakkers, of whom jimbo was the last. As often happens to me, just as I was approaching jimbo his rod took a severe bend as he fought what he reckoned was another shark, again on a cast SP.

I got ready with the camera and hung around jimbo, hoping for some useful shots.

0727hrs. Jimbo deftly lifts the shark into the yak ... (still from video).

... before dehooking and releasing it.

I started a new drift, not far from where jimbo had hooked up. My trailing outfit was deployed down deep with one of my seriously old and heavy jigheads plus a snapback SP. And my casting outfit (1/2oz jighead with Squidgy SP) was drifting down toward the bottom. A tortured scream from the trailing outfit got my attention. Transferring the casting outfit from my right to my left hand, I reached back with my right hand, grasped the violently bucking rod and wrestled it from its holder. Just as I did this I felt the casting outfit come under heavy pressure, straight down, and line poured from the spool. Oh, shit, not another double hookup -- and this time on sharks, probably.

I opted to battle the shark on the casting outfit first. Having successfully fought it to a standstill, even though the line was intertwined with the line on the other outfit (also with a shark on), I managed to lose my second jighead and SP for the morning when the light line wore through due to abrasion on the shark's rough-skinned body. Some swearing here! I then picked up the trailing outfit and soon had that shark alongside also. I didn't want to keep either of these sharks so was trying to get them aboard the boat so that I could dehook them. This second one woudn't cooperate either...

0740hrs. The second shark, my jighead and SP clearly visible.

There was a wire trace on this jighead so I new I had a good chance of recovering my gear and letting the shark go with just a small wound in its jaw. Oops! I picked up the main line close to the wire. The shark then, with one powerful thrust of its sinuous body, busted me off. Down another jighead (one of my favourites, too) plus a snapback SP!

It was about now that I recalled that I really don't like fishing for sharks. I would never target them although I've sometimes hooked them while fishing for more desirable species, like Spanish mackerel, for instance. Meanwhile, all around, radio reports were coming in from yakkers that they were hooked up to more sharks. Later we worked out that we'd hooked about a dozen sharks, of which three were kept.

By 0800 I was ready for home but I didn't actually leave until about 0830, when I announced my intentions over the radio. Jaro responded that he was going to try to dodge the sharks by fishing further out in deeper water. Mentally, I wished him luck but I sincerely thought that the sharks would have the entire area covered.

15 minutes into my paddle back the radio blared. It's Jaro -- reckons he's caught a really nice snapper on an SP. The "well-dones" flow back to him. I keep paddling toward Main Beach, now 45 minutes away. a few minutes later it's Jaro again, asking me to help ID a fish which he thinks resembles a pearl perch, of which we've both caught several undersize specimens. He describes the big eyes and the mouth. Sounds like a pearl perch to me, I offer, and pass on the size limit (35cm). He verifies that it's about 40cm so stows it in the fish box. I keep paddling...

Another five minutes go by. "Wow", I've just caught a good sized sweetlip", Jaro announces. Some expletives at my location!! No point in turning back now, I'm almost back. This has happened before with Jaro and me, about a year ago.

Soon I'm hove to off Main Beach getting ready for what might be an interesting surf zone transit. But what's this? A jetskier is coming over to me, and the rider is wearing some sort of police uniform. The friendly cop chats about my trip today, I explain about the sharks at Sunshine Reef and that, as occasionally happens, I have no fish aboard. He commiserates with me and turns away toward the open sea and my yakking companions, just leaving Sunshine Reef. I know all the fish they have are legal but let them know by radio about the jetski patrol anyway.

My surf transit was uneventful although I noted that the waves were markedly more tricky than when I last went through, a few hours ago. Beanie was there on the beach to verify that my unspectacular landing was one out of the text book. Noting that my companions were around 30 minutes away I washed and racked my yak and returned to the groyne with my camera and measure mat just in time for their arrival.

Whalebait buries the nose, but keeps it straight. Uses leg on shallow section to interrupt excessive yaw. Stays dry.

Jimbo surfs twice. Keeps legs inside. Stays dry. (Video shows it all well)

Jaro, very fast and digging deep. Makes it look easy. Stays dry.

Doctor dog being run down by a wave. DD -- I'll show you the video -- private viewing preferred?

Fish on the measure mat:

Jaro pic #1.

Jaro pic #2. Sweetlip (top) and pearl perch (a legal specimen at last -- well done Jaro).

Jimbo's (top) and whalebait's

Thanks for organising, Jaro, and for coming along, yakkers. See some of you tonight -- I'll bring the camera so you can see the raw videos if you wish.

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

SR, snapper and surf, 03Nov09

From: "madcowes"
Subject: fishing today -- 03nov09
Date: Tuesday, 3 November 2009 5:03 PM

Well here we go again 5am launch conditions at MG.

I got up early but the fish didn't! Not a single touch by the time the rest of the group joined me - so much for an hour's head start.

The drift was very fast towards the SW with the current. Nothing of interest happened for what seemed like ages...

Until... Jim hooked up big time on his trailing pilchard rig and after a good tussle had a cobia right up to the side of the yak & lost it when the hook bent on the middle of a three ganged hook setup.
Quote from Harry "that's fishing for you". Probably not quite the words jimbo was thinking.

N.B. After becoming a cobia expert yesterday...
These fish are still pretty green when you get them to the yak the first time, so don't be too hasty to stick a gaff in them straight away, also be wary of a row of nasty thorn like spikes on the back near the head.

My small esky came into good use today as the drogue you use when don't have a drogue.

I'm actually going to pack a spare drogue in my hull now just in case one gets lost/forgotten.

Simon had boated a nice snapper, but the rest of us had very little action apart from a couple of small bite offs, probably mac tuna as I boated a small one a little later on. I was beginning to think that this
was going to be my first fishless trip for a while.

Doctor dog decided he'd had enough shortly after 9am & headed to JS and then home, a quick call around and the remaining yakkers decided we'd all pull the pin at 9:30.

BUT... then harry hooks up to a good snapper.

THEN... I caught what I initially thought was a sweetlip but later turned out to be a spangled emperor of just over 40cm.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the size limit on the spangled emperor is 45cm see below

THEN harry gets another snapper,
THEN jim got on board too,
AND I was just packing up and as usual my trailing rod with SP got snaffled by a nice snapper, as I just announced this fact to Harry, and told him that I was heading home.

HIS rod went off and he scored his third fish of the day!

We all decided enough was enough and started the slow trip home into the current & headwind, by the time I arrived at the shark nets I had paddled 22 kms and was completely knackered.

How to land at Middle Groyne

... And how not to

Simon, Hollywood, jimbo & whalebait - missing Dr Dog - who wasn't talking to us by this stage ;)

Harrys' PB yak snapper 63cm, 50cm & 45cm.

Simon's 48cm & Jim's 43cm snapper.

And finally my 50cm snapper & (mistakenly undersize) 41cm spangled emperor

This coming Thursday night first of the month get together has been pushed back a week to the following Thurs - details forthcoming.

Thanks for coming guys another successful trip after a slow start.

It looks like Kevin has done his wind/swell dance as conditions look very ordinary for the next week while he is away - hmm?

Cheers - Brian/whalebait