Nice tusky, 22May10

Subject: fishing today -- 22nd may10
From: "ian"
Date: 22/05/2010 7:36 PM

I paddled to SR; it was calm when I left and by the time I got there it was blowing 5 knots from the South which steadily rose getting up to 10 knots by 7am. I anchored and fished the bottom with soft plastics catching Grassies, Squire, Spangled Emperor, Venus Tuskfish and 12 Yellow Lipped Butterfly Bream, which is a new species for me, everything was under or close to size except the Tuskfish which was 45cm and weighed 1.4kg gutted and gilled.

I'd left by 8 and paddled across to JS where I didn't get a fish after 15 minutes of bottom bashing so home I went. The swell was tiny and there was a little cloud cover for the first hour or so as the sun rose.

Looks impressive in this photo, you must agree!

Actual size

mac tuna fun, 16May10

Subject: fishing today -- 16th May
From: "ian"
Date: 16/05/2010 7:16 PM

Hi all, I had a ball this morning chasing Mack Tuna on 8lb braid just north of the RM. I took 5 home (Removed by editor) the biggest being 5kg the others around 3kg. There was the odd Spotty around but they were hard to find. I did lose one hard body (Jaro special in qantas colours) that was bitten clean off. I launched about 6.30 and was back in at 9.00. The better half was happy that I did something else instead of fish all day. Let's hope the weather is as good next weekend.
call sign: eye tag

Cod for Ian, 15May10

Subject: fishing today -- 15may10
From: sunshiner
Date: 15/05/2010 2:15 PM

Cloud cover:, no cloud
Wind direction & speed: westerly, 1 knot
Sea state: flat in Laguna Bay

There's a fair chance that this pelagic season, the best many of us have experienced, is over. But we had to go out today to find out.

Eyetag, jaro and I were lined up to go today, Jaro and I for the second consecutive day. Start time was set for 0630-ish but, predictably, eyetag's car was parked in its usual place when I arrived. He'd presumably launched in the dark as he intended to hit Sunshine Reef first. In the carpark I pulled into my usual spot to find that my parking neighbour was George, of Noosa's Adventure Sports & Kitesurf Australia []. George was offloading and prepping his Moken yak. I hadn't met him before but apparently Jaro had been regaling him with stories about kayak fishing so here he was. Jaro soon arrived and within a few minutes we were ready to go.

0637hrs. George is first to launch on the flattest sea you're ever likely to encounter at Middle Groyne. The weather was perfect also.

Jaro and I could see several boats hanging around the river mouth so we paddled in that direction hoping for signs of larger pelagics. All we could find were small splashes indicating the presence of bonito rather than mackerel. We hung around for a short while and then opted to head for Little Hall's Reef to see if we could wake up a sweetlip. The sea was smooth there too, with only very occasional surface splashes from devil rays, dolphins and small mac tuna. We drifted and bottom fished with SPs for a while. Both of us got hits from small fish and Jaro even managed to extract an undersized sweetlip on bait but after an hour we decided to move on. During the time we were at Little Hall's Reef I'd been trying to call eyetag on the radio but got no response. Eventually he came up, loud and clear, initiating a call, but my response was clearly not making the distance to where he was, presumably Sunshine Reef, over 6km away. VHF radio operates on line of sight and it's likely that the combination of the earth's curvature and the low absolute height of our respective aerials made radio communication difficult. Note that communication with the Coastguard on Channel 22 is usually not difficult from a kayak near Noosa because of the existence of a repeater station for that channel on top of Noosa Hill.

We moved back to the river mouth where a large number of watercraft were hanging around waiting for the next bust-up. Today and yesterday I noticed several gannets among the birds wheeling around, their presence a sure sign that summer has gone. So take care when trolling over the next several months because gannets are suckers for shallow running hard bodied lures and can very easily put unwanted excitement into your day if you have to bring one on board to extract a lure.

At the river mouth huge schools of skittish baitfish were being harrassed occasionally by, you guessed it, bonito of the leaping variety, as per yesterday. At one such occasion I happened to be sitting on top of the bait when such a bust-up happened. Within seconds the roar of outboard motors filled the air as wild-eyed Saturday anglers charged over to me to cast their slugs in the hope of catching poor little bonito. I was wishing I had a steel helmet as there was more metal flying around than in the Tet offensive. Well, perhaps I exaggerate a little, but you get the picture. Serene it was not.

Jaro and I had agreed earlier, while drifting in solitude on LH Reef, that a more pleasant day could not be imagined, with a flat sea, clear sky, warm but not too hot sun and only the tiniest of breezes. But now it was time to suck it up and accept that the likelihood of catching decent fish today had receded far into the negative area. We turned for home.

The return to the beach was so easy that it wasn't even worth checking to see whether there were large waves coming. So that's it, guys. Jaro and I are now rigging for reef fishing for the next six months. I wonder if we'll see new snapper and sweetlip record lengths coming up (77cm and 62cm, respectively). Bring it on!!

Ian, how did you go? (see response further down, this post)

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

From Ian
I left MG at and paddled to SR where I fished the bottom until about 6.30 for no result. Then I trolled a large Pike for 1.5 hrs and didn't get a touch so I decided to fish the bottom again and got a nice mixed bag of reefies.

I brought home 2 Grassies 42 and 50cm, 2 Snapper 45 and 53 cm, 1 Tusk fish 38 and an Estuary Cod 65 cm. All caught on soft plastics except the Cod and the bigger Grassy which were caught on a 1oz blade.

snapper, 53cm

estuary cod, 65cm

My suspicions of being out of radio range were confirmed thanks to Sunshiner's report. What a glorious day it was, I could see Teewah from SR and that doesn't happen often.


nice day, no macs, 14May10

Subject: fishing today -- 14May10
From: sunshiner
Date: 14/05/2010 12:30 PM

Cloud cover:, cloudless
Wind direction & speed: S, 5knots in Bay, stronger out wide
Sea state: 1.8m southerly swell

A glorious day on the water, but those who haven't yet taken advantage of the spotty mac run may have done their dash -- they didn't show up for us today -- pending receipt of info from a couple of other late finishers (LeRoux, Wayne).

Jaro had called for a later start because the spotties had not been showing up until about 0700 so I trundled into the carpark at about 0630 to find that whalebait's kingcab ute was in its usual parking spot. Nearby were two guys and one battered Espri yak, same colour as mine. The yak was chock a block full of buckets, bait and fishing gear, certainly no space for a paddler, so this got my curiosity meter rising. I wandered over to introduce myself and was, in turn introduced to (1) "Birdman", a scrawny heavily bearded guy about 55yo and (2) "Drew", younger and more normal looking. A brief conversation revealed that they were both going fishing, but that the buckets, bait etc were for "Drew" who was to fish from the end of the groyne while Birdman launched his Espri in quest of mackerel.

Clearly the word had got out. A quick sqizz at the surf revealed a pretty flat sea -- no problem. Back at the carpark turtleboy had now arrived and shortly after him, Jaro. It didn't take long for all of us to be ready to launch.

0636hrs. "Birdman" (left) and Jaro launching.

As you can see, a glorious morning. Everyone, predictably, launched without difficulty and soon we were ready to go. Jaro headed off to the NW while turtleboy and I headed for the river mouth where we fancied we could see terns wheeling around. We had plenty of company out there, with several power boats obviously also hoping for spotties and two or three small prawn trawlers doing their thing, as they do many mornings. Whalebait was out at Jew Shoal initially, where it was apparently very chilly and a fish-free zone, and joined us about an hour after we launched.

While there were signs of fish (occasional bustups) these turned out to be, in the main, schools of Watson's Leaping Bonito (pic later). So I'll use pics to fill in the story during the first 90 minutes or so.

Andy_Cav, Noosa Yakker Hooker, who joined us today but had to leave early mumbling something about "work"

Watson's leaping bonito, one of many caught today and kept by some for bait. Whalebait reckons they sashimi very well. Common in the ocean waters around Noosa. No size or bag limit.

Wayne Bardwell, another NY Hooker, of South African origin, who travels from Brisbane (I think) to join us when he can. Wayne's well known for the superb Spaniard he caught at Noosa earlier this year.

Two South African Hookers. LeRoux Uys, of Noosa, and Wayne, get acquainted off the river mouth.

Whalebait, demonstrating the ease of use of his new toilet (the only yak in the fleet with a toilet installed).

Anyway, we sat around for a while chatting and just enjoying the sun until eventually some mac tuna rolled up to provide some relief. Whalebait got a personal best tuna (released) and Jaro got at least one, also released.

Jaro's mackerel tuna. No bag or size limit on these powerful fighters which are not esteemed table fish.

Turtleboy, Jaro, whalebait and I returned to the beach together at about 10am in glorious autumn sunshine and a tiny swell.

Thanks for coming along guys. We'd appreciate info from LeRoux and Wayne as to whether you did better than we four did.

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

Spotties again, 11May10

Subject: fishing today -- 11may10
From: sunshiner
Date: 11/05/2010 4:06 PM

Cloud cover: 6/10
Wind direction & speed: calm
Sea state: 1.5m SE swell

For a change, I was at the MG carpark before Jaro this morning. But whalebait was there, as I expected, prepping his trusty Heritage yak embroidered with mackerel scales from recent trips. We chatted briefly with the subdued roar of the surf in the background before I wandered down in the half light to take a look. As I expected, there were no significant waves -- certainly nothing to dampen the ardour of a typical Noosa Yakker.

Jimbo rolled in to the carpark, then Jaro. Several other Noosa Yakkers were expected later (Stu, hollywood, at least) as it seemed possible that the spotty macs might still be around, despite the recent drop in air temperature resulting from the gradual movement of the earth in its orbit.

0602hrs. Whalebait's already launched. Jaro's about to. I have no idea what that projection is on top of the wall.

A couple of minutes later we were out there, Jimbo following close behind. A yacht was anchored in the shelter of the bay and Jimbo reckoned he knew the owners.

As soon as we were rigged up and ready we departed on our chosen paths, just as the sun rose, around 0615.

0615hrs. Our world was about to brighten up.

While I was admiring this Laguna Bay sunrise, Jaro paddled off toward the river mouth and jimbo opted to try to get a second breakfast at his friends' yacht, anchored a few hundred metres away. As my main mission today was getting fish pics I opted initially to tag along with Jaro and was just getting underway when I noticed he'd turned around and was now heading back toward the east. He explained that he thought the bait might get bottled up in the SE corner of the Bay and so would hang around that area for a while to see if the predators turned up as it presently seemed too early for them. I went along with this briefly but then headed toward Jew Shoal, some 3km NE as there was bugger all sign of any action close in. Meanwhile, whalebait had informed us by radio that he was tracking to the west through Little Hall's Reef and could see little significant action out there, although he did mention that he was dealing with a shark which had taken his trolled yellowtail as breakfast.

Conditions were superb with boat traffic very light and small swell. Before long I'd arrived at Jew Shoal, alone, and decided, as there was no sign of any surface action, that I'd try for an early season snapper so paddled to "Old Faithful" aka A3-01 to start a drift. On the way to this mark, on the western side of the Shoal, I could see whalebait paddling toward me from the west, having already travelled to Little Hall's Reef then set course for Jew Shoal. Having switched a soft plastic onto my casting outfit I laid out a couple of casts and on the second or third took a good strike right near the bottom of the soft plastic's trajectory, under the yak. I mentally called it for a decent snapper and was congratulating myself when there was a couple of head shakes and the line went slack. Bummer. Before I retrieved the line I knew I'd been bitten off, probably by a mackerel. Sure enough, the line was severed as neatly as if scissors had been used. That's twice recently this has happened to me so I might have to start using some heavy leader, even wire, on soft plastics early and late in the snapper season. Shortly after this I spotted Bill Watson, pioneering Noosa kayak fisho, trolling across the shoal. We exchanged waved greetings at a distance of about 70 metres -- he can't stop when trolling because his trolled baits would sink and possibly snag up in the shallow reefy waters.

Then the radio calls started to come in. Earlier I'd heard turtleboy announce that he was at MG in the company of a couple of other yakkers and then heard him say that there was a bit of fish action near the river mouth. Shortly after this he revealed that the yakkers in his company near the river mouth had boated several fish, presumably spotty macs. I could tell from the triumphalism in his voice that he had enjoyed some of this action. This info was invaluable to me and whalebait, fishless at Jew Shoal, and jimbo, likewise, somewhere near Little Hall's Reef. Whalebait and I joined company and set off for the river mouth area at 0800hrs, some 3.5km from the shoal, but with the sea behind us. Jimbo also was paddling in toward the action.

By 0840 whalebait and I had joined the others from Jew Shoal and jimbo was joining from the North. Turtleboy, hollywood and Stu were drifting in an area about 800m from the groyne and occasionally paddling over to take advantage of bust-ups, and getting the occasional fish, too. Just as I arrived, turtleboy, on his first trip out with us after an absence of several weeks, hooked up on another spotty. Mindful of my main mission today, I pulled out the camera.

Turtleboy hooked up (Frame from video)

0854hrs. Steve (turtleboy) with his third spottymac of the morning

On asking him where Jaro was (Jaro's radio is faulty and unable to transmit) turtleboy revealed that Jaro had already bagged out and had returned to the beach. All around were occasional bust-ups reminiscent of last Wednesday's carnage, in almost exactly the same area. And so it continued.

Whalebait gets his first for the morning (Frame from video)

Stu gets his 112th (just kidding) (Frame from video)

Hollywood puts the hurt on another (which escaped by spitting the hook at the last) (Frame from video)

So, as you can judge, things were hectic for a while, but were even more hectic before I got there. There were a couple of other yakkers joining in the fun who expressed an interest in becoming Noosa Yakkers (as Hookers). One was Des, a mate of hollywood and the other was Peter, a bloke I got talking to who recently bought his first yak, a new Hobie pedal model in blue. Harv, either of these might get in touch via the blog soon. As for Jimbo and I, we remained spottymac-less although I did get a good hookup only to have another fish apply its formidable dental bits to the line and shred it for a couple of metres. Lure gone, fish gone. Jim hooked a shark on his trolled bait.

The return to the beach was easy, with only Hollywood putting on a deliberate display of delicacy when dealing with a breaking wave. On the beach the usual fauna could be found.

A couple of typical specimens

A couple of typical specimens

A very satisfied turtleboy, who has been reunited with his mojo after a lengthy separation.

Almost forgot to mention that LeRoux paddled in after we'd all returned to the beach. He (without radio) had initially received Jaro's prediction (during a personal consultation) about where the fish might be found but paddled all the way to Teewah village then across to Granite Bay then back to MG for a NIL result. Hard luck mate. A VHF radio certainly would have put you in the loop.

Another great NY day. Thanks for coming along all and better luck next time, those who missed out.

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

more spotties, 09May10

Subject: Fishing Sunday the 9th
From: "ian"
Date: 9/05/2010 6:03 PM

I left MG this morning 0600 hrs paddled out to JS ignoring the occasional bust up along the way and trolled a Slimey on a Spaniard Special for an hour. I didn't get a touch so I decided to head in where it was a little calmer. I cast into a few boils and landed 3 Spotties around 80cm's, keeping 1 that needed dental surgery and probably wouldn't have been able to feed for a while. The Spotties were still there although spread out from JS to the River mouth and across to the Shark nets. They weren't staying up for long. My trolled lure wasn't touched after about 5 kms of paddling. Conditions were pretty ordinary and there weren't many boats out. Back to weekends after tomorrow.

Spottie Mayhem, vid, 05May10

Subject: fishing today -- 05May10
From: sunshiner
Date: 5/05/2010 4:42 PM

Cloud cover:, 0/10
Wind direction & speed: calm
Sea state: 2m swell from east

An exceptional day. Read on...

For three months, Jaro, one of the stalwarts of Noosa Yakkers and one of its elders, has been out of action due to compulsory inactivity following a hip replacement. But today was the day. He had his doctor's clearance to go. Several days ago we'd identified today as being good for yak fishing so Jaro and I were well organised, despite having been to a curry feast the night before with many of our friends. To add even more spice to our evening last night was the trip report from Stu, another hard core Noosa Yakker, that he'd bagged out on spotted mackerel (spotties, to us) yesterday, all within one kilometre of our standard beach launch point. Others had picked up on this info so it was no surprise when Jaro and I arrived in the carpark at 0540 to find Andy (andypaddles) rigging up and the parked cars of whalebait and eyetag indicating that they were already out there, even though it was still pretty dark. Also expected, later, were Stu and hollywood.

There was a bit of a wave running and low tide made the launch quite exciting, with some extra large sets occasionally mixed in with the medium sized waves generated by the 2m easterly swell.

0605hrs. Jaro gets ready for his first launch in three months

Jaro and andy hit the water first and were soon outside, past the break, after holding for a while in the channel while awaiting the passage of a couple of bigger waves. I followed, managing to get through while taking only one small wave over the bow. Very refreshing after last night's curry dinner.

What a magnificent morning! Just where the sun was rising a small cumulus cloud provided old sol with a gilt-edged mask but all around the rest of the sky was clear. While setting up our gear ready for the fray, we three rode the swell, waters smooth due to the lack of wind. Already terns could be seen wheeling and diving to the north, only a few hundred metres away. This looked great. I radioed whalebait and eyetag and was told that they were in the vicinity of Little Hall's Reef, some 3.5 km away. They had had no action so far but there were some promising "bust ups" in their vicinity. I told them about the few terns near us and promised to keep them posted.

Jaro was ready first of course so off he went to the north. About 5 minutes later andy and I were ready and by this time, the terns were making their presence even more obvious, although there were no large splashes from predators at this stage. Andy set off trolling a Predatek hard bodied lure and I followed a hundred or so metres behind trolling my favourite Halco Laser Pro, now heavily scratched due to previous encounters with mackerel.

Within five minutes of our departure I noticed that Andy had stopped paddling and appeared to be fighting a fish. As I got a little closer I could clearly see the bend in his trolling outfit. I knew this might be his first ever spotty mac so called him on the radio to tell him I was on the way over to take a photo or two. In order to do this it is smart to retrieve any trolled lures so I immediately picked up my trolling outfit to do just this. I was surprised to find that there was some unusual "heaviness" on this line but the reason very soon revealed itself. Presumably I'd picked up the rod just as a spotty mackerel struck and it was swimming more or less in my direction. Soon the penny dropped and the spotty mac took off like a... well, a spotty mac, with a typical powerful run.

0630hrs. The spotty mac rolls on the surface just before the gaff was used. (still from video)

My spotty mac

With this fish dealt with I paddled the few metres over to the now beaming Andy to admire and photograph his first ever spotty Mac.

0635hrs. Fresh mackerel on the menu in Pomona tonight.

I passed on the catch info by radio to our companions and about now the water started to erupt all around as spotty macs began to ball up the bait schools and carve them up accompanied by fluttering and diving terns and (from nowhere, apparently) several cormorants which were right in there with the spotties, getting at least their fair share of the spoils. Jaro arrived back into the area shortly after with a trolled spotty also and then Stu could be seen paddling out from Middle Groyne. After 10 minutes more neither Jaro nor I had been able to land any more fish as our offerings had been ignored by the spotties or we'd lost lures due to bite-offs, even though we were both using wire.

All around us, spotty macs were lunging at the bait fish leaving huge surface boils or white splashes which stood out starkly against the deep blue of the sea and sparkling with the silvery bodies of the small fish they were breakfasting on. I'd passed on this info to whalebait and eyetag and was assured by them that they were heading back our way, pronto. The action continued like this until we decided to give it away. Perhaps it's better to tell the story with some pics (which I spent much of my time engaged in, shooting movie and stills):

0653hrs. Just a sample of what was happening. That's the stern of my yak in the bottom left corner. A spotty mac is charging through baitfish less than a metre away, the bait showering out in an attempt to avoid being eaten. (still from video)

0705hrs. Jaro's gaff -- a spotty mac apparently doomed. (still from video)

0708hrs. The baitfish were so thickly packed that several times we found them impaled on the hooks of our slugs.

0711hrs. Andy bags his second spotty, this time on a cast slug. (still from video)

0716hrs. Stu's hooked up to yet another spotty. (still from video)

0726hrs. Jaro gaffs another. (still from video)

0729hrs. Stu, hooked up again, hams it up for the camera. (still from video)

0754hrs. Whalebait brings one to gaff. (still from video)

0812hrs. Eyetag gets one, too. (still from video)

0815hrs. Eyetag without hat.

0852hrs. Whalebait lines the gaff up on another. (still from video)

0854hrs. One of eyetag's fish near the yak. (still from video)

0854hrs. Eyetag's got him. (still from video)

0918hrs. Jaro's hooked up again. (still from video)

0924hrs. Not bad for a bloke who's been out of action for three months.

0935hrs. This is typical of the surface strikes we were witnessing. Note the baitfish showering out.

0938hrs. Whalebait hooked this one on a cast Halco Laser Pro (he'd run out of slugs). (still from video)

Sometime during this melee Doug McDougall, another Noosa Yakker whom I hadn't seen for a while paddled over to say hello. It was great to see him again out there. He nonchalantly announced that he had a bag limit so was going in. By now, many of us had either bagged out or were out of ammo or both so it was time to go in. Hollywood opted to stay out for a while but the rest of us meandered over to the preparation area off our launch point. Eyetag, having bagged out, went in earlier than most. His radio call once he was safely on the beach warned us that the waves were standing right up now. This really put the icing on the cake. Not only had we experienced a memorable morning's fishing but we now were going to have the privilege of getting smashed on the way back in.

It was with great apprehension that I watched several large waves smash against the end of the groyne while I was packing my gear away. In anticipation that I might be in for a swim I put an extra tiedown on my rods just to make sure they didn't come adrift if the yak went end over end. Just to make things worse, there was a bunch of people, including eyetag, watching to see whether I could cut the mustard. Quite suddenly I saw a chance and went for it. Half way in, however, I was run down by a medium sized wave. As I'd hoped it would, it had broken before it got to me for I was now on top of a shallow bank. My standard procedure of digging the paddle in on the starboard side was employed just as it got to me and with great relief I realised that I'd manage to stabilise the yak on the broken wave, going in at 45 degrees to the beach. Whew!

Close behind me was whalebait but I had enough time to grab the camera and wade back out onto the shallow bank to perhaps capture some useful surf-return video. Whalebait did almost the same thing as I did... Jaro picked a gap with perfection and cruised home.

1001hrs. Whalebait stabilised on a broken wave which had run him down, resulting in a right-way-up arrival. (still from video)

A lady on the beach agreed to pose with a couple of our fish.

And we got a group photo with some of the catch...

From left: Jaro, sunshiner, whalebait, eyetag, Stu. Happy Noosa Yakkers.

Thanks for coming along guys, and macks. Another great morning. I'll work on the spotty mac video over the next couple of days.

Get the beer and chips and sit back and enjoy. Make sure you have speakers and your hearing aids are in.

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