Christmas Spaniard, 24Dec09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 24dec09 -- Ho! Ho! Ho!
Date: Thursday, 24 December 2009 11:39 AM

This spell of good kayak fishing weather looks as if it's ended, today being the last for a while. We've had a ball recently so can't complain but even so Jaro, Alex and I fronted at 0400-ish today to be met with perfect launch conditions. Turtleboy had nominated to join us but must have got waylaid on the way to Middle Groyne, but he did front later.

0429hrs. Jaro and Alex launching this morning.

Shortly after we launched we set course for Little Halls Reef, the place where the previous few days had yielded some action. As we cruised past the Noosa River entrance hundreds of terns and several power boats were exiting the river, all headed toward the same place we intended to go. Clearly, the word was out that the action was about to get underway.

And it wasn't long in coming. As we approached LH Reef we split up, with Jaro heading inshore while I stayed wider, not far away from Alex who has no radio. Jaro (again!) calls up "I'm on!". I wasn't surprised as there were terns scattered all over this part of the ocean and occasional brief bust ups into which Alex and I had cast once or twice but just too late to catch the action. I told Alex about Jaro's hookup, then paddled over toward Jaro in case he needed assistance, but mainly to add to my photo collection of Jaro with big fish.

0517hrs. Jaro with his first for the day. A keeper spotty mac, taken on his favourite lure (trolled).

The photography chores over, Jaro and I returned to the fishing, just trolling more or less in large circles and waiting for an opportunity to cast into the bust ups which happened frequently. Most of these scenes of frenetic activity had small mackerel tuna as main players and despite quite a few casts into them by yakkers, we couldn't elicit a strike, and nor could anyone else as far as we could tell. Then Jaro was on again.

0526hrs. This time Jaro boats an undersized cobia (min size 75cm) which he released after gently removing the hooks.

All of this time, when I wasn't taking photos, I was trolling a different sort of lure to Jaro's. Alex, with a lure identical to Jaro's hadn't taken a hit either, yet! Soon, Jaro was in again.

0544hrs. This time a better spotty mac.

Bloody hell, this was getting embarrassing. After finishing my latest bout of photography with Jaro I decided to tie on my largest lure, a behemoth which I could barely troll, but hell it looked good in the water. Half way through the process of switching lures I looked up to see the radio-less Alex paddling toward me with an enormous smirk on his face. Oh, Oh! I had an inkling why he was here. Alex, 21 years old, had never caught a mackerel of any species before but now he proudly displayed his first mackerel "A Spaniard, I think", as he said.

0554hrs. Alex with his first mackerel (a Spaniard, of course) and possibly his largest kayak caught fish to date.

By now it was 0600 and the action just shut down, although there were several patches of baitfish being harrassed by small mac tuna. We trolled around for a bit longer and bumped into a fishless turtleboy who'd left the launch point much later than we did.

We all had Christmas Eve commitments so opted to head for home around 0700 and duly hit the beach safe and sound without further fish activity.

Alex's Spaniard. Pic #1. Turtleboy and Alex in background.

Here it is again. 90cm on the mat. Alex, you should enter this fish in the AKFF Summer Comp in the bluewater section.

Jaro's two spotties.

A very happy Noosa Yakker.

Thanks for organising, Jaro, and thanks for coming along all and volunteering to pose for photos. This latter is much appreciated. Hopefully by this time next year you'll see some tangible results from all this mucking around.

Merry Christmas, all. See you back on the water when the wind abates.

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

spotties, 23Dec09

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Report----23/12/2009
Date: Wednesday, 23 December 2009 11:56 AM

Hi Yakkers,

I was at MG shortly after 4.00am and on a beautiful, clear, calm day ventured easily into Laguna Bay. Shortly after Dr Dog (Mark) called to say he was about to launch and that he could see Doug coming from the eastern end of Main Beach. So I waited and soon all three of us were ready to go. There was a lot of bird activity and of fish boiling in the bay but it was soon obvious that they were small bonitos and so we headed towards where Doug had his success yesterday... in the Little Halls Reef (LHR) direction. On the way I caught 3 bonitos which were proving to be a nuisance so I stopped trolling for a while. Near LHR Doug and Mark opted to stay close inshore while I ventured further out where there were already a lot of boats. It was while trolling very close to where I had caught the big Spaniard that I had a massive strike on my trusty lure. The pull on the rod was so hard I had trouble extricating the rod from the rod holder and just as I had got the rod clear the fish had relieved itself from my lure... bugger.

At around this time Turtleboy (Steve) made radio contact. However, we could hear him but he couldn't hear us and this caused no end of frustration to all parties. There was quite some fish and bird activity but no hook ups. Doug and Mark said they would continue to work inshore while I decided to follow the boats to Halls Reef (HR) all to no avail. I decided to head back and ask Mark how he was doing... he told me he had boated 2 spotties. Hearing this I paddled to his location where there were now many boats. On arrival I found Mark, Steve (whose VHF was now working) and would you believe, Bill Barnett. Doug had already headed back home and as far as Mark knew, had no fish (correct us if this is incorrect Doug). I sauntered over to Mark and had him get out his fish for photos... and here they are.

Mark with one of his spotties.

And here he is with both his spotties looking very triumphant and so he should as he was the only successful yakker today

Anyway, even though there was bird activity and many bonitos boiling the waters no more fish were caught and one by one we headed back into shore, with me being the last man in at about 8.15am.

Thanks for coming out guys. Hope to see you Bill and Steve out with us again soon... you can't catch any fish unless you are out there. You must admit conditions were idyllic... just a beautiful way to spend a morning, successful or not.


Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro

Spotties, from Dugout, 22Dec09

From: "Douglas McDougall"
Subject: Fishing today, 22Dec09
Date: Tuesday, 22 December 2009 2:03 PM

Hi Guys
Went this morning at 4.30 from first point. Headed towards Halls towing a yellowtail pike as well as a blue halco lure. Just out from the river mouth the birds were working so I stopped and threw a silver slug into the boil. Instantly a hookup. A spottie about 70cm. I ended up with 5 spotties boated. Lost 4 others trying to lift them. All done by 6am. Lost one lure bitten off at swivel. Nylon leader. Silver slugs about 40 or 50 grm. Fish frenzy. Need to improve landing skills. Going tomorrow at same time. Fish were in bird boils about 300 m out and north of river mouth.

Spaniard again, 21Dec09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 21dec09
Date: Monday, 21 December 2009 11:36 AM

Once more into the breach, dear friends, or should I say "onto the beach". It was Jaro's third day in a row and fourth in five days and my second in a row and third in five days. But, as we'd shown yesterday, the mackerel were out there so with a dearth of fishing time available over Christmas and great yakking weather Jaro and I decided to chance divorce just this one more time.

The swell was about the same today as yesterday. Meteorology: less cloud cover and a SE breeze less than 10knots.

0432hrs. Low light levels forced the camera to compromise in order to create an image. Nevertheless this shot well captures the launch situation -- pretty easy but caution needed.

We'd earlier decided to head for Little Halls Reef. This was where we'd found the fish yesterday after we'd paddled about 8km, first to Jew Shoal and then across to the west. So this morning we headed straight for it, about 3.5km away to the NW, helped by a SE breeze which strengthened as we left the shelter of the Bay while we also kept a special lookout for sleepy-headed power boat operators crossing the Noosa Bar and our paths. We were both trolling and in no particular hurry, enjoying the scenery, the company of the indigenous inhabitants of the ocean such as dolphins and rays, and the special camaraderie which kayak fishing engenders.

Fluttering birds was what we were looking for, but there was little sign of them until we reached the vicinity of our target. There were many terns searching but every now and again a small group would assemble for the specific purpose of further harrassing baitfish already threatened by undersea predators. And just as quickly, the group would disperse. To better reconnoitre the area, Jaro and I decided to split up and call each other by radio if we found action. My choice was to hang around the reef area while Jaro headed inshore a little, trolling his favourite mackerel lure.

I tried a few random casts with a "slug" while drifting along with the breeze, towing my trolled lure. There were no obvious signs of fish working the surface, but the presence of many terns and the general "feel" of the ocean gave both of us the feeling that the fish were around. In fact one of my random casts did produce a reaction. As I retrieved at medium pace I saw an unusual ripple near the lure, dismissed it as imagination, only to have a predatory fish do a quick about turn with a large swirl as the lure came close to the kayak. Clearly there were fish hunting.

0540hrs. The radio comes to life. "Got one on'" says Jaro, who'd been mooching along about 400m away to the SW, trolling northward and roughly parallel to the distant shoreline. At first I was reluctant to leave my spot, but then I decided that a fish on the line is better than a swirl and also motivated by the possibility of getting more quality pics I turned to paddle over to Jaro.

One hundred metres away from him, a few minutes later, I could see some pretty decent splashes coming from where his rod tip was pointing and then a fin (looks like a decent pelagic, I thought). Even closer now I could see that the fight was nearly ended and Jaro had bested a very decent Spaniard which nevertheless was still not fully under control.

Cleanly sliding the gaff into the gills, Jaro got a good grip on the fish and slid it onto his lap for the important process of securing it by tether.

0548hrs. Jaro starts to get the Spaniard under control (pic from movie).

Then he got it under control and could relax a little for a nice photo.

0550hrs. It's the early bird... Bloody nice fish, Jaro.

Having taken a few shots at magazine quality (I hope), my aid was then enlisted to help stow the monster in Jaro's fishbox. One of the commonest questions we get asked is where we stow our fish. This pic might help answer that.

The front end is in the box but the tail protrudes and tickles Jaro's ribs, causing him to chortle all the way home.

After this there's a severe attack of anti-climax, and besides, the wind's getting up and blowing us further from home. We fished on for a while and welcomed doctor dog to our spot when he arrived sometime between 0615 and 0645. But I'd promised Mary that I'd be back earlier than usual and as there was very little frenzied feeding going on, Jaro and I decided to head back in.

Just off Middle Groyne we encountered a brand new kayak fisherman, Stu, who expressed great interest in how we rigged our yaks and then decided to follow us in to the beach to get acquainted better. The beach break was very kind today and soon we were all safely ashore.

0823hrs. The Spaniard was 1.13m long and weighed 7.5kg.

Caption not necessary.

Another great trip. Possibly we won't get out again until after Christmas. I certainly intend to spend all of my spare time until late next week catching up with visiting family.

Merry Christmas, one and all. How are you Noosa Yakkers who are currently visiting Victoria going? We've got it tough up here.

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

spotties, great vid, 20Dec09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 20dec09 -- shark, spotties and Spaniard
Date: Sunday, 20 December 2009 2:07 PM

Replies: I welcome replies to this message but please consider, if they're automatically included in your reply, deleting the text and embedded pics of my email before sending. Most recipients do not have unlimited broadband and can ill afford to be forced to download images they have already seen. Thanks.

Jaro, my sole yakking companion today, was already present when I arrived at the MG carpark at 0417hrs -- on perhaps the longest southern hemisphere daylight day of 2009. I took a quick stroll down to the beach to find a small wave breaking at the exit but nothing that would challenge the average Noosa Yakker. The air was still and heavy with the promise of rain, the sky overcast and out in the murk to the north, the starboard nav lights of power boats heading NE from the river mouth indicated a fair squadron of fishing boats would be out there today. Understandable, really, for a calm Sunday in the mackerel season.

0437hrs. Afloat and waiting in the holding area at the end of the groyne for this wave to pass. (pic from chest cam movie)

Exit was easy, as Jaro had already demonstrated in the half light. Jaro kindly waited for me to get organised and we paddled off together, trolling, inside the shark net -- our mission today was to find and fix the elusive mackerel.

Barely had our lures started swimming when bang! --- Jaro was hooked up. Thinking there was a possible photo opportunity here I reeled in my hardly wet lure and paddled over to find Jaro battling a small whaler shark of less than a metre which had nailed his prime mackerel lure.

0459hrs. Jaro boats the shark prior to releasing it -- after all this is a mackerel day! (pic from chest cam movie)

Off we went again, following the shore and at least 300 metres out. We travelled inside the second shark net also where I noticed some interesting surface swirls which were caused by fairly large fish, species unknown. Our lures swam on, undisturbed. Just past the Boiling Pot Jaro suggested we head for Jew Shoal, some 1.9km straight out to sea. So far we had seen no bird activity and very little bait action, so what did we have to lose, and the weather was perfect. So, turn for Jew Shoal we did.

The trio of floated and anchored shark hooks north of Boiling Pot were negotiated without action and though we had a clear view of the horizon ahead, very few birds were evident. Jew Shoal was quiet too, except that a power boat fast trolling with a hard body lure took a strike when passing quite close to me. As I trolled on I was close enough to ask the lone long haired, male crewman whether he had hooked a Spaniard. While still fighting it, he confirmed that it was and estimated its weight at 8kg. He didn't get a chance to test his estimate as shortly afterward the fish self-released.

A couple of large splashes caught my attention so I paddled over to the spot where these had occurred, found nothing, so paddled to the westward edge of Jew Shoal trolling all the way. I'd already concluded that a paddle over to Little Halls Reef (some 3km away, to the WSW) might be worthwhile, particularly as Jaro hadn't gone there yesterday. So very soon I suggested this by radio to Jaro, who agreed.

This short journey was taken in superb conditions, the rising sun and the swell behind us and a tiny westerly breeze to freshen us, especially when the swells lifted us to their maximum height and out of the shelter of the troughs. Jaro, who had been some 500m behind me when we left Jew Shoal caught up to me when we were about 1km short of LH Reef on which we could see a couple of power boats hanging around. We paddled the remaining distance together, chatting about the beauty and the majesty of our situation. Still no fish were apparent, although here there was at least some bird action, with several terns hoping to find their breakfast hereabouts. We trolled past a couple of huge rays, the tips of their "wings" protruding above the surface as they cruised along, unperturbed by our proximity.

Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, a flock of terns could be seen wheeling and diving, right ahead of us about 200 metres away. The best indicator, for me, however was that there were isolated but frequent splashes and swirls right where the terns were active. This could only mean decent sized predators, not the tiny bonito and mac tuna which had been so prominent in the last week. I continued to troll but had my second rig already set up with a "slug", a shiny metal lure, which had already survived the mayhem of last season's pelagic action, wore the badge of honour of a bit of rust, and now was on its third and, as it turned out, last, set of hooks.

0640hrs. The lure is on its way. Note the terns fluttering above the action. (pic from chest cam movie)

As soon as I was within range I fired off a long cast toward the splashing. The lure hit the water and immediately I started the retrieve, cranking furiously to give the lure the best chance to emulate a fleeing bait fish. It took only a few turns of the reel handle and the lure was engulfed in a large swirl and splash. Now came the first run and I knew immediately that this was probably one of the local mackerel species. The line was protected from the mackerel's scissor-like teeth by a wire trace about 20cm long, terminating at a tiny swivel but even so after only about 5 seconds of contact I felt another bump and the line went slack. Almost certainly the line had been cut by another mackerel. This was another strong indicator that these fish were mackerel and not tuna.

Swearing gently but keeping my cool I yelled out to Jaro close by that these were mackerel as I reached into my tackle reserves and pulled out a spare "slug" already wired up. By now Jaro was positioning himself for a cast. I was tying the knot when Jaro yelled out that he was hooked up. More swearing from me. But now I was ready and the mackerel were still belting the baitfish nearby and I was still in a good casting position. Jaro drifted nearby, his rod bent sweetly. Out went my second cast. Immediate hookup!

I savoured this action. This is one of my favourite ways of fishing -- casting to fish which are visible on the surface and goading them into taking the offering. This fish really made the reel howl but before long I had the upper hand. Shortly I could see that a spotted mackerel, "spotty" to us had taken my lure. Before long my first spotty of the season was in the yak.

Approx 0640hrs. Jaro and I each boat a spotty from the same feeding frenzy.

By the time I'd taken pics, secured and stowed the fish and tidied up it was about 0715 and I was ready for another bout, should the opportunity be offered. It was, and soon.

Jaro and I just hung around waiting for it all to happen again. It seems that the predators decimate and scatter the baitfish after which they have to find another school, bottle it up so to speak and launch an attack. It didn't take long and the blow up happened nearby. We paddled gently and not frantically toward the action, separated from each other by about 50 metres and approaching our quarry like Zulus in their famed "bull's horns" tactic. We cast simultaneously and hooked up simultaneously. My movie camera was running in chest cam mode and recorded well what happened from my viewpoint. We'll find out what happened to Jaro shortly, but he was yelling something in the background. It could have been "It's a biggie!"

My offer having been accepted by the first customer to come along, I played the fish out and could see it quite clearly under the yak about 3 metres down -- a nice spotty. The hook then dislodged. Bugger! I retrieved the line and immediately cast again. Hookup! This time the fish spat the hook within 5 seconds (how they do that is beyond me). Retrieving my line I cast again. Hookup! This time the hook held and after a very spirited fight my second spotty for the season was yakked.

0723hrs. My spotty number 2.

3 minutes, 3 casts, 3 spotty macs (today) -- one of the most popular Noosa Yakkers movies on Youtube.

While I was thus engaged in photographing this fish, Jaro paddled over, a look of exultation betraying that he had something important to tell me. "Look what I've got", he said as he held up a beautiful, still quivering Spanish mackerel. OK, that trumped my spotty so I immediately changed priorities and shifted the spotty's photography appointment to number two on the list, behind Jaro's Spaniard.

0730hrs. That's a nice fish to pull out of a freeding frenzy using a cast lure on relatively light line. Jaro's third and best Spaniard of the season.

0735hrs. Jaro suggested that he take a photo, with my camera, of me with my spotty. I agreed. That's his toe in the bottom of the pic, his leg being used to hold the two yaks together for the photo.

As revealed by GPS we were drifting on a slow current toward the NW so were gradually getting further away from home. No problem on such a beautiful paddling day but I suggested after another half hour or so during which the spotties failed to put in another appearance, that we start moseying off toward Middle Groyne, some 3.7km away.

The paddle to our launch/landing point was uneventful and easy and before long we were there, tidying up ready to make sure that, if we were rolled on the way in, no damage could be done.

I hit the beach first, right way up this time and immediately spotted a possible beach chick who would almost certainly agree to pose with one or more of our fish. Jaro powered in and I grabbed his Spaniard and showed it to the prospect and Madame (she was French, and spoke little English) immediately agreed (Oui!). Yes, I have a certain way with French ladies, as I've found over the years.

0903hrs. Madame, on her first (unforgettable) visit to Australia, with Jaro's Spaniard.

Then we put the fish on the mat.

Jaro's fish. Spaniard went 93cm and 4.5kg.

Jaro with his best Spaniard ever. So far.

My two spotties. Very happy with these, I was.

Thanks for organising and coming along, Jaro. Looks like we're into them again tomorrow, eh? Maybe we'll now get a few more starters, hungry for mackerel fillets and Noosa Yakkers glory.

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

Donut, 19Dec09

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Report Today 19/12/2009
Date: Saturday, 19 December 2009 11:08 AM

Hi Yakkers,

I was the only one to front up this morning. Conditions were great even though there was a largish swell which made good timing absolutely vital to get out and in. I just made it through before a large wave broke. I was trolling by 4.45am and at about 5.15am came across two yak fishers trolling their way to JS. I had not met these guys before. To cut a short story shorter, after paddling 17km I had not nary a nibble on my line. I even changed lures a number of times to no avail. There was only a little bit of bird activity and bait fish seemed in small supply. I came across the two yakkers again on their way back from JS at 7.45am and they told me they had no luck either. This persuaded me to pull the pin and so landed unscathed at 8.30am. This time I took great care till I was safely on the beach.
Tomorrow conditions look to be even better and even though rain is forecast it will help to keep those going cool. I will confirm late this afternoon as per usual. Anyone interested in going tomorrow?? I am.

Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro

Macks, wipeout video, 17Dec09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 17dec09 -- more mackerel
Date: Thursday, 17 December 2009 2:12 PM

On arrival at the MG carpark at 0420 I found Jaro, Profish already offloaded, almost ready to trundle. I wasn't expecting any other starters as today the fishing was planned to be strictly inside the Bay, and the forecast breeze would have made conditions less than perfect further out at our usual reef locations.

Waves could be heard breaking against the groyne so I went down to take a look at the launch site before offloading the Espri. A couple of minutes' viewing satisfied me that launching would need care, but was not dangerous.

Jaro dashed off and by the time I had my yak at the junction between the access road and the beach, he was ready to launch. Off he went and I watched him carefully pick his way out through the break before powering off into clear waters. Here's the customary pre-launch view:

0438hrs. Jaro's already out there. The guys on the groyne had just arisen from their sandy sleeping spot nearby and seemed bent on exploring the beach like people who'd never seen the sea before.

Launch was fine, but, as always, care is needed.

0442hrs. Emerging from the shelter of the groyne (chest cam pic from movie).

Jaro and I both headed initially toward Boiling Pot and before long his reports started to come in by radio. Jaro was trolling his favourite mackerel lure and was once more demonstrating that it has some appeal, as opposed to my chosen trolling lures which didn't receive much interest. Never mind, I still have several more to try before I get desperate and buy one like his. It seemed that every few minutes he would announce a hookup. I think he hooked eight fish today, five were boated and, of those, three finished up as keepers (pics later), one was returned as undersize and the other, a bonito, was given to me for bait. You'll see Mr Bonito's photo later which demonstrated how he finished up.

I hooked, boated and released one mac tuna which took my cast slug when I retrieved it rapidly through a bust up.

0552hrs. Mackerel tuna about to be released. The blue coiled leash is attached to my pliers which are grasping the hook (chest cam pic from movie)

I made one foray toward the west where flocks of terns fluttered excitedly over schools of glassies which were being thrashed and carved up by bonito and mac tuna, but by nothing bigger apparently. It seemed to Jaro and me that the action dropped away after about 0700, but we plugged on till about 0800 anyway. Doctor dog and his son, Will, joined us after an hour or so and at one stage I'm pretty sure that the dynamic duo launched and paddled over toward the river mouth.

Having cadged the bonito from Jaro, I put it on a Spaniard Special as a very fresh bait and towed it around for about 30 minutes before pull the pin time. When it came time to return to the beach, I retrieved this bait/lure combo only to find that some sharp-toothed critter had managed to neatly and severely modify the bait:

0803hrs. I don't know when the damage occurred -- didn't hear or feel a thing.

Jaro and I opted to return to the beach at about the same time, as he had sufficient fish and I'd had enough -- three hours' continuous paddling, albeit at low speed, without significant action. So I lined up at MG, turned on chest cam, picked a nice small set and cruised in to the beach only to be overtaken and rolled by a quite large wave very close to the beach, much to my surprise. This experience just goes to demonstrate that caution is always needed if you want your gear to survive, even in the smallest swell.

0816hrs. Almost at right angles and going over (chest cam pic from movie). The next frame is underwater.

No damage was done, or gear lost, but it was embarrassing. I hauled myself up on the beach, tidied up, then chatted to Agnes, a dear old lady beach goer and keen fisho whose husband recently died. She's always interested in what we yakkers get up to and asks knowledgeable questions about our catch and techniques. Meantime Jaro arrived "out the back". I was tempted to tell him by radio about the shore break but then I thought about the movie possibilities so I let fate run its course, seriously thinking that, as usual, he'd have no problem.

In Jaro came, stroking strongly, as normal. About 10 metres from the beach he appeared totally relaxed then all of a sudden his facial expression changed as he realised he might be about to take a swim, albeit in knee deep water. Exactly the same thing happened to him as to me.

0831hrs. What happens when you roll in shallow water (pic from movie). Imagine the results if your gear wasn't stowed and rods with reels mounted were still vertical in the rod holders. Yes, I've got the video.

Even the shore break can get you (featuring Jaro and me getting pummelled at MG today)

Again, as we're prepared for this sort of thing, there was no damage or losses. Jaro's fish were securely stashed in his excellent button down fishbox and his rods, reels and electronics were stowed inside his centre hatch. We just turned the yak the right way up and dragged it up the beach where Jaro exclaimed "Bugger" several times, with increasing emphasis.

Time to examine Jaro's take-home catch:

From top: spotted mackerel, spotted mackerel, Queensland school mackerel. Note the different shape of the pectoral fin [that's the one immediately behind the operculum (alright, gill cover)] and the different path of the lateral line between the two species. Often the school mackerel has many dark spots like the spotted mackerel, but they often fade after death. These two species have different legal take sizes and bag limits so please make sure you memorise the limits as many of these will be caught in the next few months. If in doubt, make your minimum size 60cm and your bag limit 5, that way it doesn't matter if they're spotties or schoolies or a combination of both.

After we'd washed our yaks Mark and Will came in (both without being rolled, I believe) and reported that they'd boated no fish but had fun chasing tuna and bonito.

Thanks for organising, Jaro, and nice catch once more. You're the mackerel champ at the moment. But look out, there are a few yakkers interested in taking the crown from you.

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

Spaniard again, LB, 14Dec09

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 14dec09... another spaniard, plus...
Date: Monday, 14 December 2009 1:45 PM

Despite the fact that Jaro and I had agreed that today we'd start at 0545 instead of the usual 0415, I was wide awake well before 0500. So that placed me well to take time to rig up my yak (had been partying the night before from 1630 till ???), have brekky and be down at MG carpark by about 0530. There I found that doctor dog's car was in its usual place, sans yak (obviously already out there), and that Tony Walmsley, a relatively new Noosa Yakker, had been tempted from his bed with the prospect of a spaniard. And, of course, Ian's Subaru was in its customary spot, as he told us that he would be leaving about 0400.

I chatted briefly with Tony during which time Jaro turned up so the crew had already assembled. If anything, the weather was better than yesterday, mainly in that it was more overcast. Wind was negligible, as was the swell. This was a day you could launch in a baby bath (which we must try, sometime).

0544hrs. Jaro launching, keeping a close eye out for big waves...

Just before launching I'd contacted doctor dog by radio and was informed that he had Doug with him and that Doug had been dicing with sharks, tempting them with pilchard baits, and had released them all. They were both drifting off the National Park car park and had no other reports of action.

I launched after Jaro, and we spent a little time discussing tactics (stay in the bay today) before we parted company as Jaro started to troll his new favourite lure around the western end of the shark net and then along the northern side. I'd just finished my setting up and was about to start my troll when the radio blared. "Kev, I've got one, I've got one!" -- from Jaro. It was barely 0600 and Jaro had trolled gently toward two drifting power boats on the northern side of the net, hooking up almost immediately. Having missed out on an action photo of Jaro's spaniard yesterday, I immediately paddled over to him, directly on the other side of the net and got ready to shoot some pics.

How's this, a few minutes after starting? Jaro's second spaniard, on the day after his first.

This out of the way, we both thought it would be on for young and old, as there were heaps of baitfish hanging around being harried by small bonito and small mac tuna, as per previous days. We trolled around for a bit then opted to head toward the river mouth where some power boats could be seen drifting. As we approached their vicinity we could see flocks of terns having breakfast at the fresh food outlet. Hopefully, there'd be some bigger piscatorial feeders as well. If there were, we couldn't raise them. It was here that we came across Ian, heading back in from the vicinity of LH Reef. He reported no big fish but he had boated, and kept for bait, a couple of mac tuna. As he was heading back toward the MG shark net I paddled along with him knowing that there's always a fair chance that Ian will catch a fish and hoping that some of that magic might rub off on me. Sure enough, before long he got a strike on his trolled lure. This turned out to be a small cobia (undersize) which released itself next to the yak. So, there were cobia around? I mentioned to Ian that almost exactly one year ago today I'd caught two ~1m cobia within a few days of each other close to the shark net.

Now there were four of us (Ian, Tony, Jaro and I) trolling around the SE corner of Laguna Bay, and shortly we were joined by doctor dog. Conditions continued to be excellent. I took a couple of quick pics to illustrate.

0738hrs. That second building from the left is the Noosa Heads Surf Club.

It was about now that, as I paddled around this part of the bay, I came across what I believe to be a cobia, just lounging along on the surface. I fired a quick cast over it but it spooked and took off hurriedly. The trolling continued, then doctor dog called our attention, by radio, to a part of the shark net where the floats had sunk. I paddled over, curious to see what was there. Drifting near the net was a very large longtail tuna which doc soon dragged into his yak.

Longtail tuna, estimated at 15kg and perhaps 1.3m long. Found dead and returned to the sea.

But even more interesting was the animal caught in the net.

A hammerhead shark, approx 3m long (length estimated using distance between floats as a guide). The large fin at top left is the dorsal fin which is very big in hammerheads.

Tony came over to take a look and I snapped a pic of him for the record -- on his first Noosa Yakkers expedition.

Tony, in his Emotion, at the shark net

By now we were getting a little weary, or at least I was; Jaro was still pumped up after his second spaniard in two days. But at last we agreed we'd go in, around 0915. But not before Jaro scored again...

0847hrs. Jaro poses with his school (or doggie) mackerel for ID purposes. This one was legal at 56cm, and very good eating.

Soon we were headed for the beach and so, coincidentally was Ian, who, it later transpired, had been out for a paddle again to LH Reef which is why we hadn't seen him for an hour or more. We all arrived on the beach over a period of about 15 minutes.

Jaro's catch. The spaniard went 87cm.

The chick magnetism still works. She was not unkeen to be photographed with the fish.

Discussing mackerel techniques, Ian, doctor dog, Tony, Jaro.

Ian casually mentioned that he'd hooked a 1.2m spaniard on the way back from LH Reef but the hooks pulled moments before the gaff hit its target. I caught nothing at all, but I did get some nice pics.

Thanks for coming along, guys and thanks for organising, Jaro. I'm taking a break tomorrow but Wednesday may be worth a look as it'll be reasonably sheltered in the bay.

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

Spaniard, first for 09/10, 13Dec10

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 13dec09 -- spaniard!!
Date: Sunday, 13 December 2009 12:50 PM

It had been a sultry overcast night and in the carpark the light at 4.30am was still very low, even with only 10 days or so to go to the summer solstice. Jaro was already there, unloaded and yak waiting on the beach, when I pulled in just before 0430. There was no sign at that time of Hollywood nor of Jay, both of whom had responded that they'd probably go this morning.

Five minutes later I was trundling my yak down to the beach, while Jaro was out near the shark net setting up. Launch time view...

0440hrs. Note the showers out to sea.

Jaro opted to head for the Dolphin Point area as our plan had previously been agreed that we'd stay within Laguna Bay, perhaps working our way to the west if we couldn't find what we were looking for in close. I was still setting up when Hollywood paddled out to me. The sea was glassy and the swell tiny, and the sun still masked by Noosa headland and its light diffused by cloud cover. Magnificent!

Hollywood and I soon followed Jaro toward the north east, following the land. At this time there were very few birds visible, possibly because of the low light levels, but there were plenty of signs of activity by very small predatory pelagics, most likely bonito and mac tuna which have been feeding heavily on schools of glassies, temporarily in residence in the bay. Jaro soon announced the capture of a small bonito, then another. With no other action evident, distant and perhaps greener fields beckoned and we turned toward Jew Shoal where yesterday there were baitfish aplenty. We were all trolling our favoured lures and soon arrived at Jew Shoal only to find it was little different from inshore -- lots of small baitfish schools taking occasional hits by tiny predators who charged through their ranks like cavalry cutting through demoralised infantry.

I opted to keep heading west from Jew Shoal toward Halls Reef, some 3.8km distant, while Jaro, who had taken one hit, but hooks pulled, on a trolled lure, and Hollywood decided to stay at JS for a while. About 3km into the paddle to Halls I decided to check my lure as I was coming in to an area which had plenty of evidence of small pelagics. On retrieving the lure I found that I'd hooked a small (aren't they all?) bonito and it had been swimming along with me for a while. This was released and I continued west where there were more and more signs of baitfish as flocks of terns wheeled around trying to get their fair share of the glassies. Several times I cast a small slug into the feeding fish but couldn't raise a hit. There was no way I could "match the hatch" as the glassies are less than 20mm long and transparent and there seemed to be no bigger fish feeding on the bonito.

After some navigation discussion on the radio I was joined by Hollywood and Jaro. Fish showing on the sonar was enough to start us trying for reefies around Halls Reef but the sea glassed off completely and the sun, now after 7am, was starting to make its presence felt in the heating area. It was serenely beautiful out there with the only noises coming from occasional noisy motor cycle traffic on the North Shore beach (typical of Sunday) and the crump of waves breaking on that shore, about 1.5km away to the west.

0730hrs. Two Noosa Yakkers (Hollywood and Jaro) show their mutual colour sense out at Halls Reef.

By 0800 we'd decided to head for home as the temperature was steadily rising and no cooling breeze seemed likely. Besides, the fish, if present, weren't biting. I selected MG (Middle Groyne) as my waypoint in the GPS which responded immediately by telling me that MG was 5km distant. So one by one we departed Halls for the lonely 50 minute paddle across a glassy sea.

0807hrs. With 4km still to go. I told you it was glassy.

Even with a trolled lure out I had no trouble maintaining 6kph all the way home and so Hollywood and I arrived off MG at about 0845. Jaro had opted to take a slightly longer route, back over toward the eastern shore of the Bay. The return to shore through the tiny break was as easy as it ever gets and before long Hollywood and I were enjoying a refreshing and cooling dip in the clear waters at the landing point. We knew Jaro would be along soon, certainly within 30 minutes and so took our time washing and loading the yaks and chatting before wandering back down to the beach to see how Jaro was going. He was just landing so Hollywood went off to grab Jaro's trolley for him while I went down to the beach intending to help Jaro drag his yak up to the wash point. Jaro bounced out of the yak and started running up the beach toward me, not seeing me initially. Then he recognized me and beckoned me over to the yak saying "Look what I've caught -- its tail is sticking out of the fishbox!". It was, too. Clearly a pelagic. "It's my first spaniard." cried Jaro. It bloody was too! And he'd caught it within 50 metres of the shark net just as he was retrieving his lure in preparation for stowing his gear for the surf run. After 15km of ocean paddling and at the last possible opportunity he'd nailed a Spaniard 500 metres from our launch point.

As you can imagine, Jaro was still pumped up from this capture, one of his cherished milestones achieved. A pic was appropriate, the hunter and his boat.

0942hrs. Jaro's first Spaniard. 90cm.

This fish was so fresh that the rosy pink sheen caused by the phenomenon known as structural colour was still visible, as can be seen in this picture taken from the appropriate angle to the incoming light.

Just then, another kayak appeared at the end of the groyne. I recognized it as Jay, in his blue and white Espri. Jay had slept in a little and decided to come anyway, but when he arrived the rest of us had gone and he had no means of contacting us. On the beach after coming in he told us that he'd paddled out to Sunshine Reef, never having been there before, found a patch of reef with his sonar, and caught a reasonable snapper to boot. But he was somewhat weary, as the current was still running as bad as yesterday's. I kept him awake long enough to take this pic of him with his snapper.

Jay, smiling.

Jaro and I (and Doug?) are thinking of possibly going tomorrow (yes, again, three days in a row) but staying within cooee of the shark net. It was noticeable that terns were maintaining strong interest in that general area, right in to the SE corner of the bay when we returned to the beach. After 34km paddling in two days I reckon a couple of hours spent mooching in that general area may prove to be a nice change.

Thanks for coming along Jaro, Harry and Jay. And congrats on your first spaniard, Jaro and the first for the 2009/10 season for Noosa Yakkers. May there be many more. Remember: min size 75cm; bag limit: 3.

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