Beautiful day for a paddle, 20Feb12

TR by Yakfinn

Participants: Kodaz, Yakfinn, Eyetag

I met Jonho (Kodaz) in the carpark approx 0445, launching not long after.

An easy paddle out and a beautiful clear morning. We made the decision to head towards Jew Shoal with the intentions of chasing any bust up's if we encounter any. We made contact with eyetag not long after launch and he decided he was going to head north along the beach. We arrived at Jew Shoal without a touch and without seeing any surface action. There were heaps of birds in the bay but after trolling around for several hours we had only encountered a few small bust up's of what we thought were possibly longtails. We both managed to get a few casts away but they evaded us.

We tracked back home via little halls and didn't see much along the way. A beautiful day for a paddle though.

Not sure how eyetag did.


Sean (yakfinn)

Jack's Bass, 20Feb12

TR by Jack

Well guys, this will be my first report to you all. Whilst you were all fishing this morning I was having quite a lovely time at work. I saw the bay several times and it looked glassy and a charm to paddle. Finishing work this afternoon I decided to go for a fish and evade the salt water for a change, so I took my Yak just to the Caboolture river on the up side of the weir just on sundown and got myself a nice 40cm bass. That concluded today for myself.


Sunshine Reef recce, 19Feb12

TR by sunshiner, pic contributed by gemini

Wind: SE, starting at 5 knots, building to 10-15knots
Swell: low NE
Current: at A-Bay, toward the north, about 1kph
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, gemini, jaro, sunshiner

With sunrise around 05:30, jaro had called for a 0500-ish launch. Of the four starters, I was last into the carpark and last to launch, at around 05:05. The SE wind was just making its presence felt at launch time and I spent a few seconds floating and waiting in the hole at the end of the wall before ducking out quickly with a completely dry bum. Richmond had already departed for the NE but jaro and gemini were concluding their preparations out the back. The consensus seemed to be that we’d head out to the northern end of Sunshine Reef in search of pelagics and I was happy to go along with this.

Jaro popped his sail to take advantage of the breeze and then sat back with a cup of coffee and the paper (read with the aid of his headlight) while gemini and I dug our paddles in and propelled our craft the traditional way.

I had my trusty HLP out, as usual, on my trolling outfit and presume my companions did likewise. Because of the wind, I held tight in to the headland which, blocking the wind, offered a slightly smoother and faster passage for paddlers.

05:40, passing Granite Bay. Note reflection of clouds and sky on smooth wet deck.

At this time no pelagic action had been sighted but richmond was out front, just off Hells Gates and soon called in that he could see flocks of terns whirling around out to the east. That put some adrenalin into our systems and the three of us, one by one, followed richmond out into the open sea, all keenly scanning the lumpy horizon for the birds he’d mentioned.

As they often do, the birds had now scattered all over the ocean, as we could see. So shortly we found ourselves, at varying distances from Hells Gates, travelling in line abreast south toward what we hoped was pelagic action territory.

As we got closer to the southern end of A-Bay I had some tuna leap clear of the water just 100m in front of me, simultaneous with a small bust up further away. Then gemini, closest to shore, showed that he was keeping a good look out because he called the attention of the rest of us to a large flock of terns behind us. What we saw was just what we’d been hoping for -- a couple of hundred terns hovering and diving. They were tantalizingly close but just too far away and by the time jaro, gemini and I had arrived on the scene the action had fizzled out. Very frustrating!

The terns, obviously very interested in what was happening below them.

Above, gemini's track overlayed on GE map. Image by gemini.

We all hung around this area for 30 minutes or so and even had one fast travelling bust-up get close enough so that jaro got a cast away and a hookup. But the fish threw the hook.

From 7:00am the wind started to strengthen, cutting up the already choppy sea even more. And by then there were no signs of fish anywhere on our horizons so the decision was jointly taken to return to the shelter of the bay in the forlorn hope that fish would be encountered there.

This was not to be and by 08:30am we were back on the beach with not a fish between us. That was a pity, for there were plenty of prospective fish holders hanging about, disappointed that their services would not be required today.

At least, as gemini said, we got some exercise today and maintained our fitness for the battles to come. Bring ’em on.

Marlin ? 13Feb12

TR by Pedro

Conditions: Overcast light rain becoming sunny
Wind: Light NW early turning SE10 knots. Swell moderate.

Launched around 5am timing it well between sets on the low tide. Once out the back I engaged my rudder only to find I had no steering. So back in to find the steering cord had undone, so easy fixed and out again.

I trolled bait and HB to JS and around till the birds started working then chased bust ups which were occurring in all the wrong places for me. I continued trolling out to SR, and by then, the birds had spread out with only the rare bust up in the distance. In the middle of one a huge fish, marlin size or large shark, cleared the water. It was too far away to tell. One bust up was close enough to hook and land a small mac tuna, my only fish.

Trolled back to JS and around JS then back to MG without a hit. Plenty of bait balls in the bay and it feels like a big improvement with the pelagic's. There's always next time.


Mixed bag, 12Feb12

Conditions: Sunny day with wind below 5 knots mainly from the south west and a moderate swell.
In other words perfect for kayak fishing.

Participants: Ian (Eye Tag), Jim (Jimbo), Matt (Gemini), Brian (Whalebait), John C and Jaro. Hope I haven't missed anyone.

We all arrived at the car park in time for a 5.00am launch and it was great to see Whalebait back with us again. It was low tide and there were dumpers just beyond the groyne and yours truly timed it perfectly to be flattened and rolled by a big dumper much to the amusement of those on shore. But I quickly righted the yak, climbed aboard like a frightened cat and paddled out without any further mishap but I had to spend time to dry out a lot of gear so I was the last to leave MG. All the others made it out safely.

Jim set off for JS while the rest of us went to SR. I got out to the extreme northern end of SR and came upon diving birds and a bust up. Hooked up with my first cast and after a short fight the tuna snapped the line.... drag too tight? In the meantime the others had hook ups off A Bay landing stripy tunas while Whalebait landed a yellowfin tuna after a good fight. Jim was having a quiet time of it at JS.

Everyone was chasing the birds and the bust ups with varying degrees of success. I caught a 55 cm stripy tuna and was told by Eye Tag that they were in the mac tuna class as far as eating was concerned so I let it go.

We all ended up together except for Jim about 2 kms out to sea off Fairy Pools. By this time Jim decided to head our way.

We were chasing the bust ups and Eye Tag and John had hook ups. John landed a yellowfin and Ian another stripy (caught 4 in all).

At this time I took the opportunity to take some photos.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Whalebait with his yellowfin

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
John with his yellowfin

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Ian's photos of one of his stripy tuna and John, very pleased with himself with hookup

We all spent our time chasing the bust ups without any real success and by this time the chases required a lot of vigourous paddling so all of us were starting to feel exhausted and so decided to head for home.

Jim at this time had been off A Bay bottom fishing without success and he too decided to head for home and finally caught a 40 cm snapper trolling a Halco laser pro somewhere near Granite Bay.

I had ventured further south than the others on the way home when a bust up occurred in front of me and on my second cast I hooked up. It sure was a fighter, making many runs. Finally I got it close enough to see it was a good sized yellowfin. I eventually got it to the yak when it decided to make one more dive for the depths. After a total of 15 to 20 minutes I was finally able to gaff it and bring it on board.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
And here it is, my first yellowfin.

We all arrived at MG around the same time, about 9.30am and as it was now high tide, coming ashore was a breeze for all of us.

It turned out that my yellowfin was the longest (70 cm) by just a small margin. Is this a noosa yakker record?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
The 70cm yellowfin

Well it was a great day out with many of us having a lot of fun catching and fighting the different tunas and Jim getting a feed of snapper.



Email And photo from possible new member, Jonathon


I launched yesterday morning with the boys from middle groyne and went out chasing the tuna schools. Firstly I'd like to say a massive thankyou to everyone who launched yesterday for making me feel very welcome. It was quite a surprise to turn up and be mentored at the launch and encouraged whilst out on the water. I'm used to fishing alone and it was a very pleasant feeling to feel welcome as a complete stranger. I had a couple of photos taken by Jaro and Ian and was wondering if my email address could be passed on to them so that they could forward them through. Jim also suggested that I get on the mailing list so that I get regular updates as to what is going on. If anyone is interested here's a pic of the tuna I got.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Regards, Jonathon

For a more detailed report from Jonathon see his AKFF post here

Conditions Perfect, 11Feb12

Conditions in a word, perfect.

Sunny day with no wind to speak of, with the water glassy all morning.
Participants: Sean (Yakfinn), Matt (Gemini) and Jaro.
We all arrived and launched together at low tide making it a little tricky as far as getting wet was concerned. Some of us made it dry, others were a little wet but ok.

We all headed for Little Halls Reef and as we went we noticed a lot of birds heading for shore....not a good omen. Little Halls Reef was reached with no signs of action so on we went to Halls Reef where there were a couple of boats that were bottom fishing and we did likewise.

It wasn't long before I got a large strike and it wasn't long before I knew I had a shark and a big one at that. After being pulled around for a while I finally managed to get it near the kayak to see I had foul hooked it in the the gill slits. It was in a cantankerous mood and I was not keen to bring it on board. Luckily the hooks had not dug in deeply and I was able to cut the hooks away from the skin enough for it to give one final thrust and it was away. Matt, in the meantime, had also hooked a shark, which was smaller. He handled it with ease and also released it.

After a while Sean decided to do a circuit back to MG via JS. Matt and I stayed half an hour with no success and so decided to head for home hoping to come across some activity. Out to sea from Little Halls we did come across some activity and paddled to the birds and the bust up and saw Seam was doing the same from further out. I had a few casts with no success before the fish (tuna) disappeared. Sean then relayed his hard luck story. He had hooked up on his trolling hard body lure and after a fight he got the large yellow fin tuna to the yak only for it to free itself. (Sean's report below)

Sean then continued to paddle back to MG. I don't know if he had any success on the way.
Matt and I continued to JS, then to Granite Bay and back to MG without any sign of activity or action on our lures.

The tide was now in and the return was as easy as one could imagine.



The story with my yellowfin hookup goes as such; I hooked up on what appeared to be a good size fish, it had 3 or 4 really powerful runs. It took me about 15 mins to get it to the side of the boat, a good sized yellowfin. I gaffed it in the gills and it started to bleed everywhere (probably not the best spot in hindsight, what is the best spot to gaff a tuna?).

I dragged it up onto the yak between my legs and it was going crazy, thrashing everywhere, and blood was spurting everywhere, I got a bit nervous at this point as I have heard a few stories about sharks. I was holding the tail of the tuna in one hand and reached for a towel with the other. It thrashed again violently and it slipped out of my grip and back into the water and scrurried off. I dont think it would have lasted too long though with the amount of blood that was coming out of it. The sharks would have been onto it fairly quickly.

I was devastated !

It was the first time I had tried to land a decent sized tuna from a kayak and I was just a bit inexperienced. A lesson learned.

Thanks again for today and I hope you guys have a good day tomorrow.


Sean (yakfinn)

Jimbo and Eyetag, 07Feb12

Report by Jimbo

Wind : 3-5 knots SSE
Swell : ~1.2m ESE
Current : At Lt Halls ~ 0.8kph S>N
Launch Point : Middle Groyne, Noosa Main Beach
Participants : EyeTag, Jimbo

I arrived at the MG car park at 0445 just as it was getting light to find EyeTag' s car in its usual place and the tracks on the beach indicating that he was well ahead of me.  Launch conditions were the same as described by Sunshiner on Monday, ie, two of three largish waves breaking about 10m out from the end of the groyne then a period of about a minute of relative calm making for a relatively easy transit to sea.

Once having set up my rods I called EyeTag on Ch 09 with nil response so called Noosa Coast Guard on Ch22 and logged on to their watch register.  EyeTag, who was listening in on Ch22, heard my call to the NCG and called me indicating he was past Lt Halls Rf and still heading north for Halls Rf.  He had no hits and reported no surface activity up to that point.  However, given the success of Sunshiner and Richmond the previous day, scoring a longtail and yellowfin tuna trolling around Lt Halls and Halls and casting into bust-ups when they occurred, I intended to do the same with a bit of bottom fishing thrown in.  The paddle to Lt Halls was easy with the assistance of a gentle SSE breeze and the rising sun was conveniently shielded behind a dark cloud bank to the east. The following pic from EyeTag indicates the pleasant scene :

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

On arrival at the Lt Halls mark I started setting up for bottom fishing but was surprised to find I had drifted some 220m in the ~8 minutes it took me to complete the re-rigging my two outfits - trailing pillie on the heavier trolling rod and lightly weighted whole prawn on the light casting outfit.  As there was only a light SSE breeze, this indicated a significant assistance from a fairly strong S>N current.   I repositioned back to 150m on the "up-drift" side of the Lt Halls mark and had completed only about three casts when EyeTag approached having returned from trolling around Halls Rf (about 1.5 km to the north) reporting no strikes in all his journey thus far.  We were right on top of the Lt Halls mark when I had a big strike on my light casting rod with the prawn.  Both Eyetag and I were calling it for a sizeable grassy.  Again, thank you to EyeTag for the following pic taken in the early stages of the tussle :

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After a few more minutes I was a little disappointed see the white shape of a "standard" 1m long shark below the yak.   Anyway, having not caught any reasonable fish for weeks (months?) I decided I would keep this shark and brought it along side the yak in preparation for gaffing.  At that point the shark gave a violent kick/flip and managed to break the leader and was gone.  This was understandable as my 7kg mono leader was tied directly to the hook (no wire trace) on my light casting outfit and the shark's rough skin had severely abraded the mono leader near the hook.

EyeTag then continued his trolling expedition back to the river mouth via the lower north shore, then back out to Lt Halls (by about 0800) and then back to the launch point at MG.  Since there was no bird or fish surface activity evident, and given EyeTag had had no success trolling extensively over the whole area, I chose to continue drift fishing over the Lt Halls mark for the next 2.5 hours until 0900.  During this time I managed to land another "standard" shark and a 40cm snapper on the trailed pillie and a "just keeper" sweetlip on the cast prawns.  In this time I also lost (self released close to the yak) another shark and a reasonable sweetlip.

The paddle back to MG was uneventful and pleasant, under a now totally overcast sky, albeit into a slight headwind, as was the return to shore by again picking the long gap between sets.  The only other noteworthy comment was that Noosa Coast Guard called me up 30 minutes after their (incorrectly) logged ETR time of 0900 (rather than 0930) to ensure I was okay.  The point to note here is :
(a)  it's nice to know NCG is keeping a watching brief over your welfare if you register on to their watch log, and,
(b)  if you do log onto NCG's watch log (in my opinion only necessary if you are fishing by yourself, or possibly in an area 3-4 km distant from a fellow NY), you have a responsibility to listen in on Ch22, and to cancel your coverage once safely back on the beach.

All in all a very pleasant outing.  Sorry no pics of the fish as I don't carry a camera with me, and in any case they were not really worthy of a photo.    

Longtail, vid, YFT, LB, 06Feb12

Wind: light SW early then calm
Swell: E, 2m, long time between sets
Current: none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, pedro, sunshiner

Even with a recce the day before you can never be entirely sure what the Middle Groyne surf break will be like. But our prediction of yesterday that it would be OK proved correct, even if we had to take the usual care to avoid breaking waves and a wet bum.

I've fished offshore with pedro many times, but today was the first time that I'd launched with him. Maybe, as he said today, he’s becoming an old fart and adopting old farts’ habits of waiting until there’s at least a teeny bit of daylight before jumping aboard and confronting the oncoming waves. Whatever the reason, it was polite of him to wait for the older guys, richmond and me, and to tag along to look after us.

It was still too dark for photos at launch time, but not too dark to obscure the dark horizontal lines which mark the approach of waves. Fortunately we’ve all done this before and even more fortunately the channel along the western side of the wall is still doing its job. This allowed me, second to launch, to paddle out to within spitting distance of the break zone and wait, back paddling a little to avoid being dragged out, until the lull arrived. Today was one of the driest Stealth exits ever for me and I joined pedro out the back just before 5:00am, to be joined within a minute by richmond.

We expected smooth conditions and got them. The waxing moon had set by now but we could still notice that there were no baitfish dimpling the surface just off the groyne as there often are, prior to sunup.

There were some rumours around that there might be some spotty macs at Little Halls or Halls so we agreed that we should check those locations first. Soon we were paddling toward the NW, spread out enough so that we had eyes covering a front of about a kilometre and in contact by radio in case one of the sets of eyes spotted some surface action. We all trolled some offering or other, perhaps two, but I had only my battered old HLP lure out on my trolling outfit.

05:32. Sunrise as seen from the back of my boat, peeping past my trolling outfit.

Paddling (and presumably pedalling as the appropriately nicknamed pedro was) in such flat sea conditions was ridiculously easy but a quick check behind revealed that richmond was hove to, and stationary. It turned out that he was being plagued by the attention of a single persistent small shark.

LH reef came and went and still there was no sign of fishy predatory activity. But the terns were up and looking and a few rare patches of baitfish were spotted but bypassed as we pressed on toward Halls Reef, which is about 5km from the launch point, reaching its vicinity without further interruption by a little after 6:00am.

Here pedro opted to drift a pillie awhile and I kept trolling gently along going in a wide circle until I spotted about a dozen terns paying close attention to a patch of water about 500m inshore. Calling the attention of my companions to this activity I changed my course to head directly toward this action, still trolling, but with a casting outfit ready just in case.

Typically, this bird activity fizzled out somewhat, although the terns were still circling and occasionally dipping nearby, always a good sign that there may be fishy predators in action out of sight. But the best indicator of fishy predators is the scream of the reel, and this happened to my reel, right then, about 06:15.

The yak turned to point at the fish which was running strongly toward the NE and the towing started as I gently increased the drag to a more appropriate setting. The ratchet was still on and line still pouring off the spool of the overhead when I decided to let pedro and richmond in on the situation by holding the radio near the spinning spool and simultaneously pressing the transmit button. I think they got the message.

Fish on. Pic by richmond

At first I had hopes that this might be my first Spaniard of the season because the first run was long and powerful but gradually the down deep slugging tactics of a tuna took over and toward the end of the fight, before I had even seen the fish, I called it for a tuna, probably a longtail. A minute or so later, when the fish swept past showing its right side, under the boat, I could clearly identify it and confirm it as a longtail. The end came quickly as the fish, clearly exhausted, just gave up and, under pressure from the rod, its head popped free of the water right next to the yak, offering an easy target for the gaff which found a good hold in the tough skin at the top of its head.

The longtail offered no resistance as I dragged it over my lap using the embedded gaff. [Edited 08Feb] I got a little bit of video (27 secs total) which I've now cobbled together...

[End of edit]

Then once I was tidied up richmond kindly interrupted his fishing activity to take a few pics.

pics by richmond, thanks Jeff

As we were taking these pics some smaller tuna began feeding on the surface just nearby so richmond got going after them as I tidied up (removing lure, stowing fish, etc).

Shortly afterward richmond announced that he was hooked up nearby and so I paddled over to see how he’d gone.

As you can see, he’d nailed a yellowfin tuna. This was caught by casting a slug into a bustup. I understand that the fish took the slug as soon as it hit the water.

At this time of the year a clear sky and no breeze, which we had at 7:00 am today, can result in very uncomfortable kayaking conditions from about 08:30 onward as the heat becomes stifling, particularly if you have to travel any significant distance. There was still no cooling breeze by 07:20 and as I was now 5 km from Middle Groyne, about an hour’s paddle for me, I decided to head for the beach, particularly as surface activity seemed to have stopped. Pedro, meanwhile had been unsuccessfully chasing tuna bustups so at this time was, unusually for him, fishless. Richmond decided to follow me back to Middle Groyne.

Almost exactly an hour later we were off the beach and shortly afterward had safely run the surf zone which had the unusual situation of large sets of four to five waves coming through every 2-3 minutes while the rest of the time was almost swell free.

Some pics on the beach

Longtail and yft on the mat. The longtail went 105cm.

Yellowfin tuna, 70cm.

Lady from New Caledonia with the longtail.

By the time richmond and I left the beach, around 09:20, pedro was understood to be making his way back from LH reef. Accordingly we don’t know his final result.