Jew Shoal, quiet, 04Jan12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: light SW initially, then SE to about 7 knots
Swell: low ENE
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: sunshiner only
Water conditions: at Jew Shoal, still a bit murky from the stirred up silt resulting from the long spell of strong SE winds

I knew I would be alone today, but the 15 consecutive windy days since the previous outing had got to me. I'd hate not to have gone only to find the wind got up again before Thursday. Also I'd made some minor changes to my yak and wanted to see how they performed, and of course, I had to get the new trolley sandy and wet...

I launched around 0445, having the unusual experience of being the only user of the carpark, except for the surf hire truck, which I've never seen move. Usually eyetag, richmond, or pedro's vehicles are there before me on such a nice day as this, but not today.

0440hrs. The new trolley and the beach break at launch time.

The first comment I'd like to make is that the new trolley is an amazing improvement on my previous old cart, which has done sterling service for six years and never failed. The big difference is the balloon tyres which this morning caused the yak to roll smoothly down the beach slope under its own weight. With the previous model I had to drag it DOWN the slope because the wheels just sank into the sand. So you can imagine what it was like in the old days dragging the yak UP the slope.

The good launch news is that the channel next to the western side of the wall is now back in business. The bad launch news is that there's still a sandbank off the end of the wall. It was no problem for me today but watch out for waves breaking on it a good 10 metres out from the end of the wall.

I was set up in a jiffy and opted to paddle straight toward Jew Shoal. No terns were visible at the start and there wasn't even the usual baitfish dimpling the surface just offshore from the groyne.

I put out the Halco LP and trolled it all the way to the Pinnacles for no action. The only other living things I saw on that journey were one dolphin and, about 1km out, a few frail-looking fairy terns lucky-dipping for something too small to be seen by the unaided human eye. It wasn't looking good for fishing.

I expected the drift at JS to be toward the west but it was toward the NW. No problem, I just went where the breeze carried me. The sonar was showing occasional echoes, probably small fish, but nowhere near as many as were visible two weeks ago when we were last out here.

I fished with soft plastics only, my usual style, and had only one take in nearly two hours. That was just a quick bump and release and could have been a snapper but could also have been any of the denizens of the reef. Importantly, I didn't catch anything today, not even a reef oogly. The place was shut down. At one stage I was surrounded by seven stink boats, all trolling at varying speeds but having the same success rate: zero.

At 0730 I pulled the pin and headed for home, trolling all the way back during which time I got no strikes and saw no surface action.

Just thought I'd show off my new GPS holder, made by a Noosa Yakker. It was a great success today and a credit to its creator. Perhaps he'll tell us how he made it.

Neat, eh?

The surf zone transit was easy but there was a strong outgoing current in the channel next to the wall which is fine because it’s doing a dredging job.

NY Tony Walmsley was standing on the wall watching as I came in around 0830 and we chatted briefly before I trolleyed the yak again and sauntered up the slope pulling the yak up one handed. Malaki, the surf hire guy who usually helps me drag up the slope, remarked on how easy it looked today.

Then at the wash point I encountered Noosa Yakker Mike Wykes, cradling Lilly, his six month old daughter.

So despite the lack of fish it was an enjoyable paddle with all my new modifications and gear tried out and found to be considerable improvements over the former arrangements.

So, tomorrow's another day. I intend to be there.

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