Mystery snapper, 21Dec10

Subject: fishing today -- 21dec10
From: sunshiner
Date: 21/12/2010 11:42 AM

Cloud cover:, light cloud in the east and north
Wind direction & speed: calm initially, SE to 10 knots later
Sea state: almost no swell
If applicable (often at NSR): current direction & speed: 1.5kph upper layer current from SW to NE
Moonrise/set: full moon -- setting at sunrise

Participants: jaro, dugout, doctor dog, sunshiner

04:34. That's the lights of a trawler on the horizon

As you can see, launch was as easy as it gets. I paddled out first to encounter dugout waiting off the groyne -- he'd launched in his usual spot in the SE corner of the Bay. We three agreed that Jew Shoal was a suitable destination and set off in perfect conditions, although it was more like winter with an unusually low air temperature.

04:46. Dugout, left, and jaro about to set off for Jew Shoal.

Other than a few dolphin sightings, there was nothing of note visible or action-wise until we got to the Jew Shoal vicinity where there were several large patches of feeding mac tuna, accompanied by terns.

05:27. This was one such mac tuna patch of several which I trolled around, hoping that perhaps a spotty or Spaniard might be present.

Jaro opted to drift fish while dugout and I trolled for a while. Jaro reported a bit of action on bait and also a strong current. Once I tired of trolling I decided to try a bit of drift and SP fishing. The current was noteworthy. The drogue was hanging limply in the water -- no breeze. Nevertheless, my SP jig was being left behind by the movement of the yak. Checking my GPS I noted that we were travelling steadily at around 1.5kph in a NE direction. The water was the colour and opacity of thin pea soup. Usually if a current extends from surface to bottom in the water layer the jighead will act as if there is no current, as it and the kayak are being carried along at the same speed and in the same direction. The simplest explanation for today's phenomenon was that either there was a counter current at depth or that the current which was carrying the yak along was acting only in the upper layer. It's possible and plausible that this was also the reason why the water at the surface was murky -- it was probably less dense brackish water which had been discharged from the somewhat heavily-flushed Noosa River.

Anyway whatever the reason it was difficult to drift fish, with my quarter-ounce jig spending only a brief time in the deepest and possibly clearest water before it was swept back up toward the surface. A big old turtle allowed me to get close enough to take a pic.

05:37. Turtle with Mt Cooroy in background.

Doctor dog called up and asked where we were and indicated he was heading out to join us. By now jaro was happily reporting that he'd bagged a couple of nice sweetlip using bait and had returned two or three small but legal snapper to the deep. As there were still a few terns visible flocking in the distance I decided to return to trolling, especially as a SE breeze started to spring up. Dugout and I headed back toward shore where we soon encountered doctor dog out for his morning exercise. The breeze continued to strengthen so I headed back to Middle Groyne where I had the easiest of beach landings in a freshening and cool, no, cold, offshore breeze.

As far as I'm aware only jaro brought fish home but my 13km paddle and drift was great exercise in a superb setting. Jaro, please let us know your final result and dugout and doc dog please add observations/comments as appropriate. Looks like rain and easterly winds threatening (AGAIN!) for the next few days.

Have a great Christmas Noosa Yakkers and we'll see you on the water soon.

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

From jaro
Hi Yakkers,

Not much to add to Kev's report except a photo of the two sweetlip I caught. One was 47cm and the other 40cm. I arrived back at MG at 10.30 after a very hard slog against the wind for about 1.25 hours. Very good exercise!!!



From Ian
I clicked the wrong button, sorry.
call sign;eye tag

More snapper, JS, 18Dec10

Subject: Yak Fishing Report - Sun 18Dec10
From: "Jim Thompson"
Date: 21/12/2010 2:03 AM

Hi Yakkers,

Apologies for the delayed report, been busy preparing to leave tomorrow to go to Melbourne for Christmas.

Cloud cover: 5/10 initially then a heavy 10/10 after ~0730 with rain after 1115
Wind direction & speed: <5k W until ~1030 then SW increasing to 10k
Sea State: Swell < 0.75m, very minor wind chop

I launched at MG ~0440 in perfect conditions. After setting up I headed for Jew Shoal West. There were random birds heading back in-shore towards river mouth. Water was quite murky.

I had trolled a Halco Laser Pro HB lure out to JS with nil return. However, on arrival at Jew West I had only just started to prepare my light line with a jig head and SP for casting when the trolling line went off (I hadn't yet retrieved this line). This turned out to be a 58cm snapper. This suggested the snapper were hunting in the upper 5-10m of the water column, which is a little surprising as our experience is that snapper usually spend most of their time near the bottom. However, Sunshiner had a similar experience only about a week earlier. The surface feeding might have something to do with the recent murky coloured due to rain run off.

By the time I had landed the snapper and completed rigging the casting line I was about 220m east of my intended Jew West mark and was getting close to the Pinnacles where a very large catamaran was anchored. Although there was practically nil wind it was obvious there was a strong current running W to E at about 1.0-1.5 kph. I decided to relocate back to the western side of the Jew West mark knowing the current would take me back along the same drift line. I had also decided to leave the Laser Pro on and troll back over the same mark. And guess what, 40m short of the Jew West mark the Laser Pro was hit again, and a second 58cm snapper came aboard. This was pretty good! Two snapper landed within 30m of arriving and I hadn't yet cast a line.

The next two passages along the same drift line yielded a couple of reefies and a small snapper, the latter probably just a keeper but I decided to release it as I already had two good sized snapper on board (amazing how your attitude becomes much more benevolent when your fish box is already half full). As the Laser Pro had seemed to stop working its magic, I loaded the heavy line with a trailed squid and had only just sent it to the bottom when it was hit. This was a reasonable 43cm snapper.

I persisted on the same drift line for about another two hours, and although the trailed squid and pilchards did not produce any more fish, I had 3-4 good hits on the cast SPs, a couple of these taking the bait soon after hitting the water, and one in particular taking ~20m of line before self releasing. All this produced three more snapper, but only one was a good keeper at 42cm. It was also noticeable that the water had become considerably clearer about mid way through the morning.

By 1045 I had already stayed about 1.5 hours longer than I had intended, so started heading back to MG just as the wind, which had by now swung to the SW, suddenly increased in strength to ~10k which meant I had a fairly stiff head wind and surface chop for the duration of the return paddle. Two things were noticeable on approaching MG, apart from the fact that it was now raining. The first was that the water, even just 100m from MG, was now quite clear. The second was that there were a number of birds circling around out from the river mouth and the lower North Shore area, together with 2-3 boats. I suspect that the spotty macks might be starting to congregate in this known spotty hot spot. This suspicion was supported by a radio transmission I heard between a boat and Noosa Coast Guard. I reckon the pelagic season is here!! Sorry there are no photos with this report as I don't carry a camera with me and I scaled, gutted and beheaded the snapper amongst the rocks at MG to save time when I got home.

Merry Christmas to all and good fishing in the new year .... leave some pelagics for me for when I get back from Melbourne.


Fish aplenty, 16Dec10

Subject: fishing today -- 16dec10
From: sunshiner
Date: 16/12/2010 3:05 PM

Cloud cover: max 1/10 cloud
Wind direction & speed: NNW up to 10 knots
Sea state: low swell

Participants: Jaro, Doug, Ian, Pete, Geoff and I

At last the wind we'd endured for the last several weeks slackened today thus allowing us reasonably comfortable conditions to get out into the Bay. The 0430 launch time called by Jaro was beaten by Pete, Ian and Doug, all of whom were well on the water by the time I arrived in the carpark at about 04:20. There I found Jaro and Geoff finalising their setups and before long we were down at the water's edge to face the swell.

04:31. Geoff gazes out wondering if he'll make it out safely...

We three opted to head for Jew Shoal. I for one was happy with that mainly based on the possibility of an increasing NW wind which could be a pain for anyone south of Hells Gates and wanting to return to Main Beach. Shortly after launch we were in contact by radio with Doug (dougout) who had launched in the SE corner of Main Beach and was part way to Jew Shoal already.

The sea at Main Beach was quite murky today (freshwater runoff due to heavy rain), usually a sign that the fish action will be subdued or non-existent. But as we paddled northward several flocks of terns passed us on the way out so they weren't put off by the water colour, at least.

Heading for the western edge of the shoal, we soon came across isolated patches of surface action. Fluttering terns acted as top cover for the main assassins, mackerel tuna, which charged through the packed baitfish sending spray and baitfish up to one metre into the air. We all dragged lures through or close to such action a couple of times for no result and so plodded on, into the northerly wind and chop, intent on trying out Jew Shoal's underwater delights.

Jaro and Geoff headed for the northern side of the shoal, Doug trolled all over it and I focussed on the area which had been kind to me last Saturday -- close to The Pinnacles. The wind was much lighter than the last time I was here with the result that both drifting and trolling could be pursued in relative comfort. The sea, however was still quite murky but bait was present, as evidenced by occasional tuna bustups and also the frequent clusters identifiable on our fish finders.

By now we were in touch by radio with Ian (eyetag) who was trolling baits in the hope of a Spaniard, at Sunshine Reef, several km away. He'd had one bait taken but no hookup as yet. Pete (pedro) was also there and apparently had bagged a snapper already.

At Jew Shoal, Jaro started to report action from reef fish on pilchards and he was first on the board with a keeper sweetlip, and then another and another. Doug decided to head back in after a couple of fruitless laps of the shoal, Geoff was hanging with Jaro; I had opted to troll my Halco Laser Pro all over the previously identified hot spots which were now proving to be not so hot. This continued until around 07:45 by which time Geoff and I were still fishless and becoming a little frustrated. There were plenty of patches of baitfish on the sonar, still plenty of tuna feeding and at one stage an enormous single splash erupted near me so clearly predators were hanging about.

Time for a change of tactics -- give the soft plastics a go -- drift, cast, retrieve gently. Noting that the drift was from west to east I headed for a spot west of The Pinnacles and started my drift. The bait was an aged and pre-loved Squidgy Shad which was impaled on a 1/4oz (7gm) 3/0 jig hook. This is one of my favourite soft plastics mainly because they're cheap but also because they work. As I drifted I was watching the sonar (it's a bit like TV but much more interesting). A ribbon of clustered baitfish started to unroll on the screen as I drifted over it. Bump! Was that a take? Probably.. and then a powerful run as a fish absconded with the Squidgy. At last! At last! Then slack line. The bugger had somehow managed to self-release. But I had marked the spot on my GPS and so could return to it easily.

Having relayed by radio to my colleagues the fact that I'd dropped my only strike of the day I returned to the fray, paddling back past the new mark and setting up a new drift aiming to cross the newly-found hot spot. Again as I approached the mark, casting, letting the jig sink, watching the line, the slack suddenly disappeared and I was attached to another screamer. This time I did everything right by the Sunshiner SP Manual but still the hook pulled free. Bugger!

I checked the rig again -- everything was OK -- hook sharp etc. Back to the mark and 50m updrift beyond. Cast again, this time at least 40m updrift of the mark. Off went the SP again, the fish grabbing it in the first few seconds after the jig hit the water in around 19m. A long and strong run on the 6kg line gave me hope that this time the hook would hold. I was still connected after a minute or so -- a good sign of a firm hookup. The connection stayed sound and soon I could see a sizable snapper being led reluctantly to the kayak. A quick gaff shot and he was mine. Nice fish...

08:20. This snapper went 63cm on the mat later.

I could relax now. Pete by now had joined us at Jew Shoal and Ian had turned up also, just as I was dealing with my snapper.

08:48hrs. Ian and his boat today, as he paddled past me trolling for whatever. Mt Cooroy in the background.

While I continued drift fishing I took the opportunity to pack up quickly and take the camera over to any of my colleagues' hookups. Ian decided to chuck some slugs into a pack of feeding tuna and came up trumps -- twice -- too far away from me to respond. Pete was next with a snapper.

09:20. This snapper, same drift line, took a pilchard presented on Pete's deadly pilly rig. Note Pete's very pretty radio leash.

Then Geoff.

09:30. OK, it's not a huge snapper, but it was a keeper.

About now I opted to head for home -- I'd been on the water 5 hours and was feeling the pull of the beach. Besides the wind would surely increase, albeit from the north. Ian decided to accompany me and we set a trolling course to investigate fluttering terns to the west before turning south with the strengthening breeze. This left Jaro, Geoff and Pete to continue the harassment at JS. One thing of note as Ian and I paddled along was the presence of several larger tuna (I thought longtails) which individually and separately leapt clear of the water a couple of hundred metres in front of us.

Ian and I hit the beach only a minute or so apart at around 10:40am. Looking around, we espied a couple of possible fish holders so Ian bravely volunteered to charm them into this coveted role.

Two friendly frauleins having a lovely time in Australia. The one on the left was hungry.
Above: my snapper; Below Ian's tuna (70cm)

Jaro arrived off the beach and when the frauleins were invited to wait for Jaro's fish and give him a birthday hug they decided that they had to be going. If only they'd known what they'd missed out on.

Jaro's bag of sweetlip. The largest was 48cm.

So, we don't know how Pete and Geoff finished up, or Doug for that matter. Please let us know guys.
[Emails after main post signature]

Thanks for organizing, Jaro. Another fun day. Sorry you couldn't make it Hollywood.

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

From Jag One
Hi guys

I got back to the beach at midday, ending up with a sweetlip the size of Jaro's biggest one, plus two pan sized ones and the snapper in the pic.

I caught and released half a dozen well undersized sweeties and squire. I also C&R three cod which I think were juvenile black tipped rock cod, going by the distinctive red and pink vertical banding.The other oddball that didn't come aboard was probably a triggerfish, I thought I had a John Dory.

Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable day with so many of us out there.

The drift speed of my yak is still a problem, so I might try Pete's suggestion and throw out another sea anchor.

See you on the water
Geoff Stolberg
call sign JaG One

From pedro (Pete)
Hi All
I stayed out till the northerly kicked in, meeting up with geoff at his car.
End result was three snapper 56cm 54cm 47cm.
The pink bailing twine was a quick decision at 2.15am and I have plenty if anyone else wants some.

Spaniard, LeRoux, 12Dec10

Subject: The Boys are back in Town!
From: "LeRoux Uys"
Date: 12/12/2010 10:29 PM

G'day everyone,

Well, the weatherman got it wrong again and it was the combination of this, cabin fever and the fact that my wife, Linda has been nagging me for snapper for the past couple of months that made me venture out today...

I had returned fishless from my past 3 yaxpeditions despite spending the time out there and trying just about every bait and lure known to man. After recently reading about Kev and Jimbo's snapper successes and staring out of my window all morning without seeing a leaf move (whilst it was supposed to be blowing it's hole out from the NE!!) I decided 'that's it, I'm going out there'. I tried to coerce Stu into joining me, but he was too busy playing with his joystick on someone else's X-box... enough said!!

Needless to say it was pissing down all day and I made peace with the fact that I was going to get wet, very wet! At least parking at MG wasn't a problem and the paddle (in and out) was a doddle. I headed straight for the pinnacles as this is where most of the action had been over the past week and I could already taste pan fried snapper on my way out...

My paddle was diverted by bird activity, heaps of it (have I told you I like birds...) and I spent the first hour or so out there chasing down schools of bonito and mac tuna that were being ferociously pursued by all kinds of sea birds - unfortunately they were uninterested in my trawled Halco as well as my little silver that I repeatedly kept casting at them. That's it! I eventually decided and settled into trawling a floated pilchard and doing a bit of bottom bashing whilst at it, coming up with only small squire...

All of a sudden the reel holding my trolled pilchard went off, followed by some aerial activity and a couple of big splashes; I couldn't identify what was at the end of my line as a result of the weather and the distance it was away from me and for a moment I thought I had hooked a small black marlin, however this turned out to be the mother of all long toms - probably around 150cm!! After releasing this beast (had to cut it off - some impressive dentures at work there!) I set up again and thought I'd place myself near the pinnacles once more. There was still heaps of surface activity all around, but I thought more of the same - bonito and Maccy's. It was then that my reel screamed again, this time with more urgency and when I picked up the rod I realised that I had connected with something solid, and I immediately thought it was a big mac tuna. But this fellow stripped off some line and immediately went deep, so my thoughts wandered to longtail... perhaps?? The fight went on for quite a while, most of the time me just hanging on and keeping tension on the line - I knew that if it were a biggish tuna I was in for a bit of a battle. Then all of a sudden the line went reasonably slack as the critter headed upward and for a moment I thought I had lost it, but another couple of circular runs saw this fellow appear next to the yak; the gaff went in without any issues and a couple of swings from my tree wood saw him safely on board - went 114cm, but only a runt at 10kg, almost felt guilty for keeping him - NOT!!

It's probably cause it's early in the season and they still have a lot of eating to do before they start packing on the weight. Any case, got a bucket load of fillets from it and a couple of those went straight into the pan with some black pepper and lemon juice tonight - beautiful!

Sorry I tried to compress the picture so that I could include it in the text, but no can do...

Here's to a great season, see you out on the water soon!

Tight lines

Snaps on HBs, 11Dec10

Subject: Fishing today -- 11Dec10
From: sunshiner
Date: 11/12/2010 12:38 PM

Cloud cover: 10/10 early on, burning off to 7/10
Wind direction & speed: N, <10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">10knots (but not more than 15)
Sea state: northerly chop mixed with 1.5m E swell
Participants: Just me

Background: For several weeks we've had crappy easterly winds usually around 15-20 knots. These conditions are not conducive to recreational fishing offshore which has meant a dearth of fishing opportunities lately.

Before heading off to bed last night about 9:30pm I checked the wind status as there'd been no appreciable wind at home for a couple of hours. Sure enough, the live weather station on Double Island Point was indicating around 5 knots from the north. Although I had done no preparation except put the VHF radio on charge I resolved to recheck the weather early in the morning but only when I woke up, whatever that time might be. I slept soundly and awoke before first light -- around 3:30am in fact. There was no wind evident and so I booted up my PC and checked Seabreeze again. The forecast wind and actual wind were both northerly but the actual, around 5 knots, was still much lower than the forecast so I made the immediate decision to launch my yak at north-facing Main Beach, but first composed and sent an email to NY Hookers telling them I was going.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

Above: The graphed anemometer record from Double Island Point, 50km north of Noosa, at 3.30am today.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
By 4.40am I'd scoffed a banana for brekky and was standing by my fully loaded yak on Main Beach, gazing at an uninviting murky green-brown sea which was being gently urged onto the beach by the swell and the five knot northerly.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

04:40. Launch time
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
No problems on the launch but I got a lot damper than I should have by being a bit too casual about paddling out past the break zone.

Soon I was rigged up and, having selected one of my Jew Shoal waypoints on my Etrex, was paddling to the north into the small chop following the Etrex arrow. With the improving ambient light, I spotted terns fluttering just off my track so turned toward them, trolling only one outfit loaded with a trusty, and a bit rusty, Halco Laser Pro 120mm (pic later). I could see small mac tuna blasting into the bait but I was hoping for larger predators of the mackerel variety, which was why my Halco was rigged with a wire trace. Patch after patch of feeding tuna were passed without action for I was intent on heading toward a much larger aggregation of terns visible on the northern horizon, just west of Jew Shoal.

This larger aggregation also proved to be hovering over feeding mac tuna, although there were sufficient isolated large splashes to pique my interest -- possibly spotty macs, which just love the lure I was trolling (just take a look at the spotty mac teeth marks adorning its slender body). However, no strikes. The only other sign of human activity visible was a single tinny anchored near The Pinnacles at Jew Shoal so I headed toward it, reckoning that I'd start SP fishing for snapper by the time I got there if I'd received no other action.

The water was green-tinged as a result of heavy freshwater runoff and, despite the obvious surface carnage going on, didn't seem very fishy to me. To make matters less attractive the interaction of the swell with the chop meant that a drift would be quite joggly. As I approached the anchored tinny I could see it was the Tackleworld Maroochydore boat, with two guys in it. They appeared to be burleying and fishing SPs or bait in the burley trail. I'd chosen to pass to the south of them about 50m away and was about 100m from them when my trolling outfit went off with a loud buzz. Given the number of mac tuna around I figured that I'd probably hooked one of these little speedsters but when I picked up the rod I started to change my mind as there were recognizable bumps, reminiscent of snapper. At any rate the hooks pulled after a few seconds so we don't know what it was, but I reckon I now have a fair idea. Out went the Laser Pro again and I continued my planned track, straight toward The Pinnacles, and passing the anchored tinny. I'd only paddled about half a dozen strokes when the reel buzzed again. This time, the occupants of the tinny, who were amusing themselves catching small reefies and the odd tiny tuna, had a great view. My rod was severely bent and the fish had gone deep, although the lure runs only about 1m below the surface. After a minute or two, during which I was drifting steadily away from the tinny, I came to the conclusion that this was possibly a snapper, having caught quite a few out there but rarely by trolling. Sure enough, the murky water gave up its secrets when the tiring fish allowed itself to get near the surface. Out came the gaff and the fish was very soon "in the bag". A nice start on a less than perfect morning...
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

05:46. Note the sonar is reading 7.5m -- about as shallow as you'll find at Jew Shoal. The fish was first hooked at about 15m depth and we'd drifted onto The Pinnacles during the fight.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
Having photographed and stowed the fish I turned back toward where I'd got the strike and redeployed the Laser Pro, after checking for line etc damage. This meant I was paddling back toward the Tackleworld tinny. No more strikes as I approached their boat and the skipper couldn't resist asking about the catch when I got close enough. A snapper, eh? Which lure or bait? Where do you stow the fish? I was quite free with my info knowing that they probably couldn't match my presentation anyway -- stealth and low speed! There was no action on this pass and indeed none for the next half hour or so when I briefly reverted to drift fishing with SPs. The tinny guys departed for somewhere else to the west -- just as well as they'd have been really pissed off if they'd stayed a bit longer.

I wasn't comfortable drift fishing in the very joggly conditions so rigged up the trolling outfit again. All it took was a paddle into the "hot" area this time toward the west when ZZZZZ went the reel again. This time I was pretty sure from the start that this was a snapper. Sure enough, a decent tussle ensued before a bigger one lay beaten next to the yak.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

06:41. Snapper #2 in the Supalite's cavernous fish box. The Laser Pro is still in its mouth.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
OK, now I was on a roll. I knew how and I knew where. Out went the Laser Pro again. This time the hookup came only a few minutes later. I just happened to be glancing over my right shoulder to check that the rod tip was jiggling at the optimum vibration frequency when said rod tip leaned right over backwards accompanied by a scream from the spool clicker. This time I had a little difficulty getting the rod out of the holder as the run continued but the battle soon was under way. This fish too went for depth but the smooth but powerful drag gave me a killer advantage. After a few minutes, up popped snapper #3.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

06:58. The fight's over. Snapper #3 sports appropriate bling. I must get some shiny new hooks for this battle-scarred veteran lure.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
As I was aware that the wind was likely to increase I decided to start paddling back to shore at this stage. I'm pretty sure I could have bagged out, but three snapper was enough for me today. But I still trolled the ~one km across the shoal and then the remaining three km back to the beach, without further action. The wind did increase at Noosa so I'm glad I turned for home when I did.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">

Wind starting to pick up by mid morning
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to=""> <10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
On the beach just after 8:00am a young mum (a local) and her son posed with two of the fish... The shy young daughter behind her Mum couldn't be coerced into holding the third.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
And here are the three, 62cm, 58cm and 54cm.
<10knots increasing="" initially="" to="">
And the fish arrayed on the front deck of the Supalite with the rod, reel (Van Staal) and lure used to catch them.

Sometimes the impromptu trips produce memorable results.

The mighty Halco Laser Pro strikes again, Jaro!! Looks like some opportunities next week, guys. And the snapper are on at JS! Yahoo!!

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

jimbo PB snapper, 09Dec10

Subject: Yak Fishing Report - Thur 9 Dec
From: "Jim Thompson"
Cloud cover: initially 7/10 becoming 2/10
Wind direction & speed: ESE to 15-12 knots
Sea state: Short period 1.5m easterly swell with messy wind wave/chop
Current direction & speed: Slight SE

With Seabreeze indicating that next Monday might be a possible yak day, but this being normally my work day (ie, the same as happened for the past month!) I was prepared to have a go even if the conditions weren't going to be ideal. At 0400 this morning Seabreeze was showing DIP blowing a consistent 15k from the ESE, but Willy Weather was forecasting less than 12 knots for the Noosa North Shore for most of the morning, so decided I would give it a go anyway. Needless to say, Seabreeze was correct.

After launching at MG (small wave breaking at fairly low tide off end of rock groyne) and then setting up, I set out for Jew Sh at 0510 pushing straight into a messy wind-chopped sea with a few white caps. There were a number of birds flying close to the surface heading out to sea, but only once did I see a few gathering briefly before moving on.

I went straight to up-wind side of one of my JS marks on the ESE side of The Pinnacles, figuring the stiff wind and swell would soon take me on a drift back over my mark and back onto the Pinnacles. By the time I had rigged my heavy line with a trailing pilchard, and my light casting line with jig head and SP, I had already drifted ~150m in a WSW direction (there apparently being some influence from a slight SE current) and so relocated up wind to restart the drift.

Half way through the first drift I was already starting to feel a bit nauseous in the bumpy conditions, when the ratchet on the trailing reel gave a couple of buzzes. This turned out to be a reasonable Maori cod, that I thought was legal, but later measured at 41cm and so was really undersized (legal length 45cm ... Oops!).

By now I was out to the WSW of the Pinnacles and had already had a little chunder, but felt a little better for it, so decided to position myself for a drift over our favoured "Jew West" mark before heading back home. This turned out to be a winning move. About 100m into this drift the trailing line started screaming and I knew as soon as I picked up the rod this was a good fish.

After a short tussle I boated my best ever snapper (later measured at 72cm and 4.4kg), see pic below. With the nauseousness still present but two good fish on board I decided to head for home at ~0830 with a following swell and wind now slightly abated. The return surf conditions were quite gentle with the near high tide. I was home by 1000, quite satisfied with my efforts.

Cheers, Jimbo

PB snapper, surf vids, 29Nov10

Subject: fishing today -- 29nov10
From: sunshiner
Date: 29/11/2010 2:33 PM

Cloud cover: initially 5/10 becoming 2/10
Wind direction & speed: ESE to 10 knots
Sea state: moderate swell from east
Current direction & speed: Possibly a slight current to SE at Sunshine Reef

Participants: Mark, Alex, Sam, Jake, LeRoux, Kev

It was so good to get offshore today, the only likely opportunity in at least three weeks of incessant easterly winds and large swells. Even with full knowledge that the launch and return were likely to be tricky, several hard core yakkers opted to go. I awoke at 0345 and checked the weather -- calm at Sunshine Beach and light winds at Double Island Point. It was on.

Alex, with the enthusiasm and energy typical of a 22 year old, had driven up from Brisbane and arrived at Middle Groyne five minutes before me. Then within a few minutes Sam and his brother Jake also turned up, two yaks on Sam's Forester. I spent a couple of minutes checking the launch situation and deemed it doable with care, as the swell had dropped overnight.

4:45am. Planned launch time.

I was first on the beach and rather than wait for the others, I opted to launch, but not before LeRoux shouted a morning greeting to me from the beach fringe. I headed for the deep water at the end of the wall and waited for a lull in the sets. Eventually, after backpaddling and manoeuvering in the area for what seemed several minutes, an opportunity arose and I dashed across the splash zone.

Frame from video taken using chest cam on the way out

VIDEO, how to exit at Middle Groyne

The exit was a little hairy but I got out OK and after paddling into the safe zone started to unpack my gear. Some minutes later out came Sam and Jake (Jake launching with us for the first time today).

The brothers Boulden were exhilarated at their successful crossing of the surf zone but soon settled in to the task of setting up their gear.

Then Alex paddled clear of the breaking area, claiming that he'd taken a bath on the way out and had many litres of salt water inside the hull, apparently as a result of a leaking hatch seal and an encounter with a breaking wave.

The silvery object on the bow of Alex's yak is a fish carry bag, complete with ice block.

Then with LeRoux's arrival, the little flotilla had assembled.

Off we headed for Sunshine Reef.

Although the swell was quite menacing around Fairy Pools to Hells Gates, once we broke through into the open sea conditions were much better. Just on 6:00am four of us arrived at my favourite Sunshine Reef mark, Alex coming along a little later.

As usual, I checked the current using my GPS and discovered that it was almost non-existent and, with a drogue out, that I was drifting gently toward the east, with a light breeze coming from the SE. By the time Alex joined us, I'd decided to head up-drift of my mark and had paddled some 300m west of the mark, intending to drift across it. There was little or no sign of baitfish on the sonar but, as we've found out before, that is no indication that predators are not present. Alex opted to drift along near me and so I was in great position to see him hook up on his first drop with a soft plastic, on 6 pound b/s line. The fish seemed pretty big so I paddled over to get some pics with the big camera, which I always carry with me offshore.

Alex's best ever snapper, at 68cm. He was pretty happy with that.

About now Doctor Dog called up on the radio in a very crackly voice to tell us he was on his way but that he'd had a slight misadventure on the way through the surf zone. And after a while he joined us. Then Alex the fish slayer hooked up again. I was considering heading over to photograph this fish also when suddenly my soft plastic was hammered. This was the first fish on the Van Staal reel/Fin Nor rod combo that I was using for the first time and about which I've been asked to write a review so I played it with relish. This reel is spooled with 20 pound breaking strain braid and I'd tied the main line directly to my small wire trace which I use on my soft plastics -- ie no leader. Being a novice with braid I was interested to find out how it compared with mono in a fish fighting situation.

Here's the rig exactly as it was set up when taken by the fish. Note that the braid main line (yellow) is tied directly to the loop of the home made wire trace. This snapper ignored the wire and the braid.

And here's the snapper (about 52cm) about to be consigned into the Stealth's huge fish box.

It appears that while all this was going on Sam and Jake had headed in (seasickness?) and LeRoux had wandered off, possibly toward New Zealand. Then Alex gave the fish a break by announcing that he was feeling queasy himself and was also going to head in. That left only Mark and me out there. Other than a decent strike for Mark which failed to solidly hook up, things were quiet so Mark and I decided to head in also, some 30 minutes after Alex, leaving Sunshine Reef at 9:00 am.

The swells as we passed to the north of Hells Gates seemed mountainous but we plodded on and soon were approaching Middle Groyne. Alex called up on the radio and 'kindly' offered to video us as we ran the surf gauntlet. I was ready first and stuffed up somewhat by choosing to run just as a medium sized wave reared up behind me. A boardrider in my peripheral vision to my right got ready to catch this wave so I knew I might be in trouble and I could see it looming. The next thing I knew I was on it. I'd built up some speed and the Stealth caught the wave and charged down its face. The video which Alex caught shows that I stopped paddling briefly but I remember using the rudder pedals to straighten our course on the wave. I was amazed when I found that everything was under control and the wave was now spent, having encountered deep water. What a great ride and I'm now full of admiration for the designers of this tiny boat. Mark did a much better job than I and picked a totally quiet time to run in beautifully with no fuss, but much slower than my transit.

Hopefully Alex will be able to put Mark and my surf zone transits (incoming) up on youtube.
[Videos linked below signature]

Thanks for coming along guys. Le Roux, please let us know how you went. [See LR comment at very end of post] Hope to catch some of you at the Noosa Yakkers Christmas event on 9Dec.

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Sunshiner's epic ride

Doc Dog makes it look easy

email from LeRoux
Subject: Diddly Squat!!

Hi Kevvy, and thanks again for a great report!

Well it was so quiet on the inner reaches of Sunshine Reef there, despite all the burley compliments of the brothers Boulden(I sincerely hope U guys are OK?) that I decided to try a couple of other marks further out. As per the title of my email though this turned out to be a fruitless venture including quite a prolonged trawl(the guys on one of the stinkboats had caught a nice cobia on a floated pilchard, so I thought I might get lucky) as well as a visit to JS on  the way back.

At least I went through the surf zone completely dry despite a fairly decent swell.

Better luck next time.

Thanks for the company guys!

Tight lines

Raper Shoal, 19Nov10

Subject: Fishing 19Nov11
From: "brian"
Date: 19/11/2010 7:55 PM

Hi all,

Decided to head to Raper Shoal and fish "locally" due to time constraints. Google earth told me the shoal was approx 4kms away from my launch point.

After mistiming the shore break I got sorted out and started off, water depth remained about 15mtrs and pretty featureless until I got about 1km away from my destination where it gradually rose to about 10mtrs. (no bird/surface activity at all)

As I neared my destination I discovered my first problem of the day - between myself and my mark (scrounged from the net) there was a very large swell pushing through, even though I was over 1.5kms from land, and to make matters worse every couple of waves were breaking. The reason for this I found out later as the swell backed off a bit, was that at the shallowest point of the shoal it was only 3.7 metres deep.

The drift was nearly 2kms p/hr to the North and fishing was hard, especially in a new location with very different conditions to my usual haunts at SR.

After half an hour of dedicated fishing time the only sign of life was a rather large squid following my pilchard on the retrieve. It turns out the squid was smarter than I and won its freedom.

With half an hour left I finally hooked up to a good fish only to have my jighead snap. Have already lost a bit of gear due to the unfamiliar shallower reef structure.

I was beginning to think I should've stayed at home.

While retrieving my SP I got another good hit and this time stayed connected and line started peeling off as the fish took off in all sorts of directions, which had me completely puzzled as to its identity. Needless to say I skilfully (NOT) landed the fish and despatched it to the hull.

Having a fish on board I decided enough was enough for my first mission and set paddle for the awaiting sand monster. No sooner than I'd paddled 50mtrs than the SP that I was dragging behind went off resulting in a nice healthy 55cm snapper coming on board! (my first on the troll)

Uneventful paddle back and avoided the sand monster (just). No bikini clad girls on Moffats - just wrinkly tourists today!

pic missing in action
launch site @ moffat beach - nasty shore break pic doesn't really do it justice.

pic missing in action
After checking size/bag limits at home found out that the kingfish was 5cm under size and as this is not a species I've caught up here before I actually thought the size limit was 50cm. I'm now going to print off & laminate a small card from fisheries web site & keep on the yak.

cheers brian

back in action, 19Nov10

Subject: Test paddle today -- I'm back in action!
From: sunshiner
Date: 19/11/2010 3:43 PM

Cloud cover: 10/10
Wind direction & speed: SE, 10knots, forecast to go to 25knots later
Sea state: low swell

Having been locked up with a busted rib plus work for the last several weeks, with today as my first fully 'fit and free' day in all that time, you can imagine how pissed off I was with the weather forecast for today and the next several days -- 25 knots from the SE. What really got my goat was Pete's Trip Report for Thursday. Clearly the fish are on! Well done Pete -- that's a great bag, mate, and I'm not just talking about the garlic!

It was 9:20am today (after rechecking Seabreeze and noting that the wind change was likely to be late) before I decided I just had to get out. I needed a paddle. I needed to test my battered body to see whether its repair system had worked. By 09:50 I was standing on the beach at Middle Groyne.

09:54am. That sand bank at the end of the groyne is still there, guys.

The launch turned out to be easy -- just a matter of holding in the deep water just short of the break until a lull in the sets appeared. It felt good, no, great, to be out there again. I paddled hard and felt no pain. While setting up my gear I noticed, in the dim light, a 'fuzz' on the north eastern horizon. Birds, dozens of them, wheeling around, about one kilometre from shore.

10:08am. Right amongst them. No big predators, unfortunately. As Pete indicated in his report for yesterday, small bonito were feeding on the bait. Soon, hopefully, the larger predators will move in and feast on the bonito.

I was out there today just to confirm that I was safe to paddle to, and from, the usual destinations. So I opted to just travel around in the Bay and reacquaint myself with my yak, which has been gathering cobwebs of late.

The local pod swam along with me for a while, as if to say "Welcome back!"

Once I was satisfied that I was fit (about noon, after fairly continuous paddling and trolling, for no fish) I opted to head back in. On the way I passed through the baitfish and their tiny predators, noting how they showed up on the sonar.

Those arches at the 5m mark are almost certainly caused by the bonito, each probably 30cm long. Scale top to bottom: 10m. Bottom at 7.3m.

So no fish today, but I'm ready to paddle again. My return to the beach was a doddle, and I could easily drag my yak up that steep little bank at the top of the beach whereas that effort nearly killed me a few weeks back. It's SO good to be back in action.

Come on Jaro, organize some good yakking weather!

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

garlic and snapper, 18Nov10

Subject: yesterdays's harvest
From: Pete
Date: 19/11/2010 6:38 AM

Hi All,

I managed to take a small break in the garlic harvest for a spot of R & R and it was worth it.

Garlic harvester in action

I checked the weather conditions late on Wednesday night and it looked good so I set the alarm for 2.30am and was on the water 3.45 just as dawn was breaking.

I headed out to JS using the same mark as my last big snapper and picked up a sweetlip, with the N breeze I drifted south on the western side of the pinnacles. This is where I bagged the snapper, coming on the bite at about 10am, using floating pillies unweighted and a very small pea sinker both giving results.

Scored a double hook up, got one in, rebaited, pulled the other in, and the reset line went off again. All good sporting fun. All up I got bag limit on the snapper, (the largest at 55cm), a sweetlip and 2 silver bream, missing a yellow tail king and something else very large -- 2 flaps of the tail my drag couldn't release fast enough and my 30lb braid line snapped.

Caught the last one on the last pillie about 12.00. I called it a day and headed in.

Lots of surface action all day, small pelagics, thinking they were small bonito.

snapper harvest, by garlic harvester

Go get 'em


Snapper and surf, Vid, 16Nov10

Preamble: Today’s report is in three sections sequenced as follows:
(1) Sunshiner's email and video link
(2) Jag One’s very readable on-water account
(3) Sunshiner’s pics

Subject: Fishing today -- a landlubber's viewpoint
From: sunshiner
Date: 16/11/2010 2:48 PM

I couldn't go fishing this morning because I was diligently applying myself (starting at 4:00am) to my business. But things went well and so, by 0930 I'd decided to head down to MG to meet the several Hookers who had gone out this morning and should be returning before noon. I needed a break anyway after the the last few hectic weeks so shortly afterward I was at the MG carpark where I bumped into Stu (maverick), who'd had similar thoughts to mine. My camera, radio and measure mat were in my bag and I had hopes of catching a bit of surf landing video as the stiff northerly breeze and swell combo was cutting up quite a wave, which was breaking just off the end of the groyne. Woo hoo!

Anyway, I did get some video and a few pics. jag1, who distinguished himself today by nailing three nice snapper, pic later, has agreed to write a Trip Report. I agreed to supply what I could in the way of visual support.

So here's my contribution:

(1) a video posted on youtube (first frame image below -- that yellow thing is jimbo's yak). See who got through and how...

Subject: Fishing today -- Tues 16Nov10
From:"geoff stolberg"
Date: 16/11/2010 8:36 PM

Weather: Fine with scattered cloud.
Wind: Forecast 4-6kts NNE strengthing PM hrs.
Swell: Forecast 1.5mtrs
Starters: Ian, Jaro, Doug, Jim and Geoff.

I parked at MG at 0410hrs and had a quick check on the water, as Eyetag's car was already parked. Sure enough, his yak tailight was disappearing towards SR. Jaro arrived, followed by Jimbo and we were all set to go by 0445hrs. Time to tackle the surf. It was a "patience" departure [Jaro's word], and he and I got out OK. Jimbo wasn't happy with his first attempt so he did a repeat -- all good. Doug met up with us halfway to the shark nets, and we all headed to SR.

The swell wasn't difficult, just annoying. Especially when you've got a yak the length of mine. A couple of light showers cooled us during the trip.

Jaro lead the way and we headed for the southern end of SR, where he put in a radio call to Eyetag for his position. Eyetag's response was "One klm south of you guys. The current is really strong", or words to that effect. Eyetag made his way back up to the group and we moved towards A bay to try and lessen the drift rate. At times the GPS registered 2k/hr. Eyetag had caught and released a couple of fish already.

As the morning progressed, Doug made his way to JS as did Jimbo. Not much had been happening prior to then. As always though, that's when the fish came. Eyetag pulled a nice selection of snapper and grassies, and I broke my SR hoodoo [previous trip] with a treble of snapper. They were all taken on either smaller pillies or green prawns, with some hitting before the bait got to the bottom, and one took Eyetag's while he was winding in. Jaro switched to a SP, but the gods weren't favouring him one bit. Jimbo had radioed in from JS with a very good snapper, also on a pillie.

Around 0830hrs the swell had dropped slightly and the water took on that nice oily look of calm. It looked as if the whole swell/current dilemma was abating. How things can change!! At one point, Eyetag and I were making our way back in to a closer mark for another drift. In the time it took to paddle 1klm, the 'oily' look had been replaced by small chop. Jaro was ahead of us and had started fishing. By the time we got to him, it was now vividly apparent that it was home time.

The NNE wind had very quickly increased, as had the swell. We were faced with a northerly paddle against a wind driven swell that was heading south. Needless to say, we seemed to be looking at A bay and Hell's Gates for an eternity. The only high point for me was a guard of honour from about ten dolphins. They stuck with me for about five minutes, with two or three on my bow and the remainder riding shotgun either side or doing a barrel roll through under the yak. I would have loved to take photos, but, had I stopped paddling, I would have been at Coolum in no time.

The swell was now a good 2mtrs plus the wind factor and chop. What should normally be a 45min paddle took us 1hr 40min! And I swear, most of that was UPHILL!!

All made it back safely, including Jimbo who would have had a tailwind coming from JS!! If you've watched the video, we also all made the beach. I may have to fit a periscope to my yak if we do any more of those beach assaults. Note though that, everything was tied on and nothing was lost. I did neglect to actually tie my kitbag down, hence it became a giant sea anchor!

Considering the conditions, it was another great day in paradise with some excellent fish caught.

Thanks to Sunshiner for coming down to record the fun.

And apparently, it is bad luck to take bananas on a boat as I was advised by Kev and Ian when they spotted the remains of my snack. I argued that was impossible as I had caught fish. However, what about Jaro? Sorry, mate. I may have hexed you.

See you on the water
Geoff Stolberg
call sign JaG One

Sunshiner’s beach pics with captions.

Above: Jimbo's very fine snapper

Eyetag's nice mixed bag. Looks like that Tuskfish is still hungry.

Jag1's best snapper of the day plus a couple of its mates.

And the successful anglers -- jag1, jimbo, eyetag.

Doc Dog's barra, 13Nov10

Subject: Awoonga Barra
From: Mark Powell
Date: 14/11/2010 7:01 AM

Hi all,

Just thought I would share a couple of pics of my first serious barra. Caught in Awoonga Dam from my Kayak after dark on a soft plastic lure -- Drop Bear 130mm trolled just behind the kayak on rod & reel combo I received last xmas from my family. Very exciting fishing. Hooked at exactly the same spot I hooked and lost one on my last visit here in March 2010.

Cheers, Mark

Mark's First serious Barra: 100 cm

Proud fisherman with fish and craft

Grassies galore, 31Oct10

Subject: fishing yesterday -- 31oct10
From: "brian"
Date: 1/11/2010 8:37 AM

Hi all, belated report from Sunday,

Ian, Geoff and myself headed out to SR at 4:30am to avoid the triathlon road blocks.

Fishing was very slow, but as usual Ian was collecting the odd sweetlip here & there as Geoff and I struggled on.

After many fruitless drifts I finally landed a small shark on a soft plastic. Once we moved south and further out, we found some decent grassies,

I at one stage had a nice fish on the soft plastic, whilst dealing with that, my heavier outfit screamed off, a little patience and luck saw me land both fish, a 40cm grassy from the small rod & a 48cm from the larger rod. I managed another 2 grassies both at 48cm.

I think Ian's tally for the day was around 7 grassies 45- 48cm, 1 tusk fish and a triggerfish.

There was only 1 smallish snapper caught measuring 37cm.

Hard work yesterday, but rewarded with some quality grassies & don't they go hard!

Till next time - cheers Brian.

Carlo's first trip, 24Oct10

Subject: fishing today -- 24oct10
From: sunshiner
Date: 24/10/2010 12:23 PM

Participants: eyetag, carlo, sunshiner

Hi guys

Well, I fronted, despite the cracked rib. I just had to find out how far I could push it. More about that later.

I arrived at the carpark at around 0450, saw eyetag's car and knew he'd have left before daylight but wondered if Carl Green, a brand new Noosa Yakker who lives in Gympie, had turned up. Sure enough, there he was, standing on the beach next to his Prowler. I quickly went down to say hello then scampered back to the Sierra to unload the Stealth.

A few minutes later I was back with my boat. Carl must be a patient guy for he mentioned that he'd been on the beach since 0400. I then noticed that he has a VHF radio (Lowrance, with built in GPS) so on the spot, he declared his callsign 'Carlo'.

0506hrs. Here's Carlo, ready to party.

And here's the handsome devil up close. Yep, that's an old Army floppy hat.

Anyway, as you can see, the launch was a doddle. But I noticed a problem for me as soon as I hit the seat and headed toward the exit -- I couldn't paddle hard because of pain. So I had to meander gently out through the small swell. Clearly, that physical condition is unsustainable as sometimes you have to open the throttle to time your exit well and of course, coming back in is when you really need that burst of speed.

Never mind, I was out here now and it was a beautiful Laguna Bay morning. A dolphin was catching breakfast just off the end of the groyne and a couple of gannets plus a few fluttering terns ate the crumbs dropping from his table. After radio-checking with Carlo (loud and clear) I called up eyetag who responded immediately from Sunshine Reef. He'd caught a nice snapper and a good Moses Perch already.

My nagging rib pain caused me to choose not to paddle out to Jew Shoal or Sunshine but Carlo decided he'd head for JS and off he went. It seemed to me that it would be wise to hang around near the base as I'd hate to get out to Sunshine Reef (where I really wanted to be) and find that I was unable to get home without assistance.

So I trolled a couple of times across the Bay within 1.3km of base. The pain didn't get any worse but it didn't let up either so after an hour on the water I gave it away and headed in, fishless. There was bait present right in front of the groyne the whole time I was out there as the dolphin and birds continued to get a feed. No fishy predators, though.

Dragging the Stealth up that steep little beach was no fun. Boy was I glad I didn't have a 15kg mackerel aboard!

Hopefully Carlo and eyetag will let us know how they went. Now to get on with the healing process. Any tips?

Red & white Stealth Supalite, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner

Email from Ian
I had a great day today with perfect conditions,catching plenty of fish and losing a few too.Sorry the report is short,but I'm exhausted after the weekends activities.
Ian Tagg
call sign;eye tag

Ian’s uncaptioned pics: