River trevally, 25Jul10

Subject: fishing today -- 25Jul10
From: "ian"
Date: 25/07/2010 11:52 AM

Hello to all Noosa Yakkers. I had a quick paddle in the river this morning launching at 6am then trolling a Gold Bomber and a Jaro special around the Woods Bays where I caught 2 Cale Cale Trevally and 1 Tea leaf Trevally. They were all around 40cm. It was quite cold and wet but the weekend warriors have to put up with this if they want to catch fish from the Yak.

call sign: eye tag

Magnetic Island, 23Jul10

Subject: Fishing Highlights of Magnetic Is
From: Mark Powell
Date: 23/07/2010 8:11 PM

Hi all,

One queen fish was the total of my keeper catch although I had numerous other strikes that failed to hook up. I also landed a Wolf herring and a Pick axe Pike???? no photos - flat battery.

The Queenie put up a very memorable fight with some tail walking and jumping thrown in for good measure. I did not get a length or weight but it fed about 8 people for a very memorable meal.

Happy Fisherman

on board photography

Sunset over West end of Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay

Mark Powell

SR, empty fishbox, 13Jul10

Subject: fishing today -- 13Jul10
From: sunshiner
Date: 13/07/2010 3:50 PM

Cloud cover: varied throughout the morning
Wind direction & speed: light SW, becoming SE later
Sea state: 1.6m swell, no chop
If applicable (often at NSR): no discernible current

Participants: Jaro, Sam, Kev

After yesterday's grim effort, you'd have thought Sam and I would have had enough, but no, the weather forecast was great so we fronted again today. I think the attraction of new, wider fields (Sunshine Reef) helped to beckon Sam who was here for only two days, visiting from Brisbane. And of course, Jaro was back in the saddle having returned yesterday from a visit to Melbourne to watch his favourite footy team get beaten again.

0613hrs, with a planned launch time of 0615. Jaro, ultrakeen as usual, hits the water first.

I know the swell looks benign in the pic, but getting a wet bum at dawn in the middle of winter is not our idea of fun here in Noosa. Without care, a wet bum would certainly have been the result today, although the swell was less than yesterday. Anyway, all three of us chose the same time gap to go through the surf, with three dry bums the result -- a good start.

Although we were all off to Sunshine Reef, Jaro opted to head for one of his favourite spots at the northern end while I accompanied Sam to the familiar close-in mark which has been so good to us in the past. Jaro gradually disappeared behind the swells as we all headed off, I giving Sam a tourist commentary about the terrain features of the headland as it was his first trip out there. The usual dolphin pod in Granite Bay area was encountered, to Sam's delight and shortly afterward we were cruising through the choppy maelstrom which characterises the shallow water next to Hells Gates. Once we were clear of that, we embarked on the open ocean and the sea, being deeper here, also became smoother.

It's only 1.5km from Hells Gates to the mark and Sam and I covered that easily in 15 minutes. Worryingly, we could find few if any fish signs on our respective fish finders, but we were here now so we deployed our SPs and prepared to do battle. Thirty minutes later, there had been no battle for either of us, and we'd heard nothing at all by radio from Jaro, other than that he'd arrived at his spot.

After an hour or so without even a definite hit, and still no word from Jaro, I at last scored a large-toothed flounder which took a liking to the R2S OctoSniper. This flounder was as big as any I've seen around Noosa, but still only around 30cm long so back he went without even a photo. Eventually Jaro called, sounding pretty pissed off. He'd been fishing with big prawns and pilchards and hadn't even had a bite. He'd decided to come and try our spot; at least he'd have human company with us.

Sam called it quits at 10am and Jaro and I about 20 minutes later, all fishless -- the worst result Jaro and I can recall for a long time. Never mind, the sun was now out, the sea glistening, the wind light and, like the swell, at our backs so we enjoyed the exercise of the paddle back.

The usual spice was added to the trip by the need to negotiate the surf zone at Main Beach. Because the swell was still mainly from the east rather than the south the surf zone at MG was every bit as hairy as it was yesterday, but entirely do-able as long as patience was applied until the inevitable break in the swells occurred.

As Jaro is always anxious to become a movie star and he's my mate I decided to run first so that, assuming I survived the surf zone, I could record Jaro doing his thing. There was only one board-rider on the corner and we chatted amiably while he awaited the next big wave and I awaited the lull behind it. The wave came, off went the surfer and I followed him in, having checked behind to ensure as far as possible that there were no biggies following TOO close behind. My timing was good and within seconds I'd covered the 20 metres or so which is the really gnarly part and was into the deeper water right next to the rock wall, paddling like hell. In this area you still can't fully relax as the surge comes through powerfully and waves pile up due to an outgoing current. Still, before long I was on the beach the right way up. Sam, I noticed, was on the rock wall, as a spectator, hoping for blood after his event yesterday. Knowing that Jaro was close behind me I grabbed the camera and waded out into the surge, just in case he decided to provide some spectacular and impromptu subject material.

That's Jaro out the back, waiting patiently, and this is the sort of wave he was hoping to avoid. (frame from video)

But Jaro's an old dog and he waited and waited and then went for it. He picked the gap beautifully, as the following frames from the video demonstrate.

On the way in, checking behind to make sure that he's not about to be caned.

Check out the wave that the surfer is on, safely behind Jaro. Nice timing!

And Jaro finishes off nicely.

Sam, although cheated, was enthralled by this dual performance and instantly signed up as a Noosa Yakker. He'd come in before us and chosen the eastern side of the wall, and had learned from yesterday (ie, get to the beach before me). He'd surfed a wave in then broached the yak successfully when the bow swung, ending up on the beach the right way up, to the admiring applause of dozens of beachgoers, no doubt. Well done Sam.

So there you have it, a trip report without fish pics. Hopefully there won't be any more of those in the next few months. Come on snapper, get biting.

What's not to like about kayak fishing?

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

Sam's first trip, 12Jul10

Subject: fishing today -- 12jul10
From: sunshiner
Date: 12/07/2010 2:58 PM

Cloud cover: 2/10
Wind direction & speed: first from SW then from SE
Sea state: 1.8m swell

Participants: Peter, Sam (new Noosa Yakker from Brisbane), Kev

0613hrs. Low light forces the camera to use a low shutter speed and my hands were shaking anyway.

So here's Sam (Viking Tempo), about to launch from MG for the first time. The surf was pretty much as I'd described it yesterday arvo. Care was required. But we got out OK. Peter had already launched in the dark, much to Sam's consternation as he thought he was going to have to do the same thing!

We were met by the MG dolphin pod immediately after launch -- nice to see our marine mammal friends come over and say good morning. Soon we were headed for the shoal on a decent swell rolling in from the NE but a gentle SW breeze, no chop.

I spotted Peter first and pointed his tiny dot on the horizon out to Sam. As we got closer we could see that there were two yakkers out there, and no other boats. Curious as to who the guy was in the orange yak, I paddled over to discover it was John, a Kin Kin resident whom we see from time to time. He's from Hawaii originally and obviously loves his fishing. We then paddled over to Peter, about 200 metres distant.

0713hrs. As we didn't have a pic of Peter I decided to create one.

Pete had already bagged two keeper snapper using bait, possibly because he arrived at JS 30 minutes or so before we did.

Sam opted to stay with me and I paddled over to a deeper section to the north to start fishing. Conditions were pretty good with a SW breeze and a very slow drift toward the NE. All of us could see fish schools on our fish finders so we were hopeful of getting some action. I set up my trailing outfit with a gold/orange River2Sea Octo Sniper and free spooled my ancient ABU overhead to let it descend to the bottom. Barely had it reached there than it was whacked. This is the second time this has happened to me with this lure and I've only used it twice. First drop, on immediately. I cranked the fish in to find it was a very large scorpion cod, which posed for the camera before I released it.

0737hrs. Scorpion cod. Don't get spined by one of these guys!

But there was a distinct lack of snapper or sweetlip action, at least for us SP users (Sam and I). But we persisted. Eventually I caught a lancer (a type of small sweetlip -- Octo again) and then a bar-tailed flathead, on the SP. As there's some confusion about legal size limits for these fish, I've taken a pic to assist in identification.

Bar-tailed flathead, fairly common around Jew Shoal. Min size 30cm, bag limit for flathead other than duskies (see below) is 5

Tail of bar tailed flathead. Note that the dusky flathead (min 40cm max 75cm) has a similarly patterned, but not so striking, tail but its tail has a prominent "blotch".

At 10am I called it quits and Sam opted to return to MG with me. We opted to troll across the shoal and had barely got started when Sam yelled out to me. I paddled over to find that he'd hooked a bonito on his trolled HB lure.

As Sam said: "At least I didn't score a donut!" The bonito was gently released.

We paddled home in glorious conditions, the breeze, which had swung to the SE, gradually lessening as we entered Laguna Bay. Approaching MG we chatted about techniques for handling the surf break, which, the closer we got, the greater the likely challenge it seemed would be presented. At last we could see that there were several board-riders right on the point -- a sure sign that steep wave faces could be anticipated. I was impressed that Sam was fully aware of the need to secure everything and had set up his yak so that nothing at all would be damaged in any likely eventuality. So we sat off the break, both getting our gear stowed and, as I was finished first, I thought I'd better do the right thing and show the path through. The grommets at the mouth of the channel were manoeuvering to get the best possie to pick up the incoming waves, but I was determined to pick a way through and eventually, having chosen my run time, had to ask one of them as politely as I could to "Get out of the way please!", which he did with alacrity. My way clear, I churned in and was completely clear of the nasty break area before a wave ran me down. This wave was easily defeated by broaching the yak to starboard which gave me a nice 45 degree ride in to the beach. Whew!

I grabbed the camera, just in case, and waded back through the swell to see how Sam would do. He was waiting where I had waited but there were some pretty decent waves sliding under him. The grommets were having a ball with these and I hoped Sam would hold back a little longer, although I did turn the camera on. Uh oh! Sam chose his wave, without noticing another right behind him. I aimed the camera without having time to zoom in and started recording movie just as the wave caught Sam. He managed to keep the yak straight, but the bow went down, possibly hit the sand and Sam was pitch poled forward.

That's Sam at the height of his embarrassment, bow deeply under the water, stern in the air (frame from video)

This frame from the video, a minute or so later, shows the sort of waves we were dealing with. Note the boogie boarder almost inside a barrel.

But every cloud has a silver lining, they say. As he was wading toward the beach, Sam spotted a tree branch caught in the surge. "There's a rod and reel!" he yelled. I looked where he was pointing and sure enough, I saw a Shimano Sienna reel (latest model, for I have two similar ones) attached to a rod. The outfit was entangled in the branch. It was a clear case of finders keepers but I did drag it out of the surf for him. The reel and rod both had marine growths on them but the reel was still functional and not only that it was spooled with braid, and, at the end of the braid, a good quality casting slug was clipped on.

A dripping wet Sam with his find.

If he hadn't come a cropper he wouldn't have found the rod and reel.

Thanks for coming along Sam and Peter. Peter, please let us know how you finished up for the day.

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

Spaniard lost, 06Jul10

Subject: fishing today -- 06Jul10
From: sunshiner
Date: 6/07/2010 4:11 PM

Cloud cover: varied throughout the morning
Wind direction & speed: from S ~5knots, gradually dropping off to calm
Sea state: low swell gradually increasing

Participants: Jaro, Kev, Ian, Peter, Jim, LeRoux, Stu

Raining at bedtime last night, fine this morning. On arrival in the carpark at about 0550 I noticed that Ian and Peter's cars were already parked -- clearly they were out there already. I checked out the break -- no problem there, and turned to see Jim and Jaro arriving. It wasn't so cold this morning, probably as a result of the cloud cover for much of the night.

We were soon ready to go.

0612hrs. Jaro and I ready to launch.

Jim chose to launch on the eastern side of the groyne while Jaro and I went for the usual western side. Either way, launch wasn't a problem.

Jew Shoal was once more our planned fishing destination and soon we were on our way, aided by a gentle SW breeze. We were aware that Peter, who doesn't have a radio, was probably at Jew Shoal. Ian had said he intended to go to Sunshine Reef and this was confirmed by a quick radio call to Ian who passed on the valuable info that the wind out there wasn't very strong.

By the time we got to Jew Shoal the southerly wind was generating a few white caps but nothing uncomfortable. Off to the east I could just see Peter's blue Hobie. We three chose our own starting points and fishing commenced. I think Jim was the first to announce the capture of a decent fish -- he'd bagged a nice snapper on a soft plastic. By 0730 I had caught only a small reefy or two and was drift fishing just north of The Pinnacles. Nearby I noticed several small tailor or similar leaping out of the water trying to escape a predator which was leaving large swirls behind them. This continued for half a minute or so but the species of the predator wasn't obvious. I continued, focussing on trying to catch snapper or sweetlip using my 6kg SP/casting outfit armed with a 4 inch SP on a 1/4oz jighead. Suddenly, just as I was jigging my offering at the bottom of its swing under the yak, the artificial bait was slammed. Almost immediately the hooked fish headed south, straight toward Noosa headland. Line was pouring off the reel as the run continued. I soon knew that this was a pretty good fish as only the biggest of the snapper I'd caught could sustain such a run. Checking my watch about two minutes into the fight, I noticed that the time was 0742. The drag was still releasing line and I ruefully watched the spool diameter gradually diminish, wondering if I was about to be spooled. After about ten minutes of being towed and line being taken at a slow but steady rate, I started to get a little line back onto the spool. I'd also managed to make a radio call so Jaro had paddled over to see if he could help. He pulled his camera out and took a pic.

Heading south being towed by what? Pic by Jaro.

I had no idea what I'd hooked but was pretty sure it wasn't a snapper. I thought perhaps a longtail tuna or a cobia but whatever it was, it was big and powerful. I was glad that I'd attached my jighead with about 10-15cm of wire for I've been bitten off on several occasions lately and suspected one of the mackerel gang. Anyway, the fight dragged on. Jaro moved away to resume fishing as he could see the process of fighting this fish would be lengthy.

Eventually I started to get line back onto the reel. It was a pump & wind process for several minutes with episodes of line loss as the fish hit back from time to time. Then, quite suddenly the fish seemed to weaken and soon after I noticed that I had almost all of my line back on the spool, this after some 20 minutes of to-ing and fro-ing. But I still hadn't seen the fish, which was puzzling. Even with less than 20m of line out and my quarry at about a 45° angle from me, I still couldn't see what I'd hooked. Then, less than 10m from the yak, a familiar tail broke through the surface. It was then that I could see that I'd hooked a pretty big Spaniard, over a metre long by my estimation. I also noticed that the line was wrapped around its tail which explains why I couldn't see the fish -- it was facing away from me in the latter part of the fight. Being very gentle now, I drew the fish toward the yak using the rod while reaching back with my right hand for the gaff which I placed in the footwell in the ready position. A Spaniard in July, on 6kg line and a soft plastic. Wow! Then it all unravelled. The line somehow disentangled itself from the tail and the jighead (which presumably had become dislodged in the last moments of the fight) with its mangled SP whipped out of the water and over my shoulder. The now tired fish slid silently and without fuss beneath the waves. My last view of it was a silvery flash of its flank as it swam weakly downward. Ah well, at least I didn't get busted!

By now Jim had caught another snapper, Le Roux and Stu had arrived and Jaro was rapidly running out of bait as he distributed brekky to the hungry, but small, hordes below us. I checked my knots, straightened the kinks in the wire, put on a new SP and went back into action. It seemed only a few minutes later when I hooked the bottom. Cursing my luck today, I grabbed the line to dislodge the jighead or snap the line when suddenly the snag started to move. Again line poured off the spool against the drag but this time whatever I was connected with was trying to stay deep, directly below the yak. My imagination conjured up the mother of all sweetlip. Ten minutes later I knew this was no sweetlip, at least not like any I'd ever caught before. The beast just wouldn't give in. I thought that maybe it was a wobbegong shark and hoped it wasn't. After 15 minutes LeRoux paddled over and asked me "Are you having fun yet?". And then I saw it -- a green turtle, foul hooked. These guys are very hard to bring to the yak on light gear, which I was using. Nevertheless, I was keen to try to remove the hook, if possible, so stuck with the task. Eventually I had the turtle next to the yak but certainly not in a calm and complacent mood. I could see that the jighook was stuck under its right front flipper but before I could grab a flipper and drag the turtle into the kayak the line broke, right on the knot, so at least the turtle wasn't dragging around fishing line which might tangle in something. The hook will soon rust away so it's likely that minimal harm was done to the turtle.

Feeling a bit demoralised by now, I nevertheless returned to the fishing. Meanwhile, Jim had caught another snapper and had also managed to gaff a free swimming unicorn fish into the yak, as Stu did recently. There were lots of black-tip cod around today. I must have boated 8 or 10, all undersize, as usual. Peter came pedalling over to reveal that he had two nice snapper, both taken at daybreak on floating pilchard baits. Around 1030 Jim decided he'd head in as he had a good bag of fish so I took the opportunity to take a couple of pics before he set off for Middle Groyne.

Above, unicorn leatherjacket, free gaffed from the yak. A school of them had followed the remnants of Jim's pilchard bait as he'd brought it back to the yak.

Jim's best snapper today.

Sometime in this period LeRoux had caught a decent snapper also. Ian had announced by radio that he'd caught a couple of "grassies". So that left Jaro and me (and Stu, who got seasick and had to leave early) without any fish to show off to the tourists on the beach. Peter, Stu asked me to include an apology from him to you in this report. Apparently he was too sick to even speak when your paths crossed out there today.

Shortly after Jimbo left, LeRoux, Jaro and I also decided to call it a day, just as Ian arrived for a visit from Sunshine Reef on his way home. By now the sea had glassed out but it was noticeable that the swell had increased a little -- hinting that the surf zone transit might be more challenging than earlier...

By the time we arrived back at Middle Groyne there were quite a few board riders floating at the entrance to our beach access channel. This is a sure sign that extra care needs to be taken. Just as Jaro and I arrived off the beach we noticed that LeRoux had got through safely then Jim radioed us to say he'd just had the best surf ride on his yak ever. He'd ridden a wave the whole length of the rock wall, a feat witnessed by Stu. For Jaro and me, this didn't ease our feelings of trepidation at all.

Jim's ride in, as caught by Stu on his phone cam.

LeRoux picks a nice gap. Pic by Stu.

Jaro, being ready first, went next, watched by a bunch of tourists and, more importantly, Stu, LeRoux and Jim. I didn't see how he went at the time for I'd drifted east and out of sight. My turn. I politely asked the kids on surf boards choking my channel to give me a bit of space. When my request was met with blank looks I decided that I'd make a gap anyway. And so I did. As it turned out, I'd managed to pick a lull in the waves but even so, a medium-sized wave ran me down as I paddled toward the beach. I looked around before it caught me and decided that I would broach on it, by digging a paddle in on one side, rather than try to ride it in.

Me, broaching from the top of the wave and allowing the wave to pass under me. Pic by Stu.

This worked fine, to my relief, as all of the above plus Jaro were waiting and watching, on the groyne and on the beach. I did notice, as I hauled up on the beach, that Jaro was wringing wet. I wonder why?

I don't know the final results from Ian and Peter so we'd all appreciate an update and info on anything else of interest today.
[See email contributions at end of post]

Thanks for coming along yakkers and thanks for organizing, Jaro.

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

From Ian
Hi hookers and lookers,
My morning was reasonably quiet at SR boating 2 Grassies, a Snapper and a nice Tuskfish. Then I headed to JS arriving as Sunshiner and Jaro were leaving. I decided to stay and did a couple of drifts with Peter Doff and I increased my bag with another 2 Snapper and doubled the Grassy count. Peter ended up with 3 Snapper one I'd estimate at 55cm.
Sorry about the size differences in the photos,the computer wouldn't play the game.


From Pete
Sunrise was awesome. Added to the beauty was 2 snapper 56cm and 50cm a good start to the day.
Things turned slow south of the pinnacle so I peddalled over to Jaro, Kev, LeRoux passing a green Stu, apologies accepted. I know the feeling, have you tried ginger?
Fished with them for a bit but got inundated with squid so peddalled back to the pinnacle and bagged another 2 snapper 44cm and 42cm.
Ian turned up as you guys were heading in and I watched as Ian caught some sweeties and a snapper or 2. Ian went off for a troll and I went for a final drift then we headed in about 1.30ish. Ian just ahead of me got through the break dry. I wasn't so skillful and took a dunking.