Yak sailing, LB, 30Nov11

Contributions, in sequence, from: jaro, pedro

Subject: Fishing Today Wednesday 30th November
From: "Jaro Cerny"
Date: 30/11/2011 3:12 PM

Participants: Pedro and Jaro
Weather: Overcast early with the odd light shower becoming clearer with sunny periods. Easterly winds 8-10 knots causing lumpy sea conditions.

I arrived at the car park at 4.00am and saw that Pedro had already left for JS. The tide was out and so there was a pronounced shore break right at end of MG. Even with good timing and staying upright I got wet which was good as it helped to keep me cool on the paddle out.

I made contact with Pedro who was at JS. I decided to head there as well as the seas were very lumpy making paddling too arduous for going to SR.

800 metres from my intended mark I had a large strike on my Halco laser pro but as I was extricating the rod from the rod holder the line went dead. On retrieval I found the lure gone, wire and all and the line shredded... work that out!

I joined up with Pedro who had found things very quiet. I ended up catching a 40cm sweet lip and Pedro a nice 45cm sweetlip after 3 hours of fishing so I called it a day and left at about 8.20am. Pedro decided to continue fishing and maybe he can fill us in on what was the outcome for the rest of his time out there.

Anyway, now the big news! Today I had my new Pacific Action kayak sail on board to try out and see if it would make paddling a little less arduous and tiring for us old buggers. I faced the kayak downwind and released the sail which had been clipped down and yes it went up and spread out exactly as described in the brochure. And I was off. Pedro immediately called and said it was looking very good and said he would have to look at getting one. And I was feeling very good and exhilarated. The sail back to the beach was an absolute breeze. I just sat back and paddled with short strokes requiring no effort so as to steer the kayak. With the pull exerted by the sail I was surfing the waves much better than when without the sail. The pull of the sail seemed to keep the kayak straight and stable when surfing the wave. I think having a rudder would make things even better but steering, using paddle strokes was very easy. I trolled my halco lure without difficulty. Pulling the sail down and reclipping it onto the yak for entry back into shore was a breeze. I travelled at between 3 and 10kms/hour averaging about 7km/hour. It took me about 35 minutes to get from JS to MG.

Jaro sailing. Pic by Kev 13Dec11

There were some nice breakers to negotiate but luckily my timing was good and I landed easily upright.

So all in all a disappointing day fish wise but a great day sail wise.


From pedro
Hi Jaro and Others,
Spent an hour after Jaro left trolling bait and hb for not even a sniff.
Always next time.

DB Rf Snapper 18Nov11

Wind: NE, 5knots
Swell: low NE
Current: at Doggie Beach reef, strong northerly, about 1.5kph
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: jaro, sunshiner
Observations: no turtles, dolphins or whales; no surface action, clear water, near summer water temp

Even though I felt that I was a bit lower on energy than usual (no smart cracks, please) I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by today. Over the past few days the evidence had been building from kayak fishing reports that the snapper and other reefies were definitely biting just before and after sunrise and were less likely to bite the greater the elevation of the sun. Today, with a Doggie Beach launch a possibility, and only a 20 minute paddle out to the nearest decent bit of reef (Doggie Beach Reef) there was an opportunity to test the theory.

Astute readers will quickly understand that testing the theory involves launching well before sunrise, and launching into an open ocean beach break, these both necessary in order to be on the fishing grounds in sufficient time. Hence our 0400 (sunrise: 0449) meeting at the Doggie Beach carpark. So well were our timings coordinated that jaro and I drove into the carpark nose to tail.

Here I noticed something useful. The toilet adjacent to the carpark has outside lights which illuminate the surrounding area very well, presumably all night. This was where I offloaded the yak, onto the grassy area next to the toilet.

I’d been wondering whether we should check out the beach break before offloading, but, as jaro pointed out, we couldn’t see anyway so why bother. Of course, he’s deaf too, so, unlike me, couldn’t hear the crashing of the waves which initially caused me some concern. Between us we have four good legs (one supported by a metal socket) and two good hearts (one having undergone extensive refurbishment some time back), quite enough for the immediate physical challenge. So we dragged our trolleyed yaks down to the smoothed off sand left by the overnight retreating tide, peered into the gloom and pronounced it “doable”, despite the persistent NE breeze.

I’d spent some ten minutes at this very spot one tide cycle (about 12 hours) ago, watching closely how the wave pattern went, reasoning that it was unlikely to be significantly different on the next tide. This observation seemed to hold true and therefore my recce of the day before was perhaps worthwhile. Jaro, however, dragged his yak off to the spot he’d used two full days ago, about 100m further south than my chosen launch point, which was just north of the creek outfall.

Leaving my yak on the beach, I wandered down to jaro to see if there was enough light for a pic. There really wasn’t, but I took one anyway, at 0423.

There was just enough light, increasing by the minute, to be able to see the larger sets of the small waves coming through, and thus to enable a judgement to be made about the effect on the shorebreak, our immediate problem and a common one here at Doggie Beach. As soon as I spotted the lull I launched, crested a couple of small breakers and was very quickly out the back, slightly damp, but in good shape. Time: 0430.

Jaro, I could just see between wave crests, was still up to his thighs in water, on the beach, hunched over in typical style (the hunchback of doggie beach), hanging on to his yak, waiting for a lull. In due course, several minutes later, I could see his paddle blades rising and falling alternately and could rest easy as I knew he was in clean water and heading out to rendezvous with me.

The big advantage of Doggie Beach is that a successful launch from there puts you within 1500m of the edge of massive Sunshine Reef. Soon jaro and I were paddling out, into the swell and chop, slap, slap, Supalite slap toward our marks.

According to the theory, the fish should be present and feeding. By 0500 we were on the spot, the sun now just clear of the horizon and slightly obscured by cloud. Jaro stuck to his plan to use two different baits (pilchard, large prawn) on two different outfits while I opted to use lures only, a big heavily weighted “octopus” on the trailing outfit, and my usual 4 inch soft plastic on 1/4 ounce jighead on my light casting outfit. Depth varied from 19m to 29m. Our drogues stabilised our drift somewhat in the chop and a current propelled us quite quickly over the reef from north to south.

The first thing we noticed was that there was initially no action at all. This led to some concern but soon that was banished, at about 0520, when my soft plastic was seized, the hook did its job and a 50cm snapper ended up in my fishbox.

This made us feel better, especially jaro, who had two juicy baits out which were as yet untouched. In the short time we’d been drifting we’d travelled around 500m south, driven by breeze and carried by current. So jaro after a short further time without success opted to head north back to his original mark and leave me on my drift. Cue snapper #2. Smaller, but a welcome dinner guest at home, this fish also seized the same type of soft plastic as the previous, which chopped the SP in two.

By now I was a long way too far south for comfort and so opted to head back to the start of the drift navigating by following my drift track on the GPS.

On the Tracks display of my GPS you’ll see several or many waypoints clustered into what have become “hot” areas. I’ve been in the habit of marking places I caught fish and over the years these waypoints have been retained as a valuable visual aid on the display (Note: info not for sale). The image below, a shot from my GPS while on water this morning illustrates what I mean. On arrival at a location I can switch to the Tracks display and immediately see locations in the area where I have previously marked fish captures. Drifts can thus be set up to pass through these hot spots. Mind you, just because I’ve caught a fish there in the past doesn’t guarantee that I’ll do so again, but it’s far better than fishing blind.

After a very hard and lengthy (about 45 minute) slog into the current, chop and swell I was back to where I’d started. Jaro had at last caught a snapper on bait and had a couple of bad experiences with gear failure which suggested that sharks may have been in the area. I fished on for a while but also suffered a bite-off. A little later jaro caught a small shark, thus firming the possibility that the other harassments were the work of sharks, so we decided to head for home.

I think that after five years battling this beach break (and coming off second best on many occasions) jaro and I are getting better at it but we never take it casually. Beach pics from today:

And the fish:

And a lady strolling along the beach happily agreed to pose with the fish of the day.

Oh, and what about the theory? It seemed to me that the fish were definitely more likely to hit earlier. Indeed, while we got several hits and could see fish on the sounder after 7:00 am no fish were boated after that time. Conclusion: ’Tis the early yakker that gets the fish (at present), but go fishing anytime you can.

Jew Shoal, early, and HR, 17Nov11

Contributions from, in sequence: jimbo, imax

Subject: Fishing Report - Thur 17Nov11
From: "Jim Thompson"
Date: 17/11/2011 5:23 PM

Hello Yakkers,

WIND: NNE 12-15 knots initially, decreased 8-12 knots by mid morning.
SWELL: ~1.0m but short period with wind chop
CLOUD COVER: 8/10 burning off to 5/10
CURRENT: 1-1.5 kph NW>SE
LAUNCH POINT: Middle Groyne
PARTICIPANTS: Dan (Imax), Jimbo

With nil returns for my last three outings I was determined to score this morning. Given Jaro and Imax's report from yesterday when the fish suddenly went off the bite by about 0600, it seemed that I would have to be on the water early if I was going to be successful. So I arrived at MG car park in almost total darkness at 0345 (my earliest launch ever!), but was beginning to think maybe I should have stayed in bed as I faced a brisk 12-15 knot breeze coming straight onto the beach together with absolute bottom tide causing a messy shore break right at the end of the rock groyne. Anyway, I got through okay with just a bit of a wet bum - I think not being able to see the waves in the half light makes the situation appear worse than it really is.

It was a slow paddle out to Jew Sh straight into the stiff headwind and a short lumpy sea, plus, as I was soon to discover, a moderately strong current coming from the NW. I went straight to my NE mark at Jew Sh expecting the wind to take me back towards the Pinnacles and over a couple of my closer in marks. I loaded my casting rig with a large king prawn (having observed Jaro's recent success with prawns threaded onto a large 8/0 hook) and cast this offering downwind while I set my trailing rig with a slimey on a 3-gang hook.

I was initially disappointed to discover the prawn had only sunk 2-3m below the surface as it drifted under the yak and I was beginning to think these were not going to be very successful. However, on the second cast the prawn was taken by a maori cod. The maori cod was released, the drift re-set and another prawn loaded and sent off. This time a 40cm snapper attacked the slowly sinking prawn and was soon retrieved and stowed in the fish box. I'm now starting to think Jaro might be onto something with these prawns. Before I had re-set the drift, the trailing rig went off and soon a nice 42cm sweetlip was retrieved and this also added to the fish box.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I called up Imax who had launched some time after me, and reported my success. Imax was over at Lt Halls in similar lumpy conditions but no fish at that time. As the wind had eased a little Imax indicated he was going to try a little longer over at Lt Halls but might join me later if no success. I didn't hear any more transmissions from Imax but learnt later from the surfboard hire guy at MG that he had caught a couple of fish... perhaps you can fill us in on the details Imax.

I reset the drift across my successful mark and picked up another maori cod on the trailed slimey. This was larger but still under sized and was released. However, like Jaro and Imax yesterday at Sunshine Reef, everything seemed to go quiet after about 0615. Although I tried another four marks at Jew Sh over a further 2.5 hours, I did not get one more bite. I can only put this down to increasing light level due to the rising sun (the water is presently very clear). So the moral of the story at present is... Fish early! Maybe this is why Eye Tag catches so many fish?

It was a pleasant paddle back to MG with a trailing sea and a mild tail breeze. The surf transition was pretty easy with a half tide on the rise, and I cancelled my coverage with Noosa Coast Guard once on the beach at 0945.


From imax
Subject: Re: Fishing Report - Thur 16Nov11
From: "Dan"
Date: 17/11/2011 7:22 PM

Hi Yakkers,

Jimbo has covered a little of my morning. As he said it wasn't very pleasant out until the wind dropped off around 6am. I went out with the full sail setup today and sailed upwind as much as possible. With 2 big tacks I made it up as to the start of the sandhills on Teewah beach. During this time I was trolling a bait and lure which weren't touched at all.

As the wind died off I decided to try my luck at Halls reef. First cast with a soft plastic and I landed a 53cm Grassy. I was only fishing 6lb line on my bream rod so this fish pulled some serious drag which was good fun. I kept another 42cm Grassy and released a legal snapper and had a decent hit each cast. All of these fish came around 7am or slightly later and I could see lots of feeding fish on the sounder. It was about now that the only boat I had seen all morning went full tilt past me about 15m away and consequently shut down the bite. I called it a day after this and had an easy sail averaging 7km/hr back to MG.

I'm thinking of heading out tomorrow morning again with Jaro and Kev launching from Sunshine Beach also. I don't know if I can get there for a 4am launch so I will meet you out there.


DB Rf mixed bag 16Nov11

Contributions from, in sequence: jaro, imax

Wind: calm
Swell: low N
Current: ??
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: imax, jaro

Hi Yakkers,

I arrived at the doggy beach car park at Sunshine Beach at 4.10am to find Dan (Imax) already there.

We checked the surf and thought it a goer. We launched from what we thought was the best spot directly in front of the footpath and got through easily with dry bums. Luckily there was only a shore break to negotiate. We were greeted with just the most beautiful and ideal fishing scene. No wind to speak of, hazy skies and an almost millpond sea as shown by the photo below showing Dan in the foreground.

We both put out our hard body lures to troll to a mark about 1.5 kms out and within a couple of minutes we both had strikes and soon after we both boated a bonito each.

This certainly looked promising for the rest of our trip. At about 1.3kms out we set about drift fishing and it wasn't long before I got a good strike and after a good tussle landed a lovely 50cm snapper. As I was dealing with the snapper the other rod went off but the fish got off as I went for the rod.

Well my hopes were now high for a great day and this was somewhat confirmed as Dan boated a snapper and sweetlip not that long after.

However, that was it. The action ceased completely regardless of where we fished. Dan had been trolling as a last resort and ended up close to our launch point and called it a day at about 8.00am.

He called me when he had beached without any trouble. I had also by this time called it a day. Dan pointed out the best spot to return and after being very, very patient in choosing when to make my dash for shore, I also made it in easily and upright.

Above, our fish for the day. Mine are the two at the bottom left and the remainder are Dan's of course.

It was a lovely day and for once I don't feel exhausted. Oh for more Sunshine Beach launches. Dan is keen to do it again tomorrow whereas I am more inclined to have a go on Friday.
I will keep you posted.



From imax:
Subject: Fishing Today (Wednesday 16th Nov 11)
From: "Dan"
Date: 16/11/2011 4:49 PM

Hi Yakkers,

I don't have much to add to Jaro's report. It was a good morning out with at least a few fish caught.

Kev, I am guessing but would say the last fish caught would have been 6am at the latest but more likely 5:30am. I don't really know what shut them down so quickly but it was amazing how I didn't get a single tap after landing the Grassy. When they were on first thing I was getting lots of hits on the soft plastics. I think Jaro was only using bait and he was getting lots of hits also. My snapper came from a 5" Gulp worked and the Grassy took a 7" Gulp deadsticked in the holder with a heavy jig head. I also dropped a good fish on another soft plastic that was deadsticked.

I missed the perfect model to hold my fish because I didn't have my camera with me today.

I am planning on another trip out tomorrow morning. This time I will launch from MG and troll again and will probably do a JS, Halls and LH's circuit. Hope to see some others out there.


eyetag, NR, 15Nov11

Subject: Fishing 15-11-2011
From: "sue"
Date: 15/11/2011 7:45 PM

Hi all,

I had a paddle in the river late last night from midnight until 6.00 this morning.

I started up Weyba Creek, where I got a few Big Eyes a 60cm Mulloway and 1 nice GT but no Jacks. Then I went and fished the current line out from Ricky’s and got about a dozen Big Eyes and 2 more GT’s. The wind blew all night, so I’’m glad I went in the river.

Most of the fish were caught on Gladiator Prawns and River2Sea Baby Vibes with a few trolled on a shallow 85mm River2Sea hardbody. I released most of the fish keeping 2 GT’s and 1 Big Eye. The biggest GT was 56cm and 2kg, the Big Eye was 64cm and 2.2kg.

I’’m trying to work out windows 7 and I hope the photo turned out O.K.

Ian (eyetag)

Sunshine Reef 13Nov11

Wind: light westerly, north westerly
Swell: low NE
Current: at A-Bay Reef, NW to SE at least 1kph
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, gemini, dugout, jaro, jimbo, sunshiner

Whew, I’m wearier than I usually am after an offshore trip. Today was a good test of paddle fitness for Jaro and me, at least, and you’ll find out why later.

After several consecutive light wind (mainly from east round to north) days recently another was forecast for today (Sunday) so naturally Jaro announced an offshore trip, stipulating a 0430 launch at Middle Groyne.

Unique among Noosa Yakkers up to now, dugout’s launch arrangements do not involve a car. And this morning I spotted him (and tooted a greeting) when I reached the roundabout at the bottom of the hill. There he was, his Swing kayak on trolley, trundling along beachward in the opposite direction to several groups of dishevelled party animals who are a common sight at 0415 on a Sunday morning near Hastings Street. Dugout walks his trolley and yak down from his home somewhere near the top of the hill and launches in the eastern corner of the bay. The rest of us choose to use (or are stuck with) the MG carpark. On my arrival there this morning, with Jaro right behind me, Richmond had just launched while Gemini was preparing his big granite-coloured Viking. Jimbo also arrived soon after.

An intermittent breaking wave threatened a wet bum at launch but proved no real difficulty for anyone, and anyway, it’s quite refreshing on a summer morning, pre-sunrise.

We raised richmond on the radio straight after the 0430 launch and he revealed he was at the river mouth heading for Little Hall’s. Dugout announced he’d do the same and a few minutes later in the gloom I caught sight of him paddling strongly across the front of the groyne, headed west. By now jaro and I had decided to head for A-Bay Reef unless we came across something more promising along the way, jimbo had opted to do a lone recce of Jew Shoal while gemini made a trio with richmond and dugout, checking out the western portion of the bay. Between us we had Laguna Bay covered.

Despite the forecast NE breeze, we were all experiencing a steady NW-er which, judging by the choppy sea state, had been blowing for a couple of hours. This choppy sea slowed jaro and me down a little but we happily plugged along trolling our Laser Pro lures, hoping for the scream which rarely comes when there are no signs of working birds, but always means action.

We passed Hell’s Gates around 0515. Still no sign of activity, not even dolphins which are commonly encountered in the Granite Bay area. And ominously all was quiet from recce group west (richmond et al) who by now would be in the prime area for encountering pelagics.

By now I was watching the fish finder, about one km short of A-Bay Reef. Nothing here, either, no schools of baitfish down deep, no working birds. Ah well, we’re here now so may as well make the most of it.

As usual we set up to drift fish, jaro with bait while I used lures. It was about 15 minutes into the first drift when I noticed, by reference to my GPS, that we were moving along quite quickly, toward the SE. The breeze, although from the NW, couldn’t possibly move us this quickly so clearly we had a decent current. Ah well, “No run, no fun” according to fishing sages so we put up with it. But care is required in this situation because it is very easy to be fooled by the current, especially when there’s no means of judging drift speed (eg anchored boat) nearby. Jaro and I were both well aware of how far and quickly we were being swept but every thirty minutes or so we’d spend another ten minutes getting back up the drift line.

As for the fishing, things were dead quiet, except for a bust off for jaro early on. Maverick (in his stinky) dropped in to say hello on his way back home around 0715. He’d caught a couple of small keepers and at that time jaro and I had nothing to show for our efforts.

Just before 0730, however, jaro boated a sweetlip, which on a normal day would not rate a mention but today it became the star of the show.

Encouraged by this capture, we continued our drift just a little further along this line toward the SE. By 0755 with no further action we’d decided to pull the pin. By 0800 I was paddling toward Hell’s Gates, noting with unease that I could only make about half my normal speed over the “ground” into the current and breeze.

I was sure I could do the distance as long as the wind and current didn’t worsen the situation but even so had already identified a Plan B should that be necessary. (Plan B: head directly for north Sunshine Beach, only a couple of km away, and land there, sorting out the car problem later.)

On my GPS I have Hell’s Gates as a waypoint so I used this waypoint to allow me to judge whether I could maintain the required effort long enough to reach that key location. I concluded that I could do it, but I wish to point out that it took jaro and me 45 minutes to travel the 2.5 km to Hell’s Gates. Then, of course, we still had the extra distance to go back to Middle Groyne. The current dropped away once we cleared Granite Bay on the way in but even so, the journey back took around 90 minutes non-stop, and remember that stopping for a rest is not a viable option when in a current and/or breeze which is taking you away from your destination.

So the lesson here is that knowledge of a current’s speed and direction is very important if drifting at reefs such as Sunshine.

Jimbo and the others had all returned to the beach before we got there, all fishless I understand.

Why are we not catching fish? My feeling is that the reef fish just aren’t present in their usual quantity. Usually we’ll at least hook some undersize fish and at the very least will get some action, especially when a variety of techniques is being employed. But during this strange calm weather spell it seems that most worthwhile fish have moved on.

Any plausible theories on this, anyone? Note that today I saw no turtles or dolphins and no baitfish schools on the sounder. Maybe there’s a clue in this?

Anyway, I’m off for a well-earned nap.

Lake MacDonald - Matt, 12Nov11

Subject: Freshwater Fishing 12th Nov

Hi all!

I forgot to post this on the weekend. It's not often I get to roll out the brag mat, so I'll take advantage of it when I can. :)

After coasting around Lake MacDonald from the Grange Road end with little success for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, I decided to head back in. On the way back I tried casting into one of the spots I had tried earlier with no joy. During an extra slow retrieve with my R2S mini vib, I could feel a very light tap every so often. I stopped once or twice and continued my slow retrieve, thinking whatever had tried the lure had long gone. Not a metre from the yak the bass hit. He put up a decent fight, so I let him have some drag and kicked back for the fun. He came in at 38cm.

I'm not a huge fan of eating freshwater fish (murray cod from muddy holes will do that to you), but I enjoyed the taste of the bass from Lake MacDonald. A bit of lime, chilli, and coriander helped him along though. :)

I would have attached a photo of yours truly holding him, but I was indisposed digging a treble barb out of my thumb at the time. I have a pic of that too, but i'm sure you all don't want to see that lol


Call sign: Gemini

Stretched snapper, 09Nov11

Hi Fellas,

I went out to Jew Shoal, yesterday, leaving the beach around 08:00. Not ideal but my other hobby seems to get in the way of early starts.

I was expecting one or two of you out there but I got no feed back on the radio so decided to go to Jew Shoal.

No wind but the sea was a little bumpy with some breakers so expected a drenching on the way out and I wasn't disappointed!

Trolled HB's on way out but not a sniff. However as it was still quite calm I observed quite a few gentle bust ups (no birds). I rigged a small bait fish lure 10g and hooked a small mac tuna. I had hoped the gentle bust ups were spotties but I guess its a bit early for them isn't it?

The fish were pretty shy and I needed to be very quiet to get within casting range.

So on and on to Jew Shoal or so I thought. My old, no very old Garmin GPS, had finally packed up and I was using my new radio/Gps device which isn't that user friendly so it took me ages to find the mark. In fact I used visual alignment but wasn't really sure where I was.

As a result or other wise nothing was interested in my pilchards or soft plastics.

As I had time on my hands I fiddled with my GPS a bit more and worked out that I was not on the mark and finally got into position. Still nothing. It was about 11:30 when the wind started to pick up a bit and I decided to have one more shot with a fresh pilchard and as I started to wind in I got hit by a weighty fish. My first thought was shark but it didn't fight as hard and I started to get a bit more excited about the possibility of a snapper. I carefully played it in and with the water so clear saw a broad shiny flash down below. Yippee it was a snapper. 3.7kg. officially weighed at the fishing and outdoors shop on the way home.

Just one bite and just one fish. (I don't count the mac tuna)

At noon the wind started up in earnest but as a northerly it pushed me home and I was surfing quite often. However, how to get into the beach. I battened down the hatches and secured all aboard and waited a while to check the wave patterns and came in after the last wave of a big set and nearly made it but when waist height depth I must have relaxed as another wave caught me and tipped me over. No harm done other than my pride.

May try again next week once I work out how to use my GPS.

I also need a depth sounder/ fish finder, Any recommendations?

warm regards
call sign Stretch
Blue and White Espri (Slow and Wet)

No fish today, 08Nov11

by sunshiner, with contribution from pedro at end

Wind: calm initially
Swell: low NE
at Jew Shoal, 1.5 kph toward east;
at A-Bay Reef, 1kph toward south
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, jimbo, jaro, sunshiner

An amazingly bad result today (donut) as the reefs seemed to have shut down despite use of several different bait techniques and the usual soft plastic offerings.

Pedro launched earlier than the rest of us, who punched through the small waves at MG (or dodged them completely if lucky or skilled enough) at 0430. Jaro and I headed off together for A-Bay Reef with Jimbo coming along a few minutes later.

Jimbo then opted to head for Jew Shoal so that left pedro, jaro and me to work over our familiar marks off A-Bay. We tried really hard but all we had to show for our efforts by the time jaro and I left, at around 0815 (after drift fishing for nearly three hours) was a 40cm Maori cod, undersize, which seized my trailing outfit jig about two hours into the session. Jaro at one stage had a large tuna clear the water very close to him, arcing one metre into the air and splashing down never to be seen again. Jimbo reported similar conditions at JS, not boating any fish at all.

So jaro, jimbo and I arrived back at MG together around 0930, fishless. We all had a bit of fun in the surf but all hit the beach the right way up. I picked a wrong ’un again and part way through the surf zone detected in my peripheral vision a wave higher than my head bearing down on me. Having judged that the wave was too steep to run straight down I instinctively broached the yak to port and luckily managed to hold it the right way up all the way in, going sideways. Jaro picked the sets really well and cruised in as usual, while jimbo was doing really well until a little kid on a boogie board got into his path as he also was coming in sideways. The kid disappeared under the front of the yak and popped up behind it after jimbo’s yak passed over him. No harm was done but summer is coming and we can expect a lot more of these encounters so look out guys.

We left pedro out there, fishless at the time of our departure and have heard no more since. As I said out there, it’s a bad day when pedro can’t catch a fish so perhaps he managed to improve the result.

Things can only get better from here. C’mon pelagics, where are you?

Added later, by pedro:

Sorry Guys but nothing to add except that the lifesaver and the surf hire man bet if I'd stay upright.
It's a bit debatable as I jumped off early and grabbed the tail as a big one broke behind me,so I came in wet to the waist but upright.
Jeff the wind picked up around 12 after I got home

Bludger at JS, 06Nov11

Wind: light ENE
Swell: low NE
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: eyetag, jaro, carlo, sunshiner

Eyetag launched first, as usual. Jaro and I agreed that we’d launch together around 0445 and were pleasantly surprised to find carlo setting up in the carpark on our arrival.

Jaro and I were quickly off toward Jew Shoal, deploying our trolled lures once we were safely past the shark net. A few terns headed toward the east but surface action wasn’t evident anywhere around us so the presumption must be made that the bait schools have not yet reached us.

With the forecast and observed breeze from the east, I headed toward the eastern edge of the shoal, planning to drift with the breeze from east to west.

Once clear of the headland I got eyetag on the radio to find out how he was going. His report got me thinking about changing my planned destination, as he’d already bagged a good snapper and also had picked up a sweetlip, both taken on lures (Lucanus jig and SP).

Available time was against a change of plan so I plugged away toward the shoal, noticing during the later stages of this journey that I was running a little slower than I normally would. The reason for this became apparent when I retrieved my HLP on reaching my drift start point. A very weary 40cm bonito had hitched a ride without my knowledge. Having followed richmond’s suggestion to try bonito as food I can confirm that it’s quite tasty so this specimen went immediately into the fish box.

From my drift start point at the NE “corner” of the shoal I could see that carlo had joined jaro and me. As I commonly choose, I opted to fish with only one outfit, my cast SP, as I figured that if there were fish around I’d soon pick one up.

About an hour into the first drift I hadn’t had a touch. Neither had carlo, who was fishing close to me and providing an involuntary burley trail complete with remarkable barfing noises. Worse, jaro, fishing with bait a little further away to the SW had nothing worthwhile. The light NE breeze was pushing us all very slowly toward the SW and the depth where I was vainly trying to attract fish was 15-18m, with only occasional encouraging traces appearing above the bottom on the digital sonar display.

Shortly after jaro joined us I decided, as did he, to try the deeper water to the north. Jaro selected a deeper spot further west than my selection, an old mark i go back to from time to time. Now fishing in 20-22m, carlo and I started to get a bit of action, although only small stuff, until eventually at about 0645, about 75 minutes after I’d started fishing, my SP went off with a screaming run.

This fish had me puzzled. Clearly it was no snapper or sweetlip as its rapid dashes and changes of direction and depth were totally out of character for these usual species. At one stage I called it for a shark because it was changing its depth, up or down, so rapidly that I reasoned that only a fish without a swim bladder could do that comfortably. Meanwhile, the reel was howling when the fish was in charge and I wondered how long all of this could hang together. It took me a good few minutes to subdue the fish and then I could see a brilliant silver flash down below and then identified it as one of the trevally family as it got close to the surface. At first I picked it as a silver trevally because I’ve caught these out here before but once I had it in the boat I could see it more closely resembled a bludger trevally, with extendible mouth and very large pectoral fin. I’ve never seen one of these at Jew Shoal before but between us we’ve caught so many different species out there that I wouldn’t be surprised if we caught a coelacanth one day.

Carlo, meanwhile, in between bouts of barfing, had caught (1) what looked to me, about 20 metres away, like a juvenile tarwhine and (2) a definite bream, just undersized.

About now we started to hear, downwind of us, jaro’s usual “YES”s as he started to get some action too. When jaro radioed and told us he’d caught a sweetlip and a couple of snapper in five minutes I decided to go to his spot as ours was showing no sign of those species.

By now we had little time left but jaro got a couple more fish and I spent an intriguing 30 minutes or so trying to hook something very elusive which time after time hit the soft plastic on the drop, probably at around 15m. Despite all of these definite “takes” I couldn’t get a hookup, except for once when the whole jighead was bitten off. So eventually I had to leave wondering what this fish was.

Carlo was still poorly and, about 15 minutes before jaro and I had agreed to leave, radioed that he was not well and decided to go back to shore. We bade him farewell then, a minute or so later, I looked over and saw his yak was upside down. Although I could see that he was floating next to the yak, I had no idea whether he was OK so immediately jaro and I paddled over to him. By the time we got to him he had righted his yak and was clambering aboard, a little sheepish at the fuss. It seems that he’d fallen asleep in the short time after he’d made the radio call to us.

The reason that I mention this event is firstly to point out that carlo was wearing his PFD, and thus, even if sick or injured, he was not in immediate danger of drowning. Secondly he was able to right his yak and clamber aboard unaided. Thirdly, all his equipment, including his radio (a potential life saver) was tethered and so there were no losses. I assured myself that he seemed OK before bidding him farewell as he headed for shore.

Shortly afterward jaro and I also headed for the beach, accompanied by a gentle tail breeze and riding on the gentlest of NE swells.

As it turned out, eyetag also was heading for the beach and we three got there together to be faced with a huge crowd of bathers at our launch point. I speculated that perhaps they were there to meet the hunters (us) returning from the hunt, but it readily became apparent that this was a delusion as a closer look showed hundreds of little kids, “nippers”, engaged in an end of year surf carnival.

But now we had to thread a path through this throng. Eyetag went first, and was successful in avoiding collisions, but, from my point of view, almost disappeared in the crowd on the beach once he was ashore. I found a small gap wide enough to slide my 60cm wide Stealth through and joined eyetag safely on the beach and then turned back to see jaro going sideways on a small wave and nearly knocking down a couple of pensioners younger than he is.

As often happens, we soon attracted a small crowd, which became larger and, on the average, younger and more female as we started to pull out the fish for measuring, photography and general comparison. Eyetag’s fish were definitely the biggest hit, rightly so, and we had to shoo the ladies away to get a good clear shot.

Another great day, yakkers. Next time I’m heading for eyetag’s spot.