one snapper, JS, 26Jul11

Subject: fishing today -- 26Jul11
From: sunshiner
Date: 26/07/2011 3:54 PM

Cloud cover: up to 5/10
Wind direction & speed: NW to west
Sea state: 1.5m southerly swell
If applicable (often at NSR): no current
Participants: Pedro, richmond, jaro, sunshiner

A quick check of Seabreeze as soon as I awoke at 0515 showed 10-15knots NW at DIP. The breeze coming into the front of our house confirmed a couple of minutes later that the seas might not be as smooth as we'd hoped. But it was glassy at Main Beach, at least for as far as we could see, which admittedly wasn't far.

I noticed that Pedro and Richmond had already parked and left by the time I got there at 0550 but jaro was there, as promised and he'd already unloaded his Profish, presumably without help.

Although the pic above shows no waves, I can assure you there were a few sets which were coming in at eyebrow height for kayakers. Jaro and I mostly dodged them in the half light but I still managed to get quite damp -- air temp about 8 degrees, water temp about 19 degrees -- as I led the charge and flattened the incoming waves for my poor old fishing mate coming along behind. Quite bracing I can assure you, especially with cool air circulating over soaked clothing clinging to wet skin.

The glow on the horizon gradually became more intense as jaro and I paddled on a glassy sea toward JS, our target today based on intel provided by pedro who checked it out yesterday and found it very favourable for snapper hunters. All the way out we kept a wary eye open for power boats converging on our track from the port side rear after exiting the river bar.

With about one km to go before arrival at our chosen western mark at JS a SW breeze kicked in, ruffling the surface and chilling us at the same time. We arrived out there around 0650 and I could see richmond to the east a few hundred metres away and pedro a little further on and further south. Neither of them had had any fish action though pedro, who'd been mucking around at Granite Bay, reckoned that he'd had a bit of unwitting fun on a wave or two there, presumably at Fairy Pools, where the water shallows suddenly.

Jaro and I popped our drogues and started our usual drift fishing routine, he using two rods, 1 with pillie, trailing, and one with prawn, casting. I also had two outfits, the trailer being armed with a deep jig which went straight to the bottom and the casting outfit loaded with a soft plastic, quarter-ounce, 3/0, with a 4 inch Gulp minnow, nook chook. My first cast went out at 0650 and I noted that the drift was pretty slow but almost straight east. As we'd started at Old Faithful, a mark on the western edge of the shoal, clearly we were going to go right over the shallower sections and pop out at the far eastern side, which suited me fine at that time of day.

The wind was cold -- I don't seem to recall previous winters being this cold -- but the drift was still OK and in the next 15 minutes I watched the sounder track the depth from the 20m start until it was around 10m and then start to drop away again. There were plenty of small fish showing on the display so I was confident that maybe a predator or two could be found. A couple of times the predators were confirmed but not the type I was after -- tuna were splashing around but only putting their shoulders out of the water instead of clearing it completely. Perhaps they realized how cold the breeze was.

And then came the hookup in around 16m, near the bottom but away from the yak a bit rather than straight underneath. Immediately I called it for a snapper, mid size, and a keeper judging by the way it was taking line off against the drag and thumping away as they do. Sure enough a couple of minutes later he was secured and posing for a pic before being placed tidily into the fish box.

This success made me feel a little warmer, somehow, especially when I passed the news on to the other yakkers. And it turned out to be the best fish of the day (47cm) among the four of us. Jaro, having been taken to the cleaners by a shark at least once and then by a couple of unknowns, bagged a 40cm sweetlip, as did pedro who also reported being bricked by something unstoppable. Richmond was having a slow time of it, with just one undersized snapper, but plenty of reef denizens of a variety of species.

By around 0945 Jaro and I had clustered around Old Faithful, where we'd started, for we'd found a school of snapper, very small ones unfortunately. Richmond and pedro both joined us after a while in the hope of getting a bigger one out of the school but other than a single small keeper which I managed to extract, all we caught were undersized snapper, plenty of them.

By 1030 jaro and I had decided to head for home and richmond joined us on the warming paddle 45min back to the beach, where a few little waves were waiting to ambush us. I'm gradually getting more comfortable with the Stealth's surfing capabilities but even so I waited until a couple of bigger waves went through before chancing my arm, deciding to run chest cam also just to see what pics came from it. I got run down by the next wave and found myself shooting along the face of the 2 footer to the right, just like on a surfboard, without paddling. But as soon as the wave broke I had to resort to bracing on the paddle by leaning into the wave. This all worked fine, as Jeff, who had gone in before me and got a wet arse but who was watching closely, can verify. Jaro, as usual, timed his run to perfection and cruised in to the beach, completely unruffled.

Pedro came in soon after us and had done no better than his score at the time we'd left. He also avoided the sand monster by good timing.

Thanks for coming along guys. I'll be away for the next couple of weeks in Canada, chasing Pacific salmon. Will try to post some pics. See you mid August, and have some snapper fun while I'm away.

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

Noosa River, 20Jul11

Subject: Noosa River fishing well of late.
From: "Jeff Adams"
Date: 20/07/2011 3:47 PM

Hi Hookers,

Just thought I’’d give you all a bit of a heads up as to the fishing in the Noosa River at the moment. Woods Bays in particular. The current line out the front of “Ricky’s” has been a hot spot too. The river’’s been fishing pretty well all winter, but last Monday afternoon it went off and I happened to be there!

GT’s everywhere, the biggest I landed was 54cm, the majority were all high 40’s and in the 50’s. There was also Tailor amongst them and a few Tarpon.

Late afternoons have been the best, coinciding with the bottom of the tide. Poppers have been working well as have soft plastics with the standout plastic being the Gladiator Prawn.

The trevally have also been around the back of the sound, with this wind around now, this might be a better option.

Anyway, if you can’’t get outside for a fish, there’’s always the river. It’’s still great fun getting towed around the Woods and the GT’s and Tailor taste great too!

Jeff, (Richmond)

cold and tough, 13Jul11

Subject: fishing today -- 13jul11
From: sunshiner
Date: 13/07/2011 4:55 PM

Cloud cover: mainly clear overhead
Wind direction & speed: westerly 5-10kn
Sea state: low swell
If applicable (often at NSR): no current observed

Participants: Pedro, Jaro, jimbo, paddleparra, sunshiner, rooter

The weather forecast was for light and variable winds, but the reality a little different. It was great to see NY Brian (AKFF: paddlepara) there this morning when I arrived at 0545, even though he'd taken my usual carpark. Jaro was already there also and Jimbo rolled up right behind me. Pedro, ever the early riser, had already launched. A few minutes later we four were ready to start paddling.

Above: 0600 hrs. Paddleparra attends to his Stealth BFS in the early morning half-light seconds before launch time

The westerly breeze was evident as soon as we cleared the beach and helped push us along to our destination (A-Bay Reef) to the east, some 5.5km away around the headlands.

On arrival at the reef some 50 minutes later we were informed by Pedro, also there, that things were very quiet -- in fact so quiet that Pedro felt obliged to announce over the radio the capture of a 30cm flounder. Much excitement ensued... NOT

Well, it was bloody quiet, and bloody cold. As soon as we started drifting, slow drift to the east, we could feel the chilly air seeping into our poorly clothed bodies. I was wearing a long pants wetsuit but I felt sorry for Jaro whose bare legs and feet had goosebumps so large that I could see them from where I drifted. Anyway, we fished on, mainly fishless. Pedro announced the capture of a snapper just over the legal minimum, then a grinner which he thought was a NY record. I informed him that I thought that particular honour was already Jaro's as I have a photo somewhere of him with a grinner resembling a mature saltwater croc in jaw size.

Then Pedro asked by radio the minimum legal size of pearl perch. Yep, at 38cm his was a keeper, just (min length 35cm, like snapper). After an hour of no fish and biting breeze Jimbo had opted to paddle to JS to try his luck there and to get warmed up from the paddling exercise. We four remaining out there stuck with it, even though there was virtually no action. A nibble here, a bump there, nothing substantial. At the end of two hours, I had not had a touch, Paddleparra had had one hookup which spat the hook and Jaro had had even less action than I had. Pedro was the only one on the board. Then rooter turned up, much as he did last week and after a chat he left, as he often does, to try to rediscover New Zealand. By now I was getting close to pulling the pin, cold, damp and fishless -- but at least the sun was shining and I was out there with a few mates. So I stuck with it and about five minutes after Rooter had left I got my only strike of the day, on my cast SP. The fish hooked up well and at first I called it for a sweetlip as it kept heading straight for the bottom, and not horizontally. As I reckoned this might be my only hit of the day (which turned out to be true), I played the fish very gently, even backing off the drag a little when I judged he was far enough off the bottom. After a couple of minutes I could see the fish about 5m down. To my surprise it was a snapper, beautiful rosy pink, with bright blue spots and brilliantly blue fins. They're a great sight when they pop up beside the yak!

Chest cam view as the gaff, top right is readied (frame from movie)

0923hrs. The snapper (53cm) about to go into the Stealth's fishbox. Water droplets on the lens -- sorry, but difficult to avoid.

We fished on a little longer but with no more action. Jaro was unusual in opting to pull the pin before me. Poor bugger must have been frozen. He'd drifted quite a way to the east and, realizing that he had to paddle into the wind decided to call it a day and punch back toward home, Paddleparra and I stuck it out a bit longer but the breeze showed no sign of slackening so we turned for home about 1025, slogging back through the chop, going pretty hard until we could relax a bit once we passed Fairy Pools, where we caught up with Jaro and heard jimbo announce that he'd just left JS, fishless.

And so we four arrived at MG more or less together, with wet arses and one keeper fish between us. When starting to drag our yaks back up the beach we were approached by the duty Lifeguard, pompously seated in his beach scooter, who warned us about our behaviour in paddling across that stretch of water, approaching Middle Groyne, with fishing rods deployed. This guy got quite bureaucratic and a bit hot under the collar when we questioned his opinion. He quite clearly stated to us that we could be fined for "fishing" in the area in front of Main Beach and that he could tell we were fishing because our rods were in the rod holders. He quietened down a little after a while, possibly realising that he'd bitten off more than he could chew. I got his name (I'd never seen him before) and vowed to the others that I'd check into this situation. See last paragraph for the outcome, but please read the next paragraph first.

We obviously share Main Beach with a lot of other people, mainly when we come back from a trip. As responsible users (and as far as I'm aware all NYs are responsible individuals) we need to remind ourselves that extra care needs to be taken in regard to other users when approaching the beach on the way in, especially as some people in the water may not realise that our craft are somewhat less nimble and manoeuvreable and somewhat more dangerous in the surf than boogie boards and the like. For years we've launched at Main Beach without any hassles from the Lifeguards, probably because they see us as responsible users. Be aware that a Lifeguard does have the authority to ask you to follow his (reasonable) directions inside or adjacent to a Bathing Reserve, and note that you could be fined if you refuse to do so. Now go on to the next paragraph.

I checked the Laws regarding use of that area, found nothing about restrictions on fishing, or transiting the space in question with rods deployed. The Laws clearly state that craft such as ours are not permitted to approach the beach "between the flags" but that is not an issue in this case. Having satisfied myself that there appeared to be no legal basis for the opinion of the Lifeguard who confronted us, I then called the Council and spoke with the Chief Lifeguard, keen ski paddler and member of SBSC, Scott Braby. He was appalled when I related the situation to him and assured me that they would only interfere with our activities if they were of the opinion that other people were in danger as a result of our actions. He also assured me that the particular Lifeguard was probably being "overzealous". He asked me the guy's name and I gave it to him and he then explained that the guy had just been employed as a casual to fill a temporary vacancy (this, no doubt, is why I nor any others of us had seen him before and shows Jaro's presience when he stated "...probably it's his first day on the job..."). Scott undertook to have a chat with the individual to explain more clearly his role, responsibilities and the limits to his authority (Because the Lifeguard was behaving so pettily I'd asked him if he had the "power to arrest", knowing that such authority was extremely unlikely. The Lifeguard responded that he did have the power to arrest, thus revealing to me his probable lack of understanding of the law.) In response to a direct question from me, Scott verified that the Lifeguards do not have the power to arrest. So that is another matter he will likely educate the Lifeguard in question about. Scott gave me his own mobile phone number and urged me to call him directly if there were any further issues of this sort. I will happily pass on this number to any NYs who feel that they'd like to have it. Note I reckon this is excellent service from Scott Braby and, if you feel inclined, please thank him if you come across him socially or on the water.

Anyway, back to fishing.

How'd you guys finish up, pedro and rooter?

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

Big estuary cod, 04Jul11

Contributions from, in sequence: sunshiner, pedro, eyetag, bigkev

Subject: Fishing today 04Jul11 -- nice to be back into the fish
From: sunshiner
Date: 4/07/2011 4:55 PM

Cloud cover: cloudless except at horizon
Wind direction & speed: light westerly
Sea state: low swell
If applicable (often at NSR): no significant current
Participants: eyetag, pedro, whalebait, bigkev, richmond, sunshiner, rooter

At last a light winds day! One of the privilleges of being an old fart is that you can launch later than the young guys and not be mocked as a softie. (I think/hope. Anyway I don't care -- another privilege.) And so it was for me today. As acting coordinator I'd nominated a 0630 launch, just before sunrise. Knowing how keen some of these youngsters are, I wasn't surprised to be a lone yakker in the carpark at 0615. All their cars were there, sporting their Noosa Yakkers stickers and roofracks, and as I dragged my Stealth down the beach I found myself blundering over the tracks left earlier by the young farts.

As you can see, no probs with the launch. Note how close my yak is to the end of the groyne, how the sand has built up and also the lack of a channel. There should be some interesting launches and returns in the coming months when, as is inevitable, we encounter larger swells. Perhaps a need to practice surf skills?

Anyway, once out the back I called NYs on the radio and got an immediate response from richmond who reported that he was at Jew Shoal. He also indicated that the others were headed for A-Bay Reef (see the blog if you don't know where this is). As the weather was perfect I opted to head for that reef also and paddled off alone and quite happy, toward Dolphin Point (again, see the blog...).

Right on 35 minutes I was abeam Hells Gates, going well and loving it. Here eyetag called and managed to reinforce my optimism by reporting the capture of several sweeties among the four NYs at A-Bay Reef. The last 1500m was covered in 20 minutes or so and soon I was the fifth out there, eager to get amongst the unsuspecting sweeties and snapper. I set up my trailing rod with a new experimental lure.

This went to the bottom (27m) like a rocket, as I'd planned, I lifted it off a metre or so and set the rod in the holder behind me. The drift was very slow, toward the east and so I opted to stay with the 1/4oz jig head with a SP on it for my casting outfit.

Conditions were perfect out there and before long, drifting along in close company with pedro and eyetag, my cast SP was taken gently but firmly and the rod tip got seriously wet as the fish went for the bottom. Simultaneously, eyetag (double hookup) and pedro yelled that they were on.

After my dismal showing last time we fished here, two weeks ago, I was delighted when a sizable sweetie eventually gave up the fight and went into the hatch. Yahoo, I was back.

Meanwhile, whalebait, just a little further away, was also being hammered as it became obvious that we'd drifted across a productive patch of reef (and yes, we've marked it).

Around about now richmond arrived, having given up on Jew Shoal after being bitten off by an unstoppable (shark -- on a jig?) and also reporting stronger westerly winds there than we were encountering in our spot which is sheltered better by the land. So now there were six of us out there -- not bad for a Monday.

Action became sporadic after that with occasional fish being reported among the group, including keeper flathead, but, significantly, no snapper.

Some time later I was drifting along working my SP on my casting outfit when I felt a strange vibration. In a kayak on the ocean you become super-sensitive and I could feel this vibration in my backside. At last the mists of my mind cleared and I turned to glance at my trailing outfit, behind my right shoulder. Sure enough, it was behaving oddly and was undoubtedly the source of the strange vibration as the rod tip was quivering and bouncing. Perhaps my experimental lure earlier depicted was getting results?

Line buzzing off against the drag confirmed it and before long I was battling another, larger, sweetie which had obviously taken a liking to my experimental jig.

This was no accidental hookup. The sweetlip was well hooked, deep inside the mouth. Adding him to the bag was confirmation that this jig, largely unattended, just drifting along above the reef floor, could take fish.

And now for a mystery fish, which took a liking to my SP shortly afterward.

I've caught at least one of these out there before. Anyone else caught one (eyetag?). [Editor: yellow emperor]

About now I spotted a lone kayaker approaching from Hells Gates. It soon turned out to be rooter (LeRoux) out for a morning paddle, and hopefully a fish or two.

At 1030 richmond paddled over, a little downhearted that he had no fish in the boat (this unusual for him, I might add). By now I'd had no action for at least 30 minutes so I agreed to call it a day and we paddled back to MG together, taking an hour to cover the distance that took me 50 minutes or so on the way out.

When we left the beach the others were not yet back but I understand, from radio traffic, that pedro scored a possible NY record fish. In addition, most had caught one or more sweetlip. So we're all interested in the catches guys, and what worked for you today.

A great day for me today. Thanks for coming along yakkers, and hopefully we'll be out there again soon.

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

Subject: Re: Fishing today 04Jul11 -- nice to be back into the fish
From: Pete
Date: 4/07/2011 6:53 PM

Hi all,

Being a young fart @ 49 I was beaten only by a the younger fart of eyetag. We launched at about 5ish into the unknown, although the swell was small there was the odd larger swell coming through which embraced me with an early morning waterfall/shower. We headed out to Sunshine...

After the "sweetie session" Eyetag and I headed in a southerly direction. My 2 gang pillie rig was cast out and left to slowly sink to the bottom while feathering the line with the bail arm open. As the bait hit the bottom I felt a very generous bite, got towed about a bit until I pulled up my 82cm, 8kg COD, of some variety?

pic by Ian. Ian’s caption: A nice ad for Hobie. An awesome fish from a Yak.

Also in my bag is another 2 fish, 30cm venus tusk fish and another sweetie at 47cm.

A good day out

Subject: Re: Fishing today 04Jul11 -- nice to be back into the fish
From: "Ian"
Date: 4/07/2011 8:53 PM

Hi all,

Not much to add - just a couple of photos and facts. 4 Grassies 45-50cm, 52 cm Flathead and a very unlucky 46 cm Maori Cod.

My catch

Kevin, I've never caught one of those before.

call sign;eye tag

Subject: RE: Fishing today 04Jul11 -- nice to be back into the fish
From: "Kevin Crawford"
Date: 5/07/2011 6:50 AM

I also ended the morning with a couple of Grassies – 47cm & 51cm. Both were taken on a 3 inch gulp shrimp in banana prawn colour as I could not get a touch on minnow style soft plastics or vibration lures (blades) this morning. I made the change in lure type after Ian reported his grassies regurgitating octopus as this was the only type of lure I had on board that vaguely resembled something different to a bait fish. This change gave almost instant results.

Son, Etho with sweeties

(the bigger one….)