Paddleparra, tuna, 28Feb11

Subject: fishing today monday
From: Brian Hughes
Date: 28/02/2011 6:38 PM

Well what can I say, it has been months since I last caught up with the Noosa Yakkers and while being an avid reader of the e-mails they just increased my depressive state knowing that work and the usual stuff prevents me travelling to the beautiful surrounds of Noosa. That’'s not to say that the Sunny Coast doesn’t have its own scenic fishing spots.

Anyhow I managed to get a day away some time back and caught up with Kev, Jaro and Ian and in my usual tradition I was probably the expedition Jonah as we all returned empty handed. However…….. I saw fish, real fish, big fish, birds flocking and that was enough for me, I was coming back.

I launched at MG approx. 0430 and after my recent ‘spectacular’ and somewhat comical landing I decided to launch with everything stowed, and getting out was easy, I am an Adventure Island owner but I miss the days of my profish so today I decided to go commando and leave all the accessories behind (plus I have broken about 50% of the extra bits through misadventure!)

I did see Pedro on the water who was apparently dragging slimeys around chasing the Macs. I myself just love sight fishing, so chasing the boils and birds with my slug rod is just heaven for me.

I also purchased a couple of the popular ‘Noosa Laser Pro’ hardbodies and dragged one of them around also. The boils were frequent but the fish were shy but eventually the reel on my trolling rod sprang into life and screamed as the something shot off at a great rate of knots, at last the monkey was off my back.

It was just soooooooo good to feel a decent fish on the end of the line. As you can see a nice Mac Tuna was brought aboard and taken home, primarily for strip bait and my dogs but an older couple were prattling on about sashimi at the beach so there and then I cut a decent sized fillet from the flank of the fish and gave it to the grateful couple.

Many people celebrate the spirit of their ancestors and how their souls inhabit the local earth and territories. Well if the old bugger ever passes on (Kev that is) I know where to go to find his soul………: MG.

Even though he wasn’’t in the water lobbing a lure at the pelagics he was on the beach ready with camera (probably waiting to snap some fool trying to land without stowing their expensive gear) but not today young Kev! I was stowed and even had fun riding in the small surf. However thanks for the help up the hill.

So till next time guys, stay safe and hope to catch up again


Email from pedro:
Subject: fishing today monday
From: Pete
Date: 28/02/2011 5:31 PM
Hi All,

Not much to report, although I had one good run out at sr on a trolled slimy without the hooks setting.

And there was a fair bit of heavy surface splashes with the fish staying hidden around hells gates.

Caught up with hollywood in the carpark who had a nice longtail onboard.

I am looking at going again later in the week.

eyetag longtail, Vid, 27Feb11

Subject: fishing today -- 27Feb2011
From: sunshiner
Date: 27/02/2011 12:54 PM

Cloud cover: 1/10
Wind direction & speed: tiny southerly zephyrs, then calm
Sea state: low swell
Participants: eyetag, jaro, sunshiner, gemini

Jaro and I probably should have gone to the old folks' club morning tea this morning, but bugger it, the offshore weather was perfect, so we fronted again, assembling with gemini, the youngster, in the carpark w-a-a-ay before sunrise. Just in case you haven't already guessed, eyetag's car was in the carpark, engine cold -- he'd launched about two hours before our planned 5.15am launch. And, as you know, he'd also paddled yesterday, but he's relatively young too!

Perfect morning -- but being a Sunday, traffic on the water was heavy. After my close call yesterday I subtly reminded my fellow paddlers of the run-down danger but we three were on the water by 0515 -- when it was still too dark to take decent pics from a kayak moving in three dimensions simultaneously (which they do, constantly, out on the ocean). Jaro was champing at the bit to get underway and soon shot through toward the NE with the stated intentions of (a) keeping in touch with us by radio and (b) heading out toward Granite Bay and then swinging back toward the west, all the time trolling and keeping a lookout for surface action.

I waited the few minutes it took for gemini to get set up, just sitting, floating, enjoying the coolness and calmness of the morning and the gentle rise and fall of the swell. Far better than the old folks' club, which, incidentally, wouldn't even be open yet!

Gemini, as yet not GPS equipped, opted to travel with me and so I outlined a plan to troll gently toward Jew Shoal, watching all the time as we travelled for danger from our left rear (the powerboats exiting the river) and for signs of tern activity signifying baitfish and possible predators.

We allowed a couple of speeding. thumping, vessels to get past and then noticed, when still 1.5km from Jew Shoal, increasing bird activity toward the west, in the direction of Little Halls Reef. Heading toward the birds, we let Jaro know by radio of the situation, which was, according to his radio response, not much different from where he was, out near Granite Bay -- lots of terns, some tuna splashing around. Speaking of radios, we hadn't been able to raise eyetag and had put it down to the possible fact that he was at distant Sunshine Reef, despite his stated intention to head north along the beach from MG. The reason was soon revealed -- there he was paddling around near Little Hall's Reef, without PFD and radio. I felt he was a touch embarrassed when he explained that, after rising at 2am, he'd forgotten to put his PFD with radio into the car. Never mind, we were now in close contact using the unaided Human Voice Mark 1.

Interestingly, eyetag reported that on starting fishing with baits at LH Reef before sunrise hoping for a sweetlip or two, he'd bagged out on snapper (all former keepers and all returned to the water in view of the present closed season). This was the only action he'd had. Gemini, he and I sat around chewing the fat, bathed in the early sunlight while all around us individual isolated splashes showed the presence of predators of some sort, probably mac tuna.

Time to get underway again. Off we paddled, more or less together at first but then gradually diverging, all within one km or so of LH Reef. After a fishless trip yesterday, I was delighted to very soon hear the drag clicker of my Charter Special, my trolling outfit, crackle into action. Hoping for a mackerel, even a spotty, I was disillusioned by the sluggish nature of my adversary, at first. Although it put up a good performance once it started to be drawn toward the surface, I was not surprised to find that a small whaler shark had taken a liking to my Laser Pro. With just a little difficulty I soon had him (actually a her) under control by getting a gaff through the jaw.

0648hrs. Whaler (?) shark takes Halco Laser Pro.

As gemini expressed interest in eating the shark (not immediately, mind) I happily handed it over to him after extracting the lure.

We paddled on, occasional splashes still confirming the presence of pelagic predators. Soon eyetag and I crossed paths. We paused and I told him about the shark while he told me he'd caught a Great Trevally (GT) on a slug cast into some feeding fish then rummaged through his wet towels and stuff and produced this:

0701hrs. No, Ian hadn't eaten it. A well sharked GT.

The trolling continued. About 0715hrs I noticed that Ian's yak was being towed by something which was also causing a spectacular bend in his rod. Sensing a photo opportunity, I started paddling over to him, about 250m away.

His trolled Laser Pro had been smashed and was now providing the connection between eyetag and the smasher. I paddled along behind him and measured the continuous tow speed at 3 to 4 kph according to my GPS. The towing went on for quite a while and all the time I was trying to get in place to take a pic without getting too close. I called it for a shark but eyetag, while partly agreeing with me, reckoned it had a bit of a tuna feel to it.

0720hrs. Eyetag's been hooked up a while and still doesn't know what he's hooked. Beautiful day out there, eh?

Because the water was a little murky out there today, it wasn't until the very end of the fight that eyetag could see what he'd hooked. It was knackered and as it feebly passed under the yak's port side eyetag deftly grabbed it by the tail wrist and hauled it in.

0730hrs. A very chubby longtail tuna with Laguna Bay backdrop.

Right up until the final stages of the fight we'd both been pretty sure that he had a shark on. But we've recently had a bit of longtail action so a longtail was the next most likely candidate. Hopefully they'll now start visiting us more regularly as there's a lot of food swimming around in the bay. While eyetag was stowing this tuna Jaro turned up from out east somewhere. We three chatted briefly before Jaro decided he had to head for the beach as he had to pack his bag for an overseas trip starting this afternoon. He left knowing that it's likely that during his absence for the next several weeks pelagic gamefish such as the longtails will dominate local kayak fishing.

"Hooked up" calls gemini, one of the newer Noosa Yakkers. Again, I paddle over as this may be his first Noosa fish, and I'm sure that he'd like a record of the capture. It proved to be another shark, which escaped with his lure right next to the yak, long before I could get to him.

By now it's noticeable that the surface action has pretty much shut down. The terns have noticed this also as they've departed for their daytime roost on the sandbanks of the nearby Noosa River. It's getting hot and the breeze has dropped right out causing a mirror sea. Time to head for home beach, a smooth water paddle of around 2.5km.

We all trolled back and about half way back gemini hooked up again. It soon proved to be yet another shark. As he was on his possession limit already, this one is destined for release. But before then I manage to get close enough for a pic.

Gemini (aka Matt), assisted by eyetag, with small shark about to be released.

That was it for the morning. On the beach we measured the two fish brought home:

Eyetag's longtail tuna, 96cm, weight unknown.

My shark (whaler of some sort?), handed over to gemini. About 94cm.

VIDEO of eyetag's longtail capture

A very enjoyable morning. Thanks for organizing, Jaro and have a great trip to South America. We'll look after the fish while you're gone, and tell you about the important catches.

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

close call, 26Feb11

Subject: Fishing today -- 26Feb11
From: sunshiner
Date: 26/02/2011 3:00 PM

Cloud cover: very little cloud
Wind direction & speed: light southerly going to flat calm later
Sea state: low swell

Participants: eyetag, paddlepara, jaro, sunshiner

I wasn't expecting Brian (paddlepara) but there he was in the carpark unpacking most of his AI (no mast, only one outrigger) when I arrived. Eyetag's car was in its usual spot (he'd already launched) and shortly another vehicle pulled up with a yak I didn't recognize. This turned out to be a local guy named Logan who'd recently returned from nearly a year in Japan. He has a yellow Viking Tempo and is a keen yak fisho so please keep an eye out for him, yakkers.

With Jaro's arrival at about 0455 and a virtually windless morning, we were set to launch and soon Jaro, paddlepara and I were out the back, unpacking our gear. Radio checks over, we headed for Jew Shoal with a plan to take things as they came, depending on what we found.

Half way out to the shoal the first thing that was noticeable was the huge number of terns airborne. But, unusually, they were heading back toward the rivermouth, so possibly they'd spent the night rafted up together offshore somewhere. Soon we started to see occasional splashes as tuna got stuck into the baitfish as the steadily increasing light level allowed them to see their prey easily. We three were trolling our favourite hardbodies but had attracted nothing by the time we got close to the shoal. Still the tuna were erupting and a couple of times we got close enough to see that they were almost certainly chubby little mac tuna -- but surely there might be some more interesting predators hanging around also? This is what kept us interested.

By now we'd made radio contact with eyetag who was trolling baits around at Sunshine Reef. He'd had no action either, despite having had at least an hour's less sleep that the rest of us. Pretty soon we three were distributed over a wide area around JS, all trolling and, whenever the opportunity arose, casting a slug at the brief bustups sometimes encountered within casting range. Still no action.

I decided to head for Granite Bay as I could see terns fluttering down that way and so headed pretty much straight for Dolphin Point, at the western end of Granite Bay. On the way I noticed one power boat heading out toward Sunshine Reef, and noting that the sun was likely in its skipper's eyes, I slowed right down to give the guy plenty of space. Once I was sure he was clear I resumed my track toward the south.

When only about 300m from Dolphin Point I belatedly noticed another power boat heading my way when I was just completing a circling manoeuvre, having turned through 360 degrees to port in the process of trying to locate myself nearer to a school of baitfish. I didn't spot him until the distance between us was much less than I'd like. I could see it was a large Shark-cat or similar and he was travelling fast toward the east, despite the oncoming swell and the sun in his eyes. I'd just finished my 360 degree manoeuvre and was now headed south again. It seemed that within a very short time he and I were on a collision course. Possibly he'd changed course slightly but very soon I was looking straight through between his twin hulls as he came over the swells and I think at that time I started paddling faster and even briefly held up my paddle and waved it. To my horror, the bugger kept coming. He didn't see me at all and swept past at speed to the north of me (ie behind me) with barely the length of my kayak between us. I yelled loudly as it went past and several passengers on the charter fishing boat (for that's what it was) saw the whites of my eyes.

At first I thought he'd cut off my brand new Halco Laser Pro that I'd been trolling but it turned out that the lure itself was still to the east of me so that was saved. To his credit, the skipper hove-to and then came back to see if I was OK and offer his apologies. I accepted his apology but hope that he keeps in mind that if you can't see, for any reason, you have no business travelling fast on the open ocean. It was a narrow escape for both of us, as he would have been culpable if he'd run me down and I might have been killed. It's noteworthy that my kayak at the time offered the largest possible visual target -- ie a 4.3 m wide, brightly coloured object, passing directly across his front from his left to his right. See pic below. I thought that describing this event may prove useful to other yakkers. For your sake, please be ultra careful in that transit corridor and at all times when you encounter power boats travelling at speed. Never assume that they've seen you.

Shortly after this event, Jaro announced that he was hooked up to the north of Granite Bay and then, very soon after that, that he'd been busted off. Then I encountered at Fairy Pools a middle aged guy (youngster) on a ski with outrigger. We chatted briefly and he told me that he'd noticed lots of terns fluttering close inshore just around the corner in A-Bay. So I headed for Hell's Gates and rounded the corner into A-Bay where, sure enough, there were some terns active. I failed to raise any interest from fish there either, so headed back around Hell's Gates, noticing that paddlepara had also headed out there to A-Bay to take a look.

Jaro hooked up again, same area. This time the hooks dislodged and he got his lure back but no fish. Paddling conditions being now superb, as a result of slackening wind, I opted to head for the middle of Laguna Bay where I found some terns fluttering over what looked like a bait ball pushed together by spotty macs. The situation looked identical to the various spotty mac events encountered in the past, with the attacking fish leaving large swirls and slashes on the surface in a very small area but with no fish actually leaping out of the water. I thought I was in with a great chance here but only managed a couple of casts before this opportunity quickly dissipated. By now I'd been joined by Jaro and eyetag (who'd been updated by radio) and the three of us spent nearly an hour or so trying to chase down schools of tuna while gradually getting closer to Middle Groyne.

For the first time in ages, eyetag, Jaro and I beached our yaks with not one fish among us. Paddlepara scored a duck also. It's a particularly lean day when eyetag doesn't get a fish. Oh and I should mention that one of us had a bit of adventure in coming back through the low tide break but enough said.

One thing that may be of interest to those intending to go out over the next couple of days is that my sounder revealed a couple of large dense schools of baitfish in 8m of water within 500m of Middle Groyne. No fishy predators were bothering these fish but there'll be carnage when the predators do find them.

Thanks for organizing, Jaro and thanks for your company, all. Maybe we'll have a better trip tomorrow.

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

imax recce, 25Feb11

Subject: Fishing today
From: "Dan"
Date: 25/02/2011 9:01 PM

I went for a fish this morning and there was quite a bit of swell out at JS still so I spent the morning trolling. With the wind I managed to scoot along but didn't manage to land anything. I kept having big tuna jumping in front of me off Tea Tree and Granite but they seemed to be isolated fish. I couldn't find any schools of bait and the birds weren't giving any indication of schools.
All in all though I plan to head out again tomorrow morning so will hopefully see some of you out there.

pedro's longtail, 21Feb11

Subject: fishing today -- 21 Feb 11
From: Pete
Date: 21/02/2011 4:21 PM

Hi All,

I made it out this morning, launching at about 5am.

Followed the headland out and around to A Bay trolling a halco laser pro, taken by a 11kg tuna.

Put up a good fight for about 40mins (I was a bit worried I had another shark on) and then broke my rod as I was landing it due to a lapse of concentration and the downfall of graphite rods.

I continued trolling heading east with no luck so headed back to JS where I drifted with a small pilchard and got a small spotty about 2.5kg.

Happy with my day of no shark I headed in about 12.30pm just as the northerly was starting to kick in.


Many yakkers, poor result, 20Feb11

Subject: fishing today -- 20Feb11
From: sunshiner
Date: 20/02/2011 2:00 PM

Cloud cover: clear sky
Wind direction & speed: light SW
Sea state: low swell
Moonrise/set: set at sunrise

Participants: (apologies if I miss you out but there seemed to be yakkers everywhere this morning) eyetag, jaro, jimbo, lapse, sunshiner, rooter (LeRoux), gemini, maverick (late arrival -- by radio only), Tony (visitor from Brisbane), friend (Ray?) of LeRoux's mounted in a Stealth SIK, John (visitor from Brisbane) whom we'd encountered last Sunday also
Remarkably, this was the third Sunday in a row when the offshore weather forecast was suitable for yak fishing. Understandably, then, we had a big rollup. I might add at this stage that I'd caught no fish at all on the previous two Sundays and was hoping that today that particular monkey would get off my back.

Eyetag's car was parked in its usual place in the carpark and his trolley tracks on the beach confirmed that he was fishing already when we started to assemble on the beach. Several of us launched around 0445 at low tide, well before the sun rose, our launch aided by the bright light of a setting full moon and a clear sky. The launch was easy, provided patience was exercised and I doubt that anyone would have had difficulty in that aspect today.

The destination of choice seemed to be Jew Shoal and before long we were heading off toward it. Many stink boats were exiting the river mouth and heading across our path. If you're new to launching at MG please note that this is one of the few hazards we face -- the possibility of being run over by a power boat whose operator is distracted or temporarily blinded by the rising sun. Always assume that you haven't been seen and err on the side of safety.

Anyway, there we were, paddling out toward JS. Jaro encountered some sort of tackle problem soon after departure and hove to while the rest of us kept going. Then I discovered a fault with my main fishing outfit but after a couple of minutes during which I field stripped the reel I discovered the problem and figured I could live with it. The result of this was that I was near the rear of the field and Jaro was behind me as we neared JS.

One thing that was noticeable today was the lack of terns flying over our heads toward the north and north east. Later, they suddenly were present, apparently out of nowhere, when the tuna started to feed.

My Halco Laser Pro was throbbing along happily about 50m behind me, a better summer morning couldn't have been imagined, and the terns were flocking in patches on the horizon. This looked good!

ZZZZZZZZ -- the Laser Pro had gone off. Picking up the rod I felt the weight of a good fish which promptly decided to show me who was boss by whipping past me and heading north, toward JS. A couple of minutes after the 0540-ish hookup I checked the GPS -- on full view right in front of me. It showed we were still 900m from the Pinnacles and that we were heading toward that mark at 4-5kph. I was like a water skier being slowly towed by a submarine. Clearly this was a powerful fish so I put out a quick radio message. Jaro, approaching from behind, kindly opted to stay nearby in case I needed help.

At 4kph it takes 15 minutes to travel one kilometre. Within another 15 minutes we (the fish and I) were passing due west of the Pinnacles and in another 15 minutes we were 900m north west of the Pinnacles and the bugger was still going. I'd managed to get much of the 20 pound bs braid back on the spool but there was still plenty of energy being transmitted back to me through the line. During the fight I'd concluded that I'd hooked a large longtail tuna as the high frequency tail vibrations could easily be felt. I've caught several before and they all felt like this, although some start circling deep down while this fish was still pretty much swimming straight ahead. Nevertheless, I have to admit the possibility that this was a shark, especially in view of the experiences of others recently.

At 35 minutes or so I could feel the fish starting to tire and was getting more line back on the spool. The gaff was ready but I still hadn't seen the fish when the braid gave way. That's fishing. My Halco Laser Pro, rigged with wire, was gone, and the fish was free. The monkey was still on my back.

By now, nearly everyone was chasing the tuna schools which were popping up briefly all over and around JS. I put a huge Rapala sinking HB on my trolling outfit while keeping a slug casting outfit ready should the opportunity arise for a quick cast as I gently trolled around the shoal. On about the third approach to a mass of feeding fish which had fortuitously popped up in my path my cast slug was accepted, to the disgust of a stink boater nearby who was trying the same thing without success. I guessed this was a mac tuna as it went for a long run then sulked down deep in 18m until gentle pressure on the 12 pound bs monofilament did the trick and the fish lay beaten next to the yak.

Monkey gone. A fat mac tuna about 75cm long.

Another view, showing the chrome slug it took.

These are hard fighting fish but this one was totally knackered so I decided to keep him, if only to give him away to one of the other yakkers. There's no shortage of these fine fighting tuna, no size or bag limit.

By now all who were on radio had been made aware that eyetag had boated a spotty mac at Sunshine Reef while targetting Spaniards and that jimbo had bagged a small keeper sweetlip on a prawn. The air temperature was likely to start increasing quickly but Jaro and I were keen to try a paddle to Little Hall's Reef (3.6km distant) where we'd previously had great success with Spaniards and spotties at this time of year.

Jaro, lapse and I headed off more or less together to see whether the fishing was any better there.

Alex (lapse) in his new pre-loved Stealth Supalite, approaching LH Reef from JS

It wasn't, but we were shortly joined at LH Reef by Jim and Tony, the latter kindly being given a tour of Laguna Bay by Jim. Near LH Reef were two small commercial beam trawlers, scooping up a few prawns from the seabed in 14m of water. Here and there a few splashes could be seen but the surface action at LH Reef was all but non-existent. However, not far away were masses of baitfish about 75mm long, just waiting to be eaten by predators who hadn't yet discovered their hiding place.

With the breeze dying out, exactly as forecast, the personal heat discomfort index started to climb and so those of us at LH Reef decided to head for home, arriving without further action or incident around 0930. On the way back we received a radio message from maverick who reported that he'd just lost a Spaniard next to the yak and that he had several others swimming around him. Hopefully he'll fill us in with a supplementary report.

Beach pic of the landing point by Pedro's wife Wendy

That's it until next time, yakkers. Anyone else who has something worthwhile to pass on about today's adventures please feel free to do so.
[see emails at end of post]

Thanks for organizing the trip, Jaro, and for coming along hookers and potential hookers.

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

Subject: Fishing today
From: Stuart Denissen
Date: 20/02/2011 1:41 PM

Hi Kev if you want to add to the report...

launched at Sunshine, caught and dropped first spaniard just at the start of inner reef then dropped another way out right next to the yak :(

saw heaps of spotties but they did not hang around or take any lures, called it a day at 10-ish as I forgot sunscreen!

Subject: RE: fishing today -- 20Feb11
From: Matt Reid
Date: 20/02/2011 2:23 PM

Hi all!

Asides from leaving my gaff in the car, dropping a sounder mount fitting down a scupper hole to a salty grave, and no fish, it was a great day. The conditions were the best I've seen since becoming a yakker, and there were plenty of feeding tuna to chase.

No fish to report, but I had a strike on a trolled garfish with pink skirt early in the day, and then I was baited on the way back into MG.

Maybe next time!


Matt Reid
Call sign: Gemini
Viking Tempo Fisherman
p.s: Kev, that tuna is now filleted and marinating with an Asian concoction of soy and spices. ;)

pedro's bronzy, 17Feb11

Subject: fishing today
From: Pete
Date: 17/02/2011 3:48 PM

Hi All,

Launched around nine into 15 knot easterly and headed for js. Arrived at js deploying a large slimy mac with squid skirt. Two minutes later I hooked up on something big that towed me around for about 45 minutes.

I had made the call of a shark but you never know so sticking with it till I had visual. I had most of my line back when a 3 metre plus bronzy leapt out of the water performing a barrel roll 20 metres from my yak.

I cut the line pretty quick. Other than that three small sharks were caught and released.

Tight lines (NO SHARKS)

Spaniards, 13Feb11

Subject: fishing today -- 13feb11
From: sunshiner
Date: 13/02/2011 1:59 PM

Cloud cover: varied throughout the morning, some rain showers
Wind direction & speed: SE up to 10 knots
Sea state: low swell

Participants: Jaro, Jimbo, sunshiner, maverick, gemini (Matt), Sam, Dane (friend of Sam), bigkev, Tony W., Des (not yet a NY but coming Wed evening), Doug and Brad (visitors from Brisbane), eyetag (later)

New Callsigns: Note the following new radio callsigns among Noosa Yakkers: Kev Crawford (bigkev), Matt Reid (gemini),
At last I can report that the Bay has cleansed itself and the baitfish are starting to aggregate in the Bay, and the predators too. Some nice Spaniard pics, later.

This being a Sunday, and light winds forecast, several Brisbane-ites opted to join us.

0507hrs. Launch time for some of us. Bigkev far right and gemini (Matt) to his left.

As you can see, the easiest of launch days today. The breeze was already starting to make itself felt when we launched, a reminder that the forecast was that it would strengthen mid morning.

Before long, a small flotilla was heading for Jew Shoal. Jaro and I were the front left flankers and we both spotted some sizable tuna leaping clear of the water about half way to the shoal. We diverted slightly to try to intercept them but passed the place of action without interruption, our trolled Halco Lasers not receiving any attention.

At about this time, as the ambient light gradually improved, we began to see flocks of terns concentrated over several places on the horizon, in a sweep from the SE round to the NW. One patch in particular, east of Jew Shoal interested me so I and a few other yakkers changed course to investigate.

Bigkev, alone among our little sub-group, soon hooked up.

0616hrs. Bigkev, Profish and bent rod. Trolled Rapala.

The result: a decent sized mac tuna. Released after a solid fight. That's Doug in the background.

While there were plenty of bustups, most lasted only a minute or so before the fast moving fish moved on to the next feed. Consequently, many of us (yes, me included), spent a lot of time and energy chasing tuna schools. At one stage I paddled the 1.5km to Granite Bay and then back again without getting a good opportunity to cast to feeding fish. But clearly there were signs of larger individual fish around because every now and again an isolated swirl on the surface nearby betrayed them. But perhaps they were sharks...

Jaro had opted to fish with bait and after what seemed an age he announced the capture of a snapper. With the wind rising gradually and occasional heavy rain showers, conditions were not ideal out there but we kept at it then eventually started, one by one, to head for home. Then over the radio came the welcome news that Doug, from Brisbane had nailed a nice Spaniard on a trolled slimy mackerel.

As there were signs of fish action on the way back to MG and as Maverick had reported the catch and release of a small Spaniard on that track, I opted to head toward the beach at about 0845. I subsequently had an uninterrupted trip back.

I'd decided to wait on the beach a while chatting to Sam, Tony and Dane, all of whom had been out to JS and back without my encountering them out there. About 10am I spotted Doug coming in so that presented an opportunity to get a pic of his Spaniard. As it turned out, he had two, caught in identical fashion, ten minutes or so apart. Once they were pulled out of the Stealth's hatch, they caused a bit of a stir among the numerous beachgoers (there was a Nippers' convention underway).

Doug and new friend.

Some of the Nippers were seriously interested.

Doug and his Spaniards which were both just shy of 1.2m.

Just as we were taking pics of Doug's fish, eyetag arrived to start fishing. He took little encouragement to launch his yak and head for Jew Shoal.

Well, another fishless day for me, and for jimbo and most others too. Fish in the boats were scarce today but there are strong signs of better fishing conditions on the way. Roll on the spotties and the thick schools of bait in Laguna Bay.

Anyone who was out there today and has more to contribute please feel free to send a supplementary report. [See supp reports below]

Thanks for organizing, Jaro and thanks to all for coming along.

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

Subject: Fishing today 13/02/11
From: "Jaro Cerny"
Date: 13/02/2011 4:46 PM

Hi Yakkers
Nothing much to report except to show photos of my catch... a 52cm snapper and a 41cm sweetlip. I also caught and released a 1 metre shark.

Subject: Re: Fishing today 13/02/11
From: "Ian"
Date: 13/02/2011 5:22 PM

Hi Yakkers
After a late start (10.00) due to work commitments, I paddled JS for an hour for nothing so I decided to go to SR where I landed 1 and dropped another Spaniard.

I also got into some small Mack Tuna which I was releasing until I had colour on the third one when a huge Shark took him whole. After this I paddled in with my tail between my legs.

call sign;eye tag

Tassie Trout, 08Feb11

Subject: Tassie Trout
From: Mark Powell
Date: 8/02/2011 9:10 PM

Hi All,

Just thought I would share some fishy pics from Tassie.

Yesterday I paddled & trolled and cast for 3 hours for my one trout -- I was pretty stoked as it was my first outing and a nice fish.

Very tasty -- must have something to do with the 8 degree C maximum for the day and falling to below 6 at night. I was casting around fallen timber in a sheltered bay out of the freezing 30 knots of wind. It took a cast nilsmaster lure I have had for 20 years at least. It has caught bream and flathead and bass & yellow belly before but never trout. Tried to do the same thing today - paddled and cast and trolled for nearly 6 hours for one half hearted strike -- I tried nearly every lure in my collection - soft plastics - shallow divers, deep divers, bibbed lures, bibless -- I couldn't raise a serious strike. I guess that's fishing for you - one consolation is that many other anglers are having the same result.

Tomorrow we head for the coast where it is warmer.

There are plenty of trout on the move in the lower streams as we saw lots of feeding action at Cradle Mtn and at Liffey Falls.


MWP's First ever Trout. 440 mm Brown Trout - Lake Arthur

Trout in Stream at Liffey Falls

5 firsts, Sam, 07Feb11

Subject: Fishing Today (Tuesday 7 Feb)
From:sam boulden
Date: 7/02/2011 11:23 AM

I arrived at Middle Groyne later than I had intended after having to give myself a good talking to in order to get out of bed. I ended up pulling in at around 4:40 with Dan midway through preparations on his AI and Pedro long gone. After Dan and I exchanged greetings I set about throwing my gear together and getting down to the beach double quick. It was a beautiful morning and launch conditions were perfect, no need to pick the sets, just glide on out with a dry bum.

My intention was to wait out the back for Dan to join me but when I had finished rigging up he was still nowhere to be seen. Apparently the downside to the AI is an extended setup though apparently this becomes more streamlined with experience. Resigning myself to a solo voyage out I headed towards the national park with the aim of trolling along the headlands towards Hell’s Gates before looping around to Jew shoal to meet up with Dan and Pete. This plan of attack seemed to have paid dividends as my Laser Pro was hammered not far past the shark nets but after a spirited fight a small whaler appeared yakside and was shaken loose.

I continued trolling without incident out to the end of the heads where I met up with an American bloke in a red Mission Catch. I believe this is the Hawaiian Kev and I had met a few months previous at Jew Shoal. He said he'’d been out at JS since before first light (he even beat Pete out!) with no success. He continued trolling in the direction of Sunshine Beach while I stuck to my game plan and turned for open water.

About 200m on the water came to life with tuna launching clear of the surface in pursuit of baitfish no more than 30m off my bow. As calmly as I could I unleashed my slug casting outfit and fired off a cast into the middle of the melee. I was rewarded with an immediate hookup and searing run which emptied half my spool of 20lb braid. As I was contemplating how to retrieve my trolled lure while maintaining pressure on the fish, he turned and ran back at the yak. I was able to counter this and he then took off on another drag screaming run. Whether the first double back had loosened the hook I don’t know but when he tried this gambit once more he was able to throw the lure. By now the school was long gone and with the feeling it might be one of those days, I headed out to meet up with Dan and Pete who were holding a mini Hobie convention on the edge of Jew Shoal. Pete reported very little action for the morning and I changed over to soft plastics to try my luck.

There was plenty of bait about and a fairly slow drift which should have translated into perfect bottom bashing conditions but the fish weren’t playing the game. I finally got a very strong hookup on the plastic, having drifted away from the pinnacles into about 20m of water. Unfortunately this proved to be another small whaler which, though hooked in the corner of the mouth, managed to abrade the 20lb fluoro leader yakside.

As I was rerigging I looked across to where Pete was drifting and noticed some surface activity and birds in his vicinity. There had been scattered surface action around all morning but this was far more concentrated and prolonged. I decided to chase the school but they were too quick for me and after a few hundred metres I gave up and got back to plastic fishing. This of course was the cue for the tuna to reappear, this time moving towards me. I paddled into position and fired off another cast and was again rewarded with a hookup, though this time the fish continued towards me after the strike and was seemingly oblivious to its predicament.

About 20m from the yak he finally woke up and decided to head for NZ. After about 10 minutes of back and forth he was doing the customary tuna circle underneath me and I freed the gaff in readiness. Upon seeing me he took off on a final searing run before coming alongside completely spent. He didn’'t even flinch as I drove the gaff into his shoulder and hoisted him aboard, my first ever Yellowfin tuna! (incidently this was also the first ever fish on this outfit, my first keeper as a Noosa Yakker and the first fish I’'ve ever gaffed!). Well and truly satisfied and significantly further east than I wanted to be, I decided to call it a day and head in.

The shore break was practically non-existent and I was tempted to not bother de-rigging but in the end thought better of it. I met Dan on the beach who reported two sharks for the day. He’'d done it tough with stuff all breeze about and sadly had to rely on people power like the rest of us poor bugger! He was nice enough to take a picture of the fish for me but unfortunately no bathing beauties were about to join the fun.

As this was my 5th trip out from Noosa it was a great way to break the duck and the maguro sashimi will taste extra sweet tonight!

Imax and sharks, 07Feb11

Subject: Fishing today -- 07 Feb 11
From: "Dan"
Date: 7/02/2011 11:19 AM

I arrived a little later than planned and went for a walk to see how big the swell was. I could see Pete rigging up just out past the groyne so headed back and started the assembly of the AI. Sam arrived not long later and managed to get set up and get on the water a good 10 min before I was ready. We went our own ways but the 3 of us ended up at JS later. Unfortunately as soon as I arrived at JS I started feeling very green so decided to keep trolling as that was all that made me feel better. This was the first time I have been sea sick on a kayak and I put most of it down to having the big sail and amas/akas making the AI rock more.

On the troll home I was chasing a few schools and birds and on the outskirts of a very big school I hooked onto a small but feisty Bronze Whaler (first fish offshore in the yak). I continued trolling following the coast up to Little Halls and then headed for home. As I was packing some of my gear up only 30m or so from the groyne I hooked onto another small shark. The little bugger wound himself up in my leader on the way in and as I was trying to unravel him he kicked and managed to knick my braid. He was swimming off so slowly I nearly reached down to grab it by the tail to get my Laser Pro back but decided I better not.

I waited for Sam on the beach as I could see him not far off and took this photo for him with a nice yellow fin tuna. Sorry I wasn't a little more social out there this morning Pete and Sam, I just wasn't feeling the best.


Email from pedro
Subject: Re: Fishing today -- 07 Feb 11
From: Pete
Date: 7/02/2011 2:39 PM

Hi All,

Not much to add to Dan and Sams reports.

I lost one pilchard and had the same prawn on for the duration. Headed in around 9.30 as the start of the SSE change arrived. Noted high numbers of terns heading out to sea, and hooked a small shark on trolled lure.
Met LeRoux on the beach (heading out for a paddle).

And by the way,nice snapper Jaro!!


Email from Le Roux
Subject: Re: Fishing today -- 07 Feb 11
From: "LeRoux Uys"
Date: 7/02/2011 2:58 PM

As per Pete, I headed out about 10ish in the hope that the pelagics would have woken up by then and that the wind would hold off - no such luck unfortunately! I paddled out into a very stiff s'easterly that nearly blew me across the bay; hooked my customary 2 bronzies even before I got to the shark nets! Decided that it was too dicey to head to JS so I took shelter behind the headland, hooking 2 squire there (non-keepers). Trawled back to MG and across to the river mouth just for good measure, but still returned empty handed. Good to know the yellowfin are around though... where are the spotties???

83cm snapper, 06feb11

Subject: fishing today -- 06feb11
From: sunshiner
Date: 6/02/2011 4:07 PM

Cloud cover: mostly 8/10 to 9/10
Wind direction & speed: northerly/NE up to 10 knots
Sea state: low swell
Current direction & speed: at Sunshine Reef strong toward the SE and around Hell's Gates. At Jew Shoal, none.

Participants: Jaro, jimbo, eyetag and I

At last, the wind had abated and the sea started to clean up but this is Queensland in the middle of an old fashioned wet season so, you guessed it, the rain was pissing down. At least it was when I left home but at least there was no wind. Jaro followed me in pouring rain into the MG carpark where we both parked in our customary slots. Jim had arrived earlier than we did so we three sat around while the rain went from pissing down to a bearable patter over a period of ten minutes or so. Just nearby, father and son team sprocket (Dave) and proangler (James) were unloading their yaks too.

For once there was no sign of eyetag's car. Clearly some dire event had popped up because eyetag never misses an opportunity to fish. Explanation later.

The beach and its access remain quite eroded as a result of the disgusting weather we've had inflicted on us but it was still accessible, especially on the way downhill. Jimbo, I and jaro headed out together through the small break which was springing up because of the low tide.

0512hrs. We usually go through the narrow exit in Indian file. Here jimbo is waiting for the sets to pass and then it's my turn. Jaro's right behind me. (Snip from video shot in very low light conditions)

The exit was clean and easy, and as usual when there are a few waves running, quite exhilarating unless you're in a Stealth in which case it's a bit ho-hum.

We set up and jimbo opted to head for Sunshine Reef while jaro and I figured that Jew Shoal might be OK. The breeze from the north and accompanying chop made for a bit of a slog but we were fresh and keen to see what the day would deliver.

All was quiet, apart from terns passing overhead going out to sea, until 1.4km out from JS when Jaro's trolled HLP went off to the accompaniment of loud yells from Jaro. If you've been out there with him you'll know what I mean. I hove to and retrieved my lure -- ready to lend a hand should it be necessary. The camera was ready too.

0551hrs. So it's a bronze whaler about 1.5m long and very angry -- and it's got Jaro's prized Laser Pro in its mouth. (Snip from video)

So Jaro does the usual trick and whacks it in the lower jaw with his gaff as deftly as only a vet surgeon or possibly a dentist can do. Unfortunately, the shark leaps about somewhat and Jaro's trusty gaff breaks, leaving only the rubber handle in his hand. The shark either swallows the gaff or dislodges it in the accompanying melee. No gaff and a bronzie with a prized lure on the line! Many expletives later Jaro realises that I probably have a gaff and asks politely if he can borrow it. "Sure", says I. The shark is thrashing around as they do but I have to manoeuvre right up close to pass over the gaff. This is successfully done with the shark exuberantly filling the narrow space between the yaks as we transfer my gaff to Jaro. This successfully done Jaro now uses his vet surgeon skills again to extract the hooks from the now gaffed lower jaw and release the shark to go and harass some other life form.

At this point I must explain that there was permanent moisture on the outside of the camera lens due to the extreme humidity and continual rain and spray so please excuse the slight blurring of some images.

Sharks are not in short supply out there at the moment as I found when we arrived at Jew Shoal and a smallish shark with vertical stripes (a tiger?) dodged around my yak as I manoeuvred trying to get a cast at a busting up school of small tuna or macs (I failed - they were moving too fast). Ah well, I settled into a drift routine a couple of hundred metres from Jaro who, having returned my gaff to me, is now down to lip gripper and hands only to deal with fish. He's deploying baits -- a banana prawn on one outfit and a whole pilly drifting on another. I opt for an artificial lure -- a soft plastic.

More yells from Jaro and a hasty radio message about "biggy -- possibly a mac". So this is what friends are for -- I stop fishing and paddle over to him (this takes a couple of minutes) to make sure that he's got a gaff if he needs it and also to possibly get a nice pic. By the time I get there he's managed without a gaff and boated a spectacular fish -- on a banana (prawn).

0644hrs. How's that for a snapper? Jaro's biggest so far and one many snapper fishos would swap their wives for.

It was now raining steadily, again. Shortly after this, having been informed of what was happening at JS, jimbo decided to relocate from North Sunshine Reef -- into a strong current. See you in an hour or so Jimbo! And then eyetag calls up on the radio from MG. I quickly relayed to him the situation at JS, adding that there were occasional big splashes reminiscent of feeding Spaniards (which was true). "On my way" he responds.

Meanwhile I'm fishless -- but I've got a few pics. Jaro and I resume drift fishing on his new favourite drift and Jaro starts to get regular bites and occasional keeper sweetlip -- but only on the banana prawns. I'm using artificials only but decide to deploy one of my biggest soft plastics -- a great green pre-loved rubber thing with a paddle tail, a single hook about 8/0 and moulded-in weight. I put it out on the trailing outfit and didn't bother to retrieve it when paddling back up to the start of the drift -- letting it hang back about 20 metres and wend its lonely way the 400m or so back to the start of our drift. Half way along this transit I noticed some splashes and a few terns close to my course and then immediately a loud buzz emanated from the VanStaal reel. The buzz lasted all of two seconds and I guessed what had happened.

The tail sheared off immediately behind the hook. Work of the local mackerel gang.

Jaro was still boating the occasional sweetlip. Jimbo had arrived after a long slow paddle and eyetag had also appeared from the south. I was still fishless. Eyetag, trolling a HUGE pike bait around the shoal, came up on the radio after about an hour out there and revealed that he'd managed to approach one of the several bustups happening off in the distance and fired off a cast with a slug which was immediately engulfed. The fish turned out to be a yellowfin tuna, his first from a yak and rarely taken among us kayak fishers here.

That got Jaro and me going, especially as there was just such a bust-up barely 300m to the north. Appropriately rigged, we set off after them. Unfortunately, the whole school, and its attendant bunch of terns, was heading north, at paddling speed, into a northerly wind. Just as we got within casting range they were no longer within casting range and so on and on it went. 1.5km norther and later, enshrouded in low cloud and in a heavy rain shower, we gave it away. I'd got close enough just twice during this pursuit and got two casts away, got one "bump" and that's all.

By the time Jaro and I gave up, we could no longer see land. Not that the land was far away, but the heavy rain had reduced visibility. At first I felt slightly disoriented and found that my directional instincts clashed with the indications given by my GPS but, knowing that the GPS was more likely to be right, I followed its pointer and soon began to see through the murk, directly ahead at about 1.2km range, the dive-boat which I knew was anchored near the JS shallows.

Eyetag was drifting close to my path as I came onto the shoal so I took the opportunity to stop near him and get a pic of his first ever yellowfin tuna.

Before the morning was out, eyetag caught three of these speedsters, each by casting a slug. Note the long, folded back pectoral fin and the very large eye.

By 1030 we were all pretty knackered; Jim from paddling out to Sunshine Reef and then back to JS, eyetag from his early morning start and highly successful crabbing expedition before heading out to JS, I from photographing various fish and chasing pelagics all over the ocean, and Jaro from doing some of the above plus subduing a shark and a massive snapper. So we headed for home, our landing beach now 4km downwind and the day growing hotter by the minute.

Jaro and his snapper. It went 83cm on our measure mat and 6.7kg on Davo's scales.

Another great day but I'm ready to hit the cot. Thanks for coming along guys and thanks for organizing, Jaro.

Hope to see some of you at the R2S event on 16Feb. All are welcome. Email turtleboy (Steve) if you want to come.

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