Wayne's Big Mac, 23Feb10

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 23feb10 -- BIG Mac
Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2010 3:17 PM

The BIGGEST fish comes at the end. I expected only three of us to front this morning, jimbo, whalebait and I. On arrival at MG carpark at about 0515 there were whalebait and jimbo rearing to go. As usual I wandered down to check out the surf break. Almost non existent... should be an easy launch today.

0537hrs. Whalebait's keen to get amongst them as that's him in the distance, setting up. Jimbo is paddling out.

At launch time we were happy to see that within a few hundred metres of the groyne there were a couple of thousand terns in several clumps, wheeling and fluttering over breakfast baitfish. This boded well for the day. There's nothing like an easy meal to encourage the larger predators to come into the bay. A gentle southerly breeze in close hinted that things might be a bit choppy out at Sunshine Reef and there had been some discussion earlier about where we'd fish. In the end whalebait and jimbo opted to head for north Sunshine Reef, despite the breeze. I opted for Little Halls Reef on a hunch that there may be pelagic predators hanging around there and also as I felt like having a go at the reefies for a change.

With so much bird activity right in close, how could anyone not be tempted to have a few casts before heading off to the chosen spot? Jimbo headed toward a huge flock hanging around the closest shark net while I happily finished my post launch preparations. I'd just rigged my casting outfit when there were several splashes close by so I fired off a warming cast and immediately hooked up to what turned out to be a long tom, about 40-50 cm long and as skinny and wriggly as the beachworms I sometimes catch at A-Bay. There being no larger predators evident I soon put out the trolling outfit, armed with that lure again and turned toward LH Reef. On the radio I heard that jimbo and whalebait were on their way to their chosen reef.

Conditions were pleasant even though the humidity was quite high as demonstrated by the sweat accumulating on my brow. Wherever I looked I could see terns busily taking advantage of the bounty offered to them by the ocean.

0610. Looking south toward Noosa, terns wheeling and diving in the foreground.

A few minutes later the radio blared. It was doctor dog announcing that he'd just launched and that Stu and Wayne were in the carpark getting their yaks ready. After some discussion he opted to join me and mentioned that Stu and Wayne would be heading for Sunshine Reef, hopefully to meet up with jimbo and whalebait who know the reef pretty well.

Pretty soon, as I trolled along I began to see signs of larger fish -- their larger, isolated splashes a dead giveaway against the background of washing-machine like churning typically caused by the small mac tuna and leaping bonito. Clearly there were some larger predators here and this info was passed by radio to doctor dog. Once I got to the area around LH Reef, some 3.4km from launch, I was like a pensioner in an all-you-can-eat restaurant. All around there were tempting bust-ups and I couldn't decide which to head for first. The closest is the obvious choice and that was the one that usually got my attention. I could see the small mac tuna breaking clear of the surface but couldn't tempt them with my offering. Never mind, I wasn't really interested in these little guys so I just plugged on, trolling gently and casting from time to time.

By 0730 doctor dog and I had joined up, just inshore from LH Reef. He'd caught and released a mac tuna which had taken his trolled lure. I still had nothing on the board. We headed toward one of the bigger patches of bait, noting occasional large and isolated splashes which were almost certainly bigger predators hunting down the mac tuna and the leaping bonito. As I recall doctor dog and I were a hundred metres or so apart, he slightly in front, heading south when my trolling outfit (Penn 320GTi overhead reel/Halco Laser Pro HB lure) growled. I called out to doc dog who acknowledged and continued his focus on the job at hand. This was no howling strike such as I'd expect if I'd become connected to one of the larger predators so, on picking up the rod I mentally tagged it as a mac tuna, of which there were thousands nearby. Then the first run started. I changed my mind. Maybe this was a big mac tuna? I gained some line and suffered another fast, long run. Aha! Maybe a longtail tuna. The yak was being towed at a fair clip and by now I'd convinced myself that this was a longtail tuna and that I was probably in for a long fight. But it had taken my mackerel lure, now heavily scarred after a couple of interesting encounters.

At around the ten minute mark I spotted him -- a beautiful Spaniard. A couple of minutes later he was knackered and flopping along next to the kayak. The gaff went into the shoulder cleanly (left hand again) and I started to lift him in. There's something about catching big Spanish mackerel from a kayak -- something that usually results in the kayak angler letting out a huge whoop! I'm no different. I blurted out a radio message to Noosa Yakkers, some of whom were too far distant to receive the transmission, probably. "Big Spaniard!". Doctor dog paddled over. "Done it again, eh?". I smiled and asked if he'd mind taking some pics.

0754hrs. One of doctor dog's pics. Thanks, mate

Then I took a couple myself, just for the hell of it!

0758hrs. Fitting a Spaniard into/onto an Espri kayak. Note tail rope.

Why you need wire to safely take Spaniards.

Then doctor dog interrupted my photo session. He was only 20 or so metres away. "Pretty big shark here", he casually mentioned. I saw a couple of big swirls and took his word for it. About 3m long he reckoned, and it cruised around us for a couple of minutes. With that, and mainly because I didn't want to catch any more fish, I decided to call it a day. The GPS showed that I was 4.3km from the launch spot so I stowed the Spaniard and headed back to Middle Groyne, all the way passing feeding fish and wheeling terns. Possibly I could have trolled on the way back but I seriously didn't want or need to catch another Spaniard. This was enough for me, today.

Forty minutes or so later I was back at Middle Groyne where I stowed my gear and went in through an easy surf, putting a few more scratches on the yak when I grazed the rocks dodging a partly immersed, immobile and presumably deaf elderly lady right at the end of my run.

My Spaniard (more to come -- see later). 1.13m, not weighed but pretty fat.

And then I managed to find a young lady who was delighted to hold the fish for the camera. "Oooh! Isn't it heavy?"

About 0930, doctor dog came in.

I would have packed up and gone home now except that doc dog told me he'd heard on the radio that Wayne, one of our gang had nailed a very large Spaniard and was paddling back in from Sunshine Reef (about an hour's paddle away). Being unsure as to whether anyone else had a camera I resolved to tidy my gear up and then hang around until he came back in. I'm glad I did. Here are some pics...

Firstly, jimbo arrived, long before the others. He'd caught a shark and kept it for the table.

Then whalebait and Wayne arrived off the beach. I hadn't heard this until just before they hit the beach, but whalebait had scored his first ever Spaniard after Wayne had nailed his. Well done and congratulations, Brian.

Above, whalebait's fish was bigger than mine. 1.2m, 14kg.

He'd also caught a spangled emperor.

46cm Spangled emperor. (45cm limit, one of the "Coral Reef Fin Fishes")

Then Wayne paddled in, his yak obviously heavily loaded.

Wayne's fishbox on his Profish isn't big enough...

Wayne's fish went 1.4m but 21kg. A very fat fish!

Wayne's beast.

Noosa Yakkers: Discussions on the beach about tactics and techniques. Note Jaro, with crutches and long socks, who is champing at the bit to get back into it but can't until May.

Thanks for coming along guys. What a great day!

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

Something grabbed the other end - Eyetag, 13Feb10

From: Ian Tagg
Subject: Re: fishing today
Date: Saturday, 13 February 2010 7:22 PM

It was 0400 hrs at MG as I jumped on the yak. My light dropped down and I couldn't see a thing, so I went hard and luckily made it straight out.

I arrived at SR just as first light was appearing so I put a Bonito on a chin guard wished him good luck, flicked the bail arm open paddled 20 strokes and closed the bail. I continued to paddle allowing the bait to rise closer to the surface, then opening the bail arm again for another 10 strokes.

Now everything is set and I'm ready for the strike. Waiting, waiting 30 minutes later still nothing so I decided to check the bait just in case I missed a strike. As I grabbed the rod something grabbed the other end, shook it's head a few times and took off fast. It turned out to be a Spaniard.

As soon as the Spaniard was stowed I switched rigs to a Spaniard Special with a smaller Bonito (caught last Sunday) and went through my routine and was ready again.

The bait was down for about 5 minutes when the reel screamed for a second and the fish was missed. Next time I put on a Watsons Leaping Bonito, went through the routine paddled for about 10 minutes and was hit again. This time I was solid with a fish, the usual headshakes and after a 10 minute battle, another Spaniard was onboard.

The next bait was a Bonito which didn't last long. I was paddling to raise the bait but before the second drop it took off with a scream and violent head shakes which broke the bottom two hooks off and the fish was lost. I tied another Spaniard Special on with a Bonito and paddled for another 20 minutes for nothing. I checked the bait and it was gone.

That being my last bait I tied on a Jaro special for the trip home.

Not far out from Fairy Pools I noticed a bust up so I grabbed the light outfit, 12lb braid, with a slug and cast started cranking. It was hit and hooked solid with a Skipjack Tuna. The fight was pretty standard until I got colour then all of a sudden the fish hit another gear screaming off straight down and then (for the first time kayaking) I was sharked.

I pulled in what was left of the Tuna, he would have been about 4kg whole. I thought it was time to leave that location, so I paddled in.

Happy to get two fish but disappointed to lose the others. The fish went 8kg and 6kg.

I'll be heading out tomorrow to do the same, as long as the weather is ok. If it looks no good I might try for some bait in close for a bit of fun and money saving.

Ian Tagg

Still better than... - says Stu, 5Feb10

From: Stuart Denissen

Subject: Fishing Today
Date: Friday, 5 February 2010 2:03 PM

HI Yakkers,

I arrived at MG parking lot at approx 05 35 this morning. I took the Yak off the truck and got all my gear ready only to find that I had left my paddle at home!

A quick call was made and the misses was awake and on her way down saving me some paddle time.

The launch was good, I timed the 2-3 foot sets and stayed dry. Once out the conditions were pretty good, a bit of wind would have actually been nice as it was very humid and after a short paddle I was already beginning to sweat. There was a bit of cloud cover with a big dark cloud looming overhead threatening to rain at any minute, however only a few drops came from it.

I observed a bit of bird activity about a kilometre straight out from MG, by the time I arrived there was no sign of any bait-fish and the birds had flown in all directions. I decided to paddle along the North Shore which I did for a few K's and turned back, paddling up and down the river mouth and Laguna Bay. I did not see any bait-fish whatsoever. There was what seemed to be a lot of spawning coral all over the water surface, probably hindering any bait-fish from surfacing. I decided to call it quits without a single strike for the morning.

As the saying goes "a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work" - I was just grateful not to be at work!

Till next time


Nice paddle but..., 4Feb10

From: Jim Thompson
Subject: Yak Fishing Yesterday - Thurs 4 Feb 10

Hi Yakkers,

Apologies for the delay in reporting yesterday's outing - basically the same as Stu's today, ie, nothing much to report.

I launched at 0540 right at bottom low tide and had a bit of fun getting out. The waves weren't particularly big and there were ample breaks in the sets coming in. However, once having launched I found myself being swept out by a very strong current running out next to the rock groyne, but also in towards the rocks near the seaward end. No amount of back-paddling could counter this current to await a break in the sets, and I was just swept out and confronted by a couple of rough waves that I then had no option but to just paddle flat out into. I was lucky to just burst through the crest of these waves at an angle of about 45 deg accelerating upwards and becoming mostly airborne out the back of each, just avoiding being tipped over backwards and quite probably washed back into the rocks at the end of the groyne ..... a lesson to be learnt when launching at bottom low tide.

Well that was the excitement for the day. I didn't catch anything keepable, so you can stop reading now if you want. I put on my Spaniard Special lure with a nice slimey mac attached and paddled from MG to the river mouth, and in the absence of any surface/bird activity as far as I could see to the north, decided to head for Jew Sh, changing to Jaro's favoured Halco lure for the journey (I'm yet to catch anything on one of these lures, Jaro). The wind from the ENE was quite slight, and decreased a bit during the morning, maybe 10-7k, but had pushed up a sloppy wind wave during the night on top of 1.5-2.0m SE swell, making things just a little bit bumpy for most of the morning. The good point was that the conditions, combined with the fact that school holidays have finished, meant I had almost the whole ocean to myself .... saw only about five stink boats for the whole morning.

Other than one brief gathering of birds about 200m away, which disappeared by the time I had tied a slug onto my casting rig, there was no surface activity at all at Jew Sh. I decided to do a bit of traditional bottom fishing around the Pinnacles and landed a small cod on my casting rig and a massive "toado" on my trailed line that managed to take the bottom hook of the 3-gang set in the process of releasing it with my pliers. I reloaded the two remaining ganged hooks with a pilchard and soon had a good strike but unfortunately the striker didn't stay hooked. I blame this on the bloody toado for knocking off my bottom hook of the 3-gang set.

After about an 1.5 hours out at Jew Sh I called it quits about 0930 and again headed back towards the lower North Shore (now being pushed along by a mostly following sea and NE breeze) then across the river mouth once more and back to MG. I was back on the beach by 1030 without any dramas coming back through the surf zone.

Again, a nice paddle, good upper body exercise but no keepers.

Seabreeze is indicating that tomorrow (Sat) morning could still be good conditions for yakking if anyone is interested (Kev, have you recovered sufficiently from your sailing sojourn in Bass Strait?). I won't be going however.