JS quiet, 30Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 30jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 30/06/2010 1:58 PM

Cloud cover: 6/10
Wind direction & speed: at JS, south-east ~ 5-7knots
Sea state: low swell
current direction & speed: Current from west to east, perhaps 1 knot

Participants: Jaro, Harry and I (Pete went out to SR, early; see his report at the end of this post)

0614hrs. Jaro's afloat waiting for the biggest wave; Harry's about to board.

After setting up our gear we independently set off for Jew Shoal, which was kind to us yesterday. A southerly breeze kicked us along and we covered the 4km or so pretty quickly. Jaro reported the capture of a small bonito on his trolling outfit -- yes, on that lure again. He released the fish.

We headed for the area we'd fished yesterday and found that the breeze was now from the SE. A breeze from that direction would normally cause our drift to be toward the NW but to our surprise we found (from our GPS) that we were drifting toward the east, into the breeze. I persisted in using soft plastics, but this time used a 1/2oz jighead instead of 1/4oz on the basis that possibly I wasn't getting down deep enough yesterday. On my second or third cast I scored a small snapper, probably just size, but released it. Meanwhile Jaro and Harry were losing baits but not hooking much. But Jaro eventually boated a 40cm sweetlip and then I had a very good hookup which swung the yak through 180 degrees. This felt like a pretty good sweetlip and I was feeling quite chuffed until the hook pulled free.

We persisted, mainly in the same area, as we were certainly getting hits although my SP supply was dwindling as what I suspected were large toadfish tore great bites out of them. This suspicion was confirmed when Jaro fought and boated a toady larger than the ugly specimen he boated yesterday. This one was big enough to take a bite out of a yak and possibly sink it, so be warned.

And then a pod of several whales surfaced nearby, certainly less than 200m away. We watched them as they slowly departed toward the north, occasionally breaching or performing pectoral slaps.

Just before 10am the SE breeze started to strengthen. This cool breeze, combined with the lack of sunshine, eventually caused me to decide to give it away by no later than 1030, which I did. Harry and Jaro followed not far behind me. At the beach I rode a little wave in then grabbed the camera to get a shot of Harry and Jaro as they also showed off on the tiny swell.

Harry holds a nice attitude, trimming nicely with the paddle.

Jaro does likewise.

The only fish brought back from Jew Shoal by us today.

Winter appears to be here so it's snapper and sweetlip time. All we need is light winds.

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

Email report from Pete
Yes I headed out to SR early, absolutely beautiful sunrise and very calm conditions.
Drifted around with mullet flesh baits catching a lot of small cod, red emperor etc. Caught two parrot fish that were just legal so they went back.
Dropped a line for an hour at JS on the way back ...more small ones oh well there's always next time.
thanks for the stickers.

Many species, JS, 29Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 29jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 29/06/2010 4:09 PM

Cloud cover: 3/10, high cirrus
Wind direction & speed: SW initially, 7knots, dropping to calm around 10am
Sea state: pretty flat
Current direction & speed: no discernible current

The forecast was spot on again and the recent reports resulted in a very good rollup.

Participants: Leroux, Phred, Pete, Doug, Harry, Jaro and I

Pete's car was in the carpark but there was little sign of him when Jaro and I arrived, not far apart, around 0550. It was still pretty dark but nevertheless we're pretty well practised in getting set up in the pre-dawn half light and as a result Jaro and I were trundling our yaks down to the beach just after 0600. I emerged onto the beach-top first and could just discern a faint slowly moving blob out near the shark net. Pete had obviously launched just a little before us -- his trolley tracks were clear for anyone to see. He was headed for Sunshine Reef.

0610. Launching in the bloody dark, in winter.

Although there was almost no swell, Jaro still managed to encounter the wave of the day and get a little damp. It's amazing where those waves come from. Anyway, soon we were out the back, savouring the faintly increasing illumination of Laguna Bay. "Brilliant," says Jaro. And it was.

We conducted our routine radio check and triggered a call from Doug (callsign dugout). He'd just launched in the SE corner of the Bay (Coward's Corner, as we call it) and let us know that he was paddling to join us. Doug has somehow contrived to have his home just up the top of Noosa Hill, near the pub. He trundles his yak on its trolley down the boardwalk path so doesn't need to get a car involved. Might be a decent pull home though, especially with a load of fish aboard. What a great arrangement! Quite a tourist attraction too!

0623hrs. Ready to set out for JS. Doug and Jaro, with Noosa in the background.

We made good time to the shoal, with a gentle following breeze and almost no swell or chop. I had one of those mornings today. Just short of the shoal I stopped paddling to set up my fish finder. Despite my having checked last night that it was all working I found that it wouldn't fire up. Using my fingers I traced the power leads to the battery only to find that the positive lead was no longer connected. Groping further, inside the body of the kayak, I found I couldn't re-establish the connection. On then examining the battery I found that the spade type + terminal had actually broken in halves, leaving the broken piece jammed inside the connecting socket on the wire. Although I finally managed to clear the broken piece out I now found that the remaining portion of the terminal was too wide for the connector. Bugger! No fish finder today.

But Jaro's fish finder was working so I opted to hang around him. I'm under orders at the moment from SWMBO that no more fish are to be brought home until we eat out present (frozen) stocks. This gives me a great opportunity to experiment with fish catching techniques and so today I elected to use only one rod and fish only with soft plastics. The other guys, probably more sensibly, were mainly using bait following the recent successes with that technique. Soon Harry joined us, having launched a bit later than we did.

Two hours later, I was fishless -- hadn't even had a bite. Harry, Jaro and Doug all were catching fish, albeit fairly slowly at first.

0802hrs. Jaro with a quite large Slatey Bream, released as its eating qualiies are not highly rated.

0805hrs. Harry boats the first of several snapper.

0840hrs. Doug with a nice keeper snapper.

0843hrs. Harry's second brekky is interrupted by his second snapper.

As you may be able to tell, I was spending a bit of time paddling around taking pics of fish instead of fishing. Around 9am Phred and LeRoux rocked up (perhaps they're still on South Africa time ;-)). No sooner had Phred lowered a baited hook than it was monstered by something, just as I was paddling up to say hello. The fish reefed him but he persisted, giving it a bit of loose line. Sure enough, the sweetlip (for that's what it was) emerged from its hidey-hole and Phred pumped him the 20m or so up to the surface.

0952hrs. Jaro bags the mother of all toadfish. This monster's mouth was big enough to accept your fist and if you'd put it in there you'd be in danger of having your hand chopped off. Released, needless to say.

The pics above were not the only fish taken. I was being picky, selecting only the ones I thought would be of interest. At this point, alert readers may note that there are no pics of fish taken by me. But stand by, for my input is on its way, not before time either. My soft plastic was gently taken near the bottom of its swing beneath the yak. I struck only to feel the lure released by the fish. Immediately I let it drop again and this time hooked up to a fish whose fight pattern I couldn't recognize. It held down deep with a high tempo bump, bump but took little or no line from me, just swimming around in tight circles. I knew it wasn't a big fish and was surprised when yet another new species for me arrived next to the yak after a short fight.

0953hrs. Coachwhip trevally (Carangoides oblongus)(?), a species I've never seen taken at Jew Shoal before. All trevallies -- no size limit, bag limit 20.

And still the action continued...

1008hrs. Jaro with School mackerel. Min size 50cm, bag limit 10.

At 1030, just as Jaro and I were preparing to leave, a whale showed up to the south east. It must have swum close to but underneath us because its second appearance was north west of us. As we left the shoal I paddled over to Leroux to say goodbye. Harry and Phred also stayed behind. Who could blame them?

1040am. LeRoux, emotionally involved. How good are these conditions?

The paddle home was easy and fast. The surf zone transit was a cinch. We put our combined catches onto the measure mat and, it being school holidays, attracted the usual onlookers and questions.

Jaro had already given one snapper away to Harry.

Peter, Harry, Phred, Leroux and Doug please let us know how you finished up.

Email from Phred
Subject: Fishing
From: Phred
Date: 29/06/2010 4:14 PM

Hey Kev
Just the remainder of the day - I caught two snapper. The red fish we were unsure of was a scarlet perch, legal size limit is 40cm. I got smashed by something big a couple times, even losing my rig above the trace.
LeRoux came back with a decent flathead.

Now for tomorrow...

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

JS with lady, 27Jun10

Subject: Fishing Today 27/06/2010
From: "Jaro Cerny"
Date: 27/06/2010 3:22 PM

Hello Yakkers,

I arrived at MG shortly before 6.00am to see that Ian (Eye Tag) had already gone. Wasn't long before Harry and Stu with friend Nadia, and Kev arrived. We all proceeded to get ready and it wasn't long before we were on our way except for Stu who had to go back and get his gaff.

Getting ready for the launch. Note the beautiful morning. Getting out was ok as long as you timed it right.

I met Doug, who had launched from Main Beach at the National Park end, at JS. I proceeded to a more northerly position than normal and fished using prawns on my casting rod and pilchards on my trailing rod. Everyone started fishing at various locations at JS and things were quiet for about an hour at which point nature called and as I was using my piss pot, my casting rod took a mighty bend into the water forcing me to uncomfortably stop in mid stream, and grab the rod.

I proceeded to fight what appeared would be a nice sized fish when suddenly the trailing rod also bent to the water. I grabbed it, made sure that the fish was well and truly hooked and went back to my first strike. It wasn't too long before I landed and stowed a 55cm snapper. Now I went back to the other rod and landed a lovely 50cm sweet lip. I naturally informed the others and they all then fished the same general area. I ended up catching 4 snapper and 1 sweetlip.

Kevin used soft plastics exclusively and caught a few reefies and a nice size frigate mackerel which is the first one he has caught. No doubt Kev will give further info on the fish later.

Kev's frigate mackerel

Doug went home early and I don't know what he caught. Stu and Nadia disappeared during the morning and I don't know the results of their fishing. Can you fill us in Stu??

Kev had to be home early so he left at about 9.40am. Harry, I and a friend of Harry's, Des continued fishing with Harry catching a nice snapper, a very nice sweetlip (50cm+) and a flounder.

I called it quits at 10.30am and headed home. Harry and Des followed half and hour later.

Ian with his longtail (pic: Kev)

Ian's fish for the day

Some Chinese visitors asked to hold Ian's fish and apparently many people gathered around to look at his fish

I landed back at the beach safe and sound to be met by Kevin who took the following photo of the fish.

My fish. The 4th snapper I had given to Harry

Harry and Des returned safely and I was there to take this photo of Harry with his catch all nicely cleaned and gutted.

So all in all a great day was had by all. Tuesday is looking good, Hookers. I will keep you posted.



fish, surf, Video, 26Jun10

Subject: Fishing Today 26/06/2010
From: "Jaro Cerny"
Date: 26/06/2010 6:42 PM

Hi Yakkers,

I arrived at MG at 6.00am and saw that Ian's (Eye Tag) car was already there and he was obviously already at SR.

Cloudy 9/10 with the threat of rain out to sea which didn't eventuate.
Wind varied from 3 to 8 knots
Seas were essentially calm with a moderate swell.
Full moon.

Getting out required care and good judgment which I did without too much trouble and I set off for JS at 6.30am, trolling along the way.

Arrived in good time and set out my drifting line with a pilchard and my casting rod with a prawn. Contacted Ian and he told me things were quiet but had caught a good snapper and was staying at SR.

The drift was nice and slow and I decided to start at a more northern spot on JS. There were many, many fish visible on my fish finder extending from near the surface to the bottom virtually throughout the morning.

I initially caught a small grassie sweet lip (34cm) on the prawn bait which I kept. I had many small nibbles taking both the prawns and the pilchards but in between I caught a lovely 52 cm snapper (prawn bait) and a 43cm sweet lip (42cm) on a pilchard.

I used up my bag of pilchards and .5 Kgs of prawn and then switched to soft plastics to no avail and decided to head for home at 10.40am.

Kevin contacted us and said he would wait at MG for us. Ian had caught 2 tusk fish and was also heading for home at about the same time.

We arrived at MG at about the same time and it really required good timing to get in upright as the tide had gone out and the waves were breaking at the end of MG but we both did it in style as shown by these photos (all photos courtesy of Kev, thanks Kevin).

[See video link to the surf antics at end of post]

Ian roaring through with a surfer looking on

As you can see I am going at full throttle and am to afraid to look back

Here are Ian's and my fish for the day.

My 2 sweetlip and Snapper

Ian's 2 tusk fish and snapper

Thats all folks. Thanks for coming Ian and for helping me with the kayak etc. Hope to see a few of you tomorrow.


VIDEO, by Kev
As some of you know, I captured a bit of video on Saturday, after I got back from an early morning drive to Brisbane airport. I set myself up on the groyne, awaiting the return of Ian and Jaro and got there just in time to witness, and video, a quite spectacular wipeout when James, a youngster from Palmwoods came back in. One thing you have to bear in mind is that he had a 6-8kg longtail unrrestrained in the forward compartment of his Stealth. When the nose went down, the longtail went forward... the rest is history. James' Dad, also a keen and competent yakker and fishing with James, opted to come in on the eastern side of the groyne. Ian and Jaro? Well, watch the video and learn. All video was recorded within about 30 minutes so all four faced similar conditions. Kev

Pearl perch at SR, 18Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 18jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 18/06/2010 4:27 PM

Cloud cover: 5/10
Wind direction & speed: light and variable,
Sea state: 1.5m swell from ENE
If applicable (often at NSR): no current discernible

After Jaro's amazing catch yesterday it just HAD to be on again today, especially as the wind was forecast to be even lighter, then start howling over the weekend thus closing out fishing opportunities. And so it was that Jaro and I were groping sleepily around in the MG carpark in the pre-dawn gloom this morning. Our customary check of the surf break before committing resulted in a thumbs up so we were clear to go. Even so, when it came to launch time l-o-o-n-g before the sun's leading edge had peeped over the horizon, care had to be taken as there were a few whoppers rolling through and it was dead low tide.

0615hrs -- our exact planned launch time. Jaro gets ready to board. Blurring caused by movement and low shutter speed due to low light levels.

We knew that Harry was a starter also but hadn't seen him before we left the carpark for the beach. Harry has a VHF radio as we have and can paddle faster than any of us (he's a world champ, apparently -- in the seniors division) so we knew he'd probably catch us up later. Jaro and I picked our way out through the break -- my heart rate went up considerably when I fancied I could see a big wave approaching and reacted accordingly, head down, arse tensed, arms flailing like the paddle wheel of a nuclear powered paddle steamer. We got through OK, both with just a little dampness around the testicles (caused by waves, not leaking urine, in my case at least).

We'd agreed that, because there were so many tiddlers at Jew Shoal yesterday, we'd make the greater effort and go for Sunshine Reef today. Besides, the weather was great and we had the time so why not. The sun's ascent through the horizon line saw us paddling past Nationals where we encountered a couple of yak fishers on a double Hobie, drifting near the shark net there, setting up their gear. They were youngsters not yet forty with eagerness written all over their faces so we stopped to offer them some local advice. They were headed for Jew Shoal, and yes, they knew where it was. I wondered if they'd possibly been to Davo's tackle shop yesterday arvo and seen the eye-catching blackboard with 'Jaro', 'Jew Shoal' and 'Spanish mackerel, 18kg' scrawled on it in Greg Lacey's neatest handwriting.

Around Boiling Pot we deployed our Halco Laser Pro lures, waiting this long to try to avoid the worthless grinners which bugger up your trolling by attacking anything moving while contributing neither sport nor food. Then shortly afterward Harry showed up, rapidly overtaking us. Jaro, still pumped up as a result of his capture yesterday, insisted on paddling alongside on my starboard side (my good ear) so that he could tell me again how good was yesterday's encounter with his huge Spaniard. Soon we were clearing Hells Gates and entering the open ocean, next stop New Caledonia. By now the gannets were out and hunting, sweeping low over the swells so that they appeared without warning like miniature cruise missiles, clearing us by only a couple of metres but fortunately not clever enough to drop some recycled fish on these interlopers (which is what I'd do if I were a gannet). Gannets cannot resist targetting shallow running lures as this is how they make their living (albeit with fish, not lures). Sure enough, one swept past me and I saw that it had registered some movement behind me (wonder what that could be?) and altered course to better intercept breakfast. Time to take evasive action. The gannet flared to gain some height and, rolling out of a tight turn to be precisely lined up on my lure, it started its dive. I saw it coming and had my hand on the trolling rod (I've done this before, guys). Just before impact I heaved on the rod, bringing the lure and attached %$#*^ grinner churning to the surface and leaving the now damp gannet with a puzzled look on its face and no brekky. The grinner, only about twice the size of the lure and not big enough to trigger the drag ratchet, was dead and probably had been there for 30 minutes or so.

So it was in good order that the three of us arrived, after about 50 minutes' paddling, at our chosen fishing area, the close-in mark which all who have been out there know quite well by now. The drift was minimal and ideal for getting light weights down the 30m or so to near the bottom where the snapper and the sweetlip roam (depending, of course, on numerous arcane conditions coming together).

Within 30 minutes I had the first fish of the day beside the yak -- a very nice sweetlip. I reached for the gaff to ensure its demise when, with a sudden surface flurry, it was gone, my hook and attached lure and line flicking across to the opposite side of the yak. Never mind, as Jaro said, it gave some hope that the fish might be present and even better, might be hungry, and, as Harry said, "That's fishin". Then followed a quiet period which terminated in a hit on my soft plastic when it was down near the bottom. This fish clearly had some weight although it didn't fight very vigorously. I played it carefully and was delighted when I saw that I'd caught a fish which is highly prized for its eating qualities and above the legal limit and so a keeper.

Pearl perch (Glaucosoma scapulare). Min size 35cm. Bag limit 5. Superb eating. This one 42cm long and taken on a soft plastic.

Just before this happened, I noticed another kayak fisherman arriving at our spot. This was soon revealed to be Mark (AKFF: redracingski), a visitor to Noosa from Sydney who had been in touch with me before his holiday up here and who had been receiving our emails over the last couple of weeks.

Mark, in his Stealth yak, equipped with downrigger which allows him to troll baits or lures at depth and almost directly under the yak. This configuration is useful in his Sydney environment where he and his mates target yellowtail kingfish. That's Harry on the right and Alexandria Bay/Noosa NP in the background.

By 1030, with little further action, we three Noosa Yakkers were on our way home. Mark had left in the general direction of Jew Shoal an hour earlier. But just as Harry and I departed, Harry paddled over to show me an unusual catch for this part of the world.

Squid (species unknown to me). Prime bait and excellent tucker. Whalebait, being a squid-o-phile may be interested in this.

We trolled back, uneventfully. At the beach, although there were some very large swells coming through, there were fairly long 'quiet' periods between these sets. The incoming tide had also provided more depth than earlier in the channel next to the groyne and so we all got in without drama.

The Pearl Perch on the measure mat. It will provide two excellent fillets for dinner tomorrow night -- a bit of a change from various mackerel species which have dominated our home menu over the last few months!

Thanks for coming along Jaro and Harry and Mark. Mark, please let us know how you went after you left us [see Mark’s email below] and be aware that you're welcome to paddle with us any time.

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

From Mark
Kev, thanks again.
It was not for want of trying but I came up with a donut.
Went to Jew shoal and there were shitloads of fish and not just bait about 500m south but I could not hookup tried everything.
Anyway look forward to reading your reports.

Big Spaniard, 17Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 17jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 17/06/2010 3:42 PM

I'm out on Middle Groyne with my two cameras. It's 1130am and out to sea I know Jaro is probably paddling towards the shore from Jew Shoal as I'd radioed him earlier. Why aren't I with him? Well, late yesterday afternoon I got back from several enjoyable but tiring days in Sydney and felt too knackered to get out of bed at 0500-ish to launch with Noosa Yakkers at 0615. But 11am is better than never and, even though I didn't get out there, one never knows when Middle Groyne might turn up a great yakker photo opportunity.

The radio blares again, just after I arrive. It's Jaro again. "Sunshiner, I've got an ENORMOUS Spaniard aboard!" I congratulate him and tell him that I'm ready with the cameras and the measure mat. He tells me he's having trouble paddling because the tail of the Spaniard is sharing the cockpit with him, the front half being rammed head first into his fish box in the stern area. I know about this problem, one that any yakker would love to have.

[See Jaro's account of the capture at the end of this post...]

There's a further interesting aspect as well today. The 2m easterly swell is kicking up a pretty big wave, as attested to by the 20 or so boardriders out there, just west of the groyne's tip. Every now and again, to the delight of the surfers, a very large set arrives and the waves impact the end of the groyne heavily, sending spray far enough so that the rocks on top of the groyne, 30m from the outer tip are damp from cascading droplets. "Should be an interesting ride in", I speculate.

Soon I can spot Jaro and I make contact by radio. He continues his paddle toward the holding point 100m or so out where we perform our pre-landing checks and tidy-ups. By now there are some seriously big waves coming through, some of them breaking right across the channel exit. These are waves we try to avoid, mostly succeeding but sometimes...

He's ready to run, so, by radio, I give him my two-bob's worth. I know how difficult it is to see, from out there, exactly what's happening along the wall and whether its channel is negotiable. It is today, but timing is critical. The movie camera, on the tripod, is already recording and I'm ready with my stills camera to take hoped-for spectacular shots of Jaro riding a big wave. He waits and waits and then suddenly turns toward the beach and powers in. I capture it all -- Jaro has performed another feat of perfect timing and has made it look ridiculously easy. No spectacular surf wipe-outs today!

Jaro waited until the swell dropped away and then cruised in, between sets.

It's a big Spaniard indeed. He had it tied off at head and tail, in case of rollover in the surf but when we pulled it out of the fishbox we found that cord at the head had been severed by the mackerel's teeth.

OK, now the shock and awe hit the beachgoers as we dragged this fish nonchalantly out of the yak. Mainly pics from now on.

The Spaniard went 1.39m on the measure mat complemented by Jaro's ruler. A 42cm sweetlip lies there also for comparison.

Jaro and new friend (one of many today).

Lying on the Profish

At the washpoint, holidaymakers experience some Noosa magic

Trundling it back to the car

I accompanied Jaro to Davo's Tackle shop where the scales pointer swung to 18kg when we put it on the platform. Jaro and I both thought it would be around 22kg, it was so deep in the body.

Might take my trolling outfit out tomorrow... Jaro and I both intend to go and I understand Hollywood is a possible goer.

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

Email from Jaro, later
Subject: Fishing Today 17/06/2010
From: "Jaro Cerny"
Date: 17/06/2010 8:45 PM

Hello Yakkers,

Kevin has filled you in on the aftermath, I will fill you in on the days outing (without pictures).

Cloud cover 8/10 initially clearing to 2/10 later.
Wind +10 knots initially but slowly abating to <5 a="" br="" easter.="" essentially="" later.="" much="" south=""> Sea. A rough 2 metre swell with white caps early but abating to almost calm.
A marked northerly drift due to the wind which also abated as the morning wore on.

I arrived at MG at 6.10am. Saw no one. Had a look a conditions and saw that there was a goodly swell with big breakers at the point of the groyne acerbated by the low tide. Could be fun I thought. I saw a kayaker out in front off the groyne and thought it was Mark from Sydney. So I got myself ready and launched then waited near the point till there was a break in the set and went for it. Made it nice and dry. Paddled over to the other yakker to find that it was Peter Doff. After introductions we set off to JS after collecting Mark in his distinctive black and white striped yak closer to the eastern side of Main Beach.

Once at JS we proceeded to fish for bottom dwellers. We had lots of bites but had nothing really to show for it. I caught about 12 fish of all sorts and finally caught a nice sweet lip. Mark was more into trolling so he left us for other areas. Sunshiner called to see how we were doing and said he would come and see us on shore. At 11.00am I decided to pull the plug and head for home. Peter decided he was going to stay till he had caught a take home fish, which he did catching 3 nice sweetlip.

I put out my trusty trolling lure, the Halco Laser Pro thinking I could not possible be lucky two trips in a row when 8 minutes into the home run, the rod bent at right angles. I had difficulty getting it out of the rod holder the fish was pulling so hard. Once out and in my hands I knew I had a biggie and looked at my watch to see how long it would take to get it in. It was 11.08am. The fish took off and took out a lot of line even though I had set a heavy drag on the 30 lb line. When it stopped I started to reel it in when suddenly the line went slack and for a while I thought it had bitten or broken the line. However, past experience had taught me that sometimes they head straight back the way they came so I immediately reeled the line in as fast as I could. It seemed like forever but suddenly there was tension again. I estimate it went out 150 metres and then came back in 100 metres. It allowed me to reel him in to about 15 metres from the yak but deep down. It then took off again before I would reel him in again. This happened a number of times. I was always fearful that eventually it would disengage the hooks or break the line. I kept telling myself to be patient and not to try to force the issue. Finally I could see this big grey shape under the yak and I initially thought it was a bloody shark when it suddenly rolled a little to one side for the tell tale stripes on a silvery backgound to be visible. A bloody monster spaniard. You little beauty!!!!

Eventually it was spent and I gently brought to to the side of the yak and gaffed it. At this point I noted the time 11.29am... a 20 minute fight... it seemed longer. I just had to call Kevin and tell him the news plus he was expecting me to arrive about now. Naturally I told him I would be in later than expected. I then firstly made sure it was well and truly tethered with a jaw clip and roped it to the yak. I had great difficulty in getting the mackerel into the yak, nearly tipping a couple of times. Finally it was on board and then I had to guide it head first backwards into the rear hold which was far too small with the end result the tail was just in front of me making paddling awkward. But was I complaining? I then just rested and took in the moment and then paddled back to shore. The rest you know.

What a day!!!!



Bananas, 11Jun10

Subject: Fishing Today 11-06-10
From: "ian"
Date: 11/06/2010 6:15 PM

Cloud cover: all morning
Seas: 0.5-1 metre SE swell,choppy
Wind: 5-10 knot S/SW

Hi all

I paddled out to SR early with a 5-10 knot S-SW blowing and it was cold. I anchored up and fished the bottom with Bananas (prawns) and soft plastics alternating between the two. Conditions were a bit tricky with a current running to the South at around 5 K's. I had to use a 5/8 jig head and couldn't hold the bottom for very long, getting about 5 or 6 lifts with every cast. The bait was difficult also I'd cast up current and didn't find the bottom until it was almost underneath me. However the fish played the game.

I caught Grassy after Grassy keeping 3 and releasing approx 20 the biggest 45 cm all caught on Bananas. I caught and kept 1 Snapper 47cm on a SP and also kept a 37cm Moses Perch caught on SP.

Sorry I didn't take photos but the Snapper and biggest Grassy didn't make it home, (edited out...).

callsign:eye tag

Winter Spaniard, 09Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 09jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 9/06/2010 2:02 PM

Cloud cover: 5/10 in the NE
Wind direction & speed: gentle SW
Sea state: 1.5m swell from SE

Just after dark last night the rain belted down at home for 30 minutes or so after a day in which the wind gradually dropped. Seabreeze and Willy Weather both had forecast a reasonable day for an offshore yak trip today. As usual, Jaro had put out the call to arms. So this morning at 0550 I arrived in the carpark to find only one other car I recognized: that of Ian Tagg. The ocean swell hitting Sunshine Beach was pretty big but from the SE and I half expected that some of it would be rolling into Main Beach so I sauntered down to the beach to find, happily, that very little of the swell had survived the near 180 degree turn. Other than a few rain showers the weather seemed totally benign and the sea almost friendly.

Jaro arrived and soon we were ready to launch.

0616hrs. Jaro was a little late getting there today but here we are, ready to launch.

Ian was out at Little Hall's Reef, as I discovered after contacting him by VHF radio. He reported a light westerly breeze out there and no sign of any pelagics -- he intended to fish the bottom. Because Jew Shoal showed some promise last week, Jaro and I decided to fish there again. Soon we were paddling north, only Jaro trolling as I was already rigged to fish the bottom in the hope of sweetlip or snapper. We'd only been paddling a few minutes when Jaro's lure was taken, just after we'd paddled over a large shoal of fish clearly showing on both of our fish finders. The fish which had taken his lure was not big and Jaro soon had it to the boat.

0641hrs. Tailor, less than the legal minimum of 30cm, returned to the water to grow. Note the very sharp teeth.

And so our journey resumed. It's only a 40 min paddle to Jew Shoal and we were headed for the SW corner, to take advantage of the expected SW breeze which would push us toward the NE, drift fishing right across the best parts of Jew Shoal.

Almost at the chosen mark. I stopped paddling to set up my drift and was slowing down when Jaro yelled that he'd hooked up. This was right on top of one of my registered waypoints. Clearly this was no baby tailor. Jaro's yak had been swung through 180 degrees and was being towed back along the path we'd just travelled, the rod bent satisfyingly, line being stripped from the spool intermittently. I followed at a discreet distance, camera running.

After a few minutes Jaro had the fish under control and as it swept past both of us, a couple of metres down we could clearly see that it was a decent Spaniard. Jaro's previous experience with this highly prized species (probably the most prized fish among kayak fishers) allowed him to stay cool and carefully manoeuvre the fish into the final stage of the fight. Even so there were a few splashy moments.

(Frame from video)

But soon Jaro had neatly placed the gaff into the mackerel's lower jaw. He then followed his tethering procedure to ensure that this fish would not escape.

Jaro inserts the tether securing hook through the Spaniard's lower jaw. The Halco Laser Pro lure can be seen firmly attached to the head of the fish. (Frame from video)

Not a bad start to the morning!

The remainder of our time today at Jew Shoal was punctuated by the occasional catch of a small reefie, no sweetlip at all, and only one snapper, undersize. The weather just got better and better, with the cloud clearing to puffy small cumulus and the wind dropping right out. We left the reef around 1015 and by 1100 were back at our launching point.

Conditions on the way back in...

A lady on the beach happily agreed to have her photo taken with Jaro's fish.

105cm and 7.5kg.

VIDEO and later email
One of the more alert Hookers has found the deliberate error ;-) in my earlier report. Tailor minimum legal size is now 35cm (changed this year). Well done Mr Crawford.
I've done a quick cobble-together of a brief video featuring Jaro's Spaniard capture this morning. There's a great lesson in there about tethering gear and some nice music provided by members of the Far Northern Soul Collective of Cairns, NQ. Here's the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbEQUkrm-v4

Just before I turned off my radio I contacted Ian, still out at LH Reef. He had boated one mackerel tuna but, as I understood him, no snapper or sweetlip. Please update us Ian if that info is wrong.

Well done Jaro, you're on fire at the moment. Thanks for coming along.

I'm off to Sydney for several days and hope the snapper are back on when I return.

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

Fun at Rainbow, 06Jun10

Subject: Fishing this weekend
From: Stuart Denissen
Date: 6/06/2010 5:59 PM

Hi all,

A short report on the weekend's events. I fished for two short periods yesterday and today after heading up to Rainbow Beach for the weekend with the family. There was a light offshore wind blowing. I paddled straight out from the beach entrance approx 200-300 meters, using the slight breeze to bounce soft plastics off bottom and over bommies.

I hooked two fish yesterday, one being a good size sweet lip and my second being my first cobia, also on a soft plastic! I was unsure of the legal size limit for the cobia which measured in at 76cm so I released it back to grow bigger for another day. I then called it a day to spend some quality family time.

I paddled out today, negotiating a good swell which had picked up out of nowhere, however had great conditions just a couple hundred meters out. Once again I was using soft plastics and my light graphite gear with 8lb line.

After approx an hour and no fish I decided to call it a day, however when reeling in my plastic my rod bent and reel began to scream. I had a very familiar feeling fish on the end of the line, and after a 20 minute fight I landed a 81cm spottie mac. Great end to a great weekend. (I am now a soft plastic fan)!!


Big slatey, 03Jun10

Subject: fishing today -- 03Jun10
From: sunshiner
Date: 3/06/2010 3:22 PM

Cloud cover:3/10 to 7/10
Wind direction & speed: westerly up to 10 knots
Sea state: low swell
Jew Shoal: No current

And so we fronted again this morning, Jaro and I, lured by the likelihood of light winds from the west amd low swell. And so it turned out to be. On my arrival at Middle Groyne just before 0600 the air temp was bracing but there was no discernible breeze (see glass-out pic later). Shortly we were ready to launch.

0617hrs. The other craft out there are surf skis.

Our destination was Jew Shoal (3.7km away), which we hadn't visited for bottom fishing for quite a while. But it's a destination we know very well and which has delivered superb fishing for us from time to time. The sunrise view over Laguna Bay, was, as often, breathtaking, even to the likes of us who see it frequently. Today it was near perfect, with a mirror-like sea in the foreground.

0634 hrs. Just after starting out on our journey to Jew Shoal.

As we approached Jew Shoal the breeze gradually became more evident, coming from behind my left shoulder. But the sea was pretty flat so Jaro and I had elected to head straight for the western side of the shoal in order to drift fish from west to east, breeze-assisted. In due course we arrived and started fishing immediately at around 0715hrs.

Jaro had opted to start fishing at a spot about two hundred metres further north than I. Just as we'd planned, the breeze pushed us gently along toward the east at a near perfect speed. It wasn't long before the radio blared. "Got a really nice sweetlip," exults Jaro. This gave me some hope that the fish might be biting. Jaro was fishing with pilchards as bait on his trailing outfit and a soft plastic on his casting outfit. I was fishing with soft plastics on both. The sweetlip (grassy) had fallen for the pilchard bait. Before long the radio blares again. This time a clipped, hurried, transmission. "Got a bloody biggie on here." This prompted me to prepare to retrieve my lines as I'm always interested in getting pics of special fish and usually Jaro doesn't exaggerate much ;-). A couple of minutes later he confirmed that he still had the fish on and was gradually getting it under control. That was enough for me -- soon I was paddling toward him.

When I was still 50 metres away I could see that Jaro had secured the fish and I even tentatively identified the species because its head was clearly visible against the bright yellow background of Jaro's kayak. It was certainly big.

0745hrs. Jaro dehooks the fish before bringing it aboard.

Then he displayed the fish for the camera.

Slatey bream (Diagramma pictum). This species “appears” to be categorised under Queensland law as a sweetlip (its other common name is 'painted sweetlips') and if that's the case is subject to a legal limit of min 25cm and a bag limit of 5.

So a very nice fish within the first 30 minutes or so after starting to fish.

As Jaro was getting a bit of action I opted to hang around where he was fishing. Here the depth (20-22m) was greater than where I'd started out and there were fish showing on the sonar. I'd caught a small red rock cod in my first spot and soon Jaro and I were getting a few customers turn up. The next one was a bit unusual. I was drifting my soft plastic right down near the bottom when I picked up a small fish. To my surprise it was a flounder. These are very interesting creatures and delicious also. Unfortunately they seldom grow very large in our waters.

Largetooth Flounder (Pseudorhombus arsius). Flounder do not appear in the list of species subject to minimum "keeper" size or bag limit.

Close-up of the head area.

There are several very interesting things about the many species of flounder, all of which orient their bodies so that the right side is down. (Some flatfish have the left side down.) When first hatched flounders look like normal fish and orient their bodies in the usual way. But they undergo reorientation as they develop and much of the body changes to adapt to the new situation. The most obvious adaptation is that the right eye migrates to the left (top) side but not so obvious to the casual viewer is that the right (bottom) side becomes completely pale while the left side becomes mottled and provides excellent camouflage for its normal ocean floor habitat. Note that the jaw remains in its original orientation. Proponents of the notion of 'Intelligent Design' would be hard pressed to explain this creature's form, which is a clear example of evolution in action.

Anyway, back to the fishing. Jaro soon bagged another sweetlip, also taken on the pilchard. Recently, after suffering several bite-offs while fishing soft plastics, I adopted the practice of using wire traces on some of my jig-heads. One of these wired jig-heads was deployed on my trailing outfit and about now in the story I'd had occasion to replace the Snapback soft plastic on this outfit as it had been chewed to almost nothing by little sharp jawed pickers.

On placing this out again, I'd just closed the bail arm after casting when the lure was slammed and the rod bent severely then sprung back straight. I knew straight away that I was down a jighead and another Snapback. Sure enough, whatever had taken the lure had managed to bite through the line above the wire trace. :-( . Presumably there's a decent mackerel swimming around out there right now with some bling in its jaw.

Having earlier contacted us from the beach by radio, Turtleboy eventually joined us at around 0930 when things had quietened down somewhat. And it was becoming colder as the breeze had picked up and the sun was now masked by cloud. By 1030 we'd had enough and headed for the beach.

Just as I was paddling toward the exit channel at Middle Groyne, on the way in I spotted that there was traffic therein.

This merry couple, both pedalling madly, were outbound on a fishing expedition. As I said to them, I'd have liked to see them negotiate the exit channel when there was a decent swell running.

Needless to say, we all had an easy return to the beach. Here we took the obligatory pics.

The slatey bream went 70cm and weighed 4.5kg (New NY record). The larger grass sweetlip went 50cm.

Jaro, champ for today. Nice catch, mate.

Thanks for coming along Jaro and Steve and thanks for organizing, Jaro.
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner