Wind: SW, starting at less than 5 knots, building to 10 knot southerly
Swell: moderate SE
Current: at A-Bay Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: corie, kiwimike, whalebait, turtleboy, whalerider, stormin, eli (first trip as a NY), sunshiner
With a late launch time of 06:30 nominated by me we had a bit of a crowd in the Middle Groyne carpark. Whalebait sauntered over to say hello and to let me know that kiwimike had just launched and was heading for the north shore, no doubt with longtails on his mind. I’d already declared my intention to head for A-Bay Reef in the hope of finding clean water and reefies and found that whalebait and stormin were also headed there. When Eli asked if we minded if he tag along with us to that distant spot, where he’d never before ventured, we had four for A-Bay Reef. Turtleboy and whalerider opted for the north shore and were a little later than the rest of us.
Paddling conditions were superb and the water looked a bit cleaner than I expected, although high tide, which it was, normally has that effect. In due course the four for A-Bay reef arrived there, with whalebait getting there first.
As soon as I popped my drogue I could see that there was still some murk around, even out there. The drogue filled nicely in the gentle SW breeze and its lower parts were not so sharply defined underwater as they usually are. Not a good sign. Nevertheless, we’d spent an hour or so paddling out to there so we weren’t going to give up without a fight. In around 2.5 hours the three of us caught just one fish (35cm grassy, whalebait) despite using baits and SPs on at least two rods each. At 10:00 we pulled the pin, although Eli had left earlier (no radio so results unknown).
While we were out there we could hear occasional radio commentary from the guys across the other side of the Bay (a remarkable transmission distance, incidentally, given the intervening landscape, height of the aerials and curvature of the earth). They reported sighting momentary bustups of pelagics around LH Reef and turtleboy has indicated he’ll add some detail about this to the TR later.
Within a few minutes of our departure from A-Bay Reef (actually 700 metres further east of that as we had tried deeper water) the forecast southerly sprung up, quickly building to sufficient speed to cause white caps. This wind hampered our progress toward Hells Gates but we plugged along, eventually reaching the shelter of the headland. The trip back took all three of us about 1:20 non-stop, and I must admit to feeling a little jaded by the time I faced the low-tide sand monster.
Actually the swell was mostly quite small, but it was now close to low tide and all of the waves were breaking about 10-20 metres out from the end of the wall so everyone had to deal with white water. Stormin, famous for spectacular returns to the beach, was mounted for the first time on his replacement Hobie, a Revo(lution), a pedal craft much more suited to surf than his Outback was. Consequently I got to the beach first and dashed out with the camera to record stormin’s return to the beach.
He did a fine job, using the paddle only, and even managed an excellent bracing manoeuvre when the wave which caught up with him threatened to roll him. Here's a collage using a couple of frames from the video I shot.
Well done stormin, now onto bigger challenges. For the record, whalebait timed his return perfectly.
Today’s outcome (fish-wise) was not surprising given the recent crappy conditions which have disturbed the silt hereabouts. Given the forecast for the next week or so there’s a good chance that much of that silt will settle and make conditions more suitable for fishing in the near future. I certainly intend to try to get out again this coming week and hope some of you can make it also. Eli, if you bagged anything today please let us know.
Contribution from TurtleBoy
Over a beer the night before, WhaleRider and I decided to arrive at MG at around 6.15am. Our intention was to head north between Little Halls and Halls reef in search of Tuna. We knew of Sunshiner's intention to head out past ABay but thought it was a good idea to spread the net.
We made it out through the surf zone and rigged up all ok despite the fact that I counted a 5 wave set and went for it after 4. So much for being both a SurfLifeSaver and a CPA.
Stormin' Norman had just finished rigging up and turned his Hobie for Hell's Gates, following Sunshiner and the gang.
I called out to WhaleRider and asked him to set course for Little Halls Reef. Ok, he said as he put his head down and paddle furiously due North and a little wider than I thought. Later I radioed him to check on his course only to find he didn't respond and later admitted that he misread his GPS co-ordinates.
At that point I realised that WhaleRider is a much better call sign than Navigator, later confirmed correct by his lovely wife Kate.
We had an easy paddle up past LHR and met up with Kiwi Mike. By this stage the light breeze had completely abated and we enjoyed the glassy conditions. Mike had been further North and advised that Corie was up past Halls Reef.
After a bit of a chat we chased a few bust-ups. Some solo Tuna and a few with maybe six fish on the surface. After 20 minutes or so, Mike announced that he was heading back and we parted company.
Richmond then radioed in to announce that he had fished the river that morning without even a tap on the line. We heard him calling Sunshiner around at Abay but didn't hear a reply. Not sure if you both connected.
Eventually we followed Mike back to MG fish-less but glad for the exercise. We both arrived back on shore all ok. We were greeted by Carlton who was standing on MG.
A great morning out followed by coffee at Costa Noosa, Sunshine Beach Village.
In summary, a great morning on the water. Need fish!