Lake Mac murk, 23Mar12

TR by gemini

Well, there was plenty to see, but the fish didn't want to see us.

Participants: Gemini, Richmond
Conditions: Very light breeze to 5knts, mostly sunny, murky water

After arriving at 4PM and unloading (and dropping one end of my yak off the ute for the second time this month... grrrrr) at the botanical gardens boat ramp, I proceeded to the bubbler where Richmond was already hard at work hunting bass. There were plenty of birds, bait fish, and tell-tale splashes about, so we threw our lures around for a good while, but with little success.

I left Richmond at the bubbler and ventured off to test the waters around the edges of the weed beds on my way to bass bay. It was much the same story there too. The lake was teeming with life, but no fish seemed interested in what we had to offer.

I returned to the bubbler and found Richmond hadn't had any success in my absence. We cast poppers until dark amongst the schools of bait fish splashing around on the surface, but we ended up leaving fishless.

The bass and saratoga records live to fight another day...

Jigging Jackalls at the bubble trail (Pic by richmond)

Albany salmon, doc dog, 18Mar12

TR by doctor dog (visiting Albany, WA)

Hi All,

Well Albany really turned on a spectacular autumn day for everyone today. Jane had to work so I took the opportunity to head out for a paddle. I wasn't expecting to catch anything as the reports locally have been a bit dismal so to come home with my first Australian Salmon over 400 mm was a bonus.

Beautiful conditions for a late launch -- 9.30 at Emu point looking out into Oyster Harbour. Might have missed the fish but the forecast was for strong winds?

I headed out from Emu Point against a flooding tide and soon was heading into King George harbour heading east into the anticipated breeze -- which did not eventuate until I made it to Gull Rock. I was trolling a small hard bodied lure but had to retrieve it every few minutes as there was a lot of weed suspended in the water column.

So where is the 15 knots northerly? View looking to Middleton beach. Frenchman's and the old whaling station in the distance at the extreme left of picture.

No sign of fish but the mutton birds made such a nuisance of themselves attacking my trolled lures I had to pull them in and just paddle for the last km or so out to Gull. At Gull I stopped for a brief snorkel and a bite to eat.

Coal Basket Bay -- rest stop half way.

Beach near Gull Rock looking back to Middleton Beach with Mt Martin in centre of picture.

I had an easy paddle home with the sea breeze behind me and 2.5 km from home this little salmon took a liking to my "Happy Jack" xmas lure.

My only hit for the day -- fiesty 440 mm of Australian Salmon.

Handsome fish -- dinner for 2.

I had better hit send and go and prepare dinner...


Spooled, soaked! JS, 17Mar12

TR by gemini and jaro, presented in that sequence

1. From gemini

Participants: jaro, gemini, kodaz, yakfinn
Swell: 2.1m Easterly
Wind: 8-10knt SE inside bay, 10-15knt outside
Distance: 12.3 km
Max Speed: 10.0 km/hour (Editor: going down a wave?)
Avg Speed: 3.7 km/hour

After unloading and making our way down to the beach, we assessed the launch conditions. There were decent gaps to be found in the sets of waves breaking at the end of the groyne, but it didn't look pleasant. We allowed jaro to be the guinea pig and followed him out with no incident (or even a wet bum!).

We headed towards Jew Shoal finding the conditions to be fairly lumpy, and the water close to the beach had a brown tinge to it. Before reaching Jew Shoal proper we encountered several large bustups just inside the bay. We chased these for a while, but the little buggers were moving around too fast to cast at. I managed to cast at a couple of small schools, but the most action I had was a tuna chasing the slug right up to the yak and then thumbing its proverbial nose at me. We trolled around for a while longer, but with no joy. Yakfinn managed to hook a feisty little tuna, but the tuna decided it REALLY didn't want to be caught and swam off with the entire contents of Yakfinn's spool!

It was about this time the rain kicked in with a vengeance and we made the call to head home. The trip back was uneventful, although Kodaz spotted what he suspected was a mako shark taking an impressive jump a good 6ft out of the water. The rain really hammered down and I was hard pressed to see the beach even 500m from the groyne. At least the rain took the edge off the swell for a bit!

The breakers were still hammering the groyne when we headed back in, and yakfinn had an unplanned swim. Jaro seems to think I rode a wave like a madman on my re-entry, but I was too busy trying not a have a swim myself to notice! I'll let him report what he saw. :)

Above: Matt's GPS track for today

Matt (Gemini)


2. From jaro

Conditions: Cloudy but fine early with showers missing us to the north and south during the morning and then started to hit us as we decided to head for home.

We arrived in the car park at around 5.00am and were ready for launching at 5.25am. The tide was still high and the channel along MG was nice and quiet. I headed off first and waited at the end of MG very, very patiently as there were a few large waves that were best left alone. On seeing what appeared to be a lull I headed out at full speed with the adrenalin pumping into my muscles and found myself out safely only to look behind me to see the rest of the guys also out safe and dry.

I had absolutely no touches during the the whole time out there.

At just after 8.00am we were hit by a shower when I suggested we head for home. All readily agreed.

By the time we reached MG the tide had nearly reached its low mark making the return very intimidating indeed. Sean and Kodaz were already ashore... Kodaz safely and Sean had a lovely warm swim being well and truly rolled by a big one.

I found myself back paddling furiously as a large wave loomed above me and I only just avoided being dumped. I then positioned myself abreast of the waves so that I could chose to go for it or to seek the safety of the deeper waters only to find a large wave suddenly loom up and start breaking over me. I thought I was done for but immediately leaned into the wave as it crashed onto me. It carried me sideways towards the beach at what seemed a furious pace and then suddenly I was in the calm after the wave and paddled madly to the safety of the channel and to shore to the applause of Sean and Kodaz.

We now awaited Gemini's return. It appeared as if he made the decision to go for it when a large wave appeared behind him and we thought he was a goner but as luck or good management would have it the wave slid under him as it broke leaving him now behind the wave. Gemini continued to paddle in nonchalantly as if it was piece of cake, not even noting our applause.


100 clicks today, 10Mar12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: West, light for entire trip
Water quality: Poor due to run off from recent heavy rain. Murky from beach out to ocean side of Jew Shoal, SR water also green tinged.
Swell: low E
Current: not assessed
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: (8) pedro, richmond, eyetag, jaro, whalebait, kodaz, yakfinn, sunshiner. Carlton fronted but withdrew before launching due to illness.

With Jaro’s timely warning that the carpark would probably be unavailable after 05:00 today, the gang started to assemble very early. I arrived at about 04:25 and even then, richmond, pedro and whalebait had already launched, by the brightness of the moon, still three hours from setting. The remainder of us gradually got organized and down to the beach to launch, through a tide just starting to rise and with the opportunity to suffer a wet bum if the small break was mistimed.

After launch I tasted the water to find it brackish (not a good sign, it’s best if very salty), then waited about five minutes for the light to gradually improve before moving out into the open water which by now had several power boats roaring through on their path from the river mouth toward the east. Then I headed directly toward Jew Shoal, instead of Sunshine Reef, where all previous launchers were headed.

05:42. The clouds on the horizon reminded me of a view of the highrise Gold Coast horizon from a long way to sea.

Shortly I noticed that yakfinn, who, with kodaz had launched after me, was gradually catching me and coming up on my starboard side. From then for the next hour or more we prowled Jew Shoal together.

As we approached the shoal I noticed that the water was still murky but that there were a few terns hanging about and occasionally dipping to the surface for an opportunistic snack. This gave us some hope that some bustups might occur a little later. Reports from our mates at or near Sunshine Reef were that there were some birds out there, also, but no-one had reported any surface activity.

Well at Jew Shoal, we started to get a few small and short-lived bustups and some of those travelling surface flurries which indicate a dense shoal of small predators eating tiny prey. Yakfinn and I meandered around these indicators, both trolling a larger lure and ready with a slug. At one stage I got a single opportunity only to get a cast away but I could see that the predators were tiny and didn't attract one anyway. Yakfinn was darting around much more quickly than I do these days and eventually got a hookup on one of the surface flurries. I moved in for a photo only to discover he still had a trolling line out, and Murphy’s law being what it is, the braid line and its floating lure were right in my path, and soon were entangled in my rudder. That took a while to sort out then I got the chance to take the pic.

07:04. Yakfinn scores the first fish today.

It soon became apparent from radio traffic that our chums out to the east were getting no action. Indeed, so slow were things out there that they were starting to talk about coming in to Jew Shoal to have a go at the miserable little bustups we were chasing with no further success.

Eventually we compromised and all converged on the area north of Hell’s Gates where fluttering terns and occasional small bustups were more regular than at Jew Shoal, and closer for the fish-deprived guys coming from Sunshine Reef. Jaro and Kodaz both reported capture and release of tiny mac tuna presumably similar to yakfinn’s and there was even talk of catching a few for future whole baits.

By around 07:30 I was heading toward Middle Groyne, slow paddling and trolling on the flat sea, having become convinced that the murky waters would not produce today. Gradually, the others all reached the same conclusion and started to follow me in.

Laguna Bay today was a hive of activity, not from fish, but from humans. The closer I got to Middle Groyne the more humans I could see. Main Beach had been transformed by colour as various temporary structures (tents, etc) had been erected since our departure in the dark this morning. Some of these were associated with the Noosa Festival of Surfing and others, near Middle Groyne, were in support of a festival of paddling, as dozens of outrigger canoes, each crewed by six sweating galley slaves, propelled themselves around the bay accompanied by loud grunts of exhortation and whip cracks.

So heavy was the traffic, in fact, that I had to heave-to to allow a procession of these colourful craft to pass before I could approach my de-rigging location off the groyne. At least two Noosa Yakkers, hollywood and stretch, are staunch devotees of this energetic pastime and in fact hollywood had already contacted me by radio from the beach asking me how the fishing had been and giving me a rundown on the break at the groyne.

08:40. Waiting for the traffic to pass before approaching the groyne.

They’re a nice bunch of people, these paddlers, tough and whip scarred, too, so I didn’t begrudge them the temporary use of our beach. Landing space was a little tight but I found a crack between the wall and a beached powered inflatable which was tightly pulled up next to an outrigger canoe for which stretch was the whip cracker. Here I, then richmond, kodaz and yakfinn, in quick sequence, beached our craft, each dragging his boat up the beach to make room for the next. It was crowded house, today, but fun anyway.

Just one more pic of interest.

Richmond spotted this outsized yak trolley and immediately suggested that Noosa Yakkers get one for carrying our fish back up from the beach!

Thanks for coming along guys. There were some big trip distances logged on various GPS devices today. Great exercise, lovely weather, fun crowds on the beach; all that was missing was the fish.

Doc dog in WA, 08Mar12

Posted by sunshiner

Our roving Noosa Yakker doctor dog (AKFF: weyba) is presently in Western Australia. Yesterday he sent me an email about a kayak fishing trip he had undertaken on 08Mar12 with Daveyak, an Albany, WA, AKFF member who has posted a mainly pictorial report on AKFF about the trip. Two Peoples Bay was the location so I dug out a GE image of the place to satisfy my curiosity.

Daveyak’s trip report with his and doc dog’s pics plus various comments can be accessed here.

Spotty mac plus YFT, 03Mar12

TR by sunshiner and imax (imax TR at end of sunshiner's report); track map by gemini

Wind: SE, starting at 5 knots, building to 10 knots
Swell: low NE
Current: not recorded
Water condition: Murky within 600m of Main Beach, otherwise very clean
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: (9) richmond, carlton, gemini, jaro, imax, kodaz, sunshiner, yakfinn, helveticus (visitor and potential new Noosa Yakker)

Knowing that we probably had two first-timers coming with us today, I arrived at the car park at 04:30, 30 minutes before jaro’s appointed time. This early arrival would assure me of getting my favourite parking spot, or so I thought. Thwarted again! Incredibly, richmond’s car with empty roof rack was there. The spot happens to be his favourite too; maybe because he also has a Stealth. It was fully dark, with the moon having set hours ago and sunrise over an hour away but that hadn’t deterred our Recorder -- how keen is that?

Gradually over the next half hour, all the expected gang arrived and as they were ready to launch they did, into a very easy sea. I’d opted to sit back a little today and make sure our newest member Carlton, and visitor from Brisbane, Martin (AKFF and callsign: helveticus), were shown around our patch.

Sixteen year old Carlton was last to arrive, on time and on foot, having trundled his Hobie from his home in Noosa Heads, thus creating an excellent first impression, as none of us had met him before. Soon he was mingling on the beach with several of the others who were about to launch. Last to be ready was imax, who had opted to use his Hobie Adventure Island, which takes a little more time to set up.

Before long, with a very easy launch behind us, helveticus, carlton and I were heading toward Jew Shoal, a few hundred metres behind jaro, gemini, kodaz and yakfinn who were also heading in that approximate direction.

05:28. On the way to Jew Shoal, carlton is silhouetted by a glorious dawn.

As we emerged from the shadow of the headland richmond's radio came within range and we learned that he was off A-Bay, not at Jew Shoal as we thought. As a result of the info supplied by richmond, jaro opted to head for the area east of Hells Gates. Our little group of three plus the remaining three continued on course for Jew Shoal, where, based on our experiences in the previous couple of days I expected some action.

As I found out from carlton, he’d already had his yak out at Jew Shoal, but hadn't yet caught a tuna. Helveticus had never been here before and hadn’t caught a tuna either so I was hoping that I could put them onto fish.

Sure enough, soon we spotted some terns fluttering around a little to the NE of the pinnacles. Carlton charged off to intercept them, closely followed by helveticus while I paddled sedately, as befits an elder of the community, bringing up the rear. I think probably helveticus and I hooked up simultaneously but my fish self released so that left me with some photo time.

06:18. Helveticus fighting the fish, which he’d hooked on a cast soft plastic.

06:24. Helveticus with his first tuna (striped tuna, usual size).

Now that we were on the board, I could relax a little. The shoal felt very fishy, with clean water, but after another half hour or so of trolling around we'd seen no more accessible bustups. Gemini reported that he’d taken a strike on a trolled lure but that the hooks had not held while helveticus had suffered the loss of a lure through a bite-off (not rigged with wire).

Then came information by radio from kodaz and richmond that many birds could be sighted near Hells Gates so that became our destination, a couple of kilometres south of our present position. It was a slow paddle into the SE sea, but the closer we got, the more interesting things seemed. Many terns could be seen wheeling around, some grouped closely on brief food opportunities as baitfish were herded to the surface. Actual sightings of predators were rare and brief but all of a sudden I noticed that carlton, not far from me, seemed to be hooked up. Yakfinn, closer to carlton, confirmed by radio that this was the case, so I again switched my attention to getting some pics, for these are important occasions in a young fisho’s life.

07:36. Carlton in action, Sunshine Beach village in the background.

Later, I found out that carlton, while pedalling along happily toward a flock of birds on the eastern horizon, had suddenly encountered some tuna feeding in front of him. He was well prepared and was able to quickly fire off a cast which resulted in an immediate hookup.

I stood by in case assistance was needed but he handled it well. But I did have to transfer my gaff to him in the choppy conditions as his had become inaccessible. Shortly he boated the tuna by grasping its tail and dragging it aboard.

07:43. Carlton with his first tuna, a mackerel tuna. Fine effort, in choppy conditions.

By now we were fishing in lively waters pretty much due east of Hells Gates and up to about one kilometre offshore (see track map later). Terns and shearwaters were scattered all over the visible area, and later, shoals of very small bonito and small tuna could be seen working over baitfish. We all patrolled this area without further significant success until a group decision to head for home was made about 08:15, during a noticeable lull in activity. Richmond and imax, who had been fishing further south, joined us in heading for the exit.

As we turned west, I put out my Halco once again, to troll back. It had only been out a couple of minutes when a shoal of bonito swept past just behind me and over the top of the lure but whatever clobbered my lure was no bonito. It went fast and deep but the encounter was brief as the knot attaching the main line to the wire trace broke. I usually retie my knots before each trip but hadn't on this occasion so I blame myself for the loss of what was undoubtedly a decent sized fish (shark, I hope, but suspect a biggish tuna).

Digging into the bowels of my puny onboard tackle reserves I then extracted a small Rapala which was already rigged with wire. By now, of course, I was at the end of the string of yakkers heading for home. Out went the Rapala and I paddled off in the tracks of my colleagues. Two minutes or so later, it went off with a long, howling run to the east. This time I had a new knot so I reckoned I was in with a good chance as this was another powerful fish. Not my day, today! The hooks pulled free after only a couple of minutes, leaving me to wind in a very long line taken out by the fish.

Now I was even further behind, but I put the lure out again. Somehow, I caught up with gemini as we approached the choppy waters north of Hells Gates. We could both see increased bird activity and some splashing in our path so deviated as necessary, weaving and dodging, to intercept the fish. It was about now that I noticed, just as gemini was about to cast a slug into a nearby frenzy, that his trolling outfit was jumping around. I radioed him quickly and saw him reach back and start retrieving his lure and then respond with “It’s gone”. Then about 30 seconds later, “No, it’s still on”.

Gemini had caught the season’s first spotty Mac.

08:58. Gemini with his first mackerel, ever! Thanks for breaking our mackerel “duck”, mate.

By now everyone else was at the beach or almost there. Gemini and I headed for home also, passing shoals of feeding bonito and tiny tuna as the action hotted up before our weary eyes.

Nearly an hour later we were almost back at the beach when we encountered imax heading out for a second session. I think he came in for a lure resupply as he’d lost a couple to some big hits earlier, off Sunshine Beach.

10:00. Imax heading out again. Hopefully he’ll break our Spaniard duck...

Richmond was waiting on the beach for us but refused to applaud my exemplary surf ride demo in my Stealth. And we both welcomed gemini’s smooth and easy return to the beach with the season’s first, and new Noosa Yakkers Record, spotted mackerel.

Gemini’s spotty. Agreed at 76cm by richmond and me.

Gemini’s track map from today.

Some success, some failure, today. But at least we can see that the mackerel have arrived. Let’s hope the spotties and Spaniards get into the bay, as they usually do. Thanks for coming along guys.


Imax's session

Well today had plenty of lows and one big high for me. After checking the wind and swell Friday afternoon I decided to take the AI. This meant that if the wind picked up like predicted I would have an easy trip home. My plan was to head to Sunshine Reef after the Davo's guys reported Mackerel on the chew. As Kev said I was the last to launch but had an easy run out to SR with the perfect reach upwind taking me straight there without having to tack. Once over the SR area I set about trolling 2 hard bodies in a big rectangular pattern. On my second run back North sailing downwind I had a big hit on the overhead. I run a medium drag while the rods are in the holders and when I bumped it up to strike I felt the line ping and the fish was gone. After bringing in the remaining line I found I had been bitten through on the single strand wire.

During this commotion I was still under sail and 30 seconds later my other hard body went off. This one held and I furled the sail and set about fighting the fish. Whatever this fish was ran hard and fast for a little and then went deep. I couldn't feel the tail beats of a tuna so was really hoping I might have my first Spanish. After 5 min or so it felt like I had slowed this thing down but it went for another run and with another ping I lost a big fish. A few choice words were said and I was rather annoyed to find that this fish had also bitten through the wire leader. I will now be going up in my wire strength.

It was about now that I decided to head back to MG to get some more supplies of lures and have a quick bite to eat. On the trip back I cast to a couple of bust ups and managed 2 small striped tuna and 2 mac tuna. The only other excitement I had on the trip home was when my big trolled soft plastic went for a very quick run off Boiling Pot. This fish stole the tail and ripped the body of the soft plastic in half but still missed the hook.

It wasn't feeling like my day but I had had too many close calls so was very keen to head out for a second try. I had a quick chat to Sunshiner and Gemini on the way back out and from here I decided to head in the direction of JS. I was trolling in a big rectangular pattern around JS when my gold LP went off again. I was confident to call this fish for a tuna as I could feel the big tail beats. It didn't take long to get it to the boat so this had me thinking that I might have a small mac tuna on. It was only once I got it right beside me that the fish woke up and lit up showing a beautiful yellowfin. I had the leader on the reel the whole time but it still took 5 min to get it close enough to tail grab. With those big pectoral fins they can sure make it hard to lift them when they are circling. Finally I had a good fish on the boat and a 80 cm yellow fin was mine and a first for me.

Dan’s first yellowfin tuna.

Happy with my capture I headed for home with the gold LP out the back still. Not long later I had something big grab the lure and take off. This was probably my biggest hit for the day and a big first run. It wasn't to be though and this fish spat the hooks. I was disappointed but at least I still had a nice fish on the board. The rest of the trip home was uneventful and I had everything loaded and leaving the carpark at 12:30 pm.

All up I spent 6+ hrs on the water and overall it just wasn't my day. I had really wanted to catch my first Spanish Mackerel. I'm not sure when my next chance to try will be but I will be putting in some big days until I manage to get one. Good luck to those that get out soon, I think you will be in with a real chance in the next few weeks.


Early Bird catches Tuna, 02Mar12

TR by Richmond

Participants; Richmond, Tony, Turtleboy

I was first into the car park this morning. A quick look confirmed my thoughts that I’d have a dry bum launch. You beauty, mission accomplished!

I headed straight for Jew Shoal after reading about Sunshiner and Pedro's day yesterday. It was a great paddle out with the NW wind at my tail blowing about 5knots. The sea was still a bit lumpy though from the strong northerly wind the afternoon before.

About a kilometre from Jew Shoal I could see the birds dipping over the water. The horizon was black with birds, they were everywhere. As I approached Jew Shoal, the birds and bust-ups were heading east. Typical I thought, with the main body of birds heading for the horizon, there were still quite a few chasing a feed at Jew Shoal.

I was towing an X-Rap 15 on the trip out and I decided to keep trolling around waiting for the bust-ups to appear. I then had a fish frenzy in front of me about 30 metres away. I cast into the froth and wound like mad. When the lure was about 20 metres from the yak I had a big Longtail take the slice whilst jumping out of the water heading straight for me. Mouth open, pectorals flared, it was an unreal sight! The Longy entered the water 10 metres or so from the yak, spitting out my 40gm Raider. I couldn’t put any weight on him to sink the treble.

I kept trolling around and casting the slug into bust-ups. I eventually hooked up to a nice fish that fought pretty hard for its size. After a couple of minutes, I had dinner sorted landing a Yellowfin that went 74cm on the mat.


Above, underwater closeup shot and below, now safely on the kayak


With that fish dispatched, back to the routine, trolling and waiting for fish to appear on the surface. About 10 minutes passed when I hooked up again. This tuna was much smaller, but still a bit of a goer. He played up at the yak a bit, tiring himself out. I leant over a tail grabbed a 58cm Striped Tuna.


It was still pretty early and good to have company out there as Turtleboy and Tony arrived on the scene whilst I was hooked up to the Stripey. But alas, with every passing 5 minutes, the birds and the fish broaching the surface were diminishing rapidly.

After having a chat with Steve and Tony, we persisted for another 30 minutes or so but to no avail. The birds were gone, the fish had gone deep. We decided to head back in and had an uneventful landing, beaching about 9am.

It was a beautiful day out there, nice to get a couple of fish. Let’s hope they’re there tomorrow.


Striped and Yellowfin Tuna, 58cm and 74cm respectively.


Jeff with his Catch - Pic by turtleboy


What a blast! JS Vids, 01Mar12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SW, starting at 2 knots, building to 5knots
Water: Murky in close but much cleaner at Jew Shoal
Swell: low NE
Current: not recorded
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, sunshiner

The forecast wind was ideal for kayaks today but it seems the murky inshore water deterred all but pedro and me. So we met in the carpark around 0500, and agreed that the launch would be doable, albeit with the small risk of a wet bum.

Shortly afterward we had our yaks on the beach, with the clear sky allowing sufficient light to see that our immediate adversary, the surf, was quite subdued today.

05:26. Pedro, dressed for the occasion.

The water did not look inviting. On most launch occasions it’s clear but today it held a brown tinge and, especially near the groyne, large amounts of vegetable matter swirled in the current, making the water even murkier. We were not optimistic about finding fish but hopeful that out further better water conditions might be found. Little did we know that our hopes would be answered in spades.

Launch was easy. I followed paddling-pedro closely and we both held briefly in the hole at the end of the wall while allowing a couple of larger waves to pass under us. “Dry bums!”, we yelled as we got out without taking a drop of water aboard.

Jew Shoal was our intended destination as we reasoned that it was more likely to be clear than the Halls reefs, given that the dirty water coming out of the river often travels straight up the coast. Shortly after 05:30 we were off, pedro pedalling and I paddling. Both of us trolled at least one lure; my choice was one only: my trusty Halco LP on my trusty trolling outfit.

05:47. Nice sea conditions, eh?

The lack of visible terns reinforced the feeling that perhaps this was going to be a fishless day, but we pressed on and in just over 30 minutes we were on the shoal. Still no birds. No wild life at all, really.

Individual plans came into action now, although they were influenced by a massive strike on a trolled lure for pedro as he swung over the pinnacles. Although the fish self released, at least we knew that there was something unseen down there. And even though the light levels were still low, we could tell that the water was clearer here than closer in.

I don't know what pedro's plans were but I opted to retrieve my Halco and switch to my 6kg casting outfit and SP in the hope of nailing a snapper. There were still no signs of pelagic predators, but sometimes they don't get active until an hour or so after sunrise, so there was hope yet. In the meantime I thought I’d just target the snapper, or anything, really.

Drogue deployed, I laid out my first cast. It plopped down about 25 metres away, down wind. As usual, I allowed the 1/8 ounce jighead to sink slowly, impeded only by drag from the braid. We were in about 20 metres depth, so this slow sink can take a while.

Snapper! I thought, as the jig was clobbered about 30 seconds after hitting the water. It did indeed feel like a snapper, at first, but the next move had me reappraising my assessment. The fish went straight to the south, at high speed, and down deep. I was only fishing 6kg so couldn’t do much about it. The yak was being towed, but the fish was going much faster. Ten minutes into the fight I knew I was undergunned, I was just starting to get line back onto the depleted spool and the fish still had lots of fight.

06:35. I'd switched the camera to movie and started to record what was happening. (Frame from movie)

At last I was getting line back and I knew the fish was fairly close, as I saw a large swirl about 20m away as it came up to the surface briefly before charging off again. The drag on my 3500 Stradic was starting to judder under the strain after around 30 minutes and I wasn’t surprised when the knot to the jighead failed shortly afterward. Reflecting on the event, I'm pretty sure I hooked a pretty big tuna, possibly a longtail, as I’ve done before while fishing for snapper with SPs.

Anyway, pedro delivered his commiserations by radio, together with a message that while I'd been dealing with my fish (or the other way around, perhaps), he'd bagged a nice snapper, taken on a trolled garfish.

It was now about 06:45, just over an hour since sunrise. A switch was thrown somewhere as suddenly there were several flocks of terns visible and white splashes underneath them. Pedro, by radio, drew my attention to action near him while I was tying a new jighead on. I looked around to find that I had two bustups within a couple of hundred metres of me! Off comes the jighead, on goes the slug! This process took a couple of minutes but I was soon ready, only to find that the bustups were now further away (situation normal!). Figuring that I may as well have an extra chance, I put out my trolling outfit while keeping my casting outfit close to hand and began paddling toward the nearest and bestest bustup. Note that there were no other boats around. I had this all to myself and pedro had similar bustups all to himself also, within a few hundred metres.

(frame from movie)

This was the one I chose. I managed to get close enough to fire off a cast, thinking “This’ll be a sure thing!”. I retrieved through the edge of the bustup, and was disappointed to see my lure emerge unscathed on my side of the bustup. Then I heard a low growl, just like that emitted by my trolling outfit’s drag. Glancing over my right shoulder while still retrieving the cast slug, I could see the trolling rod take on a glorious bend, just before the trolling reel started to scream. Putting down my casting outfit, slug still 20 metres or so away, I grabbed the trolling rod and confirmed that there was something substantial on the end. What to do now? Knowing that to leave the casting outfit hanging in the water is to invite calamity, I shoved the trolling outfit back into its rod holder and picked up the casting outfit. By now the trolling rod had a spectacular bend and line was being grudgingly given by the reel, and worse, the yak had an alarming tilt to starboard, as that was the side the fish had chosen to run to. Leaning to port to counteract the yak’s roll, I retrieved the slug successfully and stowed the casting outfit before once again picking up the trolling outfit to take the fight to the fish. Whew! All under control.

I was pretty sure I had a tuna on, and this time I was not undergunned, fishing with 10kg mono and a short rod with overhead reel. Lots of pulling power! The fight was vigorous but only five minutes or so, and soon I saw a yellowfin tuna with my lure in its mouth sweep past under the yak. The last time I’d seen a yellowfin on my line was several years ago, and the fish spat the lure right at the side of the yak. I played this one carefully, and turned on chest cam for some video.

It tired pretty quickly and before long I had the gaff in the tough skin above the head, and then dragged him aboard. My first yellowfin on the yak! Quite a few of us Noosa Yakkers have achieved this in the last few months.

07:15. Huge pectoral fin, view from starboard side

07:15. View from above

Video 1min 53 secs, taken with chest cam, of key parts of the above event

While dealing with this fish there were several bustups nearby; the churning of the water could be plainly heard, sometimes behind us. Knowing that pedro would soon hookup also, I paddled toward him in the hope of getting some more pics. Incidentally, he’d already plucked a striped tuna from one of these bustups and had stowed it as a Noosa Yakkers Record claim and as bait for the future.

Pedro didn't disappoint me. Just as I got to him he chucked a slug into a massive bustup and immediately hooked up. “This is only a littly,” he said, then watched in surprise as line was stripped from his new reel in a powerful run. Having now decided that this fish wasn't so small, he played it out and soon had in his lap a second potential Noosa Yakkers Record fish.

07:55. Pedro fights his “littly”

08:01. That's a pretty big mac tuna, well worthy of the Record, and pretty hard to beat, I reckon.

Video, just over 1 minute of pedro catching the tuna. Live commentary.

Watching pedro in action I must comment that he has his act together for exploiting bustup situations. The Mirage drive is ideal for this sort of fishing; he can charge toward the fish with his casting rod in hand, firing off a cast while still pedalling vigorously. While taking the above pics there were bustups right nearby, so I thought “Maybe I can beat pedro’s new record, and besides my casting outfit hasn't caught a fish today” (but it had been thoroughly worked over with the first cast fish). So I sauntered over to the next bustup and sent the slug on a serious mission. Pow, scream, gurgle (this last the sound made as water passes under the towed hull). Good fish...

Not quite as good as pedro’s however, probably 10cm smaller, but my reel’s drag system was almost smoking...

08:24. My mac tuna. Released, to swim away strongly after regurgitating much of its recent meals into my fishbox.

About now pedro reported that he also had boated and released another mac tuna. So there was plenty of action, as you can probably tell.

Pedro turned his back on the feeding frenzies to do a bit of drift fishing but I was keen to head back to the beach because I had commitments at home. Having got no action in the 15 minute drift fishing he opted to head back with me. And so we paddled/pedalled back together. The inbound surf transit was easy and when we pulled up on the beach we were met by beejay, in his office clothes, and also a wedding party, plus the usual several people curious about the boats and the fish.

Beach pics

Three species of tuna plus a nice snapper

pedro’s snapper

pedro’s mac tuna, 82cm (record claim)

my yellowfin tuna, 79cm

pedro’s striped tuna, 57cm, (record claim)

No suitable fish holder volunteer could be found down on the beach but there was some potential among the bridal party (the bride refused!) which had decided that the road up from the beach and the washpoint were ideal places to gather and take photos.

One of the bridesmaids galloped over excitedly exclaiming that she "loves fishing". So she was press-ganged into holding the yellowfin.

bridesmaid, hungry

Pedro took a chunk of yellowfin, with my compliments, from the tail of the fish and immediately he, beejay, I and the bridesmaid tried slices raw, on the spot. They were delicious and hopefully we can get some great meals out of this fish. Any cooking recipes for fresh YFT appreciated although it does seem great raw.

Another great day. Thanks for coming along pedro, and for catching fish for the camera.