Solo snapper, 03Jul12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm then gentle NE
Swell: tiny easterly
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: sunshiner
Water quality: Quite clean at top of tide, even at Middle Groyne, but murky later as the run out tide allowed the Noosa River to discharge into the bay.

A serendipitous event, today (go on, look it up). I got up late because it was bloody cold today. But it was sunny, and CALM! It was still calm at 9:00am. The yak was already loaded on its motorised yak trolley, so, why not! Laguna Bay sent out an irresistible call.

Knowing that finding a suitable carpark at that time of day during school holidays might be a problem I was delighted to nab the spot right next to the single (vacant) handicapped spot. Leaping out of the zook, I looked across toward the washpoint where I spied fellow Noosa Yakker Eli nonchalantly holding a longtail by the tail and fending off incredulous enquiries by sundry awe-struck passers by. Ten minutes or so later I had the photos I wanted and was trundling my yak down to the bay's edge. And what a beautiful edge it was.

Sorry you couldn’t make it (Eli excepted)

I had snapper on my mind so headed for Jew Shoal even though I suspected that a large longtail awaited me up the North Shore somewhere. The murky water which I suspected would be present was nowhere to be seen, except a plume showing up in the swell right down at the river mouth. Flat calm conditions, cloudless, deep blue sky, and nary another boat to be seen.

In fact, I had Jew Shoal all to myself although I did encounter two pedalling kayak fishers heading south west away from JS when I was about 1500m out. They didn’t seem inclined to stop and chat so I have no idea who they were.

As I often do, I decided to use just one rod, with a light SP. Starting at the SW corner of Jew Shoal, I paddled along slowly, watching the sounder, and stopped at the first sign of a plume of bait. Good to see that there were baitfish out there today, as it’s been a bit underpopulated lately.

My SP offering remained untouched, but I did see something interesting. Something silvery and wriggly came up to the surface nearby. Curious as to what it was I paddled over the five metres or so and managed to scoop up half a fish, still struggling but unable to steer.

This told me two things: the baitfish on the sounder were almost certainly yakkas; and there was at least one small shark nearby.

Having got no action in the first half hour, and lost my jig to a snag, a common problem when attempting to work the shallower waters of Jew Shoal, I decided to switch to trolling a deep running hard body between the shallows of the Pinnacles and a similar shallow area 400m SE of that spot.

A couple of circuits of that plan produced no action either. But a NE breeze was beginning to spring up so I decided to take advantage of it and drift fish back onto the shoal with an SP from the deeper water (around 20m) to the NE. This did the trick and it wasn’t long before the targetted snapper, picked up in 17m depth, was in the fishbox. Although it was only 45cm long, it was very welcome for I’ve been going through a Mojo-free zone lately. A "yippee!" which went unheard by anyone else rang out.

Feeling that I could almost certainly bag another I persisted for another hour without further success and eventually pulled the pin at 13:15 as the NE breeze was cooling rapidly and I still had 45 minutes paddling to get back to the beach.

Great trip back, but the murky water now extended much further into the bay, and was very evident from at least 2.5 km from the beach. Oh, and just as I left Jew Shoal I spotted a decent longtail clear the water. This was the only predator surface action I’d seen.

Maybe I’ll go tomorrow again if the wind stays down.

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