PB snapper, surf vids, 29Nov10

Subject: fishing today -- 29nov10
From: sunshiner
Date: 29/11/2010 2:33 PM

Cloud cover: initially 5/10 becoming 2/10
Wind direction & speed: ESE to 10 knots
Sea state: moderate swell from east
Current direction & speed: Possibly a slight current to SE at Sunshine Reef

Participants: Mark, Alex, Sam, Jake, LeRoux, Kev

It was so good to get offshore today, the only likely opportunity in at least three weeks of incessant easterly winds and large swells. Even with full knowledge that the launch and return were likely to be tricky, several hard core yakkers opted to go. I awoke at 0345 and checked the weather -- calm at Sunshine Beach and light winds at Double Island Point. It was on.

Alex, with the enthusiasm and energy typical of a 22 year old, had driven up from Brisbane and arrived at Middle Groyne five minutes before me. Then within a few minutes Sam and his brother Jake also turned up, two yaks on Sam's Forester. I spent a couple of minutes checking the launch situation and deemed it doable with care, as the swell had dropped overnight.

4:45am. Planned launch time.

I was first on the beach and rather than wait for the others, I opted to launch, but not before LeRoux shouted a morning greeting to me from the beach fringe. I headed for the deep water at the end of the wall and waited for a lull in the sets. Eventually, after backpaddling and manoeuvering in the area for what seemed several minutes, an opportunity arose and I dashed across the splash zone.

Frame from video taken using chest cam on the way out

VIDEO, how to exit at Middle Groyne

The exit was a little hairy but I got out OK and after paddling into the safe zone started to unpack my gear. Some minutes later out came Sam and Jake (Jake launching with us for the first time today).

The brothers Boulden were exhilarated at their successful crossing of the surf zone but soon settled in to the task of setting up their gear.

Then Alex paddled clear of the breaking area, claiming that he'd taken a bath on the way out and had many litres of salt water inside the hull, apparently as a result of a leaking hatch seal and an encounter with a breaking wave.

The silvery object on the bow of Alex's yak is a fish carry bag, complete with ice block.

Then with LeRoux's arrival, the little flotilla had assembled.

Off we headed for Sunshine Reef.

Although the swell was quite menacing around Fairy Pools to Hells Gates, once we broke through into the open sea conditions were much better. Just on 6:00am four of us arrived at my favourite Sunshine Reef mark, Alex coming along a little later.

As usual, I checked the current using my GPS and discovered that it was almost non-existent and, with a drogue out, that I was drifting gently toward the east, with a light breeze coming from the SE. By the time Alex joined us, I'd decided to head up-drift of my mark and had paddled some 300m west of the mark, intending to drift across it. There was little or no sign of baitfish on the sonar but, as we've found out before, that is no indication that predators are not present. Alex opted to drift along near me and so I was in great position to see him hook up on his first drop with a soft plastic, on 6 pound b/s line. The fish seemed pretty big so I paddled over to get some pics with the big camera, which I always carry with me offshore.

Alex's best ever snapper, at 68cm. He was pretty happy with that.

About now Doctor Dog called up on the radio in a very crackly voice to tell us he was on his way but that he'd had a slight misadventure on the way through the surf zone. And after a while he joined us. Then Alex the fish slayer hooked up again. I was considering heading over to photograph this fish also when suddenly my soft plastic was hammered. This was the first fish on the Van Staal reel/Fin Nor rod combo that I was using for the first time and about which I've been asked to write a review so I played it with relish. This reel is spooled with 20 pound breaking strain braid and I'd tied the main line directly to my small wire trace which I use on my soft plastics -- ie no leader. Being a novice with braid I was interested to find out how it compared with mono in a fish fighting situation.

Here's the rig exactly as it was set up when taken by the fish. Note that the braid main line (yellow) is tied directly to the loop of the home made wire trace. This snapper ignored the wire and the braid.

And here's the snapper (about 52cm) about to be consigned into the Stealth's huge fish box.

It appears that while all this was going on Sam and Jake had headed in (seasickness?) and LeRoux had wandered off, possibly toward New Zealand. Then Alex gave the fish a break by announcing that he was feeling queasy himself and was also going to head in. That left only Mark and me out there. Other than a decent strike for Mark which failed to solidly hook up, things were quiet so Mark and I decided to head in also, some 30 minutes after Alex, leaving Sunshine Reef at 9:00 am.

The swells as we passed to the north of Hells Gates seemed mountainous but we plodded on and soon were approaching Middle Groyne. Alex called up on the radio and 'kindly' offered to video us as we ran the surf gauntlet. I was ready first and stuffed up somewhat by choosing to run just as a medium sized wave reared up behind me. A boardrider in my peripheral vision to my right got ready to catch this wave so I knew I might be in trouble and I could see it looming. The next thing I knew I was on it. I'd built up some speed and the Stealth caught the wave and charged down its face. The video which Alex caught shows that I stopped paddling briefly but I remember using the rudder pedals to straighten our course on the wave. I was amazed when I found that everything was under control and the wave was now spent, having encountered deep water. What a great ride and I'm now full of admiration for the designers of this tiny boat. Mark did a much better job than I and picked a totally quiet time to run in beautifully with no fuss, but much slower than my transit.

Hopefully Alex will be able to put Mark and my surf zone transits (incoming) up on youtube.
[Videos linked below signature]

Thanks for coming along guys. Le Roux, please let us know how you went. [See LR comment at very end of post] Hope to catch some of you at the Noosa Yakkers Christmas event on 9Dec.

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

Sunshiner's epic ride

Doc Dog makes it look easy

email from LeRoux
Subject: Diddly Squat!!

Hi Kevvy, and thanks again for a great report!

Well it was so quiet on the inner reaches of Sunshine Reef there, despite all the burley compliments of the brothers Boulden(I sincerely hope U guys are OK?) that I decided to try a couple of other marks further out. As per the title of my email though this turned out to be a fruitless venture including quite a prolonged trawl(the guys on one of the stinkboats had caught a nice cobia on a floated pilchard, so I thought I might get lucky) as well as a visit to JS on  the way back.

At least I went through the surf zone completely dry despite a fairly decent swell.

Better luck next time.

Thanks for the company guys!

Tight lines

Raper Shoal, 19Nov10

Subject: Fishing 19Nov11
From: "brian"
Date: 19/11/2010 7:55 PM

Hi all,

Decided to head to Raper Shoal and fish "locally" due to time constraints. Google earth told me the shoal was approx 4kms away from my launch point.

After mistiming the shore break I got sorted out and started off, water depth remained about 15mtrs and pretty featureless until I got about 1km away from my destination where it gradually rose to about 10mtrs. (no bird/surface activity at all)

As I neared my destination I discovered my first problem of the day - between myself and my mark (scrounged from the net) there was a very large swell pushing through, even though I was over 1.5kms from land, and to make matters worse every couple of waves were breaking. The reason for this I found out later as the swell backed off a bit, was that at the shallowest point of the shoal it was only 3.7 metres deep.

The drift was nearly 2kms p/hr to the North and fishing was hard, especially in a new location with very different conditions to my usual haunts at SR.

After half an hour of dedicated fishing time the only sign of life was a rather large squid following my pilchard on the retrieve. It turns out the squid was smarter than I and won its freedom.

With half an hour left I finally hooked up to a good fish only to have my jighead snap. Have already lost a bit of gear due to the unfamiliar shallower reef structure.

I was beginning to think I should've stayed at home.

While retrieving my SP I got another good hit and this time stayed connected and line started peeling off as the fish took off in all sorts of directions, which had me completely puzzled as to its identity. Needless to say I skilfully (NOT) landed the fish and despatched it to the hull.

Having a fish on board I decided enough was enough for my first mission and set paddle for the awaiting sand monster. No sooner than I'd paddled 50mtrs than the SP that I was dragging behind went off resulting in a nice healthy 55cm snapper coming on board! (my first on the troll)

Uneventful paddle back and avoided the sand monster (just). No bikini clad girls on Moffats - just wrinkly tourists today!

pic missing in action
launch site @ moffat beach - nasty shore break pic doesn't really do it justice.

pic missing in action
After checking size/bag limits at home found out that the kingfish was 5cm under size and as this is not a species I've caught up here before I actually thought the size limit was 50cm. I'm now going to print off & laminate a small card from fisheries web site & keep on the yak.

cheers brian

back in action, 19Nov10

Subject: Test paddle today -- I'm back in action!
From: sunshiner
Date: 19/11/2010 3:43 PM

Cloud cover: 10/10
Wind direction & speed: SE, 10knots, forecast to go to 25knots later
Sea state: low swell

Having been locked up with a busted rib plus work for the last several weeks, with today as my first fully 'fit and free' day in all that time, you can imagine how pissed off I was with the weather forecast for today and the next several days -- 25 knots from the SE. What really got my goat was Pete's Trip Report for Thursday. Clearly the fish are on! Well done Pete -- that's a great bag, mate, and I'm not just talking about the garlic!

It was 9:20am today (after rechecking Seabreeze and noting that the wind change was likely to be late) before I decided I just had to get out. I needed a paddle. I needed to test my battered body to see whether its repair system had worked. By 09:50 I was standing on the beach at Middle Groyne.

09:54am. That sand bank at the end of the groyne is still there, guys.

The launch turned out to be easy -- just a matter of holding in the deep water just short of the break until a lull in the sets appeared. It felt good, no, great, to be out there again. I paddled hard and felt no pain. While setting up my gear I noticed, in the dim light, a 'fuzz' on the north eastern horizon. Birds, dozens of them, wheeling around, about one kilometre from shore.

10:08am. Right amongst them. No big predators, unfortunately. As Pete indicated in his report for yesterday, small bonito were feeding on the bait. Soon, hopefully, the larger predators will move in and feast on the bonito.

I was out there today just to confirm that I was safe to paddle to, and from, the usual destinations. So I opted to just travel around in the Bay and reacquaint myself with my yak, which has been gathering cobwebs of late.

The local pod swam along with me for a while, as if to say "Welcome back!"

Once I was satisfied that I was fit (about noon, after fairly continuous paddling and trolling, for no fish) I opted to head back in. On the way I passed through the baitfish and their tiny predators, noting how they showed up on the sonar.

Those arches at the 5m mark are almost certainly caused by the bonito, each probably 30cm long. Scale top to bottom: 10m. Bottom at 7.3m.

So no fish today, but I'm ready to paddle again. My return to the beach was a doddle, and I could easily drag my yak up that steep little bank at the top of the beach whereas that effort nearly killed me a few weeks back. It's SO good to be back in action.

Come on Jaro, organize some good yakking weather!

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

garlic and snapper, 18Nov10

Subject: yesterdays's harvest
From: Pete
Date: 19/11/2010 6:38 AM

Hi All,

I managed to take a small break in the garlic harvest for a spot of R & R and it was worth it.

Garlic harvester in action

I checked the weather conditions late on Wednesday night and it looked good so I set the alarm for 2.30am and was on the water 3.45 just as dawn was breaking.

I headed out to JS using the same mark as my last big snapper and picked up a sweetlip, with the N breeze I drifted south on the western side of the pinnacles. This is where I bagged the snapper, coming on the bite at about 10am, using floating pillies unweighted and a very small pea sinker both giving results.

Scored a double hook up, got one in, rebaited, pulled the other in, and the reset line went off again. All good sporting fun. All up I got bag limit on the snapper, (the largest at 55cm), a sweetlip and 2 silver bream, missing a yellow tail king and something else very large -- 2 flaps of the tail my drag couldn't release fast enough and my 30lb braid line snapped.

Caught the last one on the last pillie about 12.00. I called it a day and headed in.

Lots of surface action all day, small pelagics, thinking they were small bonito.

snapper harvest, by garlic harvester

Go get 'em


Snapper and surf, Vid, 16Nov10

Preamble: Today’s report is in three sections sequenced as follows:
(1) Sunshiner's email and video link
(2) Jag One’s very readable on-water account
(3) Sunshiner’s pics

Subject: Fishing today -- a landlubber's viewpoint
From: sunshiner
Date: 16/11/2010 2:48 PM

I couldn't go fishing this morning because I was diligently applying myself (starting at 4:00am) to my business. But things went well and so, by 0930 I'd decided to head down to MG to meet the several Hookers who had gone out this morning and should be returning before noon. I needed a break anyway after the the last few hectic weeks so shortly afterward I was at the MG carpark where I bumped into Stu (maverick), who'd had similar thoughts to mine. My camera, radio and measure mat were in my bag and I had hopes of catching a bit of surf landing video as the stiff northerly breeze and swell combo was cutting up quite a wave, which was breaking just off the end of the groyne. Woo hoo!

Anyway, I did get some video and a few pics. jag1, who distinguished himself today by nailing three nice snapper, pic later, has agreed to write a Trip Report. I agreed to supply what I could in the way of visual support.

So here's my contribution:

(1) a video posted on youtube (first frame image below -- that yellow thing is jimbo's yak). See who got through and how...

Subject: Fishing today -- Tues 16Nov10
From:"geoff stolberg"
Date: 16/11/2010 8:36 PM

Weather: Fine with scattered cloud.
Wind: Forecast 4-6kts NNE strengthing PM hrs.
Swell: Forecast 1.5mtrs
Starters: Ian, Jaro, Doug, Jim and Geoff.

I parked at MG at 0410hrs and had a quick check on the water, as Eyetag's car was already parked. Sure enough, his yak tailight was disappearing towards SR. Jaro arrived, followed by Jimbo and we were all set to go by 0445hrs. Time to tackle the surf. It was a "patience" departure [Jaro's word], and he and I got out OK. Jimbo wasn't happy with his first attempt so he did a repeat -- all good. Doug met up with us halfway to the shark nets, and we all headed to SR.

The swell wasn't difficult, just annoying. Especially when you've got a yak the length of mine. A couple of light showers cooled us during the trip.

Jaro lead the way and we headed for the southern end of SR, where he put in a radio call to Eyetag for his position. Eyetag's response was "One klm south of you guys. The current is really strong", or words to that effect. Eyetag made his way back up to the group and we moved towards A bay to try and lessen the drift rate. At times the GPS registered 2k/hr. Eyetag had caught and released a couple of fish already.

As the morning progressed, Doug made his way to JS as did Jimbo. Not much had been happening prior to then. As always though, that's when the fish came. Eyetag pulled a nice selection of snapper and grassies, and I broke my SR hoodoo [previous trip] with a treble of snapper. They were all taken on either smaller pillies or green prawns, with some hitting before the bait got to the bottom, and one took Eyetag's while he was winding in. Jaro switched to a SP, but the gods weren't favouring him one bit. Jimbo had radioed in from JS with a very good snapper, also on a pillie.

Around 0830hrs the swell had dropped slightly and the water took on that nice oily look of calm. It looked as if the whole swell/current dilemma was abating. How things can change!! At one point, Eyetag and I were making our way back in to a closer mark for another drift. In the time it took to paddle 1klm, the 'oily' look had been replaced by small chop. Jaro was ahead of us and had started fishing. By the time we got to him, it was now vividly apparent that it was home time.

The NNE wind had very quickly increased, as had the swell. We were faced with a northerly paddle against a wind driven swell that was heading south. Needless to say, we seemed to be looking at A bay and Hell's Gates for an eternity. The only high point for me was a guard of honour from about ten dolphins. They stuck with me for about five minutes, with two or three on my bow and the remainder riding shotgun either side or doing a barrel roll through under the yak. I would have loved to take photos, but, had I stopped paddling, I would have been at Coolum in no time.

The swell was now a good 2mtrs plus the wind factor and chop. What should normally be a 45min paddle took us 1hr 40min! And I swear, most of that was UPHILL!!

All made it back safely, including Jimbo who would have had a tailwind coming from JS!! If you've watched the video, we also all made the beach. I may have to fit a periscope to my yak if we do any more of those beach assaults. Note though that, everything was tied on and nothing was lost. I did neglect to actually tie my kitbag down, hence it became a giant sea anchor!

Considering the conditions, it was another great day in paradise with some excellent fish caught.

Thanks to Sunshiner for coming down to record the fun.

And apparently, it is bad luck to take bananas on a boat as I was advised by Kev and Ian when they spotted the remains of my snack. I argued that was impossible as I had caught fish. However, what about Jaro? Sorry, mate. I may have hexed you.

See you on the water
Geoff Stolberg
call sign JaG One

Sunshiner’s beach pics with captions.

Above: Jimbo's very fine snapper

Eyetag's nice mixed bag. Looks like that Tuskfish is still hungry.

Jag1's best snapper of the day plus a couple of its mates.

And the successful anglers -- jag1, jimbo, eyetag.

Doc Dog's barra, 13Nov10

Subject: Awoonga Barra
From: Mark Powell
Date: 14/11/2010 7:01 AM

Hi all,

Just thought I would share a couple of pics of my first serious barra. Caught in Awoonga Dam from my Kayak after dark on a soft plastic lure -- Drop Bear 130mm trolled just behind the kayak on rod & reel combo I received last xmas from my family. Very exciting fishing. Hooked at exactly the same spot I hooked and lost one on my last visit here in March 2010.

Cheers, Mark

Mark's First serious Barra: 100 cm

Proud fisherman with fish and craft