Yakfinn's First Longtail, 27May12

yakfinnTR by Yakfinn, contributions from Iain and Dan

Wind: Light from the SW
Swell: Light Easterly
Launch point: MG

Participants: Sean (yakfinn), Brian, Craig (Noddy), Iain, Dan (fishinDan), and later Paul and Turtleboy.

It was a very frosty morning that greeted us this morning as we arrived at MG around 0530 - 0545, however we were treated to clear skies, light winds and low swell, which made it ideal for fishing.

On arrival in the car park I met Craig, Brian, Ian and Dan all for the first time. The general consensus was to head North along the beach and try and find the Longtails that had been reported by Eyetag.

The sand felt like it was around minus 10 degrees this morning as I was walking across it bare footed on the way to the launch point. It was a great relief to get them in the warm water.

Brian and Craig had already launched without issue and were heading up to the North shore when Ian, Dan and myself launched about ten minutes behind them. Not much swell around today, but with it being dead low tide I still managed to find a small wave and started the journey with a wet backside. Dan is an experienced yak fisherman, but a newcomer to surf launches. He handled it with ease.

We paddled for 25 minutes or so north and it was evident by the amount of terns around that it was shaping up to be a good days fishing.

We arrived a few km's up the beach to find Craig and Brian chasing bust ups all over the place, but slightly frustrated as they hadn't been able to entice a strike. For the next 2 hrs we all chased small bust-ups of what appeared to be Longtail Tuna getting casts away very frequently. Every now and then a large boil-up would appear and then, with a few minutes, disappear to the depths.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

There were several "I'm on" type radio calls made over the next hour or so with numerous fish being dropped. At one stage I observed both Brian and Dan hooked up in close proximity of each other only to see that a few minutes into the fight they had unfortunately both dropped their fish.

A short time later and it was Dan who struck first, after a radio call of "I'm on", landing a decent sized Mac Tuna. Well done.

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Brian had had several hookups but disappointment each time after a few more were dropped, some of them a result of bite-off's. Noddy was working in closer to the shore line and had reportedly also dropped a few.

There was even a call over the radio to say that some spotties had been sighted on the surface.

I was paddling along waiting for some signs of life to appear when, suddenly, a big boil presented itself right in front of me within easy casting distance. With the first cast away I was on!

The fish pulled me straight into the middle of the boil, where there were Tuna jumping all around me, and I could see then swimming underneath my kayak. Very exciting. The fish had a few short runs, but it was clear to me that this was no monster, and a few minutes later, I boated and released and average sized Mac Tuna. Great Fun.

The fishing gods were nice to me today, because several minutes later and another boil presented itself right in front of me. Again I hooked up on the first cast, and it was clear right from the start that this fish was in another league than the Mac Tuna. For the next 15 - 20 minutes I fought hard and to my delight the hooks held and I soon had my first view of the fish. A nice sized Longtail Tuna. My first Longtail from a kayak.

It took me 5 mins or so to get it up those last few metres as I was playing it very carefully having lost a tuna at the boat late last year. Dan was close by and he helped me to boat the fish by steadying my yak and helped me lift it into the back compartment of the Mission Catch 420, which I was very appreciative of.

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It was as if someone had turned off the tap after that, which the action stopping almost immediately after that fish was taken. There were still a few small bust ups here and there but the action had considerably died down.

We started to troll back towards MG, diverting several time to see if we could entice a strike from some small bust ups.

Along the way home we encountered Steve (Turtleboy) and a friend making their way to the North Shore area.

Brian, Ian, Dan and myself all headed for MG, as it was around 0945 by this stage.

Everyone landed safely without issue. Well done to Dan as it was one of his first surf launches, he handles the launch and return like he'd done it a hundred times.

A great day on the water, great fun chasing Tuna bust-ups, and a very happy day for me to land my first Longtail from the kayak.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Contribution from Iain

Hi All,

Thanks for making me welcome on my first Noosa Yakkers trip.

I did my first trip from MG on Friday into some less than pleasant swell. Was getting sucked out of the gutter during the launch faster than I wanted so headed away from the wall and took a wave on an angle, rolling me in. After heading back to the beach for a re-group, I headed out again and walked a very long way out (low tide) and was aided by the local surfing instructor who kindly held me straight as we waited for a break and pushed me out.

It was not quite the break I would personally have gone with but he gave the push and I went. Out the back I hit some big waves (2m swell) just before they broke which was quite an experience. Finally out the back, a bit shaken I rigged up, still fearful of being pushed back in the surf zone.

I trolled up to near Little Halls and back again for no action although did get a slow pull of line out at one stage.

I must share I did not enjoy my time out there in the bigger swell much with the rain coming and going, all with the re-entry back though the surf being in the back of my mind.

Arriving back near MG I stowed everything and proceeded to wait for a break and ran for it. Got a smaller wave that drove my nose under a long way and I rolled.

Good lessons in bigger swell.

Sunday was beautiful, flat as a tack compared to Friday and got out dry. The bay was very pleasant as we and the other guys watched the Sunrise. I echo the cold comments of others!

I too headed to North Shore and encountered dozens of bust ups. Lost a take on my trolled halco a few seconds in to the fight. Later on I paddled up to a large frenzy of what appeared to be long tails and hooked up first cast on a slug. An exciting time on 15lb on a 4000 series reel but 10 min in I lost it as it broke through my 60lb leader. Tuna?

Loved my time on the water with a great bunch guys surrounded by a lot of big fish.

Thanks all and I look forward to being back there.

Cheers, Iain.

Contribution from Dan

Was good to finally get out with the Noosa Yakkers! And thanks to Sean for loan of the radio.

Having never launched from MG before, I was a little nervous of taking an early morning swim... And with the weather so chilly before sun up, it was in the back of my mind a lot. Thankfully the launch was relatively easy, and I got through ok. I did get a shot of cold water straight onto the privates however, which REALLY woke me up! We rigged up and headed north. I was trolling a 120 Halco, and had a 35g Halco slice ready on the casting rod.

There were bustups everywhere the further north we got. They were all realitively short lived, and seemed to be more one or two fish rather than a big school. Casting the slug into the action as it was on top, and winding straight away seemed to be the trick. Once they submerged, dropping the slug down didn't seem to get any bites which suprised me a little.

Brian and I had a double hookup on good fish, however they conspired to drag the two of us into each other, tangling lines with kayaks and other lines... Both fish were dropped. I landed a Mac Tuna (released), and had another 6 or so hookups that didn't stick. The treble on the slug had weakened after the kayak tangle earlier, and I stupidly didn't change it...

After a while I hooked onto a much bigger fish. This was definitely a Longtail! After being dragged around for a while, I tried to quickly wind in my trolling rod one handed, and as I looked behind me for a minute, I felt the line go funny, then REALLY tight, then an almighty crack... SPOOLED!

After that, I only had the trolling rod which had a couple of hits, but nothing stayed connected. The interesting thing was, the hits all came when I was stationary, so the lure would have been bobbing on the top of the water...

It was a great day, and I was glad to be there. Got some good photos for Sean of his Longtail, and I got some video of jumping fish as well. Will try and upload them when I can.

Got to get a new reel & line. Bring on the next trip!!!


Pedro goes to Coolum, 22May12

TR by Pedro pedro

Wind: SSE 12knots dropping out to 5knots
Swell: 1-2 feet
Launch Point: Coolum Beach, near the surf club

I tried launching opposite one of two connected inshore holes and had a hell of a time controlling the yak against the shore dump, as the waves were coming from all directions. The result -- totally rolled, losing my head torch and with the reels taking a dunking in the sandy water.

After getting things in order, I launched between the holes and once past the shore dump veered left and out one of the holes. This was the first time for me in this area, so I headed to a mark on Coolum reef according to the GPS co-ordinates which I scored online. They indicated 1.7k to destination.

On the way, I marked the first bit of reef that showed on the sounder and continued to mark interesting areas till reaching my final destination.

With no surface activity seen, I set up for drift fishing using the spaniard special as a trailing rig and prawns for casting. I like the SS for this, as when it's time to move, the trailing line stays in the water to be towed to the new location and dropping to the bottom on arrival. I drop the SS all the way to the bottom and then wind up a few turns. I also keep an eye on the sounder for changes in depth while drifting.

The first area had a depth around 23m and was fishing slow, so I moved west into shallower water 10m to 15m with more structure. I managed to mark the spot where I was dealing with a double hookup of the two bigger Grassies as pictured below. This area produced another three. The nearest reef is only 1.3k from launch point and when conditions are good I will go again as it has potential.

If you include Arkright shoal, and where I saw other boats to the east, it is similar in size to SR. Landing was uneventful. Following the track on the GPS helped find the landing point. 

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 Cheers Pedro

Tuna for two, 20May12

TR by sunshiner with contributions from richmond and eyetag at the end.

Wind: SE 5 knots inside the bay, building to 15 knots southerly in open waters
Swell: low easterly
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, eyetag, daveyg, sunshiner, stormin, turtleboy, whalerider

Launch conditions were ideal this morning, but we all were pretty sure that once we were a couple of km offshore things would chop up a bit. We were right, but, as it turned out, we had to battle an unforecast wind direction change also. Stormin, I and DaveyG, on his first launch as a Noosa Yakker (but by no means his first launch), launched together at around 0600, perhaps 30 minutes or so after eyetag and richmond and about 15 minutes before turtleboy and whalerider.

06:01. DaveyG finalizing his pre-launch preparations.

Based on the forecast, I’d opted to hug the shelter of the headland to the east then use the breeze to swing out to Jew Shoal where I thought some pelagics may be hanging around. A plan to target snapper was also in my mind. Stormin and DaveyG opted to tag along with me even though we’d found out straight after launch that eyetag and richmond were heading toward Hall’s Reef. The initial report of no action from these two confirmed in my mind that perhaps we had a reasonable plan (Wrong!).

Just before we three set off I noticed another yak fisher afloat just off the groyne. Wondering who this was I paddled over to find a young guy afloat on what looked like a bloated surf board, with two rods sticking out of it. It turned out that his name is Eli, from Kin Kin. I’d never seen him before and certainly had never seen an offshore fishing craft like his out there before.

Eli, who intends to join Noosa Yakkers.

It would have been ill-mannered of me not to invite him to come along with us so before long he’d made our trio a foursome. Stormin, having somewhat fallen out of love with his Hobie Outback after his first few encounters with the Middle Groyne launch, was riding a borrowed Hobie Revolution, a skinnier boat than his usual ride, and thus easier to paddle, a characteristic which is very useful in surf.

On the way to Jew Shoal I noticed that the wind seemed stronger than I’d hoped it would be but it was still safe in my opinion. To my amazement Eli had no problem keeping up with us, even with a chunk missing from one of his paddle blades. With little sign of pelagic action at Jew Shoal I rerigged both rods for snapper fishing only to start receiving info by radio that our chums to the west were now encountering plenty of pelagics. It was here that I noticed that the wind was much more southerly than the forecast SE, as my (too fast) drift track on my GPS clearly revealed.

OK, too fast to drift fish, no pelagics here, it was an easy decision. DaveyG had already taken it and started to move west. I also initially decided to head toward the action which by now was hotting up with eyetag and richmond exhorting us to ”get over here”. The trouble was that eyetag’s ”here” was over three kilometres away, across and down the wind. (Eyetag, of course, didn’t know our position, and neither should he.) And to get back to Middle Groyne from there involved an arduous plod directly into a probably strengthening southerly. See what I mean:

And here’s the actual wind at the time (note the change in direction at about launch time).

It was around now that a waterspout appeared to the west of a heavy shower under the dark mass of cloud to the north. I’ve seen several of these over the sea out from Noosa but this time I had my camera ready.

After a short time on the NW track I very quickly concluded that the trip wasn’t worth the trouble especially as both stormin and Eli (neither of whom had radios), might choose to follow me into a situation they perhaps were unprepared for.

Accordingly, I turned into the wind directly for Middle Groyne and noticed immediately that my GPS showed that my speed through the water dropped to around 3kph as a result of wind speed and chop. But at least I knew I was making headway and would get back to the beach in about an hour provided the wind didn’t strengthen. Both stormin and Eli travelled with me and after about 50 minutes of hard yakka we reached the more sheltered waters of the inner bay.

By now I was aware from radio reports that the others were also headed for home, slogging into the relentless southerly wind, a couple of them with quite a load of fish aboard.

The beach landing was of course, dead easy in the southerly wind. I went in first closely followed by stormin who then decided he’d go back out and try out the borrowed Revo in the tiny surf break.

Then came DaveyG

and Eli

The remaining four, eyetag, richmond, turtleboy and whalerider were together, about 30 minutes behind us. The fish the first two pulled out when they hit the beach caused a bit of excitement among the usual beachgoers. Richmond and eyetag had three longtails each, and all were in the range 90-100cm long. They were the only two to catch fish today and from what I heard they could have caught a lot more in the feeding frenzy they encountered.

Eyetag with his three longtails

Richmond with one of his three

The largest fish in each catch was measured and was found to be just on or under a metre long. Eyetag’s largest weighed 9.5kg. It’s interesting that the first longtail we caught this calendar year (February) was 105cm long (and stands as a NY Record). Since then we’ve caught many and all of them have been between 90 and 102cm long. They are hard fighting fish and we’re very fortunate that they’ve been in such abundance this year. The longtail season shows little sign of ending.

Contribution from richmond

I arrived in the MG car park at 4.45am. I was met by Eyetag shortly after. We rigged up and launched at 5.07 am. Although it was dark, dry bums and no dramas with the launch were enjoyed by both of us.

We had both decided to head north along the beach. I intended to head out to Halls Reef when I was directly west of it. Our paddle up to Halls was leisurely with the wind near on our backs, it was also uneventful with no hits on our trolled lures. Ian decided to keep trolling along the beach area and I headed out to Halls to soak a few baits and try and bag some Grassies. I didn’t last long out there as the wind was gusting up to 15kts and the drift was becoming too fast. Besides that, Ian kept interjecting on his radio with a screaming reel every couple of minutes.

Ian had bagged 2 Mack Tuna by the time I got to the feeding Longtail. They were everywhere, busting up, leaping out, smashing the tiny frogmouths.

First cast with the 40gm raider and I was on. Long hard run and I pulled the hooks. Cast again, strike, and I’m on again. 20 minutes later on 20lb braid loaded on the Daiwa 4000 Sol and I boat a very stubborn Longtail about a metre in length. After stowing that fish I sent out another cast, hookup, pulled hooks. Another cast, hookup, pulled hooks. They were ravenous.

I fire off another cast and hookup solid. The Longtails were on steroids today. This fish was so tough I couldn’t budge him from under the yak. He ended up dragging me 560 metres from hookup! The strong southerly wind didn’t help my cause. After close to 30 minutes I finally sink the gaff. My forearms were on fire.

With the strengthening southerly and a 6km paddle directly into the teeth of the wind, I decided to head for home.

For the trip home I decide to put a Manns stretch 20 minnow out the back. Why, I don’t know.

About a kilometre north of Little Halls I get a solid strike on my trolled lure. This fight was much quicker than the battles on the threadline. The Daiwa Sealine overhead loaded with 15kg mono quickly knocked this Longtail over much to my delight.

That was it for me, no more lines out, no more casting at fish. I had a brutal paddle home into the wind, the BFS was slapping like a retarded seal.

A top day for both Ian and myself with both of us landing three Longtails each. Ian also bagged a couple of Mack Tuna.

Was good to meet DaveyG on the beach, I hope you enjoyed your fish mate.

Jeff (Richmond)

3 longtails

Contribution from eyetag

I had a plan and I stuck to it.

The plan was to head North trolling a hardbody,hoping to find some fish. Jeff and I left Middle Groyne 5.05am and headed north. We'd paddled all the way to the second cutting and nothing had happened. Jeff’s plan was to head East to Halls and bash the bottom. I went the opposite way hoping for some pelagic action.

After about another half hour of paddling, the ocean seemed to come to life with tuna everywhere. I wound in my trolled lure and cast out a slug. Straight away I got hit and was locked in battle with a Mack Tuna, then another.

I got on the radio and let the other Noosa Yakkers know of the action but unfortunately most were too far away and by the time they arrived the action had slowed and the wind was up.

Meanwhile the fish were everywhere. Hoping for some longtail my wish was granted with the next fish, then another and another. I was reminded whilst fighting the second longtail that you don't high stick a graphite rod (hold it straight up with the load straight down). It snapped so I caught the last 2 Longies on a heavier outfit which was still a battle; they just don't know when to stop. Today was one of those days you remember for a longtail time.
callsign: eyetag

Take bananas, A-Bay Reef, 12May12

TR by sunshiner with GPS image and info contributed by gemini and beach images contributed by Carla Van Schayk later.

Wind: SW, starting at 5 knots, building to 8knots
Swell: low SE
Current: none detected at A-Bay Reef
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, eyetag, yakfinn, jimbo, beejay, stormin, adam ellis (first trip), gemini, carlton, sunshiner (total: 10)

A better forecast couldn't be found, and on a Saturday, too. No wonder we got a crowd. As temporary acting trip coordinator I briefly considered a Doggie Beach launch but opted for Middle Groyne after taking a look at the surf at Sunshine Beach and another look at the list of participants. It’s likely that a Doggie Beach launch would have been OK but at least two were logistically committed to MG, and at least three would have had difficulty with the conditions at Doggie Beach.

I’d opted for a bottom bashing trip to A-Bay Reef, being forewarned by beejay’s TR of the day before that Jew Shoal was very quiet. I figured that it would also be an adventurous paddle/pedal for some, who’d never travelled there before. Eyetag, richmond and jimbo had already launched by the time I got to the carpark, which was full of activity as yakkers with their various personal lighting arrangements got their stuff organized in the dark. Carlton trundled in, walking his new Hobie Pro Angler aircraft carrier from his home on Noosa Hill. He greeted me and headed straight for the beach where I encountered him a few minutes later with his Pro Angler at the top of the beach on its belly and a broken trolley in his hand. Well at least he was within striking distance of the water.

06:06. Seven yaks in the water and the last three about to launch. Carlton and stormin stand tending their respective Hobies while I again opted to be tail end charlie. That’s my Stealth.

Everyone got out OK and once I was out there I scanned the horizon and counted six yaks plus my own. The other three were by now well to the east, which I confirmed with a quick radio call to jimbo. All were ready and off we went on the 5.5km mainly coastal paddle to A-Bay Reef.

Getting to A-Bay Reef (location approximate).

The last leg of the journey to this reef involves leaving the land behind, out of view, and heading straight for the mark which is 1500m offshore. I knew that our three companions were already out there but of course they couldn't be sighted until we were around 600m or so from them, when they appeared as occasional small bumps on the horizon as the swell lifted them and us simultaneously. Our navigation was spot on and sure enough, there they were, dead ahead, fishing already. Without a GPS you’d be hard pressed finding this mark from a kayak. You can thank the US Dept of Defence, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for giving the world this magnificent service for free.

The three earlier arrivals had yet to boat a keeper, but at least they’d proved that there was some action around as they’d tossed back a couple of tiddlers which had fallen for their offerings. Jimbo helpfully informed us by radio that the drift was west to east.

We new arrivals all chose our methods and locations and started to fish. I’ve been here many times before so paddled about 400m upwind from the mark, popped my Bunnings drogue, deployed a deep jig to trail behind the yak and then began my casting routine, sending a light jig out downwind and allowing it to sink gently as the yak drifted toward the splashdown point. On my second cast this light jig was nailed by a snapper, a very welcome catch (first keeper of the day), which I had the pleasure of announcing to radio listeners.

07:33. My snapper, around 45cm only but very welcome.

Then radio reports began to trickle in telling of various other captures, sweetlip, snapper, but none very big. Eyetag’s banana prawns were proving a big hit with the fish, again, and I’m pretty sure bait outfished artificials today, although you couldn’t describe it as a hot bite and certainly there were no big fish among the catch.

From about 09:00 onward, mainly depending on the action experienced, individuals and small groups started to head for home.

I stuck with it until 10:00 and came back with the last group of five, arriving back in the vicinity of Middle Groyne around 11:20, having paddled non-stop for over an hour together.

Just off the beach we encountered yakfinn and girlfriend Jess, leaving the beach for a paddle in the Bay.

Jess (in an Espri) and yakfinn

The beach return was pretty easy and soon we were hanging out on the beach comparing catches and chatting, including with Izak, a young guy who has just asked to join Noosa Yakkers, and who was there practising his surf entries in his Profish.

Some beach pics below, including a couple of fish which are potential new Noosa Yakkers Record Fish.

Carlton's venus tusk fish (new record possible)

Carlton seated in his Hobie PA with the above fish. Incidentally, Carlton demonstrated the stability of this craft by briefly standing up in it while out at A-Bay Reef! But it’s a pretty heavy boat.

One of eyetag’s grassies (potential new record)

Eyetag with two of his several fish.

Headshot, new member Adam Ellis (he’s thinking about a nickname), who had his first trip with us today.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Above: Gemini’s track map for today
Distance 14.7 km
Max Speed 8.8 km/hour
Avg Speed 3.0 km/hour

There were quite a few fish brought in today, but only three species, and no unusually large specimens. It was a beaut day spent in great company so thanks for coming along guys. See you next time and please feel free to make a comment on this post (facility below -- just identify yourself as Anonymous if you prefer but tell us your name in the comment).

Images taken at Middle Groyne on 12May12 by Carla Van Schayk (mother of prospective new junior Noosa Yakker, Izak). Thanks Carla, for your permission to post these images on the blog.

Noosa Yakkers hanging out on the beach watching returnees.

A little later, watching beejay, the last of the group, returning to the beach. Note the wedding party on the wall.

Beejay solo at JS, 11May12

TR by beejay


EXIT AND ENTRY from MG: Very easy getting through small beach break at 6am, similar to Kev's photo from yesterday. Also easy to get back through at around 10.15am.

LIGHT OFFSHORE BREEZE: Made a very easy and direct sail with PA sail to JS - no trimming of sail required and no paddling. Sailing speed between 4-7 kph. Once at JS I had a nice NW drift.

COMPANY: Despite being solo today, I had a few dolphin for company while rigging up and a turtle that paid a brief visit while at JS.

FISH ACTIVITY: Twice I saw a tuna break the surface on the way out. At JS I saw a brief bust up close by that gave my soft plastic a touch. Couldn't get another bite despite fishing with both bait and soft plastics. Monitoring Noosa Coast Guard (Ch22) let me know that at least 11 boats went out through the bar between 6 and 10am. Two of the charters indicated they were doing OK with Spaniards, schoolies and reef fish - obviously not at JS!

SEABREEZE: At this stage conditions for tomorrow are looking good and I will be definitely a starter. Unsure of launch venue - will await reports from others before I confirm launch point.

Beejay (BJ)

Nice longtail, vid, LB, 10May12

TR by sunshiner with contributions from jag-one and pedro appended.

Wind: SE, starting at 5 knots, building to 10knots
Swell: low SE
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, pedro, jayman, yakfinn, jag-one, jimbo, sunshiner

How nice to get out with a totally dry bum today. I was last to launch and just took my time and waited until the lull appeared and paddled across the break zone without even having a small wave break over the bow.

06:02. Just after low tide. Every now and again an extra large set would come through and deliver a head high breaker, but waiting a little in the hole resulted in a crossing opportunity like this one.

Quick radio interrogation revealed that pedro was already at Jew Shoal and richmond was on his way there to take a look before deciding where to go. What we were hoping for, of course, were terns, fluttering and diving above white splashes.

Although there were seven of us either at or on the way to Jew Shoal we were spread out, with each choosing his own route to the destination. Jimbo chose to head east first then turn north toward Jew Shoal and as this seemed a good idea I did the same, albeit 500 metres or so behind him. As a result we both travelled inside the buoys which mark the shark hooks permanently located out from Dolphin Point.

When I was about one km from Jew Shoal I heard a drag ratchet blaring on the radio, followed by jimbo announcing that he was hooked up. This was a nice start so I let him know that I was not far behind and would bring the camera over, trolling as I went of course.

06:58. By the time I took this pic, jimbo had already been hooked up for 15 minutes or so.

I went away for a while and then returned near the end of the fight and shot some video which I'll edit and put onto youtube later. But here's a pic from the video.

07:20. Jimbo with his first fish of the day.

And now, a day later, is the video

With this fish despatched, I left jimbo and headed east and north of Hell’s Gates, where radio reports in the last ten minutes or so were indicating that there were terns fluttering and diving. Before I could get there, however, this activity had turned out to be ”baitfish eating smaller baitfish”. Worse, no large predators appeared to be accompanying the action. This resulted in all of us gravitating to Jew Shoal where some trolled and others, I included, opted to bottom fish.

Conditions were ideal, with a light SE breeze with just an occasional whitecap allowing a perfect drift toward the NW. The trouble was that there was almost no action and none at all for some of us. Richmond announced that he was hooked up on a soft plastic, then a couple of minutes later ”Bitten off!” Yakfinn had been shadowing a bunch of terns just to the NE, trolling a Rapala, and he announced a hookup, only to come back a minute or so later with the news that the lure was gone and that possibly the leader had been bitten through. Then jimbo announced a bite off on his bait rig. Possibly the sharks had moved in. Meanwhile, I hadn’t even had a touch on my two SP offerings. Jag-one had managed to jag a few little reefies on prawn bait, then jimbo capped off his tuna with a small keeper snapper taken on prawn. Slowly, it was dawning on us that there were few fish biting today. The result was that our numbers out there started to dwindle as the procession back to Middle Groyne began.

When I pulled the pin at about 10:15 having not had a single touch, only jag-one and the indefatigable pedro were left. At least pedro had nailed one sweetlip, a 40cm monster (and had also suffered a bite-off).

The paddle back in for me was therapeutic, with light winds, blue sky and strong sunlight. To make things more interesting there were occasional longtail sightings, with one or two harassing small baitfish and jumping clear of the water within 1.3 km of Middle Groyne. I trolled around the area a bit, as indicated by several terns fluttering nearby, but could entice no strikes despite occasional longtail sightings within 50m of me.

One thing worth reporting on was the arrival from the river mouth of the Fisheries Patrol, who immediately flagged down a nearby rubber ducky stinky and proceeded to check him out.

For those among us who haven’t encountered these guys before I have always found that they rarely check kayaks (and they didn’t check me today, despite the fact that mine was the only other boat nearby). I think turtleboy was asked once out at JS whether he had fish aboard. In any case, be aware that even on weekdays the patrol can arrive, so ensure that any fish you keep are within the legal limits, both size and possession (which I expect you do, anyway).

The last I heard of jag-one and pedro was that they’d decided to investigate bird action near the river mouth as they followed me in. Care was still needed on coming back in to the beach but of course the high tide had made the water depth much better than earlier.

A good rollup today, and while the fish were scarce, it was certainly a glorious day to be out there. More opportunities are coming up and, as always with fishing, you never know when the action will crank up so get out whenever you can.

Email from jag-one
The day finished with Pete and I chasing birds and bust-ups where you noted. Pete managed a Mac tuna and lost another, possibly longtail. That was my first chance to try some spinning, so good fun, even though I didn't hook up.

Above: My first catch on a SP, demoralizing that the SP is nearly as big as the fish. [Editor: black tipped cod, very common SP catch at that size at JS]

Cheers, See you on the water
Geoff Stolberg
Call Sign ..JaG one

Email from pedro
Firstly to add to trip report.
Jag One and I chased the terns in close to MG for an hour resulting in 1 small mac tuna, 1 larger fish (longtail) that got off before a visual and 1 other strike for me. Nothing for Jag One.

The other matter is when I looked at my trip computer on GPS it said 188klm?

Being the third time out with a new GPS (the old one crashed) and leaving it on last time on the way home, 121kph max speed (overtaking car on way home),
I have mistakenly thought that clearing the current track would reset the trip computer as well.

So the 34klm quoted on my previous trip report is incorrect and was the total for two trips.

Sorry for that everyone.

Labour Day, vid, Laguna Bay, 07May12

TR by sunshiner, with contributions by corie and pedro at the end.

Wind: SW landbreeze, starting at 5-7 knots, dropping off to calm by 09:30
Swell: moderate east
Current: non detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: stormin, corie, isobar and friend Ben, imax, pedro, bigkev and friend Mark, sunshiner

It was quite a relief this morning to see that the swell had dropped overnight, or at least was not affecting MG launch conditions as badly as we thought it might. 05:40am at MG carpark -- Bigkev and Mark (friend and recent kayak fishing uptaker) were unloading Kev’s sleek newish Stealth Evo 495 and Mark’s Espri while stormin was ready and raring to go again.

While the biggest breakers at the end of the groyne this morning were every bit as big and steep as those I’d photographed yesterday afternoon, they were much rarer. This meant that small timing errors, which can often easily lead to a wet bum or a swim, were less likely to be disastrous today.

Bigkev and Mark had launched and successfully negotiated the break by the time stormin and I were ready to go. It was time for stormin to earn his Noosa Yakkers stickers which I’d just presented to him. ”Off you go, stormin,” I said, and politely stood back and let him launch before me. To his credit, he instantly stepped up to the challenge, wiping the sweat from his brow before dragging his rig into the water.

06:12. Stormin steps up to the mark.

He did a great job, cresting a couple of waves after holding in the hole and waiting for a few others to break. I soon joined him out the back having managed to get out without even a wet bum this time. Maybe my timing’s getting better!

The moon today was of course full, and coincidentally just about as close to earth as its elliptical orbit brings it. Hence we had bigger tides than usual and the moon seemed brighter because it was actually slightly bigger than we usually perceive it. Our totally cloudless sky enhanced this effect. See what I mean:

06:25. ”Super moon” shot, just after launch.

Stormin opted to stick with me, and off we went toward JS, leaving Mark and Kev finalizing their setup. On the way I radioed pedro who revealed that he was heading for SR, having failed to get any garfish for fresh bait in Granite Bay.

I was keen to try for a snapper or sweetlip today and set up a perfect drift with the land breeze pushing me gently from SW to NE over Jew Shoal. I dropped a light SP out drifting behind me on one rod while I fished my favourite rig by the usual casting downwind, letting it fall and retrieving it once the yak had passed over it. On my fourth cast this outfit went off. My hope for a snapper faded very quickly as the fish never once stopped on a long fast run toward the north. Bigkev had just mentioned by radio that he’d been spooled (but eventually got his line but nothing else back) on his first cast this morning. I’d given an opinion that it was probably a longtail, based on my recent experiences. Anyway, I have 200m of 6kg braid plus backing on the spool of my Stradic. Very quickly I was looking at the backing and the fish hadn’t even slowed down. Typical longtail on light tackle SP situation! The water drag on the line eventually caused the knot at the jighead to break before the backing entirely disappeared. And, like Kev, I got it all back including the leader intact.

This has happened to me at least three times in the last couple of months; exact same SP and 1/8 ounce jighead. On one of those occasions the Stradic’s drag was stuffed as a result. And the same rig accounted for the present Noosa Yakkers Record snapper so it’s worth persisting with. All I want is a snapper or sweetlip to grab it instead of a longtail! Surely that’s not too much to ask.

By 08:45 I’d had no further action so decided to come in, knowing that high tide, which offered the best chance of a dry bum on return to the beach, was at 09:30. Mark had already left (seasick) and stormin came back in with me. Bigkev was also heading in but was travelling faster and on a different track from ours.

And so we arrived back at Middle Groyne after a trip home with the swell building like mountains behind us. Fortunately these waves were de-energized somewhat by the time they’d travelled all the way up the bay to Middle Groyne. It didn’t look too bad at all. Stormin, having by now experienced the tricky waves at our landing point (see TR from last week), set about stowing all his gear and announced to me that he was going to try pedalling in this time (paddling having failed to avoid a ducking last time).

There were some nice lulls and I picked one and cruised in. Richmond (with video camera), imax, bigkev and Mark were basking in the bright sunlight on the wall or on the beach hoping for a spectacle as the surf zone transit was now complicated by assorted swimmers, boogie boarders etc hanging about right where we were coming in.

In came stormin Norman, determined to conquer the break with Mirage drive, although he did have the paddle in his hands, just in case. He was managing to keep a straight track, and even started to surf straight down the face of a three footer. But the inevitable happened. The bow went sharply to the left and over he went. His chosen path was slightly further west than ideal so he gained no benefit from the deep channel right next to the rocks. On rollover he’d kept hold of the paddle but the leash broke under the force of the surf so he was now separated from the yak which was drifting upside down in the surf zone, being dodged by all who encountered it. The yak was now being pulled toward the channel by the current and was in danger of being swept out to sea. Stormin was safe in his PFD but could not easily get to the yak so bigkev dashed heroically into the surf and swam out to intercept the yak and drag it back out of the channel. Eventually all were back on the beach with no real harm done. I understand that richmond got it all on video so we’ll likely be able to youtube it soon. As richmond said, some good lessons there.

Update 15May12. Video created and uploaded

While we were gathering at the washpoint, with not a fish between us, up from the beach came isobar and his friend Ben, who, unbeknown to us (no radios), had just returned to the beach. Ben, on his first ever trip offshore, had nailed a longtail about 98cm near Jew Shoal. He’d also apparently been rolled on his way out! (Ben, if you lost your straw hat, see corie’s comment later.)

Ben, from Tewantin, with his first yak-caught fish.

I think that both Mark and Ben are prospective Noosa Yakkers and have invited them to apply for membership. Isobar and Bigkev, please encourage them to join in as they both seem pretty good guys.

At the time of writing we don’t know how pedro went. How about an update, pedro?

Pretty much every day this week looks good and there’s even the possibility of a Doggie Beach launch on the weekend if the forecast holds. Hope you can make it.

Email from corie about today:

”Launch was easier this morning. I made it out and back without incident. I came in early this morning as it was a hard slog out there at 5.30 with the early westerly. I went out to Abay reef for a little over an hour but was drifting too fast over the reef to fish plastics. I turned home around 7.30 passing a few guys on their way out. After I landed I realised the wind had died right off. Conditions look awesome now off sunshine. And whoever rolled on their way out and lost a straw hat it’s on the lifesavers’ rack.”


From pedro
I launched around 5am about 100m up on eastern side of MG as the waves were slightly smaller and I had a better view of what was coming, resulting in a slightly wet bum.
As was mentioned I anchored in Granite Bay and set up a burley trail to catch garfish.

By 6.30 and no gar to be seen I packed up and trolled bait and lure south around the headland down as far as the surf club, with no surface activity seen I drift fished for a few hours.

Slowly heading north with the light winds I ended up opposite the southern end of the headland and with no bait lost or even a bite I trolled back via the edge of JS. 34k on the gps.

The beach at MG at 1pm was standing up and dumping on the sandbank, so after a full packdown and waiting just out the back of the sand monster for a lull I made it in between waves upright.


Lake Mac Hat Trick 06May12

TR by Gemini, photos by Turtleboy

Wind: 6-8 knots SW
Launch point: Botanical gardens boat ramp, Lake MacDonald
Participants: Turtleboy, Gemini
Distance 8.9 km
Max Speed 8.3 km/hour
Avg Speed 2.0 km/hour

I arrived at the boat ramp just before 6AM.  It was a cool morning, and for a change the water was warmer than the air temperature on Lake MacDonald.  There was a lot of surface activity, mostly bait fish, and a light mist rolled over the surface.  Turtleboy arrived shortly after I had unloaded, and we made out preparations for launch.  This was Turtleboys first trip onto the lake hunting for fish, so he opted to follow my lead.  I made a plan to first assess the water around the wall, as reports were saying the bass were schooling there already, and then tour a larger portion of the lake.

We struck out towads the wall and checked the conditions.  There were plenty of fish schooling down low, but we couldn't entice any of them to have a nibble.  I'd employed a Jackall TN50 (similar to the baby vib, but much heavier) for the deeper water around the wall and bubbler, but there were no hungry parties available to sample such delights.

We gave up on the deeper water and headed south around the corner to start the attack along the weed beds around the edges of the lake.  We assaulted Gazebo Bay, headed across the three ways, peppered Eagles Nest Bay, but still no joy.

Gazebo Bay

By this stage I was wondering if the fish had already been well fed, as Turtleboy and I had already discussed
the previous evenings full moon.  Luckily, my thoughts were wrong.

As we threw our lures around near the weeds by the Palm Farm my line took a sudden knock, and then presented the tell-tale wiggle of a cranky fish stuck on the end of it.  He felt like a good fish by the way he fought, and by the time Turtleboy had made his way over I almost had him on board.

He measured in at 36cm, and lived to fight another day (I remembered my pliers this week).

Having renewed our resolve with a catch, we pressed on.  Turtleboy made some changes to his overhead setup at this time, but unfortunately this caused a spool "malfunction".  Here's an artists impression of that event...

Coming up to Rustys Run I had another strike just outside the weeds.  I landed this one fairly quickly and measured him up at 28cm.

Another bass goes back to fight another day.

I was starting to feel for Turtleboy, who hadn't had a strike all morning.  As were now entering familiar territory (I usually fished this section of the lake more often than not) I offered up all the oncoming known fishy locations for Turtleboy to attack first in the hope he'd take a good strike.

We slowly made our way around to the Jabiru launch area, but no fish presented themselves.  Turtleboy ventured into the Strawberry Patch, but asides from taking a few verbal strikes from the dog on the property nearby, he found nothing.

By this stage we figured time was getting on, and it was getting rather warm, so we made our way slowly back.  Along the way we made a few half hearted casts at the weeds...I should have packed away my rod...

Strike number three happened just north of where I had caught the last fish.  I boated him with little fuss and measured him up as another 28cm bass.

Yet another goes back to fight another day.

Turtleboy exclaimed that he'd fished that exact spot on our way past the first time with not a whisper of fishy action.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same fish i'd caught earlier in his new hidey hole, but whatever the reason, the fishing gods had decided Turtleboy was doomed for the day.  Bummer!

After that we headed back to the launch site with no further action.

It was a good day out.  Unfortunately no fish for Turtleboy, but he had a grand tour of the lake, and learned all my secrets to boot!  I'll have to get back and try the schools around the wall again soon, as there's certainly no shortage of fish there.

GPS Track