Not much today, Kodaz, 28Dec11

Not much to report unfortunately. We headed out aaround 4:45 towards little halls reef. The wind was non-existant for the first hour, but then it kicked up. Did not see a single bird the whole time I was out and saw no surface activity whatsoever.

After 2 hours made the paddle home which was pretty tiring against what I'd estimate was a steady 10 knot headwind and the usual current running north.

Might give it another month or 2 before I head back up there because by local accounts (i.e. sunshiner) the pelagics have not made it into the bay yet in great numbers.



Xmas day, Eyetag, 25Dec11

Hi all,

I went for a paddle early launching as soon as christmas was upon us.

I fished Weyba hole using Gladiator Prawns. I got rained on and had to fight the wind to keep pointed where I wanted. I was chasing Jacks and after several hits I managed to land a nice 46cm specimen on 3lb braid with 20lb leader. Satisfied I went home and was in bed by 3.00 am.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Santa must have been running late, because I woke to a stocking full of goodies.

call sign;eye tag

Big swell in LB, 25Dec11

I know it’s not a Trip Report but I thought pics of today's sea conditions may be of interest. My son, Nick and I went for a walk over to the northern side of the headland. Forecast swells were 6.0m from the east.

Jew Shoal, as seen from Dolphin Point. How'd you like to be fishing out there today knowing that you had to come back in to Middle Groyne? Just getting out to Jew Shoal would have been a remarkable feat. Minimum depth at Jew Shoal is around 7m.

The more adventurous and wealthy board riders were using jetskis to get out to the break off Dolphin Point. This guy was jumping off the back of the jetski when the wave got steep enough.

Yellowfin tuna & more, 20Dec11

Wind: light SW early, then calm until seabreeze
Swell: small SE
Current: Quite strong SW to NE at first, but diminishing later
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: axjax, yakfinn, beejay, richmond, pedro, jimbo, jaro, sunshiner

After yesterday's experience with snapper at Jew Shoal it was not surprising that we had eight Noosa Yakkers turn up this morning. Among them were our youngest member, Jackson (axjax) and one of our newest, Sean (yakfinn) who had joined us for his first kayak foray into Laguna Bay.

Departure times from Middle Groyne varied but I was the last to launch at 0430, having gifted myself a little extra time in bed because I'd been here yesterday.

Sunrise was at 4:51 this morning and when it happened for me I was at the end of a long string of kayakers stretching from Jew Shoal to half way back to Middle Groyne. Conditions were much better than yesterday, for the chop was gone and the paddling was easy.

04:58. View to the east

The fact that I could see the shark bait buoys off Dolphin Point suggested to me that I was being swept to the east but I headed for a bunch of terns which were fluttering and diving at a point which I judged, incorrectly, to be on the western edge of the shoal. Millions of small fish which were themselves eating prey too tiny for me to discern were on the breakfast menu for the terns which swooped and intercepted any over enthusiastic small fish which got too close to the surface. Nothing else was eating these fish, however, to my disappointment, as I knew that the bay was laden with baitfish and at any time could receive a slashing visit from the razor gang.

It seemed that there was very little fishing action early in the session, ie right at and just after sunrise but gradually, led by pedro, the "gotchas" started to trickle in.

0609hrs. Pedro's first snapper for today, taken on drifted pillie

axjax and a school mackerel taken on a SP

But the fishing was generally slow until the south wester (the usual land breeze hereabouts which had been ruffling the ocean surface) started to die away around 0730. Soon it seemed everyone started to catch fish, mainly small to medium snapper. In the glorious conditions I decided to add to the Noosa Yakkers' photo album.

Sean (yakfinn), from Coolum in his sleek Mission Catch 420 on his first trip

15 year old Jackson (axjax) with a PB snapper on his second trip out with us

In view of later events, it may be useful to record some observations on the baitfish which abounded where we were fishing. Much of the time at the shoal this morning, all of us were within view of masses of these fish, varying from 25mm to 50mm long. They were harassing even smaller creatures and in their enthusiasm even leaping from the glassy surface like tiny mac tuna (which they weren’t). It seems likely that there were very few predators attacking these hordes and certainly those that were exploiting them were doing so at depth. Axjax's school mackerel, caught at max depth of perhaps 20m on an SP resembling the baitfish is evidence that this was so. Certainly there were few if any surface attacks on the baitfish visible to us. But some predators were attracted and we can only wait and hope that soon the mackerel of various species will find this bounty and start feeding on it.

Jaro was having a frustrating time, losing many fish, but still catching quite a few, using bait and pillies.

boating a small but keeper snapper

and a grassy (grass emperor, grass sweetlip)

At this time of year in such clear sky and calm conditions when fishing out here I'm usually heading for the beach by around 0900. This is because the glare from sunlight and the temperature on the water can rapidly become uncomfortable. This also applies to the beach, about 45 minutes paddle away, and up which we have to drag our yaks to the shady area of our washpoint. So today I'd decided to head in about that time but not before hearing by radio that richmond was hooked up, 500m south west, to a yellowfin tuna.

Soon after I started my paddle toward the shore I spotted richmond paddling furiously toward me and guessed that he had the fish aboard so turned to meet him. A big grin and a big thumbs up confirmed the capture so we rafted up and added some more pics to the album.

A rare catch among our crew at this size and a very welcome specimen

This pic shows the distinctive large pectoral fins typical of the yellowfin tuna

Read richmond's great account of the capture, incl pics, on AKFF here.

We paddled back to the beach together being the second and third of our group to arrive back today. Pedro had earlier hit the beach having bagged out on snapper and perhaps he'll tell us more detail of his morning later.

There were very small waves breaking on the beach and richmond and I picked the same slot and went in together, finishing up like the Roulettes, staying in formation on the same wave, very close to each other but not touching. I think a couple of the beachgoers close to this action burst into applause.

As richmond pointed out, the beachgoers have now got into the habit of rushing up to incoming Noosa Yakkers and asking if they can see their fish. Today, we had barely stepped out of the yaks when a mother and her kids were knocking on the hatch covers asking us to open them. Later a guy sidled up to me and related how he’d been told that yesterday that the kayak fishers came in with a big snapper. Really? What a surprise!

First task on the beach was to find a beach lady willing to be photographed with the fish. I asked one lady whose kids were ogling the YFT and she declined but promptly organized her friend to do the honours.

The other guys started to roll in which heightened interest among the beachgoers. They and their kids stood about and gawked and questioned as snapper, mackerel, grassies, etc were withdrawn from fish boxes.

I think all except one caught at least one snapper or other significant fish. I undertook to include a couple of pics of the fish in this post.

Axjax’s mackerel (new Noosa Yakkers record, if he cares to apply to the Recorder) and his PB snapper

jimbo’s two snapper

This was a classic good Noosa Yakkers day. Significant fish in good quantities were bagged in perfect conditions among a group representing the youngest and oldest Noosa Yakkers. It was especially good to welcome Sean (yakfinn) for the first time and to have axjax paddle with us again. See you all soon, guys.

Big snapper, 19Dec11

Wind: SW at launch, NE at Jew Shoal, about 5 knots
Swell: Low, from east
Current: none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: beejay, lapse, sunshiner

At the carpark Alex (lapse) was going through the lengthy setup process for his AI. Lengthy, because he was going out with full kit. On the other hand beejay, keen to earn his stickers today (two kayak fishing trips from Noosa as a Noosa Yakker earns him his NY stickers), had trundled his yak fully 200m from his nearby Hastings St apartment block.

So beejay and I were ready first and launched together through a very small beach break just after 0430am. Even though the local breeze was a SWly, I immediately noticed that there was a chop coming through from the NE, on top of the small swell from the same direction. This was likely to make the trip out to JS, our planned destination, a bit sloppy, but we had a nice overcast morning and the waning moon was just visible high in the sky, shining through the clouds which were just turning pink under the influence of the sun’s first rays.

Being ready to paddle first and knowing that Brian would likely deploy his sail (pic later) I paddled off to the NE, deploying my Laser Pro just after passing the shark net, as usual.

It was a choppy trip out, especially when the SW breeze dropped away to be replaced immediately by a NE breeze as soon as I left the shelter of the bay. The Supalite is not good when paddled into such a chop as it rides up and over each and every bump, to drop with a reverberating clang into every trough. This behaviour, however, makes it a first class ride in surf so owners such as I put up with the occasional nuisance of paddling into such a chop.

I was rigged for pelagics with the plan of switching to snapper gear if the mackerel weren’t present. Ominously, there were no birds working, no surface action apparent and no strikes on my HB lure by the time beejay and I arrived on my chosen spot, NE of the pinnacles. So snapper it was.

I whipped off the chrome slug and substituted a 1/8 ounce jighead and soft plastic and started the drift. With my Bunnings drogue out the drift speed was low and almost perfect for my needs. My 1/8 ounce jig was getting down OK, as the quite quick capture of a bottom dwelling wire netting cod indicated.

I was initially fishing water around 15-17m depth. Usually, at Jew Shoal while drift fishing it’s just a matter of waiting a little while until the drift inevitably transports the yakker into deeper water around 20m. Today it was going too slowly for me and there were no snapper in the first 30 minutes so I pulled in the Bunnings and paddled off for known deeper water to the NW. Here the water ran off from 17m to 20m quite quickly and is an area well marked on my GPS with waypoints indicating fish capture spots.

Even better, the sonar was showing plenty of baitfish schools present at about 10m depth and this reading was confirmed by a cluster of terns to the SW hovering over the ocean and picking up unwary baitfish. By 0620 I'd caught a couple more wire netting cod but still hadn’t had a hit from a snapper.

Fishing with 6kg line and a soft plastic on a light as possible jighead is one of my favourite techniques. The strike comes suddenly, usually when the jig is directly under the yak. Today’s first strike was a classic and the rod tip was pulled underwater as the orange 6kg braid was pulled from the spool. The fight went on much longer than usual and I dared to hope that I’d hooked a better than normal snapper. Line went back and forth but gradually the strength of the runs decreased. All the time I could feel the typical throbs of the snapper's surges transmitted faithfully by the braid.

Then I could see my fish about 5m down, very pinkish pale and much, much larger than my average snapper. In fact it looked to me to be a possible PB from a yak for me. Desperate not to muff the gaff shot, I waited until the fish presented just the right angle and hit him, feeling the gaff penetrate the open operculum from the inside, the point emerging on the outside of the cheek, very secure.

By now the hatch door was open and lying on the foredeck. With a Supalite unless you open the hatch you have nowhere to securely place a fish so you soon learn to get that door open before you gaff the fish. This fish looked magnificent to me, all shimmering pink, blue and white in this overcast early morning. Whoopee, it was a very nice fish, and it was now safely positioned, no jammed, into the open hatch.

0635hrs. Note the gaff clean through the right operculum.

We don't get a lot of snapper over 70cm here but I guessed that this one was exceeded that. The measure mat later confirmed the accuracy of my guess. In Queensland the possession limit is four snapper with only one exceeding 70cm. Clearly, today I had to return to the water any further snapper caught exceeding 70cm in length.

Keen to get another pic before those vibrant colours faded I got the lip grippers on him and took the following pic by holding the camera above my head and blind shooting downward.

At the usual angle I couldn't fit the whole fish in the viewfinder.

Being an excitable kind of guy I'd let out a shout of victory which conveyed to lapse and beejay, fishing nearby, that I was either crazy or had caught a fish out of the ordinary. Having clarified this situation by radio to them I was pleased when lapse, in his fully rigged AI offered to come over and take some pics with his camera, standing up. Here’s the result:

Back to the fishing. It wasn't long until I was hooked up again, in the same area. This was a much smaller snapper, but still adequate for eating purposes. The same rig as before did the job.

4 inch SP, 1/8 ounce jighead, 6kg line, leader going straight to the hook.

And here's fish #2, 0709hrs.

Beejay was fishing nearby, so far without success, but enjoying himself immensely on this his second offshore kayak fishing trip. With a couple of fish in the bag I was happy with my lot and so invited him to come closer so that I could show him the rig that works for me and how I use it. He needed no second invitation and soon was putting the new information to use after we'd first paddled back along today's drift track recorded on my GPS.

Barely had we started to fish again than beejay yelled that he thought he had a fish on, using the newly learned system. I saw it all. To my delight and his, he soon boated a keeper snapper, not his first ever by any means but certainly his first from his kayak and first on an SP.

0800hrs. Beejay and first kayak snapper

Various domestic administrative matters now forced me to the decision to leave the shoal at 0830. Lapse had already departed Jew Shoal in his AI for Little Halls Reef area in search of bigger fish to fry. Beejay agreed to return with me as he was keen to try out his sail in the breeze which for our return journey, had a small favourable component. Lapse had also radioed saying there was no action out to the west and that he'd meet us on the beach.

Trolling my Halco hard body as usual, I had just cleared Jew Shoal with 2.5km to go to the beach when the ratchet of my overhead trolling outfit howled. This lasted all of five seconds, then nothing. On retrieval, the lure and trace gave no clues as to what had happened but I think it was probably a lucky escape from a small shark.

Beejay, wind assisted, gradually caught up with me, partly because I was taking it easy. His sail looked very effective and was providing some propulsion even though the wind was fairly light and from almost side on.

0900. Beejay being helped just a little on the way back.

Lapse was on the beach first, keen to get some video of his fellow kayak fishers being embarrassed in the surf. Our skills and the simply-mastered tiny waves defeated him.

Lapse and beejay and our various fishing craft on the beach today.

Knowing that certain members of our fraternity love to view big fish in the arms of beach ladies, I tried several but they all knocked me back, perhaps because I hadn't shaved this morning (or in fact for a couple of days). One lady visitor from the Czech Republic (a czech chick?) however, intrigued by the fish and unable to resist the magnetism emanating from the boats and their owners, agreed.

0939. From Prague. Wonder if she knows Gatesy?

On the mat. A new Noosa Yakkers record and the first in the new system.

Looks like another good day coming up tomorrow. Hope the guys going get some great fish.

Nice snapper Jeff, Vid, 13Dec11

Noddy had driven up from Ipswich to join us, leaving home at 1:00am. That's dedication. Most of the rest of us have a max of a 15 minute drive to Middle Groyne, while Brian, newest Noosa Yakker, and first timer today, has only to walk 200m trundling his yak to get to the launch point.

Wind: SE up to 10knots
Swell: NE, low
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, noddy, beejay, hollywood, jaro, sunshiner

Weather had stopped us getting offshore since 1st December so I for one was keen to get out today. The forecast at 9:00pm showed light winds and this was reinforced in the 3:00am forecast today.

As Jaro and I found, the younger keen guys (richmond, noddy, beejay) had beaten us this morning and were already out the back by the time we were ready to launch. It was Beejay's first beach launch but he had seemed to carry it off with aplomb. Anyway, he was out there. But Jaro and I had a new toy to try out.

0441. Just before launch. Great new wheels. More later.

The end of the groyne is still holding sand and still a trap for unwary kayakers. Even though the pic above shows a flat sea, sets of dumping waves were coming through and care was required in timing the exit.

0501 hrs. Beejay just before paddling off on his first offshore KF trip.

Based on the fact that we didn't quite know what the wind was going to do, and hoping for mackerel anyway, all of us headed NW from launch, meandering toward Little Halls Reef. BJ stuck with me, while Richmond had already crested the horizon. Noddy was into a shark quite quickly and lost a lure in the ensuing melee, while jaro was playing with his sail.

Very soon, BJ was into his first kayak-on-the-ocean fish, another shark, hooked while trolling a HB lure. Dealing with sharks is a common need here in Noosa and BJ did the job well, using pliers, lipgripper, and some magic words to free the unwanted critter and get his lure back.

BJ and I continued toward Little Halls Reef while jaro doubled back to try the eastern part of the bay and Noddy (no VHF radio) opted to bay-stay. We were expecting the pelagics to turn up so wide reconnaisance was useful.

When we were abeam the river mouth Richmond radioed from further north that he'd hooked yet another shark. This was getting ridiculous -- Laguna Bay must have a huge population of baby sharks presently. Perhaps they'll resort to cannibalism and reduce the numbers themselves.

BJ was going well and so I pressed on toward Little Halls Reef and let him have a try at navigating, which forced him to pay attention to what his GPS was displaying. We were just short of this destination when richmond came on the radio with some valuable intelligence. He was at Jew Shoal and could see birds working nearby, a good sign.

Time to test my trainee navigator's skills. Which way, how far? Can you make it OK? BJ passed the test and off we went, paddling straight into the sun, the 3km or so to Jew Shoal, with a slightly strengthened SE breeze slowing us a little.

Having trolled all the way from Middle Groyne to Jew Shoal with just a shark to show for our efforts, I explained to BJ that at the shoal I intended to fish for snapper. He opted to join me in this quest and we set up a drift to take us from the SE corner to the NW corner. Meanwhile, jaro had arrived, having sailed from the eastern corner of the bay, down near the surf club, all the way to Jew Shoal. I must say that the sail, when deployed, reduces markedly the chances that he'll be run down by the ocean speedsters because we could see him clearly from miles away.

Third cast, I think, with my SP produced the goods. The snapper which arrived yakside was probably legal but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and set him free. Meantime, in patches all over the shoal, terns could be seen wheeling and diving. More eyecatching, occasional large splashes caught my attention. Less frequently, but more importantly, longtail tuna up to a metre in length and clear of the water could be seen flashing in the morning sunlight. It felt really FISHY.

Richmond was trolling, BJ and I were fishing with SPs, Jaro was fishing with bait and Hollywood was on his way from Middle Groyne.

Jaro reported that he had a (just) keeper snapper. I was on my second drift when my SP was smashed and an unmistakeable run revealed that I had a snapper on. Not for long, however. The hook came loose and I retrieved only a very battered and chopped up SP, which to be honest was close to retirement before the strike anyway.

Next came a struggling, brief radio call. You know the type, when you can tell the caller is busy with other things. Richmond: "Got something big on here!". He was fishing to the east of us, a few hundred metres away. Then, after a short while "Snapper, 70 to 80."

He agreed to my suggestion that we meet each other half way so that I could take pics. A few minutes later BJ and I (for BJ wanted to see this fish with his own eyes) were in position.

It was indeed a good snapper. Richmond and I rafted up, starboard to starboard, leg over, with the sun behind me and the big camera was withdrawn from its hidey hole in my hatch.

0724hrs. There's the lure, a Halco Laser Pro. A very pleased richmond.

Back to the fishing... For the next 30 minutes or so I got a lot of hits on my SP, but I suspect none were from snapper. Interestingly enough, neither I nor BJ had caught any small reefies or sweetlip which usually are significantly represented in Jew Shoal catches.

Hollywood had arrived just as I was taking the above pic and now joined us, drift fishing, even though he was equipped only to "come out for a couple of hours, catch my bag of spotties and go home" (his words).

And until at least 0800, the terns and the longtails persisted in their ravaging of the bait schools which, incidentally, were very visible on sonar. And after that the action tapered off somewhat, but not completely. But by 0845 I was ready to pack up and leave, having had no action for the last 30 minutes.

Having announced to all on our radio channel that I was heading off at 0900 I mentally said "Last cast", cast, and promptly hooked up. A short fight later I had a small but keeper snapper, very welcome in our household, in hand.

0859. Last cast snapper

OK, let's wait another 15 minutes. All this produced for me was a smiling grinner which, I could tell, knew he'd be released (why else would it be smiling?).

So by 0915 we were paddling MG-ward. Hollywood, a paddling speedster, world champ and legend in board shorts had left a little earlier to arrive a lot earlier than we did.

A radio call from richmond on the beach at Middle Groyne told us that he and hollywood were safely on firm ground but that the waves were standing up at the groyne, that there were many obstacles (ie people) in the water and he was ready with his camera to graphically record the stuff of embarrassment. Oh shit, that's all we need.

Jaro, who left Jew Shoal when we did, devoted his trip back to learning how to force the sail to work better. In fact he did pretty well, arriving at MG the same time as I and a little ahead of BJ even though he'd travelled about 1.3 times as far as we did.

The beach entry point was indeed challenging. Several surfers were picking up small waves fully 30 metres along the wall on the western side. As usual, good timing was crucial.

I was ready first but paddled over to BJ to dispense some last words of advice "Rig for rollover" and to hand him my rosary beads (no use to me anymore).

Paddling in toward the break I spotted our two smug chums standing, smirking, on the groyne. Many times I've run this gauntlet and still I'm not totally confident that I can pick the desired smallest waves. Jaro, for some reason, can. Perhaps he was traumatised early in his yakking experience and has sucked up the experience and necessary skillset.

Anyway, I reckon it's good to go now and charge off toward the beach, pick a nice little wave, surf it in and nearly come a cropper in the dinky little shore break. Nearly, I said. I jump out, grab the camera and head for the water, knowing that jaro and BJ are not far behind.

Want to know how they finished up? Watch the video, less than a minute.

Middle aged couple on the beach, watching: "We didn't realize that kayak fishing was a spectator sport until just now. Thank you!"

After the ambulance left we tidied up and I got a chance to try out the big wheeled trolley which jaro had arranged to have available on approval. I must say I was astounded at how easy it was to recover my Stealth up that slope of loose sand and miscellaneous items left behind by beachgoers. That trolley has solved one of my problems of how to continue kayak fishing into my eighties. There are several others to be solved and I'm working my way through the list.

Anyway, apparently jaro has already decided to buy this trolley, but the retailer is offering Noosa Yakkers a special deal, depending on quantity purchased (likely price: $275 incl freight, but may be lower if we get a few starters). I want one. Anyone else (email me please, ASAP)?

Jeff's snapper went 70cm, apparently. Nice fish, mate.

Duel with shark, Vid, 10Dec11

Wind: NE-NNE 10-12 knots
Swell: 1.5-1.8m from SE but with short NE chop
Cloud: 10/10 (Raining)
Current: Suspect N>S along Main Beach, elsewhere ??
Participant: Jimbo

Apologies for the delayed report (I was too stuffed yesterday afternoon to write it), and its length without photos, but I think the story is worth telling.

An exchange of emails with Sunshiner and Jaro at around 0330 on Saturday morning indicated that the former was going to at least turn up, but the latter thought it too wet and was going straight back to bed (in hindsight, perhaps not a bad decision). So when I arrived at MG car park at 0410 Sunshiner was already there and our recce of the beach in the gloomy early morning light indicated the surf break was doable with good timing. However, the NE breeze, predicted to increase later in the morning, was already up to a brisk 10 knots. For me, having already had breakfast, the prospect of going home and back to bed and later having to unload the unused kayak, was mildly less attractive than a 3+ hour outing in choppy/raining conditions with the hope of catching a fish or two. For Sunshiner, however, the prospect of going back home to bed and breakfast, combined with the possibility of a fishing day later in the week was a much more attractive option.

So Sunshiner helped me unload my kayak and then waited patiently up on the groyne with camera ready to film my exit through the surf zone. It took me at least 5 minutes until I was confident I had figured out the sequence of the sets and eventually made a good transit beyond the break zone. I believe Sunshiner has taken a video of this launch.

Jimbo waiting, waiting... (pic: KL)

Taken by Sunshiner and uploaded. 45 secs, but fairly high-res, so you may need to wait until it’s downloaded before allowing it to play.

Once through the surf zone it was clearly not going to be a fun day. As I began my set up procedure the rain started, and didn't stop all morning. Also the brisk north-easterly was creating a very choppy sea and this, together with a suspected southerly current, was pushing me back towards the SLSC. Anyway, having accepted my fate, I set out for Jew Sh at 0510 and deployed my Halco Laser Pro lure (HLP, with short wire trace on 30lb monofilament) from my trolling outfit once across the shark net.

I had paddled about 1.5km from MG and was opposite Tea Tree Bay when the ratchet on my Charter Special overhead reel started grinding, indicating line was being taken against the drag, but it was not "screaming" as is typically the case when a good sized pelagic initially strikes. On taking up the rod it felt very heavy, almost like the lure was snagged, but clearly it wasn't, as this "snag" was moving fairly quickly in a south-easterly direction. I tightened the lever drag to the normal "fighting" position (about 25% of line breaking strain) and the nose of the kayak quickly swung round to follow this underwater juggernaut as line was slowly, but progressively being taken from the reel. After an initial 10 minutes of excitement, it was becoming apparent this was almost certainly a pretty big shark and I was starting to have doubts about getting my HLP lure back, let alone the viability of landing it on the kayak, assuming it would eventually tire and I would be able to get it up to the yak. However, I decided I at least wanted to confirm it was a shark, and to see just how big it was.

With the drag now set at about 50%, by pulling really hard on the rod (by now in a constant 90+ deg bend), I could at times recover a few metres of line as I effectively winched the kayak closer to my prey. But then this powerful animal would accelerate faster than the kayak could move through the water and line would again be taken against the drag. After about 15 minutes it became apparent the shark was towing me at an alarming speed towards the breaking waves at Dolphin Pt. I was at the point of thinking I was probably going to have to cut the line as the height of the swells increased closer to the rocky point. But then the animal headed slightly more easterly (I suspect because of the decreasing water depth) and I was able to use the rod to keep the kayak pointed into the swell until it thankfully towed me into the deeper water of Granite Bay.

And so the process of my pumping/winching the yak closer to the (assumed) shark, and then it taking line back off me, continued as we progressed at a steady pace across Granite Bay with only slight deviations to the left and right. With the choppy sea and rain falling, visibility into the water was very difficult. However, at one point I could see an unclear brown shape at least 2.5 metres long across my bow just below the surface about 10 metres away. And then the unmistakable white/grey underside of a shark's pectoral fin, about 50 cm across its base, momentarily broke the surface. Yes, this was definitely a bloody big shark that I was hooked up to! I had now given up any hope of landing this monster but I still wanted to see if I could tire the bastard out and get it sufficiently close to the kayak to have a good look at it and make a better estimate of its length. It's probably appropriate at this point that I insert the Google Earth image that shows my "shark path".

The next element of my concern was that I was now being towed towards the increased swell and breaking waves at Fairy Pools at the eastern end of Granite Bay. I was also concerned that even if I could get past Fairy Pools I would then be pulled into the "washing machine" of incoming and opposing reflected wave action that exists along the "rock wall" between Fairy Pools and Hells Gates. Luckily my prey decided to skirt around the increased swell immediately off the point of Fairy Pools (again I suspect due to the decreased water depth) and around the outer fringe of the "washing machine", but then started to head ESE towards New Zealand... but I still hadn't had a good look at the bastard, and so I persevered.

Once around Fairy Pools, the further difficulty was that I was now exposed to the full SE ocean swell together with the continuing NE chop and rain, and my left arm was starting to feel really tired as I had by now been holding and pumping the rod with this arm for about an hour. It was also becoming painfully obvious that the shark:

(a) was gaining benefit of the increased water depth and was taking as much line from me as it needed to stay near the bottom,

(b) was pulling me at about 3 kph to seaward, and I was now about 2.5 km from my intended destination (Jew Sh), and,

(c) I was becoming more tired than the shark and I was unlikely any time soon to get it within viewing distance of the kayak.

So I resolved to end the contest by tightening the drag to 100% so I would either get the shark up to viewing depth and then cut the line, or break the line (usually at the knot) and thereby minimise the amount of lost line. After about a minute of really straining on the rod I was starting to recover some line when the shark decided he was having none of that, and headed for the bottom once more. There was then a loud "BANG" and I was dismayed to realize my trusty 6'6" Abu Garcia rod had snapped in mid section (about 60 cm above the top of the butt) and the top end of the rod had taken off down the line that had now gone slack... and so ended the contest! I then wrapped the line around my gloved hand and pulled hard as soon as the line tightened which broke the line at the knot, sent the top end of my rod to the ocean floor, but thankfully for both of us, gave us our freedom from each other... the shark with my HLP lure and wire trace still in its mouth!

It was now 0645 which meant I had been fighting the shark for about 1h 15m. I marked the end of my "shark path" with my GPS and later used Google Earth to determine I had traversed a distance of at least 3.25 km which meant I had averaged 2.6 kph (in a relative straight line not taking various deviations into account). I then assessed my situation: It was still pissing rain, I was soaked to the skin (despite wearing a rain jacket from the outset) and was now feeling pretty tired. I was now limited to bottom fishing with my light casting outfit. If I chose to go to A-Bay Rf, now about 1 km further south I would then be facing at least 5.5 km paddle back to MG against an increasing NNE wind and possible southerly current, plus further re-positioning paddling around the A-Bay Rf mark. Jew Sh, my original destination, was about 2.75 km to the NW against the same wind and current, plus reposition paddling if I chose to go there, and then a further 3.8 km back to MG. The obvious answer was to give up catching a fish for the morning and take on the 5 km paddle back to MG. This I did, and was glad to make a successful upright transit through the surf zone to land on the beach at 0750 with my left bicep telling me I had made the sensible decision to take the option I had.

So that's it. No fish, a lost HLP lure, a broken rod, a bloody tired body, but a great experience I will remember for a long time to come.

My only other observations are:

(1) A GPS is a vital piece of equipment to give you a sense of location, direction and speed when reference to land-based marks is obscured or not visible in rain/cloudy conditions. A VHF marine radio gives you the confidence to take on such conditions on your own knowing you can contact Noosa Coast Guard for assistance should you need to.

(2) A simple "half barrel knot" tied with quality (in my case Platinum) 13.5kg/30lb monofilament line has significant fatigue-resistant qualities, but can be broken at the knot when required.

(3) Don't expect a spin rod with a rated line class of 6-10 kg to be able to withstand the bending force exerted when used upside-down with an overhead reel in combination with 13.5 kg breaking strain line.


Freshwater fishing - Matt 10Dec11

Hi all!

I didn't make it onto Lake McDonald until just after 9AM. I let the rain pass before I headed down, but it was still overcast and gusting a little.

Not much to tell of the fishing. I managed one very undersize bass who flipped himself off the lure as I pulled him out of the water. There was a lot of bird activity out there though. I was buzzed by a pair of eagles (white breasted sea eagles I think) and stalked by a small flock of geese protecting their young.

I hope those of you who went into the bay had better luck!


Matt Reid
Call sign: Gemini

Forktail - Matt 04Dec11

Hi all!

This week is looking very poor weather wise, but i'm hoping for a small miracle come Saturday for some bass action on Lake McDonald.  At this stage the window of opportunity will be early morning, but i'm praying to the weather gods for an opening Saturday evening so i can try out some poppers by the light of the full moon.  At this stage it's very unlikely, but one can hope.  I will advise closer to the weekend.

I've attached a photo from a brief paddle i had on the Mary River out near Dickenbram Bridge on Sunday too.  Much to my surprise a 40cm forktail catfish decided to chew on a trolled bibless minnow.  He took the lure as i was casting a spinner on my other rod of course, just to be difficult.  :)

Here's hoping for better conditions soon!


Matt Reid
Call sign:  Gemini

River paddle - Eyetag, 03Dec11

From: "Ian"
Date: 3 December 2011

Hi Yakkers, sorry I didn't let anyone know but it was a last minute decision to have a paddle last night in the river.

I launched around 5.00pm from Munna Point and paddled up to Tewantin to fish the top of the tide across from Harbour Town on the sand flats, where I caught 3 barely legal Flatties on Gladiator Prawns.

Then I paddled back, towing a hard body, towards Ricky's, hoping the Trevally would be active around the current line, but there was still a bit of traffic and the fish were hard to find. I kept drifting with a Gladiator Prawn out the back and casting a Gladiator Slim Jim ahead using a slow roll to retrieve. On the 3rd drift I hooked up, and after a good tussle on 2kg gear, I landed a 67cm Tailor. So I paddled back to the start and next drift I landed a Big Eye Trevally around 30cm.

Releasing him I paddled back with a hard body out and got another Big Eye. This one was 40cm. I released this fish put the hard body out again for the return run and before I got to the start of my run I had another 40cm Big Eye.

As good as it sounds, that was it for the fish. I stayed at that spot staying for another hour and not a touch. I then paddled up Weyba Creek and fished some sand flats. I landed and released 1 Jack 35cm and a 40cm Estuary Cod, both on the Slim Jim.

After this I trolled home and didn't get another touch.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Ian's Tailor

call sign;eye tag

First cobia for TB, 01Dec11

Wind: light south westerly
Swell: low NE
Current: none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: turtleboy, sunshiner

Note: Jimbo opted to fish in the Noosa River this morning but, except for the content of radio conversations, I cannot comment on his experience but perhaps he will, separately, or as a comment on this report.
Glorious morning today, with the SE change getting ready to arrive. Here's what it was like at 0430, when I launched, alone.

There's still an occasional nasty little break at the end of the groyne, especially at dead low tide, which this was. I waited for a large set to go through and paddled out on a glassy sea.

I was mainly out for a paddle today and opted to head for the western side of the bay to find out whether there were any baitfish schools, and, more importantly, any mackerel or tuna feasting on them. Consequently I set course for Little Halls Reef, 3.5 km NW of the groyne where we'd often previously had success at this time of year.

Counting the terns as I went, I was up to two by the time I heard the crackle of another radio joining our channel. I figured this would be either jimbo or turtleboy so put out a general call to which jimbo responded immediately, from Munna Point where he was about to launch for his river expedition.

Paddling onward, by 0500 I was due north of the river mouth and about 1.5km from MG when my trolling outfit went off with a scream. Bewdy! I picked up the rod quickly only to find that there was no longer any weight. I should probably have turned and done another run over the area but opted to continue the mission, reconnaissance, after a quick check to see that the lure (HLP) was OK.

Little Halls Reef was reached without further incident. I drifted here for a short while, dropping out a soft plastic, but a lack of bait on the sounder and the paucity of fish at Jew Shoal over the last couple of trips soon made me return to trolling and generally looking around.

About now, 0530 or so, turtleboy called up on the radio, asking for a sitrep and my location. I obliged, advising him to troll near the river mouth and informing him that I intended to continue trolling in LH Reef area (by now I could see a few terns starting to cluster). The terns, about a dozen or so, were to my west and were lit up by the sun. They were fluttering and circling over a fairly wide area but there were no telltale splashes.

On reaching the terns' hunting ground I soon came across patches of baitfish on the sonar. These are the bait accumulations which usually herald the arrival of the pelagic gang and were exactly what I was looking for. Still no obvious predators, however.

The morning was so pleasant that I simply paddled along, meandering from bait patch to bait patch, never seeing any splashes but enjoying it all anyway. At last, on approaching one of my previous marks, NW of LH Reef, the trolling outfit went off. You know what it's like, you hope for somethng else but your instincts and experience tell you this is a small shark. And so it was.

This animal successfully released and my lure safely retrieved I continued the paddle, heading back toward the inner bay where I intended to rendezvous with turtleboy, who by now had been informed by radio of the shark event.

Then it was turtleboy's turn with a shark. He called up exclaiming that he had a shark on and I thought to myself, "That figures, probably my 5:00am strike was also a shark".

The next radio call from turtleboy shattered that illusion. "Hey, it's not a shark, but a cobia about two to three feet long. What's the legal length, please?" I informed him (75cm) and welcomed him to the Cobia Club. I could see his Swing about 500m away so offered to paddle over to get some pics, and turtleboy happily accepted, opting to remain where he was while the cobia was brought under control.

video (15 secs), turtleboy talking about the capture, on the water,

This fish had been hooked at the NW edge of the river mouth, very close to a surf break and in about 6 metres depth. Nice catch, Steve.

We had a brief troll in the area but decided to head home so gently trolled the remaining 1.5km or so back to MG where we easily negotiated the break despite the presence of a couple of board riders in the slot.

Turtleboy in control of the surf and looking fantastic

Here’s the cobia on the mat. It was 91 cm, larger than my on-water estimate of 82cm.

Let's hope that the SE change coming in today will also bring in some pelagic predators.