Leaping longtails, LB, 27Apr12

TR by sunshiner, with contribution by Richmond (at end)

Wind: SE, starting at 5 knots, building to 10-15knots
Swell: moderate easterly
Current: not a factor
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, stretch, stormin, sunshiner

As it was Norman's (new Noosa Yakker) first trip out with us and his first launch from Middle Groyne I decided that a slightly later start was appropriate as I wanted to check out his yak in daylight and brief him on getting out safely, also in daylight. The fickleness of the weather lately had already caused us to abort, at short notice, a couple of trips which Norman, who travels up from Mooloolaba, had planned to be his first. At 3:30am today I checked the weather again and thought it doable so Norman (nickname and callsign now ”stormin”) was in with a chance.

Richmond and stretch were already unloaded when I arrived at 05:35 but there was no sign of stormin. I was confident he’d show, and so he did, slightly late, having had a few navigation problems. I pointed out a few things on his yak that needed attention and we trundled down to the beach together.

By this time, richmond and stretch had already launched, several times as it turned out (I’ll let them explain). I pointed them out to stormin, slow moving smudges of colour and silhouette on the wind-ruffled waters of the bay.

Turning my attention to the launch procedure I pointed out the many potential pitfalls awaiting the inexperienced surf launcher. The channel with its strong outgoing current; the shallow areas on which waves could be seen breaking; the sets, etc. Stormin nodded and seemed unperturbed so I advised him to remove his cap, the only thing that by now was not tied down or stowed, and we entered the fray.

0610. Stormin, about to launch. Looks easy, eh, but the pic is deceptive. Crashing dumpers were arriving fairly frequently and out of the blue.

My predictive abilities regarding the arrival of sets, or not, are flaky. Nevertheless, stormin held back, just behind me in the channel and, when I said ”Go!” he started to follow me into what I thought was a beautiful lull. Fortunately he was a little slow off the mark (his Hobie Outback being a beast to paddle, and he couldn’t pedal because it was too shallow). I say fortunately because if he’d kept up with me he would have been smashed, big time. As usual, the wave of the day and its brother arrived just as I was in the pinch point. I was airborne on the first and totally soaked on the second, but the Stealth weathered both nicely. That's four trips in a row where I'd been totally soaked at launch. Once clear of the white water I looked around half expecting to see an upside down plastic wreck and stormin struggling in the surf, but he was still right way up, much further back. Somehow he then battled his way out to me and I couldn't help noticing on his arrival that his mop of black hair was sprinkled with drops of salt water and he was a little paler than a minute or so earlier. But everything was still on the boat, and he still had his cap, safely stowed away. Well done, stormin.

Now safely out the back, we reviewed the morning's lessons so far. (1) Never rely on sunshiner to make a safe call as to when to run the surf zone. (2) Stow or leash everything, etc.

The SE wind was making its presence felt as we moved off toward Jew Shoal, our intended destination. Richmond had reported by radio that longtails were blasting out south east of the shoal and stretch had reported that he was at Jew Shoal, had lost his glasses, and it was getting a bit lumpy.

Two kilometres into our trip to the shoal I spotted some terns fluttering out to the east and stormin and I altered course to take a closer look. This led, as it often does, to the sighting of another bigger patch of birds, further to the east, and I knew we were in with a chance. The first patch we caught up with were hovering and diving over a hapless pack of baitfish which were being slaughtered by yellowfin tuna, little fat guys which were launching themselves clear of the water and glittering liquid gold in the dull ambient light. Stormin had never seen anything like this before, the terns wheeling around, the tuna crashing through the bait. I got three casts away, getting one hit but no hook up before the tuna sounded. Stormin was ready and organized, I noticed, so we pressed on to the next bustup, further east again passing a pod of playful dolphins as we travelled.

The next bustup was more intense but the fish apparently smaller. Anyway, we cast simultaneously and simultaneously hooked up. Mysteriously, my braid broke after a minute or so of gentle pressure but happily stormin was still hooked up to what turned out to be his first tuna.

07:21. Elated stormin boats his first tuna, as often, a mac tuna.

About now, richmond radios ”Screaming reel”. And shortly afterward, stretch announces that he’s not having much fun drift fishing at Jew Shoal (choppy, vision problems due to lost glasses) and has decided to head toward Noosa Head and then work his way back around the coast to the beach. Knowing that richmond is hooked up in that area, I suggested he troll a lure while paddling toward the headland as there seemed to be some longtails around.

Five minutes later, stretch sounds much more positive as he announces that he’s now heading back toward Jew Shoal because that’s the direction a big fish which has eaten his lure is towing him. So now we have both richmond and stretch hooked up in the same general area and stormin and I are there too.

By now, all signs of surface activity had disappeared and stormin and I were about two kilometres NW of Hells Gates. Stretch was still hooked up somewhere nearby, out of sight because of the swell, and richmond, also out of sight, had reported that he'd just stowed a nice longtail. The swell and chop were manageable but I opted anyway to punch into the breeze back toward Hells Gates, trolling as we went.

Richmond reported another hookup, same area. See you later, mate! Stormin and I were barely five minutes into our planned journey when my Halco LP went off. I knew this was almost certainly another longtail and turned to fight it only to find it had turned toward me. I frantically retrieved the slack line and was shortly amazed to see a longtail clear the water about 10 metres away and travel through a beautiful arc, splashing down about seven metres from take-off point. This was my fish, as my line whipping through the water confirmed, and is the first time I’ve seen a hooked longtail jump clear of the water. This spectacular event was also seen by stormin, nearby.

After the customary 15-20 minutes I had this fish across my lap and ready to slam into the fishbox.

07:55. Longtail destined for the fishbox.

During this fight I heard stretch announce the capture of his first longtail, and richmond announce that he also had boated his second. So at one time, three of the four of us were hooked up to longtails. Stormin hung around me watching while I dealt with the fish and then we both turned south again (only stormin trolling as I'd opted to just get on the camera).

Soon we spotted our two companions for the first time that morning since launch as our paths converged. Stretch, his Espri already loaded with a typical 8-10kg longtail, soon announced that he was hooked up again. I passed stormin into the care of richmond, who also had begged off catching more, while I headed for stretch to accompany him on this battle and hopefully get some pics. This involved hanging around for quite some time while we both were blown further away from home.

08:22. Stretch battling his second longtail for the morning.

The gaff was unsheathed and ready for the coup-de-grace, and the fish, a big, shining longtail, plainly in view when a knot gave out and the fish slid back into the depths. Stretch just shrugged and we resolved to not fish anymore and simply plug steadily back the 4.4 kilometres of mostly open sea that now separated us from our launch point.

The only yakker with a line in the water now was stormin, hoping to nail a longtail as well as his already bagged mac tuna on this, his first foray with Noosa Yakkers. I would have rated his chances of a hookup pretty high but it was not to be. We all arrived back off Middle Groyne together after a 50 minute or so non-stop paddle, or pedal.

Given the waves breaking at Middle Groyne I was almost certain that stormin, inexperienced as he is at this game, would almost certainly be rolled. So he and I sat out the back and I checked him before sending him in. And yes, he did get rolled, while the rest of us got through unscathed, our efforts observed closely by quite a few spectators on the groyne.

Some pics on the beach...

Stretch’s longtail top, and mine, just 3cm short of my Noosa Yakkers record longtail.

Stormin’s mac tuna

Visitor from Sydney happy to hold tuna

Stretch with his first longtail

A damp stormin with his mac tuna

Me with my longtail (pic by stormin)

What a great morning in trying conditions! Pics of richmond's fish coming up hopefully...

Richmond's contribution

Des and I launched together at about 5.20 am, just about dead low tide. After sitting in the hole waiting for a break in the sets for a couple of minutes, I decide to make a break for it. Bad call!

I could see a cracker coming, I paddled like crazy but hit the wave on a bit of an angle. Goodnight Irene! A big rollover for me.

I had another wave break on top of me and after that disappeared I managed to climb back on the yak and paddle out safely.

Des (stretch) suffered the same fate, rollover!

After I gathered my senses and sorted things out, I headed for Jew Shoal. The wind was up a bit, about 10 to 15 kts I'd say, and it wasn't very comfortable out there. It was a quick trip to Jew Shoal, but a real slog once there.

I could see Longtails jumping out occasionally and could also see schools of tuna busting out on the surface. I manged to fire off a few casts into the feeding tuna but couldn't manage a hit. I was also trolling a Barra Classic minnow that wasn't getting any joy either.

I decided to tie on a Threadybuster, a soft vibe style lure, to see if I could entice a hit on the troll.

It didn't take long for a fiesty 8kg Longtail to devour the Threadybuster. After a dogged fight I finally pinned the Longtail and dispatched him into the box.

Sometimes these Longtails make a hell of a mess when you gaff them in the wrong spot.

I kept trolling the Threadybuster hoping for another Longtail. Conditions weren't real flash and the fish seemed to have gone into hiding a bit. The bustups were thinning out.

Not long after I had another hookup. I thought this fish was a Kingy at first as it fought differently and when I first caught a glimpse of it, it looked very much like a Yellowtail Kingfish. I was wrong, another Longtail.

After that fish was stowed, it was decided to head for home. Tough paddle into the wind but luckily, no dramas for me on the return to the beach, unlike my launch.

Ended up with two nice fish, learnt a bit more in relation to Kayak fishing, so all in all, had a good day.

Lake MacDonald Record Frenzy, 25Apr12

TR by Gemini

Participants:  Gemini, Richmond (separate trips, same day & location)
Conditions: Overcast, windy (10knots from south)

I had a late launch at Lake MacDonald at around 9AM, opting for the botanical gardens boat ramp. I made straight for bass bay, trolling a large bibless minnow until I hit the weedy areas. I made my way into the inlet off bass bay (which is a creek and has a name I believe, but it escapes me) and started casting my r2s baby vib.

Not far around the bend I had a sharp strike on the lure which didn't take. I paused, then twitched the lure slightly...BAM! I was on. He ran straight into the weeds, quickly tangling himself along with my lure. I tweaked and tugged at his position, feeling him shift in the weed slightly, but he didn't budge much. Eventually the pressure I placed on him took its toll and it felt as though the line had given way. Lucky for me this wasn't the case, and I pulled in my lure, minus one barb on a treble.

I continued down the inlet and found no further action by its end. By this time the wind was becoming annoying so I turned back, making the odd cast on my return journey while battling the headwind. Not far from the spot where I was set upon by the weed bound fish, I had my lure slammed by another. This one was taken in the center of the channel, so I didn't give him the option of setting out for the weeds. He had my rod bending nicely, so I knew he was no tiddler, and when he broke the surface I knew for sure. I landed him just as the wind blew me into the weeds, so luck was with me this time.

He measured in at 41cm, which broke my personal best for bass (was 38cm), and the NY record which I set only a few weeks back. I was a happy camper.

Unfortunately for the fish, during my preparation for this mornings fishing I neglected to bring my pliers. The lure was wedged right inside his mouth, and it wasn't coming out without a fight (or putting me into the emergency waiting room). It looked like I was having bass for dinner.

TR by Richmond

I decided to fish Lake MacDonald today seeing that the weather wasn't suitable for an offshore jaunt, and at only 5 minutes from home, it was easy to scratch my itch.

I launched near the Strawberry Patch, battling against the Cabomba weed and the lilly pads. Launching at 10 a.m isn't ideal, so I wasn't real confident of bagging a Bass.

I tied on a River2Sea Baby Vibe and started to pepper the edge of the lilly pads, casting as close as I could to them. It was a battle to avoid the Cabomba. The Cabomba was winning, so I found some deeper water and vertically jigged the Baby Vibe.


After about an hour or so with a strengthening wind creating havoc for me, I had a solid bite which resulted in a hookup. No hard fast runs from this fish but solid head shakes and short power bursts for the bottom.

I won the little battle and I slid the net under a nice 42cm Yellowbelly. Very happy as the intended target was Australian Bass, and I gave myself very little chance of catching a fish of any sort.

42cm Lake Mac Yella

The fish behaved enough for me to take a couple of photos. In fact he behaved so well that I slipped him back into the murky water, never to be seen again.

Yellowbelly 42cm on mat


Swell day, spotty mac, 24Apr12

TR by sunshiner; contribution by pedro at end

Wind: Land breeze, SW, to 10 knots then calm
Swell: moderate easterly
Current: not detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, kiwibro (aka Mike), jimbo, jaro, sunshiner

05:45 this morning, pretty dark but light enough for us to see the surf from our seats at water level. I'm afloat in the channel next to the groyne, the current flowing strongly out to sea. Jaro is in the launch slot in front of me, patiently backpaddling and manoeuvering awaiting his chance to dart out through the waves. Jimbo, last to launch, is afloat behind me. Kiwibro is safely out there looking back at us like a hen looking after its brood. Pedro, well, we don't know where he is, but his truck’s in the car park.

Being close to low tide, every incoming wave breaks on the shallow sand bank just off the end of the groyne. Some are much bigger than others and the trick is to wait in the deeper water of the launch slot until you judge that the next few waves are littlies then go like a hooked longtail. If you've judged well you get through, but there’s no way there are going to be any totally dry bums today. If you misjudge you might get knocked off your yak and have to swim for it -- not a pleasant prospect at the start of a fishing trip.

My rudder makes it difficult to back paddle as efficiently as jaro can so to avoid cramping his style I am forced to circle in the confined space of the channel, riding small waves back toward the beach a little then turning back to run seaward again, swept along by the current. After I've done three circuits like this jaro decides to go and picks the lull quite well. I see my chance and charge through after him only to find his judgement is better than mine. The second of the two waves is the bigger and I can see it looming toward me. While I doubt that it’s big enough to roll me vertically, I know I’m going to get very wet at least. And I do, crashing through the wave just as it starts to break.

Leaving the surf zone behind you as you paddle out is a great feeling, even if you are soaked head to toe as I was. Jaro and kiwibro have a little giggle at my expense but we all know it’s part of the fun of offshore yak fishing. Jimbo joins us a couple of minutes later, also somewhat damp but I have the wettest bum today.

Kiwibro, just before 6:00am, out the back.

Preparations done, kiwi and I headed for Jew Shoal, while jimbo and jaro went for Hall’s Reef. The land breeze blew quite stiffly from the SW (its usual direction) all the way out. Jimbo changed his mind on account of murky water in close and decided to join us, leaving jaro to check the north shore and perhaps join us later.

When still about 2km from Jew Shoal I called pedro, who responded confirming that he was trolling at Jew Shoal and had experienced no action yet. I explained that we were very impressed that he’d launched in darkness through the waves we’d just traversed. ”Launched in Coward’s Corner,” was his response. Ah, so he’s not quite the superman we’d imagined.

I opted to drift fish using soft plastics as I often do. My drogue filled readily and the drift from the SW corner of Jew Shoal was pretty close to ideal speed. Even so, I had no significant action in the 700 metres I travelled on the breeze. I couldn't even catch a small reefie, even though there were heaps of bait schools on the sounder. No surface action other than a couple of isolated splashes was observed.

But pedro announced the capture of a snapper on a trolled slimy mackerel. Then later he nailed a spotty mac (potential new Noosa Yakkers Record, we think) which took a dead poddy mullet. Jimbo, meanwhile profitably used his supply of prawns to bag two or three small sweetlip and a small snapper all caught in shallow water (10m or so), near The Pinnacles.

Kiwibro decided to check out LH Reef on the way home and Jaro joined us from Halls Reef area as he could find no action out there. By 09:00, however, I was sure that I’d left my mojo on the beach and decided to pack it in, especially as we had to run the gauntlet again, and high tide (due soon) was a good time to do it. Jaro decided he’d also head for home, fishless, but pedro opted to try a bit longer.

And so it was that jaro and I arrived off Middle Groyne about 09:45. Kiwibro had landed sometime earlier and warned us by radio that the waves were standing up and to be careful with our timing. Ever since we’d left Jew Shoal we’d been able to see big waves striking the groyne, even from nearly 4km away so we were aware that a possible unintended bath was in the offing.

We always rig for rollover in such conditions, having been smashed a few times in the past. Today was no exception.

10:00am. Jaro, ready to go, awaits his chance at Middle Groyne. Note that his yak is parallel with the beach. That breaking wave is the second last of a set.

The trick here is to realize that you only have to cross about 30m or so of surf zone before you reach the safety of the deep water channel through which we launch. Timing is critical. Wait for a larger set of several waves to go through, making sure that you don't hold too close to the end of the groyne because the bigger waves will break further out and could take you out. When holding, always be ready to quickly bring the bow into a wave which threatens to break before it reaches you. The best way to hold is probably parallel to the beach so that you get a good view of oncoming waves and can quickly turn into a wave and just as quickly turn to run toward the beach. Sets usually consist of three or four big waves, but sometimes there are more, so wait for a few seconds after what you think is the last wave of the set. Then check out to sea to be as sure as you can be that the set is complete, turn toward shore and go as if your life depends on it. Do not turn back. Deep, safe water is not far away, very close to the western side of the wall, so aim for that. Be aware that there will be a strong outgoing current in that deep water area but it’s rarely so strong that you can’t make headway against it. If it is too strong for you, move a little away from the wall and take advantage of the spent waves moving toward the beach. Keep paddling hard until you hit the beach.

Jaro and I both made it through safely, using the technique described above. Jimbo now appeared just off the groyne so I walked out onto the wall with the camera. He also got in safely, this time avoiding the channel’s strong current.

Jimbo’s fish

Hopefully pedro will have even more to tell us. Any pics, pedro?

From pedro

Nothing more to report other than a roll over on the way in.
The spotty went 83 cm and the snapper 61.

Borumba Sadness 21Apr12

TR by Gemini

Distance 9.9 km
Max Speed 6.0 km/hour
Avg Speed 2.4 km/hour

Participants:  Gemini, Jag-One

After driving through some pretty dense fog to get to the lake, I launched just before 7AM into picture postcard scenery.

Who needs to fish when you can sit around and look at this all day?

After a couple of minutes paddling, Jag-One checked in over the radio and said he was unloading in the car park. While waiting, I trolled my way over to a small bay and flicked a few lures to pass the time, but had no joy. The sounder was showing a lot of activity deep down, but nothing my shallow diving and surface lures could attract. Jag-One made his way over and we continued our journey.

Jag-One opted to have a fish free day and paddle out solely to collect his red-claw traps...

...while my yak was armed to the teeth and bristled with all sorts of freshwater tackle.

As we progressed around the lake, the sounder was showing a lot of fishy activity at various depths. Switching between poppers, spinners, and trolling a bibless minnow had nil effect on the appetite of the fish though.

We reached the spot jag-One had placed his traps and he set about retrieving them. I drifted about amongst the trees, changing lures a few times, but nothing was hungry. Jag-One had taken a few nice red-claw, but not quite as nice a haul as his last trip. He decided to run his armoured lunch back in, so we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

I then took my time down one of the inlets to the lake, casting at every bubble and swirl in the hope of getting a touch, but still nothing. I landed on a dry part of the creek bed and had a snack while I nursed my injured pride back to health so I could venture out to try again.

I headed back up the inlet and to the north. By this time it was getting fairly warm, so I decided to try another group of trees in the hope the structure there housed some hungry fishies, and then head for home...I should have just head for home. I didn't register a single bump, twitch, or knock on the line. The fish were on the sounder, but just not hungry.

On my way back I ran across a couple of gents in stinkys who were grumbling about the same issues I had faced (no fish). One mentioned the water quality wasn't great at the moment, but not being a regular there I couldn't really be a judge of that. When I pulled into the boat ramp I spied a reasonable yellowbelly being filleted, and upon my congratulations to the owner I was told it was the only hungry (insert expletive here) fish out there today.

No fish, but nice scenery. I've seen a lot more of Borumba today than I have in the past at least, and although I didn't get as far as i'd have liked, I have a much better idea of the layout so I can plan for next time.

GPS Track

JS longtail, pedro, 16Apr12

TR by pedro

Wind: S 10 knots plus
Swell: .5 to 1m
Launch point: MG
Participant: Pedro

Launched MG 5.20am and headed for Jew Shoal. The southerly scared me off going north.

Trolled and drift fished bagging one sweetlip and releasing three small sharks. I hooked an unstoppable that cut the main line on the reef.

The tuna made themselves known with short lived bustups and fish clearing the water occasionally, so tied on a slug and chased birds for a couple of hours resulting in one average longtail.

Pic by sunshiner at MG wash point

Good luck tomorrow

Another Spaniard, 09Apr12

TR by Pedro

Wind: Light SSE
Swell: 1m
Launch Point: DIP
Participant: Pedro

As posted earlier we took the inland road north to Rainbow Beach then south to Double Is Point.

Arrived around 4am and launched around 4.45 with a few decent waves to punch through resulting in a wet bum.

Once I was in deeper water I deployed a HB and a Spaniard special with a large slimy attached.

My plan was to head to the edge of the exclusion zone (Wolf Rock) and travel east then north to a mark I found online.

This brought me about 3.5k from DIP headland. At around 7am my slimy got hit and I called shark due to the heavy but slow fight and an hour later I had a 3m shark on the surface. With most of my line on the spool I cut it.

I tied another Spaniard special and decided to bottom fish with my other rod, leaving the SS with about 20m of line out and it wasn't long before it went off and ten minutes later I landed my first Spanish mackerel and depending on eyetag's fish (well done) I might have a NY record. Mine went 1.295m.

Having stowed the fish I headed in picking up a spotty near the headland.

All in all a nice day out.


The Mighty Spaniard 09Apr12

TR by gemini with contribution by sunshiner and eyetag

Wind: SW, starting at 5 knots, dying out gradually
Swell: low E
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: eyetag, richmond, gemini, carlo, beejay, whalebait, helveticus, sunshiner, jaro, jimbo, imax, stretch, hollywood (13)

Distance 22.8 km
Max Speed 12.6 km/hour
Avg Speed 4.0 km/hour

Richmond, whalebait, eyetag, and myself all arrived at MG within minutes of each other a little before 5AM. I made sure I was first so I could steal Richmond's car park for the second time this weekend... sorry mate. :) We promptly unloaded without much fuss and headed down for launch. The tide was out a ways, so the launch would be a possible damp one...as Richmond and myself found out. Asides from wet bums, we had no troubles launching onto a moonlit bay.

As usual, my stuffing around with tackle after launch put me behind the pack as we headed up the north shore. It was my intention to keep relatively close to the shore on my way north, and then out to Halls for a bottom bash if the pelagics didn't show. Whalebait and eyetag kept close to shore as they moved north, and Richmond stayed further out to the east of me. Dawn broke, and still we continued north with no hits. Schools of baitfish had started to appear on my sounder, and birds were seen heading north, but no bustups had yet been sighted. By this time we had been hailed on the radio from the other yakkers to say they were on the water with some heading our way, and some heading to JS.

Richmond turned in further towards the shorline as we moved north, and I decided to head out to Halls for a look. By the time I arrived there and rigged my bottom bashing rig, eyetag and whalebait had reported bustups appearing closer to shore. I observed a lone stinky briefly trolling around Halls and then taking off, not filling me with much confidence, so I made my way back closer to shore.

I trolled a lazy arc on my way back closer into shore and then headed south to troll parallel to the coastline for a while. About 500m into this heading I had my trolled line smashed, producing a most satisfying scream from the reel. I decided to test my line strength with this fish (or "cheating" as Jaro put it) and didn't give him much drag to play with. The line held and very soon I had a healthy longtail tuna aboard. He even de-hooked himself for me after I'd gaffed him, allowing me to put him straight in the hold. How considerate!

Pic by sunshiner

I continued my parallel troll down the coast until I heard the magic words from eyetag... "I've just boated a 20kg spaniard!". I turned north again and headed to where all the action was being reported from eyetag and whalebait. I swung out east first to find Jaro and eyetag who were admiring eyetags spaniard before he headed back to MG. The spaniard was so large he could not keep it in his storage without destabilising his yak, so he had to nurse it home!

Pic by Jaro

From here Jaro and I made our way north to find whalebait and the mackerel. As we made our way past the caravan park on the north shore we found many small bustups, and whalebait in amongst them fighting another longtail (his fourth for the day I believe). Jaro and I trolled around for a while, with Jaro hooking up, but failing to land. I had one hookup on a cast into a bustup, but the little bugger had teeth and took my slug.

By this time my body was telling me i'd had enough for the day and the bustups were disappearing rapidly. I started a slow troll back along the shoreline to the south. Other yakkers further south were also reporting they were heading back to MG by this time too.

It was only a few hundred meters before my trolled line was screaming again. This time I quickly boated a spotted mackerel, but the spotty had other ideas about its final destination. After gaffing him and pulling him over the bow of my yak, he decided sitting still wasn't in his repertoire. Thrashing madly, he managed to pull free of the gaff, attach my lure to the reef shoe on my left foot (pulling free of it in the process), and then buggered off over the side, all in the blink of an eye. I think I was pretty lucky not to have a treble in my foot, and without the footwear that would most likely have been the case. At that stage, imax arrived on the scene to offer his condolences.

After that excitement, the long troll back to MG was uneventful. I was very glad to be back on the beach after that 22.8KM paddle!

GPS Track

Sunshiner contribution

Got a wet bum again today despite the fact that the swell was lower than two days ago. I had orders from the main cook to get a sweetlip or snapper today so ignored the charge up the beach by the rest of the throng and paddled alone out to Jew Shoal, noting quite a few terns going out and even a dolphin crossing my path. Looks like conditions are getting better.

On arrival at Jew Shoal I switched my casting outfit to my customary 1/8 oz jig and 100mm squidgy SP and started a drift near the Pinnacles. There were baitfish on the sounder but absolutely no signs of predators on the surface. However, a few hundreds metres away to the SW there were occasional bustups. I'd laid out my third cast and was monitoring the jig’s progress downward with my finger gently on the braid, bail arm closed. I quick tap was distinctly transmitted up the line followed a couple of seconds later by the tightening of the braid and the bending of the rod tip. Aha, a snapper I thought, but then a screaming run, almost identical to that I experienced last time I'd chucked out an SP over a month ago in the same area, had me changing my mind. Oh no! Not another longtail on my 6kg snapper outfit! The lengthy and one-sided fight was going OK, I thought, but the knot to the leader, just tied yesterday, gave out when I was getting the fish close to the yak. Almost certainly a longtail.

About now I heard the first radio ”yahoo” from whalebait, way over at Halls Reef. Then, every few minutes someone else would chime in as there were many users on the radio net and almost all were over in the same area. The picture I got from 4km away was that the fish were going nuts, very close to the shore. Bustups all around were being reported.

This was all too much for me so I packed up and headed west and not long afterward eyetag radioed his news about his huge Spaniard. Then he mentioned that he’d had to leave because the fish was too big to allow him to continue fishing safely.

Well, of course I got there way too late, but at least I did paddle over there. The wind was kind this time and dropped out completely allowing me a gentle paddle back to Middle Groyne where four of us landed simultaneously, with I being the only one not to have caught a longtail. On the beach I waited and measured most longtails as the yaks arrived. Amazingly, all were just on or just under a metre in length.

The final tally as far as I’m aware was:

whalebait: four longtails boated, two released, two kept
gemini: one longtail, one dropped spotty mac
jimbo: one longtail, one small snapper
eyetag: one ENORMOUS Spaniard
imax: one longtail
richmond: one longtail

A great Noosa Yakkers fishing expedition. Knackered now after a ~20km paddle.

Photo provided by Richmond

Eyetag contribution

After a long spell of bad weather and work commitments it was good to finally get out in the ocean for a fish. The day started slowly with a launch around 4.45. After a brief discussion of destination, north we went. I paddled close to shore alongside Brian (whale bait) while Jeff (richmond) and Matt (gemini) peeled off and stayed wider. We kept heading North with the birds, then we started to see the odd bust up. Around the time the sun was just clear of the horizon Brian yelled "YEP I'm on", and the fight began with a Longtail that was landed some time later. I paddled over to have a look and got a photo. I started trolling again and I was thinking it must be my turn now. Shortly after I had a strike but dropped the fish after a couple of minutes. Checking the lure, everything seemed in order so out it went again. I'd paddled about 5 minutes to the South when the reel screamed and kept screaming untill the spool was half empty and I started to get some line back. The fight was all over the place with the fish going deep then rising, coming straight toward me then deep and hanging tough, then I felt the head shakes and thought surely not this couldn't be a Spaniard. Dismissing the thought of a Spaniard I battled on and on until it came to the surface about 10 metres away, so I backed off the drag and went easy on him. A couple of minutes later he was on the gaff and across my lap. STOKED! What a nice looking fish, another victim to the Jaro Special (the only alteration being single hooks instead of the trebles). I think he must have been one very unlucky fish, once onboard the hook almost fell out of his lip and I was using 60lb mono leader. With the fish stowed I headed for home.

What a difference 24 hours makes, 08Apr12

Trip report by Turtleboy

Whalerider, with his new 4.3 metre Prowler, and I launched from MG at around 630am. It was a beautiful morning and an easy launch through a small swell before rigging up and heading north. I had already radioed IMAX who was out around the tip of the national park and BigKev who was up past Little Halls Reef. I believe that Corie was also out but not sure of his location.

We decided to head north, based upon the intel from the previous day, and we made it in record time to Little Halls Reef aided by an increasingly strong south, south easterly wind. Whalerider was checking our progress on his new gps and confirmed that we were traveling at an average of 7 kph with little effort. That's the good news !

Whilst we stopped to speak to a few surfers and a lone fisherman on a jet ski, there was little other activity. No birds nor bust ups. So after trolling around LHR for 45 minutes, with increasing winds and bad weather out to sea, we decided to head home which took a lot longer than the drift out.

Bashing into a nasty little chop we made it back in about an hour. I saw one small bust up but was unable to get a cast away due to the distance and the breeze right on the bow of the kayak. Meanwhile BigKev had skirted back down the shoreline and across the river mouth. We all arrived back at MG at about the same time. After a successful beach landing we compared notes and agreed it was a challenging work out despite the lack of fish on board.

Corie, who I think had landed and packed up earlier, and Grant had a quick body surf whilst I provided details of our club to 2 new potential members, and of course had a quick chat to the surf club members in the west beach tower, on what we know as middle groyne.


Lots of longtails! 07Apr12

TR contributions by sunshiner, richmond, gemini, in that sequence, below

Sunshiner contribution

Wind: SE, starting at 5 knots, building to 10 knots
Swell: 2m SE
Current: not recorded
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Water quality: Slightly murky in the bay but cleaning up quickly
Participants: richmond, gemini, corie, beejay, jaro, sunshiner

It being Easter, the moon was full and being a clear sky morning, it was beaming brightly low in the west when I arrived, early but last, at the Middle Groyne carpark. Corie M-T, richmond and gemini were already on the water (this was about 05:15), jaro had just arrived and beejay was readying his yak on the beach, having trundled it all the way from the western end of Hastings Street. Before offloading I strolled down to the beach, past a couple of huddled bodies in sleeping bags, where I found beejay assembling his gear. A small surf break that wouldn’t pose any problems today (really?) was visible in the moonlight just off the end of the groyne.

Shortly afterward jaro and I joined beejay at the launch point. I went first, closely followed by jaro who had a splendid view as I went through the break zone just a little too early and collided with a head high wave just as it was breaking. I got through OK, but it was definitely not a dry-bum launch. Jaro got some amusement, and I was thoroughly soaked from head to foot (so glad I'm launching into a sea whose temperature is usually near 20 celsius).

By radio I then confirmed with richmond that he was heading toward LH Reef and Hall’s, followed closely by gemini. Corie doesn’t have a radio but richmond told me that he had launched earlier and was also headed for Hall’s. We three at Middle Groyne now decided to head for Jew Shoal, thereby spreading the scouting parties around.

The breeze was steady from the SE so jaro and beejay popped their sails and soon jaro was way ahead of me. Only a few terns were visible on the way but the water was reasonably clean. By the time we reached the shoal I’d seen no dolphins, turtles, flying fish or surface activity but a dozen or so terns were hanging around the shoal, staying up high but obviously looking carefully for signs of baitfish being pushed to the surface. Just after we’d arrived I was trolling my Halco LP in a pattern over the Pinnacles and other prime Jew Shoal locations when the radio blared. It was a ”Yee-Ha” from richmond, about 4 km to the west. Then shortly afterward he explained that he was at Hall’s Reef, there were longtails blasting out all over the place and he was already hooked up to one of these speedsters. Then gemini radioed that he also was hooked up in the same area. While we had no obvious surface action at Jew Shoal I had spotted two big ”boils” from individual large fish so I and my companions were torn between staying here (might burst into life) and heading for Hall’s (definite action, but still nearly 4km away). Eventually, after a few minutes consideration, I decided that I’d take the plunge and paddle downwind to Hall’s even though I knew that the 5km paddle back to Middle Groyne from there would be all into the breeze. My two companions at Jew Shoal decided the same.

When still 1km from Hall’s I came upon richmond with fresh blood on his fishing shirt, a fish in the fishbox but a frown on his face. I’ll let him tell you why he was frowning instead of smiling, for as you can see, he had reason to smile.

07:30. Richmond with slug-caught longtail

About now, gemini chimed in with the info that his fish had just self-released 40 minutes into the fight. But at least he got his lure back. According to richmond, the amount of activity had dropped off markedly now compared with earlier. Even so, bustups could be seen here and there.

We were now almost 5km from Middle Groyne, which was directly upwind. The breeze had just now slackened a little but could spring up again at any time. Be warned, this trip can be a very hard slog if the SE breeze gets to 10 knots. Being aware of this possible problem, the five of us (don’t know where Corie was) now started to punch into the breeze toward Middle Groyne, anxious to reduce the burden if possible. I trolled, as did the others I believe and as we plugged along we were distracted from time to time by small, brief bustups on or near our course.

On one of these distractions, jaro cast a slug and got a hookup, which lasted only a minute or so before the fish detached. Very shortly afterward I got a solid strike on my Halco LP. The line poured off against the drag and I was just settling in to the fight when this fish also detached. Bummer!

The five of us were spread over a couple of kilometres length and about a kilometre wide, all heading toward Middle Groyne. Richmond (no radio at this stage) led the pack, while gemini was tail end charlie. I’d just watched the GPS tick over the distance to Middle Groyne from 3km into the high twos when gemini, down the back, announced another hookup.

Knowing that he might need some help as these were big fish (we could see them jumping) and he hadn’t caught one before, I decided to turn downwind again and paddle the 600m or so back to him. Besides, I had a camera and he hadn’t and a man’s first kayak-caught tuna should be photographed on the water if possible. Jaro decided to come back also.

08:31. Gemini half way into the fight.

Eventually the longtail (for that’s what it was as we’d seen it a couple of times as it came up to the yak) tired and gemini planted the gaff and hauled it aboard.

08:44. Gemini working on getting his lure out.

His first longtail, Laguna Bay

It was just after gemini had gaffed his fish that beejay, now closest to the beach of the rest of us announced that he also was hooked up. This was also likely to be a longtail and another first so jaro headed off to see if he needed any help while gemini and I had a photo session and tidied up.

After this it was the long slog back to the beach for gemini and me, almost an hour away. During this time beejay successfully boated his longtail and also headed for the beach so that jaro, I, beejay and gemini arrived back in that order, over a period of 20 minutes or so. Although there were a few hopeful board riders at the outer end of the groyne, there was no real problem in getting back in and all hit the beach the right way up.

Beejay’s first longtail, held by his son’s girlfriend (yes, the whole family was down on the beach to welcome him back)

Same fish, this time with beejay

Gemini’s longtail reluctantly held by Jasmine, young visitor from UK.

Jaro leaving beach fishless! We oldies let the young guys catch the fish today!

Thanks for coming along guys. Monday, perhaps?

Richmond’s contribution in which he explains why he wasn’t listening to his radio after catching his longtail:

Richmond’s contribution

I pulled into the MG carpark bright and early to find Corie and Gemini unloading their yaks.

After a little chat with Corie I decided to follow his lead and head off to the Little Hall’s and Hall’s Reef areas.

Corey was out of sight when Matt and I launched (which was a breeze), so we headed our yaks to LH and off we went. Upon first light the birds were pretty thick and were overtaking us heading for the Hall’s reef belt. Nothing happened, no hits or action until we got to Hall’s. Matt headed off to some birds dipping and I headed off in another direction.

At one stage I looked over at Matt and a decent Longy jumped right out in front of him. It looked about 10 metres away from him. Would have been a great photo.

Shortly afterward I cast my 40gram Raider into the feeding tuna. The slug nearly made it back to the yak but a Longy belted it 5 metres away. I was on. First decent fish for a while and boy did it feel good!

It was a short brutal fight and he came to the yak pretty green. I couldn’t tail grab as he was still going strong, so I decided to gaff him and bring him aboard.

Did I say he was green????

Bloody hell, the fish went berserk, his beating tail was giving me a hiding, blood everywhere, his tail hit me in the face and actually flicked my radio off my PFD. Bye bye radio! Not happy Jan!!! The Icom radio floats, but do you think I could find it? No, it was a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Oh well, nice fish landed, tough lesson learnt… tether everything!

I stayed out maybe another hour after that, the tuna boils seemed to be dissipating, then headed for home.

As it turned out Corie landed on the beach about 5 minutes ahead of me.

He also had a Longtail on board about the same size. He also had a bigger Longtail on but only landed the head as it was attacked and devoured by 2 Tiger Sharks. Corie said the biggest was about 7 to 8 foot long.

Richmond (left) and Corie

It was Corie’s day today, he scored a nice Longtail, didn’t get attacked by the 2 tigers and he found a $50 note floating at the end of Middle Groyne.

So Corie made money, and I’ve gotta fork out for another Icom radio! Lol.

That’s fishin’.

Congrats to gemini and beejay on what I think is their first tunas. Good job fellas.


Gemini's contribution

Distance: 16.5 km
Max Speed: 8.4 km/hour
Avg Speed: 3.3 km/hour

After a brief discussion of options before launch at 5AM, Richmond decided Halls Reef would be worth a look. I had no better plan, so I tagged along for the ride. We were not far past the river mouth when Sunshiner called in via the radio to let us know he and the others were on the water and heading to Jew Shoal.

Around the Little Halls area we started to see a lot of birds restlessly hunting around. Things were looking good, and it wasn't long before we started to see bustups appearing all over the place.

Not far from the Hall’s Reef mark both Richmond and I targeted a bustup that appeared within range of us, and we both hooked up immediately. I was dragged away from Richmond by a fair distance, and in the process of fighting his tuna he managed to lose his radio overboard (so I was told later), so communication between us halted at that point. [Editor: See Richmond’s contribution above]

My fight lasted a good 35-40 minutes before the rotten bugger dropped his hook and charged away. I managed a look at him a few times before he escaped, and it was a nice sized longtail tuna. The below image shows an extreme closeup of the GPS track showing how the tuna dragged me around for a portion of the fight.

After swearing at the sea gods for a few minutes, I then turned about and went to find the others. The tuna were about in force, and a few hookups were called over the radio on my way in.

As I dejectedly paddled my way home, it appeared the sea gods didn't take kindly to my cursing of their names, and offered me another tuna to play with in compensation. My trolled line started screaming, and I was quick to accept the rod into my hands. Sunshiner and Jaro arrived to watch the fun as I was hauled around by the longtail, offering titbits of advice such as how to maximise my chances of NOT having my wrist broken by the tuna’s tail. :)

The fight was over much faster than my first failed exercise, mainly due to the heavier tackle on the troll rod, but my declining stamina and barracking cheer squad also helped. My first longtail tuna had been landed!

Once I had tidied up I headed back to shore, not bothering to put down any trolled lines (I wasn’t feeling greedy).

Not a bad day out!

GPS Track