Setting up Stealth, 31Aug10

Subject: fishing today -- 31aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 31/08/2010 3:35 PM

Cloud cover: varied throughout the morning
Wind direction & speed: SE up to 10 knots
Sea state: low swell, choppy
Moonrise/set: 2320/0920hrs

Participants: Kev only

As many of you know, I'm setting up my "new" yak which I acquired just over a week ago. There's been a lot to do, including fitting a fish finder and finding places for the gaffs, pliers, etc which must be at hand when they're needed but also never in the way. This yak has heaps of space, which was one of the reasons I bought it. At last I can stow my rods and reels, made up, internally, along with all the electronic stuff which needs protection from the surf zone.

So here it is, this morning, ready to launch at 0755am -- a late start, I know, but that bed was cosy.

Today's trip was sort of a shakedown cruise. You know, go out fishing and see what great ideas in the shed don't work in practice. The boat is designed to handle surf really well but those characteristics weren't needed today. The swell hardly registered at Middle Groyne, where I launched, into crystal clear water.

Here's how the rig looked from the bellybutton perspective, as soon as I was set up. That handle and drain plug in the distance are on the pointy end of the boat.

This was my third launch in this boat (and only the second with fishing gear aboard) and I was keen to blood it as I'd not caught anything at all on my brief previous trip last Friday, launching from Sunshine Beach to join LeRoux and Steve. Very soon I was paddling for Jew Shoal, assisted by a tail wind and trolling the trusty Halco Laser Pro.

The southerly breeze was causing a few white caps out at JS, but nothing to be concerned about so I set myself up to take advantage of the southerly, drifting from the SE edge of the shoal. The first thing I noticed was that there were lots of fish showing up on the sonar, including the display of classic arches which indicate larger fish, suspended above the bottom. I chose to fish with only one rod and that armed with my usual soft plastic.

0916. The first fish caught by me to come into this boat. Maori cod, way undersize (legal limit 45cm).

Well at least they were on the bite. The water was deep blue and looked perfect for fishing. I decided to drift right across the shallow section of the reef and so paddled the several hundred metres across to A3 04 (some of you will be able to pin-point this location), on the SE corner of the reef to restart my drift. Soon this tactic was rewarded with my first keeper for the boat.

0952hrs. The first of (hopefully) many future snapper and other great fish.

Earlier, off to the west, I'd seen another kayaker whom I didn't recognize. Before long, I looked up and saw that he'd come across to say hello. It turned out to be Ashley (AKFF: polylureosis) with whom I'd had previous email contact but had never actually met. He was in Noosa for a friend's wedding and of course brought his yak. A little later, as I approached him when repositioning my drift, he hooked up and I managed to persuade him to pose with his fish.

1021hrs. Ashley with a plump grass sweetlip -- dinner tonight!

If you look carefully at the above pic, you'll see a mast at bottom left. This craft, a Hobie Adventure Island, turned out to be the new possession of Paul, a hinterland resident with a South African accent who fishes at Noosa a lot. It's amazing how many Noosa-region South Africans are into kayak fishing!

Satisfied with my one snapper, especially as the action was quite slow, I headed home as some of my set-ups needed refinement. Hopefully we'll be able to get out again tomorrow.

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

Maori cod, SR, 25Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- 25aug10
From: Maverick
Date: 25/08/2010 7:44 PM

LeRoux and I were planning a river trip however a last minute change of mind and we decided to hit Sunshine Reef instead. Conditions were great, with a light WNW approx 3 knots. There was a small shore break to contend with but we made it out without getting wet. Once out we paddled over to the inner reef where there were a couple guys spear fishing, one guy put what seemed to be a big cod into the water when we approached them, the fish was not removed until we paddled off?!....

My first bait in the water and I hooked a small reefie, this was followed by all his brothers and sisters! My first keeper was a decent size flounder. LeRoux shouted that he had a big fish however turned out to be a mother in law fish (morwong) which was released. We noticed a lot of bird activity further out and decided to investigate. On route I was trolling a halco laser pro - green and orange. My reel began to scream and I had a big fish on end. Unfortunately on the second run I gave it a bit of slack and I lost it. I made it to the activity and saw a couple big tuna jumping, I cast a few slugs with no success. I paddled back to the inner reef where I continued bottom bashing.

I hooked onto a 51cm maori cod using small pillies. I then carried on drifting and hooked onto two snapper just under legal limit. My pillies were not even hitting the bottom before getting taken. I ran out of pillies at this time and LeRoux had paddled to NZ once again so I had to resort to soft plastics. Armed with my favorite graphite pole and 8lb line I dropped a nuclear chicken plastic and got smashed by a 56cm grassy sweetlip which was boated. Shortly after I was smashed again and boated a 50cm grassy sweetlip. The weather was turning a bit cold and wet so decided to call it a day. Steve Crisp met me on the beach and took the pics and even helped me take the yak back to my truck - thanks Steve. LeRoux advised me ja bit later that he had caught all the remaining brothers and sisters and even some cousins, but no keepers!


Maori cod, 51cm


Doggie Beach launch, 22Aug10

Subject: fishing today -- 22aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 22/08/2010 4:19 PM

Cloud cover: cloudless
Wind direction & speed: SW-S up to 10 knots
Sea state: Low swell
If applicable (often at NSR): Possible small current toward the south
Moonrise/set: 1530

Participants: Fong, Jaro, Jim, Harry, Steve, Kev

This report is about the group who launched at Sunshine Beach today. It's possible that other Noosa Yakkers (such as Stu), launched at MG but we don't yet know how (or if) they went (hint, hint).

Jaro had nominated a 0545 RV at the doggy beach carpark. When I arrived at about that time Jaro and Jim had already performed the beach recce and deemed it doable. Today was special for me because I was launching my new (actually, used) ride, a Stealth Supalite X which I'd brought home on Saturday. So this was to be my first launch in it. The Stealth is very unlike my beloved Espri and I'd have to get to know it before starting to set it up with fishfinder etc.

While we were unloading our yaks from the cars Fong (aka Tim) turned up and introduced himself. This was his first trip with us after making contact less than a week ago. Before long we were assembling on the beach.

0601hrs. Here's Fong, ready to go this morning.

Anxious to try out the surf capabilities of my Stealth I decided to launch immediately as the waves were tiny anyway. So, without ever even floating in this craft before, I jumped aboard. The first thing that I noticed was a pool of water occupying the seat, so I started out with a wet arse (glad I was wearing a wetsuit as it was pretty cool before sunrise today). At this stage I should mention that the Stealth is built for surf launches and has capacious internal storage in which I'd secured all of my gear, including fully made up rods, ready to fish. So the external hull is completely clean. Having managed to take my seat I immediately started to paddle toward the breaking waves. Hey, this yak's a bit tippy, being only about 60cm wide. Never mind, I was committed now so the best thing to do was keep moving ahead. Here was the first test. A small wave had just started to break. This wave in the Espri would have meant a completely washed-down deck and yakker. The Stealth's upturned bow climbed the breaking water and neatly took me over the wave with nary a drop coming aboard. One thing I did notice immediately was the slap and vibration of the hull as the boat dropped off the back of the wave. The Stealth is made of fibreglass and has several inner compartments separated from the outer skin sometimes by only 1cm of space.

Anyway, I was soon out the back and relished the luxury of being able to deploy fully rigged rods immediately. Shortly afterward I was joined by Fong, Jim and Jaro. Very soon we were all headed for Sunshine Reef. On the way both Fong and Jaro hooked up on small bonito.

As I was operating without the benefit of a fish finder I headed straight for one of my well-tried marks while Jaro spotted good reef on the sounder closer in so started to fish there.

At 7am I had a good solid strike on my cast soft plastic and it was clear I'd become connected to a decent fish. Just as I was congratulating myself on blooding the yak the hook pulled free. Shortly afterward Jim announced that he'd caught a small but keeper snapper on an SP so at least one of us was on the board. By now Harry had joined us, and Turtleboy was on his way out, both having made contact by radio before leaving the beach area.

Harry's got a new hat. Here he is boating a scorpion cod.

The breeze was bloody cold, much colder than I can remember it being out there before. To make matters worse, I was sitting in a puddle, my feet were in their own individual paddling pools, and the fishing was deadly quiet. By 10am I'd had enough and by this time Fong had bagged a keeper tuskfish then busted his only rod while battling with a snag, Turtleboy had bagged a small keeper snapper caught on trailing SP and Harry had caught a bonito on SP. Fong, busting off a snag from a yak can be very difficult. I know a way to make it easier if you care to phone me some time, or drop in to see me.

As it turned out, the remaining five of us left for the beach together (Fong had left for the beach after busting his rod). I went in first as I was keen to start learning how to use the Stealth's alleged superior surf capabilities. Well, as we all know, the boat can have great capabilities but they all depend on the skill of the paddler, a paddler, who in this case, had never before taken a craft of this type back through the surf. My preparation for the surf zone transit was easy -- bang the rods and anything else that's loose into the large central hatch and secure the cover.

I decided to play it safe anyway and kept a wary eye out behind as I neared the surf zone. Just as well! A very large set appeared just as I was about to start my final run. The chest cam was running as I opted to turn into this large set and head back out to sea.


Just clearing the crest as it starts to break (frames from video).

The Stealth handled that easily. So now I opted to run in and take whatever was thrown at me. Oh well, I have to learn somehow...

I was almost in when a wave caught up with me. In the Espri I would have broached and braced and gone in sideways but I decided to try surfing this wave in. I clearly recall watching the bow dig in and, despite the fact that I was leaning right back to transfer my weight to the rear, I think the bow must have hit the sand as suddenly the stern swung to the right and out I went, into thigh deep water.

Just before I tumbled out.

No harm was done. I suspect that I may get quite a few experiences of this kind in the next year or so.

Jim came in next and picked the sets well, surfing the Espri in on the shorebreak.

Jim on the wave.

Harry did it easily -- again!

Jaro survived this one.

Turtleboy picked his way through after an initial scare with a bigger set out the back

It wasn't much of a day for fishing but at least we got out and had some fun.

Washpoint at DB carpark.

My Stealth Supalite X, on the beach afterward.

Thanks for organizing, Jaro and for coming along guys. Stu and LeRoux, if you went out today could you please let us know how you went? [see Stu's comment at end of post]

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

Email from Stu
Hi guys,

I launched at MG around 7:30am and possibly the easiest launch ever, without a ripple even landing on the beach. Le Roux unfortunately could not make it, however I was accompanied by a mate from Brisbane who used my spare yak. We headed straight out to Jew Shoal where I counted 9 stink boats already anchored and lines in the water.

In typical fashion I dropped my line and before hitting the water was on a fish, only to be disappointed when pulling up a small scorpion cod. There seemed to be a lot of drift happening against the wind, having to use heavier sinkers which I do not like as I seemed to get snagged heaps today. I had a chat to some of the guys on stink boats and all said the same that they had not landed any fish all morning. After fishing for approx 3 and a half hours and only catching small cod and 5 small flathead I called it quits.

Hopefully luck will be on our side next trip.


Impromptu pays off, 16Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- Monday 16Aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 16/08/2010 6:06 PM

Cloud cover: none
Wind direction & speed: light and variable, initially from SW then from NE
Sea state: low swell (<1m current:="" n-="">S ~1kph

Participants: Jaro, Kev, Stu, LeRoux, Steve

I'd decided on Sunday afternoon that if the weather trend continued I'd consider a beach launch mid morning at Sunshine Beach. The wind was forecast to drop and the inshore swell had been knocked down by the cool SW winds of the previous few days. I was out of bed at 8am and wandered down to the shop and the beach lookout just down the road. Perfect! Only a tiny wave stood between me and Sunshine Reef, a mere 1.5 km from the strolling beachgoers.

Having made the decision to launch around 10am I emailed my fellow yakkers, telling them of my intentions then sat down and enjoyed a leisurely brekky with M in the warm mid-winter sun. First Leroux phoned: "Stu and I are going too", then Jaro succumbed to temptation, as I thought he might, and put aside whatever he had planned for today. Days like this are few and far between and I was very glad that I had no pressing matters to divert my attention.

And so it was that we started to assemble in the doggy beach carpark from 10am. One by one my companions arrived and by 1015 Jaro and I were on the beach ready to launch. Stu and LeRoux weren't far behind.
<1m current:="" n-="">

1018hrs. Tough conditions! On the beach we met fellow Noosa Yakker Steve and his wife Kerrie. Jaro's chatting with Kerrie while Steve tosses up whether to join us. (He did, later.)
<1m current:="" n-="">
This was one of the easiest Sunshine Beach launches I've experienced. Soon Jaro and I were out the back and LeRoux and Stu were paddling out to join us. As usual the water out the back was gin clear and the very light SW breeze promised to give us a little push to get to the reef.

From Sunshine Beach it takes only about 20 minutes paddle time to reach one of our favourite marks on this section of Sunshine Reef. Stu immediately boated a keeper tusk fish, first drop, using bait. Then all was quiet for a short while. I'd headed for an area that was about 400m north of the one chosen by Jaro, Stu and LeRoux. This area had numerous 2-3m "bumps" on the 22-26m bottom which clearly displayed on my sonar. I was recording a drift to the south, despite the breeze from the SW so clearly there was a current working N to S. I'd been having a lean fishing time lately and was hopeful that today would see a change in that so I was delighted when my soft plastic bait was slammed at 1118hrs, exactly one hour after the above pic was taken. After a short tussle, a nice snapper came aboard.
<1m current:="" n-="">

1123hrs. Snapper taken on soft plastic, 1/2oz jighead with wire trace, in 26m.
<1m current:="" n-="">
I radioed Jaro that I was on the board, secured and stowed the fish and then checked my tackle and recast, putting the rod down temporarily while I dealt with a small tackle bugger-up on the other rod, my trailing outfit. This task was interrupted when the rod went off again, with the jig head still swimming on its way to the ocean floor. Another brief tussle resulted in snapper #2 being invited aboard for tea.
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1128hrs. Snapper #2.
<1m current:="" n-="">
I'd marked on the GPS a couple of interesting pieces of reef on this drift so now had some information on where the fish were likely to be but they still weren't showing on my sonar. Nevertheless I told Jaro and soon he could be seen heading my way, accompanied by Stu. On arrival I showed them my drift and a couple of the key places and left them to it. The next strike I took was only a few minutes later. I worked the hard fighting fish gently and before long a beautiful red-throat emperor popped up next to the yak. Its colours were striking and I was just imagining how good this fish would be on the plate when it rolled and splashed on the surface and the hook dislodged, allowing it to return to the depths. Bummer!

Conditions continued to be near perfect. The sun was warm, not hot, and the breeze was just strong enough to slow the drift down to a perfect speed. Out to the east was the stark horizon between sea and sky while to the west the village of Sunshine Beach lay basking in the sun. I wondered what other people were doing this Monday morning.
<1m current:="" n-="">

There were quite a few small but sharp toothed critters down there today. Those soft plastics are about 90 cents each!
<1m current:="" n-="">
Not long after Steve arrived, having also launched from Sunshine Beach, I could see Stu's rod bent impressively. With my two fish I was happy with my lot so took the opportunity to pull in my gear and paddle over to see what Stu had caught.
<1m current:="" n-="">

1244hrs. A very nice grass sweetlip. That's Stu's version of a smile.
<1m current:="" n-="">
Just as I was photographing this fish Jaro's familiar yell of triumph reached us from his yak a couple of hundred metres away. In search of more photos I started paddling toward him as he pulled in a decent snapper, then immediately yelled out that his other rod had gone off also. I kept paddling and reached him just before he boated the second fish.
<1m current:="" n-="">

1249hrs. That's a nice Venus tuskfish. Mount Coolum is on the horizon.
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I wanted to take a pic of the snapper too, but had to forage for it myself in Jaro's capacious fishbox as the fish was out of his reach.
<1m current:="" n-="">

Here's his snapper.
<1m current:="" n-="">
Things went quiet for a while and the wind started to go around to the NE, a typical seabreeze locally. This of course, speeded up our drift so fishing conditions weren't as good as earlier. I was intrigued by a boat anchored near our drift line. It had arrived after we had and was now displaying a "diver below" flag. I could also see two safety floats down current of the vessel, whose sole crewmember appeared to be a small dog, anxiously scanning the surrounding waters. The two human crew were in the water, without scuba gear, free diving in 25m.
<1m current:="" n-="">
<1m current:="" n-="">
I drifted close enough to the divers to ask how they were going. They hadn't taken any fish but had seen some large yellowtail kingfish cruising around. These are possibly the unstoppable bruisers we sometimes hook up with.

Meanwhile, LeRoux reappeared on the scene from the east. He'd got far enough out to see New Zealand but decided to come back to Noosa where things are warmer. Having spent a little time with us he then disappeared in a NW direction, toward Hells Gates.

Stu had one more surprise up his sleeve. I could see that he was fighting a decent fish so I pulled in my gear to see if a photo might be needed. I got there just in time to see him boat a beautifully-marked 45cm red emperor. He casually returned this beautiful and prized fish to the ocean -- its minimum legal size is 55cm!

With the strengthening NE breeze I opted to turn for the beach around 1430hrs and soon after came the others, less LeRoux. It's always exciting coming back in at Sunshine as you have to choose an entry point and then hope you've timed it well enough to avoid large following waves. But the sets were coming in regularly. Stu cruised in in his inimitable style, while I, Steve and Jaro bided our time and each followed in the last of a three wave set. Easy!
<1m current:="" n-="">

Stu's tusk fish and sweetlip
<1m current:="" n-=""> <1m current:="" n-="">
My two snapper
<1m current:="" n-="">
Jaro's tusk fish and snapper
<1m current:="" n-="">
The four yaks on the beach. What's on Steve's mind?

And what about LeRoux? Well at time of writing this, I don't know. I went down to the beach after loading my yak on the Zook and saw his unmistakeable trolley was still there, but could see no sign of him from the beach. How about letting us know how you went, LeRoux? [see end of post]

Great trip guys. Thanks for coming along. Let's do it again soon.

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

Email from LeRoux
Hi Kevvy and fellow yakkers,

Thanks again for a great report Kev - always appreciated! My apologies for only writing this now, but my paddle back from NZ, and then to Hell ('s Gates) and back left me a bit lethargic!

One of the most disappointing days fishing I've ever experienced, I must say; I think the anticipation on the way to DB was about the highlight of the day for me...

After I left you guys at the reef I trawled to A'bay and back to the northern end of Sunshine Beach without as much as a touch. I then tried some bait, but after another half hour of only hearing crickets I decided to call it a day. I think the only thing that could have made it worse would've been for me to stack it in the shore break, but luck was with me and I had an easy paddle into shore; my embarrassment made worse only having to explain to the inquisitive beachgoers that 'things were very quiet out there today'...

Anyway, better luck next time. See you out there again soon.

Tight lines

Quiet at SR and MG, 14Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- 14Aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 14/08/2010 2:46 PM

Cloud cover: none
Wind direction & speed: light W at first shifting to NW (up to 7 knots) from about 0900
Sea state: Low swell

Participants: Jaro, Ian, Kev

0614hrs. Jaro hits the water

Yes, it was a little later than planned but there was more light with the sun almost cracking the horizon. Planned arrangements had changed -- Jaro was now going without his mate Cyril, and I, having checked out the beach break at Sunshine Beach at about 0550, had opted not to launch there but at MG. The swell had come up sufficiently overnight to throw doubt on the launch options I'd identified yesterday. In the end, I'm glad I didn't launch at Sunshine because the swell seemed to get bigger early this morning, judging by the waves being generated at Fairy Pools. I would have got out (with a wet bum) but getting back would have been very exciting and possibly more than my ticker needs at the moment.

Anyway the launch at MG was easy although there were occasional waves breaking right on the end of the groyne and these demanded vigilance and timing to avoid getting wet (remember, it was about 6 degrees C!).

Jaro and I opted to head for Sunshine Reef as we knew that Ian would be there and also as we had beautiful conditions, except for the rising sun being right in our faces.

We left MG at 0630 and were out at the close-in mark at Sunshine Reef, where Ian was anchored, by 0720. Ian reported catching a few small snapper, sweetlip, etc on bait but had kept only one snapper so far. Full of hope and optimism, as usual, Jaro and I set up our drifts near Ian. By 0830 I, fishing exclusively with soft plastics, hadn't had a touch while Jaro, fishing with bait, had boated only an undersized snapper which he released of course. Fishing has been quite unproductive at our usual reliable spots over the last six weeks and today was to prove no different. One of these days it'll crack and we'll be into them.

0734hrs. My companions fishing on our mark at Sunshine.

With still no action, and Ian's bite having stopped completely, by around 0900 we three opted to head for Jew Shoal, 3.5 km NW.

Being Saturday and good weather, Jew Shoal was busy accommodating many more craft than we were used to. But Ian anchored again and Jaro and I set up our drifts in our favoured locations. But all was quiet, although both Jaro and I attracted some potential customers but failed to get them to sign up after receiving their enquiries. By 1030 we were still fishless and Jaro and I opted to head for home, while Ian decided to hang around for a while longer.

As usual, we both trolled our favourite lures on the way back to MG but this time, mine went off half way home.

1111hrs. Frigate mackerel, only the second I've ever caught. Note the similarity to mackerel tuna.

On arrival at MG it was apparent that the breeze had increased and swung more into the north. The beach break didn't pose any problems and we cruised in without drama.

Overall a pretty ordinary trip but you can't catch fish without getting out there and trying to find them. Perhaps Ian will have more to tell us. See you next time, Hookers.

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

Spaniard at JS, 08Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- 08Aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 8/08/2010 3:26 PM

Cloud cover: cloudless
Wind direction & speed: SW moving to SE 7knots
Sea state: low swell
Participants: Jaro, Kev, Alex, Andy-Cav, Jim, Alby (visitor)

Another early start and perfect conditions. Alex drove up from Brisbane and Alby from Caboolture area and both were in the carpark before Jaro and I arrived at 0530 (Sunrise: 0625). It was bloody cool this morning, down to about 7 degrees C. Jaro and I were ready to go first and hurried down to the beach where the air was slightly warmer due to the sea's influence. Fine mist was rising from the sea as we did our final preparations at the water's edge. I opted to hang around to see Alby drag his Adventure Island down to the water but Jaro decided to get going to warm up his body with physical activity.

0559hrs. Another magic morning on Laguna Bay. Jaro paddles out on a sea as flat as we ever get here.

Shortly, Alby came down the beach dragging what resembled a carnival float.

0600hrs. Here's Alby's Hobie Adventure Island, the outriggers folded in and the mast and furled sail waiting to be set up.

With that I left too as I was keen to get my chilling limbs moving also.

Jew Shoal was our planned destination for the morning but before we could get going Jimbo came up on the radio to say that he was joining us. Soon there was a string of kayaks, punctuated by Alby's kayak-cum-sailboat, heading for the shoal. Andy-cav had decided at 4am that he'd join us so he brought up the rear.

It being Sunday and calm there were oodles of power boats also heading out so it was important to keep a good lookout over the left shoulder to ensure that we didn't get run down.

I think all of us trolled on the way out as there were suspicions, later shown to be accurate, that pelagic predators were on the prowl. About half way to the shoal I noticed that I was travelling somewhat slower than I'd expect for the effort I was putting in until the penny dropped. D'oh -- sure enough, a grinner had impaled itself on my Halco Laser Pro.

By just after 7am most of us were either at JS or close to it. I laid out my first cast and hooked up pretty much straight away. Nothing startling but it looked worthy of a pic, if only for identity education purposes.

0704hrs. a lancer, a variety of small emperor. Common at Jew Shoal and never much bigger than this specimen.

Barely had I released this fish when I noticed that Jim, who had only just arrived and opted to start fishing not far from me, was seemingly fighting a fish. Soon I saw him wield the gaff then lift a pretty good fish into the yak. By radio I queried Jim and to my surprise he announced that he'd caught a small but legal Spaniard. I paddled over to take a pic.

0715hrs. ~80cm Spaniard. Jim had stopped at his chosen fishing mark then retrieved his trolled lure to have it snapped up by the Spaniard.

If only that had been an indication of how the rest of the morning went. There were clearly lots of fish around. I caught at least six species: lancer, Maori cod, spinefoot, flathead, snapper, whiptail, -- all too small to take home. The fish were ravenous and cutting my soft plastics to ribbons. Jaro went through a heap of bait after having magnanimously released a couple of small but legal snapper and sweetlip early on in the belief that he'd get bigger ones -- he didn't. Alex finally cracked the system and boated two legal snapper in the final hour just after the wind changed from SW to SE.

A couple of things of interest:

I found this creature attached to my SP after retrieving it from the depths.

A fish louse, I believe. These are parasitic crustaceans which are quite frequently found attached to fish. They apparently eat the slime and mucous of its host's skin. I was intrigued that it took an interest in the Gulp soft plastic.

View of underside showing hooks on end of limbs

Alby came over to say hello at one stage, before deciding to head for Sunshine Reef, trolling for pelagics.

Jaro reported a close encounter with a whale.

Just before leaving JS Andy encountered a Spaniard which followed a bait up to his yak. He threw it several strips of fish flesh which it ate, but couldn't entice it to take anything with a hook in it.

Just as we returned to the beach I came across fish feeding activity which strongly reminded me of the way spotty macs were feeding in May. I suspect that mackerel may have been involved but tailor are also a possibility. The event was within a couple of hundred metres of the beach.

Beach conditions were glorious with tiny waves available to help cover that last 50 metres quickly.

Alex's two snapper. Well done, Alex.

Thanks for organizing, Jaro and for coming along, guys. Obviously we're going to have to try harder. Perhaps Sunshine Reef next trip?

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

Comment from Alby, jimbo, below

From Alby by email
Hi Kev and others. Thanks for your hospitality this morning and in the lead up. Much appreciated.
That was my first time out off Noosa and obviously couldn't have picked a better day weather wise. Fish wise fairly disappointing, but then we all have days like that.

I've only had the carnival float for 3 weeks, so still getting things sorted. Very happy with the way things are going and loving it more each outing. The main thing being that it covers ground (water) so quickly. Today on the way out I saw birds working over in Tea Tree Bay, so with the speed of the float (I don't know what to call it... it's not a kayak in that set-up) I felt fine about diverting for a troll through. No result, but I only did one pass as I didn't have the marks for the Jew Shoal, so didn't want to lose the guys ahead.

Once out there I guess I was a little impatient. There were quite a few boats and kayaks and after tiddlers took the tails off my first two softies, I thought I would move on. I headed out to what I'm guessing was Sunshine Reef. A couple of klm east of Alexandria Bay, and about 36m deep? Again, quite a few boats out there. Didn't see anyone catch a fish, I got no lookers apart from a Bonito on the trolled lure just when I arrived. Within half an hour all the boats pulled up stumps and headed in. Not promising, I thought. The bottom had looked a bit interesting in parts on the way out so I thought I'd give it a try a bit closer in. Again no luck, but I only gave it about 20 min. Time was now starting to be an issue. I'd been up since 3:00am, overestimating the travel time to Noosa. From there I headed in... a bit of a slow trip with little breeze. All the time I was wishing the promised noreaster would kick in. I think I was off the water about 1:00pm -ish.
Thanks again guys.

From jimbo by email
... For the record, I also boated a flathead this morning (~60 cm on SP) and I think Andy Cav also boated a couple of flathead. Mine was a dusky/sandy flathead caught fairly close to the Pinnacles at JS, which is a bit surprising as I thought these species inhabited a sandy bottom rather than reef/shoal structure which I believed was the case at JS. Maybe there is now sandy bottom patches out at JS, perhaps some of the tonnes sand lost from Main Beach over the last couple of years has migrated out there with the circulating current that I think occurs in Laguna Bay. As a casual observation:
* I am fairly certain none of the NYs has caught flathead out at JS prior to about 12 months ago;
* we are catching a greater variety of fish species at JS and North SR than in previous years;
* the size of snapper and sweetlip seems much smaller this winter compared to the last two years.

Just a thought.


JS, cold, but fish, 05Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- 05Aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 5/08/2010 4:34 PM

Cloud cover: 8/10
Wind direction & speed: SW 5-7 knots
Sea state: Pretty flat

Participants: Jaro, Kev, Mark, Steve, Bill B.

Perfect weather from dawn said Seabreeze so of course, we had to get up and go. I was early for the planned 0545 arrival at the carpark but Jaro was there even earlier. We're getting quite good at doing our final pre launch preparations and checks in the dark and soon we were down on the beach. Totally flat sea! A slight wind ruffle 100m or so out from the Groyne made it clear that a southerly breeze would be found once we cleared the immediate shelter of the shore.

0555hrs. The human eye does a better job than the camera but it was still pretty dark, 30 minutes or so before sunrise. That's Jaro, about to paddle off.

As it happened, I got away first because just then Jaro's hearing aid batteries gave him the warning that they were about to die. He had replacements ready, of course, on the kayak! The low light levels are not conducive to easily running line through rod runners or tying knots so I buggered around "out the back" for about five minutes longer than usual. By the time Jaro was ready and I still had one rod to set up, there was a little more light available. I asked Jaro to hold nearby while I took this shot with the Canon.

0615hrs, still 10 minutes at least until sunrise. Laguna Bay dawn. Fantastic! See what you're missing.

Incidentally even with the low light levels at 0600, when we launched, the water was so clear that we could both see the sea floor clearly while paddling along, and off the end of, the groyne.

Keen to get going, Jaro headed for Jew Shoal and left me to follow a few minutes later. What was very noticeable as soon as we got under way was that there was a lot more dolphin activity than usual, the whole time we were out there. I don't know why they were so active but they were frequently sighted near us, jumping clear of the water or porpoising along.

On the way out we were briefly distracted by some terns wheeling and diving over a patch of baitfish. We both soon concluded that any predators were probably only mackerel tuna and not worth the diversion so continued on our way. On arrival at Jew Shoal I saw that there was another yakker present (the only other boat out there). This was John, the Hawaiian guy, in his red Mission Catch 390. He must have launched well before we did but had caught nothing of significance. When last seen he was heading off trolling a deep running lure in the hope of enticing a snapper.

And so we started fishing. I was determined to stick with the soft plastic while Jaro had half a tonne of prawns and pillies aboard. Doctor Dog (Mark) radioed in and informed us he was on his way to join us and by the time he'd arrived I'd had no significant action and Jaro had his first keeper snapper and reported the near catch of a squid. And for me it went downhill from there. Turtleboy (Steve) then checked in by radio and informed us that he'd met up with Bill Barnett and that they intended to paddle down toward the river mouth and check that area out. Soon after, Jaro got his second keeper snapper. Then Steve announced he was heading toward our spot just after Jaro got his third. These were all small snapper, but clearly the bait was outfishing the plastics as both Mark and I were using them for no result.

The breeze was cool out there and we only saw the sun for a few fleeting minutes at a time -- conditions which made things less than ideal but much better than on many occasions we'd fished JS. Just after Steve joined us, Mark decided to leave and just about then Jaro started to get more hookups. I was fishing near him and we'd both remarked on a particular bump on the bottom, visible on our sonars in about 20m depth which had fish hanging around it. By this time Jaro had caught a couple of keeper sweetlip as well. I was still on zero. (You can't count a small flathead and a couple of small black-tip cod, can you?).

1016hrs. Jaro's hooked up again!

This particular piece of underwater terrain was certainly the spot. At one stage I paddled over to take a close look at one of Jaro's fish when I saw that he hadn't noticed that his other rod was showing signs of being dragged out of the yak. I pointed it out to him and he (expletive deleted) handed the first fish, on gaff, to me, and I held it while he battled the other, yet another sweetlip.

At last I caught an undersize snapper on my SP at this spot but Jaro couldn't do a thing wrong. Even after he'd run out of bait and put a soft plastic on he was still getting strikes. While all this was going on Mark called up to inform us that he'd lost his treasured Halco Laser Pro lure to a bite-off when trolling on the way back to the beach close to some bird activity. Steve left about now, presumably deciding that perhaps he could benefit from this info and soon called me to ask the legal size and bag limit for mackerel tuna as he'd caught some (no size or bag limit).

The last fish Jaro caught at JS today. This juvenile red emperor was returned to the water quickly. Note that the minimum legal size for this prized fish is 55cm.

By 1145, shortly after I spotted a whale breaching about 500m away to the NE Jaro and I decided that it was time we left. By now the wind had dropped out completely and we had an idyllic paddle back.

Mark and Steve were hanging around on the beach when we got back in case we needed a hand to carry all the fish ;-) . The return to the beach was as easy as I've ever seen it.

Jaro's take-home catch. The biggest was the grass sweetlip at bottom left -- 48cm.

So well done Jaro. The bait fisherman won today. I'm still keen on the SPs though.

Thanks for coming along guys. See you Sunday, perhaps? How'd you go, Bill?

[Bill’s response: Kevin, Caught a small legal flathead and have a photo of another small fish I’'ll get you to identify one day –about the size of a whiting but with a ferocious looking head and needle teeth. Great morning pics. Cheers, Bill.]

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

Tiger shark and snapper, 01Aug10

Subject: Fishing today -- 01Aug10
From: sunshiner
Date: 1/08/2010 3:27 PM

Cloud cover: 9/10, brief periods of sunlight
Wind direction & speed: from S-SW, 5-10 knots
Sea state: Low swell, chop from south in northern bay

Participants: Ian, Jaro, Jaro's brother Rob, Kev

It's been nearly three weeks since we could reasonably go fishing offshore so it's no wonder that we were watching this morning's single window of opportunity creeping closer on Seabreeze's wind and swell forecast. Even so, as late as last night it was touch and go but at 5am there was little or no wind at Sunshine Beach and the automatic weather station at DI Point was telling the world that the wind there was only 10 knots.

Jaro had his kid brother Rob visiting and was dying to take him out yak fishing. Even though he had two yaks on the roof and twice as much gear as normal he was only a couple of minutes later than the stated RV time 0545. I'd arrived well before time at about 0535 and, as I expected, found Ian's car in its usual place and his trolley track marks leading to the water's edge. He was out there somewhere in the gloom.

It was Rob's first kayak fishing trip so he was full of questions and possibly a little apprehensive but he certainly seemed calm and collected about the whole thing. Being a keen fisho, as he is, certainly helped. Before long we were ready to get our bums wet, should that be necessary.

0608hrs. The horizon is just starting to glow. Rob and Jaro, brothers in arms.

Before launching I called up Ian (eyetag) on the radio. He'd just anchored at Sunshine Reef and was reporting a 5knot SSW breeze. As we spoke he was interrupted by his first fish so I left him to it.

The launch was easy but as soon as we cleared the groyne the southerly breeze could be felt, pushing us gently toward our planned destination, Jew Shoal. As Jaro had somewhat more setting up to do than normal Rob and I were ready to go first so Rob tagged along with me as we headed NE straight toward the Pinnacles. We were chatting as we travelled gently along but soon I spotted a familiar Noosa Cat boat headed toward us and into the Bay -- it was Cata-pult, operated by the shark nets and lines contractor. The vessel was travelling slower than normal, but heading straight for us. To make sure that he'd seen us I held my paddle straight up and waved it. As if to acknowledge my effort, the skipper altered course to his starboard, giving Rob and me a great view of two large sharks being dragged tail first from ropes on his port side.

Then we both spotted some terns wheeling and diving about 700m away to our right front, pretty much straight out from Dolphin Point. I was impressed that Rob immediately recognized the significance of this and we altered course to intercept the possible action. By now Jaro was catching up to us and also headed for the birds. About 300m short of the centre of activity, when I could just discern splashes coming from the predators, Jaro hooked up with that familiar hunting cry "YYYEEESSS'. As I suspected it would be, he'd hooked a mac tuna which I understand he released. Fish #1! Jaro was keen to try to put Rob onto some fish so he and Rob deviated from the main plan at this stage and went chasing tuna in Tea Tree Bay. Meanwhile, my attention was drawn to the activities on Cata-pult, now hove-to near the baited shark lines north of Dolphin Point.

I've chatted to these friendly guys before about sharks in the Noosa area so decided to paddle over and bid them good morning. Soon I could see that they were trying to manoeuvre onto the deck of the cat the second of the two sharks earlier seen. The other shark had already been successfully brought aboard and I was about to see them try to get this one aboard also. Clearly it was going to be interesting as the second shark was longer than my Espri and much fatter. It was a tiger shark (just for you, Grainger). I asked permission to take some pics, received the go-ahead and then paddled right up close.

The idea was to drag the shark (by now almost dead) through that door in the starboard side.

So far, so good.

Starting to get a bit heavy... let's put her on the winch

Hmm, maybe we need a bigger winch, and a bigger door

Oh shit, it's stuck. Note the distinctive stripes which lead to this species' common name.

Clearly they weren't going to get it aboard with their existing gear. The crew started calling people on the phone (7am, Sunday) to try to get help. I left them to it, knowing there was nothing I could do. I bade them farewell, "Well, I'm off to catch a snapper, guys." For the information of Noosans, both of these tiger sharks exceeded 3m and were caught on the baited hooks set between Jew Shoal and the headland and carrying large yellow buoys as floats.

By now Jaro and Rob had tired of fruitlessly chasing mac tuna and were headed for the shoal, snapper now in their sights. I fished alone for a while, without success, in an area which looked promising (plenty of baitfish and structure) and then decided to join them in the hope of a photo opportunity. Just as I approached them I noticed that the Prowler, which Rob was allocated this morning, was sans paddler. I was just too late to capture this action -- Rob had fallen out of the kayak without tipping it and was bobbing along next to it, supported by his PFD, thinking about those tiger sharks and trying to follow Jaro's shouted reboarding instructions. Just as I got within camera range he scrambled aboard -- bugger!

Rob, now wringing wet on a cool, grey, mid-winter morning, 4km from the beach said, "Hey, the water's quite warm," and promptly went back to the fishing. They breed these Cernys tough, eh? Soon after, as I recall, Rob caught a small snapper, just undersize and released it. Jaro got a MASSIVE (his word) strike at one stage but dropped the fish. Meanwhile I'd caught only a couple of reef ooglies but I was feeling confident so stuck with it.

I'd been persisting with the use of wire on my rigged soft plastics because of the problems I'd been having lately with bite-offs. But my use of wire coincided with an apparent reduction in the number of strikes, although this could have been simply because there were no fish around. Today, because the drift was SW-NE, with the breeze, I adopted a sawtooth drift pattern, starting from the western side of the shoal, gradually working my way east, watching the depth and fishing accordingly. Eventually, it happened.

At last, my wire-traced soft plastic went off in typical snapper style. This is what I'd been hoping for -- a strong indicator that snapper don't care about wire. The tussle went on for a couple of minutes before the fish yielded and soon I could clearly see it, about 5 metres down. A nice snapper glowing irridescent pink in the dull ambient light. The gaff shot went well and soon I was exultantly radioing Jaro and Rob about my capture.

0934hrs. Proof that snapper are not necessarily put off by a wire trace. The steel ring on the lower right is a securing clip which I use to make sure keepers don't escape after being boated.

Close up of the rig. The wire trace can be seen clearly as can, if you look closely, the snapper tooth marks in the jighead.

We fished on for a short while after this, during which Jaro boated a quite large wire netting cod just as I was passing him.

0943hrs. This fish was released, although they are very good eating.

Just before we left to go back to the beach Jaro caught, in quick succession, two undersize snapper, then a small keeper snapper and a keeper sweetlip. These two last were kept to provide a fresh fish meal for Rob. Possibly the fish were starting to bite, but we had to go, and besides it was getting cold.

The trip back was a bit harder and wetter than normal due to the southerly wind but we all made it in good time. There was almost no surf break at the beach so we then had the easiest of surf zone transits.

My snapper, 53cm.

Jaro's two keepers.

On the beach we noticed that Ian had not yet returned. I'd try to call him on the radio earlier but had received no response. I tried again from the beach but still got no response. Ian, please let us know how you went. [see his report at end of this post]

Thanks for organizing, Jaro. Rob's a probable convert to kayak fishing for he was genuinely surprised that he'd managed to cover 13km, as measured by GPS, on his first trip and was still able to stand up when he hit the beach. See you next visit, Rob.

Thursday's now looking good. Over to you to organize, Jaro.

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

From Ian
Hi all,
I fished some close in marks on SR and after a quiet start, not just from the radio with a flat battery, things sped up around the 9.o'clock mark.
I was using soft plastics and prawns with the prawns out fishing the plastics.
I ended up with 5 Tusk fish from 35 to 44cm and 2 Grassies 35 and 41.
I also released a Black Banded Amberjack estimated at 55cm which fought like a fish twice its size.
All the fish were caught on 12lb tackle and 30lb leader.
The missing fish were donated to work mates on my way home.