Wow, two records. 28Sep12

TR by sunshiner, with contributions expected by beejay, jag-one and kahuna.

Wind: Light north westerly, increasing to 15 knot northerly by 11:00
Swell: small easterly
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, jimbo, tarzan and brother Aidan, stormin, kahuna, jag-one, beejay, sunshiner, pedro

"I'd love to get a longtail", said kahuna recently, after catching a mac tuna, his first ever tuna, a couple of weeks ago. Well, what’s next, kahuna?

I launched a few seconds after the pic below was taken. It was a dry bum exit, but I did back paddle at the end of the wall as a few wet bum waves threatened to spoil my exit.

That's beejay’s Prowler on the left. He just trundles it along Hastings Street to our launch point, doesn’t need a car park.

Although there were already several other Noosa Yakkers out there, I was the lone candidate for Jew Shoal, where I hoped the snapper and sweetlip would be cooperative. The others mainly headed for LHR and HR, with longtails on their shopping lists.

One interesting observation: there were thousands of pale blue jelly blubbers suspended in the water just off the groyne. Never seen that before, here.

Having trolled a HLP all the way to JS for nix, I settled in to really blanket the place with tempting offerings. Two hours later my offerings had not been touched, and nor had jimbo's succulent bait offerings, although he hadn't been out there as long as I had. On the western front (LHR and HR) all was ominously quiet, nary a radio call to interrupt our reverie. I wondered if they'd all gone to sleep over there. The last guy to launch was stormin, who came up on the radio about 07:30, explaining that he'd just finished a 12 hour shift.

Anyway, just before a pod of whales turned up at Jew Shoal the radio crackled into life. Beejay was hooked up at HR to something fast and powerful. Yay! And then kahuna came up on the radio for the first time explaining that he also was hooked up similarly and was dodging waves as he was towed close in to the beach break near First Cutting. Yay! again.

The breeze was just starting to strengthen, and shift more to the north when jimbo and I decided that the total lack of action at Jew Shoal was not worth any more effort, and so we started to head for Middle Groyne.

By now, beejay had boated his longtail and was also headed in under sail, and jag-one had stirred the pot a bit more with a report that he'd left the ranks of the fishless by boating a very good grassy, estimated (under-estimated as we later discovered) at 55cm. Pedro was engrossed in sticking with kahuna and giving us a progress report by radio from time to time. Incredibly, a full 90 minutes after hookup, kahuna had yet to see his fish.

In due course tarzan, Aidan, jimbo and I had beached safely. Jaro and beejay were visible just offshore, stowing their sails after their downwind trip all the way from Halls Reef. A couple of kids came up to me on the beach and asked to see our fish. Well, being a little embarrassed, I managed to put them off by explaining that the next kayak in had a biggie aboard.

And so it had, and the word had got around, also. Beejay was met by a crowd of fish lookers, all ogling, and pointing and "What sort of fish is it?" when he eventually dragged it out of his storage pod, which the tuna had shared with reels, rods, tackle, drogue etc.

A few pics of the occasion:

On the mat, not a Noosa Yakkers record, but pretty good anyway.

Allison, beejay's keeper.

The hubbub died down a bit and then we spotted jag-one in his oil tanker just out there. By now the wind had picked up quite a bit and the break was looking decidedly flaky. In came jag-one…

He was going OK and keeping it straight until just abeam of the end of the groyne the bow went hard to port.

The yak hit the rocks with a thump that I could hear from where I was shooting video. And then they rolled over in waist deep water.

No real damage was done and jag-one's prize fish was secured to the yak by clip and leash. The crowd gathered again to ogle the fish, the fisherman and his strange boat.

On the mat!

Leaving the best till last!

The crowd had now spotted two more yakkers (pedro and kahuna) just out there, preparing to come in. And they'd been led to believe that one of the yaks had a monster tuna aboard. By now we could have sold tickets to view the fish!

Pedro had waited with kahuna while he finished off the fish after fighting it for over two hours, and they'd travelled back to Middle Groyne together, in a strengthening northerly breeze.

I waded out to video kahuna's return to the beach. As he got closer to me, I could see that it was a pretty big tuna alright, as it was sharing the meagre cockpit with him.

Cropped frame from video.

As the kayak ground to a halt in ankle deep water, kahuna fell full length face down into the water, further exciting the gathering crowd, who by now had seen the fish and could hardly believe their eyes.

It was a bloody nice fish and kahuna's first longtail. So here are some pics:


Mat#2, supplemented by stormin's tape measure.

At one stage, applause broke out spontaneously among the crowd of holidaymakers. They'd never seen anything like this before. Kahuna was besieged by questions and questionners the whole way back to the wash point and on to his car later.

Video (55 secs), added 30Sep12. At 23 secs, jag-one hits the wall.

So, another great Noosa Yakkers day. Looks like the Halls Reefs are the place to be as soon as the weather allows again. How long will this new longtail record stand?

Space below for contributions from our three catchers today!


Contribution by kahuna, 02Oct12

Rob Gordon, October 2, 2012, 12.42pm

Tale of a longtail: The longtail tuna was captured after an almost 2.5-hour fight after it took a soft plastic (white, torpedo-shaped with no distinguishing features, make unknown) trailing from a gently paddled kayak at 7.55am, 30m west of the Noosa Yakkers-supplied gps mark for Little Halls reef.

I had decided to bottom-bash at Little Halls after a quiet troll along the surf line from Middle Groyne on a windless morning and had a gang-hooked pilchard hanging off my overhead rig, and the soft plastic hanging off an eggbeater rig. I was just quietly paddling to the mark after deploying the lines and having a cup of tea.
The fish struck as I approached the gps mark.

It headed directly west immediately after hooking up, straight into the surf line in front of a hill structure I understand is called "the cutting".

It then began to travel north in big zig zags, towing me in and out of the surf line, necessitating me to give it plenty of line so I could hang off the break and not get cleaned up by some fairly big swells coming through in that part of the bay.

After about an hour of being towed in this fashion, I finally radioed Noosa Yakkers, letting them know I was hooked up and where I was. Pedro came on to tell me he was heading in from Halls and would meet me, which he duly did, saying he'd hang about and keep an eye on me.

Thanks Pedro, for your oversight, it was a nice bit of moral support at that time, while I was attempting to subdue the biggest fish I have ever hooked up. I had no idea where it all would end because the fish, after an hour's fight, was not feeling like it was going to tire any time soon.

And so it turned out. Another hour and a half later, the tuna had towed me a click further along the surfline north and then to my relief, headed east out into the bay and slowly curved around south back toward Little Halls.

By this time it had made countless runs, peeling off a maximum of 150 metres (I had about that much again on the reel) then allowed itself to be drawn in closer to the yak. In the last half hour it made many efforts to dive deep rather than head away and then slowly came in closer in ever-decreasing circles.

I was beginning to wonder who would give up first, it or me. Pretty much every part of my body was on fire with the strain of it and four days later as I write this I'm still painfully tender right across the lower stomach where the butt of the rod was grinding in much of the time. I can see how a rod gymbal is a good idea in these situations.

Anyway, the fish slowly came to the boat with me grunting and carrying on all the way, until I managed to keep its head up and get a gaff into it to finally haul it on board. One last convulsive shiver passed through it and it gave up the ghost.

Pedro was deeply relieved, not having counted on me making so long a demand on his good offices. Thanks again mate for the support.

Then it was a painful haul back to the beach. Hemingway would have loved it. I certainly did.
October 2, 2012 12:45 PM

Double Bass Solo, 27Sep12

TR by Gemini

Participants:  Gemini
Conditions: Sunny, light breeze

I arrived at the Strawberry patch launch a little before 6AM and unloaded. Conditions were perfect, with little breeze and a slightly mist covered glassy lake. Occasional large splashes in the distance enhanced my motivation for rigging up all that much faster. The fish were in trouble...

Launching, I found myself looking at this:

I moved through the weed beds looking for the first channel to cast into. The weeds had once again moved around, so the gaps were in different spots, but I found my first target within 100m from my launch site. Third cast and I was on.

Now there are two things I'm almost certain of about Lake MacDonald as of today. One is that you will most likely catch the best fish of the day within 10 minutes of launching (or going home). The other is that there are no bass bigger than 41cm in the whole darn lake. :P

Australian Bass - 41cm

After releasing the bass, I made my way around the next couple of bends to the north heading towards the palm farm. I received a couple of strikes along the way, but no takers. The sun was well up by now and conditions were still magnificent, although starting to get warm.

I moved around the weed beds near the palm farm trying to temp my fishy friends into a hooky trap with little joy, and I had all but given up until I felt a light tap on the lure. Not overly sure if it was a half hearted strike or a snag, I let the lure rest a second or two, and then tweaked it slightly...BAM! The fish was off and running.

Putting up a better fight than the first one, I had to pull him away from the weeds a little to keep him snag free. He wanted the bottom more than the first fish. Pulling him in I found him to be smaller than the first (mid 30s), so I didn't measure him up.

After that I had a few more casts and then started to head back. By this time the wind was picking up and the heat was increasing, and I felt as though I had harassed enough bass for the day.

On the return trip I came across some wildlife I hadn't spotted out there before. I had heard mentioned that deer frequent the area, but today was the first time I have seen one. I attempted to get some footage, but she was too quick. Maybe next time.


Matt (Gemini)

Sweeties and big strikes. 23Sep12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Very light westerly
Swell: small north westerly
Current: at Halls Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Danu Church, isobar, ben, beejay, jamiedee, mick drahm (bomber), ryan gear, louis lowrens (simba), gemini, stormin, jaro, tarzan and cousin Sam, kahuna, sunshiner, whalebait (16, incl two visitors)

Having awoken naturally at 4:15am today I grabbed the iPad without getting out of bed to check the weather. First thing I see is an email from richmond sent a few minutes earlier saying the wind's too strong and he’s off back to bed. On checking Seabreeze's live weather for Double Island Point I must say I was in agreement with him. The NW wind up there was gusting to over 20 knots, and this is a wind that really makes a mess of Laguna Bay. Still, I'd had a good night's sleep and so I resolved to at least go down to the launch point at the agreed time (05:15) to say hello to several of the new guys that I knew were lined up for today’s trip, even if the trip had to be aborted.

Then, just before I had to decide whether or not to have brekky before I went down to Middle Groyne, I checked again. Bloody hell, there’s a green arrow there now! Maybe the trip’s still a goer.

DIP anemometer graph today. Note the first green arrow at about 4:45.

Down at Middle Groyne at 05:15 there were cars and yaks everywhere, it seemed. We were expecting about a dozen starters but it seemed there were already almost that many in the carpark. Tim, our newest applicant, also was there, inspecting kayaks and the associated gear with great interest as he still has to decide which yak for him. There were several guys I'd heard of but hadn’t met and I'll introduce some of them later.

More importantly there was no wind, although there was a small surf break out at the end of the groyne, so the trip was definitely a goer. As soon as they were ready the various yakkers left for the beach, some intending to head for Little Halls Reef or Halls Reef, while others were keener to go to Jew Shoal.

Louis (simba) and I were the last of this first group to leave the beach so I took a pic of him on this, his first surf launch. Although, in truth, it wasn’t a serious surf launch.

Simba readying his Hobie Adventure Island. Stormin is in the channel heading out.

Launch was dead easy and I dry bummed it and joined the gang of four or five setting up out the back. This gang was intent on following jaro and others who had left maybe ten minutes earlier headed for Little Halls Reef. So soon simba, bomber (aka mick), beejay and I were pedalling/paddling toward that reef, only 3.5km distant.

Beejay and bomber get acquainted on the way to Little Halls Reef.

Part way to the reef gemini, ahead of us, came up on the radio and reported large fish crashing through the surface at Little Halls Reef. This put a little urgency into our efforts to get there but by the time we arrived there was no sign of action. The sea was flat with just the gentlest of NW breezes and the sky was overcast so I then opted to head for Halls Reef, another 2km further north, to see what we could find there.

Nothing, at first. Drift conditions were ideal so I set up a drift from NW of my HR mark onto the mark. Jaro was also out there and together we drifted various paths and together we caught nothing. Beejay was using bait and a special rig he’d made up himself and was catching plenty of little reefies which kept him amused and us interested, mainly because we figured we were in with a chance.

During this time, as opportunity permitted while paddling about, I managed to get a few pics of our new members.

Bomber (Mick) a local police officer. Guess his professional speciality.

My very next drift started about 10 minutes after I took the above pic. I could see baitfish and structure on the sounder (about 18m depth) and had cast out my usual SP and let it sink slowly until it was vertically under the yak. Whack! It was taken. Straightaway I called it for a grassy and almost straightaway it reefed me. It must be rugged territory just there for this fish had found its way into a crevice or cave which meant that we’d come to a stalemate. I couldn’t get line back and it couldn’t or wouldn’t move. Bugger! One thing worth trying when this happens is to remove all pressure from the fish. So I opened the bail arm and let the 6kg braid hang slack for about 30 seconds. On taking up the slack I was delighted to find that the fish had left its hidey hole and was now in clear water. It was only a matter of keeping pressure on and gradually it came to the surface. A nice grassy, very welcome in our household, on the plate.

My first grassy for quite a while. Not from want of trying!

Being in touch with the guys at Jew Shoal, we knew that they were getting some action there but had nothing in the fishbox as yet.

After this fish was boated we started to notice more kayaks on the southern horizon, headed our way. Isobar and Ben cruised past, high speed trolling, while tarzan with a couple of mates also put in an appearance. At one stage I could see eleven kayaks at Halls Reef, and only two stinkboats.

Simba (Louis), on his first trip with us.

Mindful of the fact that I was about an hour’s paddle away from Middle Groyne, I opted to head for home about 09:15, trolling all the way back. Simba and bomber decided to head back with me and so we started out, with 5.4 kilometres to go, but a gentle breeze up our tails and on a flat sea.

Shortly after we left, jaro's jubilant voice came up on the radio describing the capture of a keeper grassy. It's been a while jaro, so you deserve it.

One third of the way into this journey I heard a breathless stormin on the radio. Already aware that he’d gone back down to Little Halls Reef after initially fishing at Halls Reef with us, I couldn’t understand what he was saying and thought he was in some sort of trouble so sought clarification. First gemini and then kahuna, both of whom were near stormin, now told me that he was hooked up to a fast running fish, not far from the beach near First Cutting. This was stormin's first big strike on a lure and he later described how he'd been nearly spooled before the lure pulled as he desperately increased the drag. Hard luck, stormin. Kahuna had been totally quiet up to now, and in fact I didn't even know he was out with us. But a few minutes after stormin's breathless call and disappointment, kahuna, in the same general area, announced that he was now hooked up to stormin's fish. This fish now escaped as a result of a tangle caused, in part I understand, by having a second lure out at the same time. Perhaps kahuna and stormin can fill in some detail by way of comment on this post.

As for me and my companions, we cruised back to Middle Groyne without action to arrive there at the same time as tarzan and sam. The surf break was still tricky even though there was more water over the sandbank than earlier. Carlton who hadn't fished today, was waiting on the beach with his iPhone and got a couple of pics of interest.

Stormin takes a close look at the rock wall on the way in. Pic by carlton.

Someone took an impromptu bath. Pic by carlton.

On the beach tarzan revealed he also had caught a grassy, this time on a shallow-running Halco LP, SE of Little Halls Reef! His fish was a little bigger than mine, as can be seen in this <img src=""/>.

Two nice grassies, tarzan's at top, and mine.

Before I left for home I hung around for the return of whalebait, from JS and jaro and beejay, who had sailed for the last couple of km on their journey from HR. Whalebait had a small snapper and jaro a grassy, a little smaller than mine. Beejay had caught plenty of fish, but no keepers.

I don't know how others went so we'd appreciate an update via comment on this post. Isobar, jamiedee, danu, how did you go?

Thanks for coming along guys and welcome to Noosa Yakkers for those who recently joined.


Additional media provided by Gemini:

GPS Track

Distance 15.8 km
Max Speed 7.2 km/hour
Avg Speed 3.1 km/hour

Gemini has a little swim...

Kahuna rhymes with… 19Sep12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SW to 5 knots switching to SE 5 knots later
Swell: 1.5m easterly
Current: at JS and LH Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: kahuna, turtleboy, sunshiner

…"Gee they’re a bloody beautiful fish, aren't they?" said a dripping wet kahuna on the beach at Middle Groyne at the end of the trip…

But back to the start of the day. Kahuna was just stowing his trolley when I arrived at the carpark. His yak was already on the beach and together we walked to the viewpoint as I was interested in seeing whether conditions differed much from Jaro's recce report from yesterday. As kahuna had already committed I figured it'd be doable with wetbums. And so it turned out to be so I hurried back to the zook, by now glad that I'd donned my battered old yakking wetsuit this morning.

The stealth was already setup for launch so all I had to do was get it off the zook onto the trolley and put my bootees on and I was trundling.

Launch time. If you look carefully you'll see kahuna straight out from the groyne.

My usual plan when faced with a wet bum or worse is to launch and paddle out to near the end of the wall and then hold there waiting for the hoped-for lull. Mostly this works fine. Today was clearly a day for taking your time because the water out from the end of the groyne was quite shallow, resulting in the occasional large wave curling and crashing from about two metres high. Fortunately there were lulls and as it happened I launched just before such a lull and also recognized it as such. I paddled hard straight out and struck a couple of steep but unbroken waves in the break zone. Dry bum!

"Got a bit wet" replied Kahuna when I asked him how he'd gone. But he was out there setting up and focussing on the immediate objective, get fishing!

A Jew Shoal recce was my plan but kahuna reckoned he had unfinished business out at Little Halls Reef, where recently some big fish had been thoroughly testing equipment, so we went our separate ways, with my NNE course getting a little kick along from the SW land breeze.

The first thing that struck me was that the gannets weren't hanging around. But then I saw a pair, unusually flying in close formation, low down and apparently heading straight east. They were the only gannets I saw today. Perhaps that's the last we'll see of them until next May.

Jew Shoal was soon showing on my sonar, but no baitfish apparent. I set up a lovely drift, put out a white snapback on my trailing rig and fished my usual SP with the casting outfit. By now I was aware by radio that turtleboy had launched and had opted to head for Jew Shoal also.

By the time turtleboy arrived I'd had no action and seen nothing of fishing interest except a few splashes possibly from tiny pelagic fish. Together we continued the drift. Then kahuna came up on the radio, apologizing for being off air (he'd accidentally changed channel because the lock wasn't engaged) and then told us that he'd boated a decent mac tuna on the way out, and was presently swimming a livey around at Little Halls Reef where he was seeing occasional bait schools on his sonar.

We at JS fished on a while until the SW breeze dropped out to be immediately replaced by a light easterly, perfect for a paddle from Jew Shoal to Little Halls Reef. With this extra incentive and a total lack of action at JS, turtleboy and I decided we'd join kahuna so set off west with the breeze up our tails.

The sun was illuminating brightly kahuna’s red and white Barracuda so we had no trouble spotting him from one kilometre out. He'd had no further action but we decided to try there anyway and the three of us spent the next 45 minutes or so, each in his own way, unsuccessfully trying to attract a fish. The place seemed dead. No birds, no bustups, and one solitary dolphin. Eventually we all decided that to get some excitement we'd have to head for Middle Groyne where the sand monster was almost certainly lurking today.

And lurking it was. There were about six boardriders having a great time on the waves at the end of the groyne, a sure sign that the surf zone transit would be interesting. By chance, we all arrived at Middle Groyne at about the same time and were all ready to run the gauntlet about the same time. Turtleboy and I waited for about five waves to go through and then I saw an opportunity and went for it, closely followed by turtleboy and a little further back, and further west, by kahuna.

As seen by the camera just as I started my run (cropped frame from video)

The edited chestcam video, only 41 secs

Anyway, we all approached the beach together but kahuna decided, as he'd never taken a bath at Middle Groyne before, that he'd do it today. As this event happened just behind me as I was paddling in, I couldn't catch it on video (cunning, this kahuna), but I did get the very end of it (on video above), as kahuna was dragging himself and his sodden yak out of the water.

Among the three of us, only kahuna had caught a fish. It was kahuna's first tuna, and a pretty good specimen of a mac tuna.

This pic is for his brother in NZ.

For the record, 77cm

A lovely few hours on the water, and a bit of fun at the end. Thanks for coming along guys.


Lone EyeTag, 16Sep12

TR by Eyetag

Wind - South to 10 knots
Swell - 1.5m southerly
Current - South Easterly
Launch point - Middle Groyne
Participants - Eyetag

I arrived at MG at 5.00am and the wind was already 5 knots from the South so I thought it'll be a quick paddle, no further than LH. So off I went launching at 5.30am. Photo of first light at MG.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Out with a dry bum, I put the shallow Laser Pro out straight away. Just after crossing the river mouth I had my first strike, a Mack Tuna about 6kg. He was released and not long after I got another the same size which was also released.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Things went quiet and being close to LH, I decided to put out a second deeper lure an x-rap 20+ in a Pilchard like colour. It didn't take long before I felt the rod bounce a couple of times and on the other end was a small Bonito, then soon after another.

By now the wind was at least 10 knots and I wasn't very comfortable in these conditions alone so a couple more laps around LH I'd had enough and headed home.

Both the Bonnies were 28cm and have been individually wrapped and frozen for the coming Mackerel season.

I was back by 7.30am and greeted by Turtleboy who was waiting on MG with his iPhone to capture my return to shore.


Rough, windy but rewarding day 15Sep2012

TR by Richmond

Wind - S to SSE to 15/20kts
Swell - 1.5m southerly
Current - Unsure
Launch point - Middle Groyne
Participants - Eyetag, Kahuna, Baptism, Richmond

I got out of bed this morning at 4am and stuck my head outside to hear the wind whistling through the trees from the south. Hmmm, could be interesting out there today I thought.

I got to Middle Groyne at about 5am as arranged with Eyetag, after a quick setup we were down the beach and ready for launch. Kahuna and Baptism had turned up by this stage also.

With the wind predicted to be about 10kts from the south, we had decided to do some trolling around the Little Halls reef area. We deployed our lures, I had a shallow running Laser Pro waayyyyy out the back, about 80 metres out (40 strokes of the paddle), and a 5 metre deep diveing Manns Stretch 20 swimming in close. Eyetag had a similar lure set but opted for an X-Rap30 in close.

In typical Eyetag style, the fish whisperer hooked up just after we had crossed the bar. After a little tussle he boated a 3kg Mack Tuna. Ian ended up getting 3 MT's of similar size, 2 on the Laser Pro and 1 on his X-Rap 30 whilst sitting there idle untangling his other line! I just shook my head in bewilderment.

By now the wind was strengthening. Kahuna and Baptism had reached us at Little Halls. Eyetag and I were trolling a little pinnacle I found last week, good bit of structure with plenty of bait around. I went out a little wider when I hear Ian's ratchet on the radio. He's hooked up. I kept trolling until I had an almighty strike on my Manns lure. Wow! This fish stripped at least 200 metres of 30lb braid off the TSS4, I was down to my backing when the line pinged. The drag on my reel was blown apart. It was seized! In all my time of fishing, I have never had a strike like this one except for marlin on game boats. I was in shock. The braid had parted down near the leader. I'm tipping a big, big Longtail, but we'll never know.

It was nearing the top of the tide and Eyetag had nailed his fish after a torrid battle, a solid Longtail. Foolishly, I put another deep diving lure in the same colour on after I had rerigged and put it out the back for a swim. Why, I don't know, I had no drag at all on the TSS4 as it was seized up. In typical fashion, I had another strike and I lost that lure too!

OK, think smart. I put that rod away and changed the shallow running Laser Pro over to a 3 metre diving Laser Pro in pilchard pattern. After trolling a short distance I had another strike and hooked up. The wind was now at least 15kts gusting to 20kts out of the south. I had a couple of scary moments there when I was beam on to the sea whilst hooked up to a rampaging Longtail Tuna. Not nice. I let this fish have his head on its first initial run. This seemed to tire it out and I landed him shortly after. Food for thought there, let them run.

I'd had enough with the wind and chop so I alerted Baptism and Eyetag that I was heading in. Kahuna had left earlier for Middle Groyne. My Longtail had taken me 850mts north of Little Halls, so I had a horrendous paddle home in the slop.

We all had an easy landing with no dramas and compared fish on the beach. My Longtail went 106cm and weighed 11.6kg and Ian's fish was 105cm long and weighed in heavier at 12.1kg.

Kahuna and Baptism missed out today, but tomorrow's another day. Another successful day for the Noosa Yakkers, bring on the next trip and look out you reel seizing fish, we're coming after you!

Who needs fish, anyway? 11Sep2012

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SE to 5 knots
Swell: 1.5m southerly
Current: at LH Reef none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, richmond, kiwibro, crofty, tarzan, jimbo, sunshiner

Jimbo and I, being respectable old gentlemen, were last to launch today. There was a bit of a wave but nothing we couldn’t handle and I think we both got out with dry bums.

Launch time

A quick radio call or two established that pedro was at Little Halls Reef and richmond at Jew Shoal, both fishless. But at least at Little Halls Reef there was bait showing on pedro’s sounder so, when in doubt, head for the bait schools. That's what richmond reckoned he was going to do anyway.

Outside the river mouth a Coastguard boat was hovering. Then the shark net contractor's Noosacat "Catapult" could be seen laboriously heading outward on the bar. Towed behind it was 150m of sealed slurry pipe, bound for who knows where. Understandably, this put jimbo and me off our trolling for a minute or two.

While jimbo opted to troll up the north shore toward Halls Reef close to the beach, I headed straight for my Little Halls Reef main mark which I arrived at simultaneously with richmond coming from the east. Also out there were kiwibro, who had reported a couple of massive runs but no hookup on pilchard baits, and pedro who was towing around a live yakka not much smaller than his Revo in the hope of a marlin hookup.

Not to be outdone, I switched to a vintage lure, a massive and ancient deep-running Rapala which, when trolled, drags the stern of the yak under the water. This I trolled for the next couple of hours, tensing up whenever I knew the lure was going straight through a dense pack of bait, visible about eight metres down on the sounder. Nothing! Richmond was doing something similar, but with two lines out. Nothing either!

At one stage our trolling patterns coincided and we found we'd both concluded that a foray to the river mouth area in search of cobia was in order. So off we went, independently, where I found myself eventually overtaken on the western side by kiwibro who was dodging the breaking waves in about four metres depth right in close to the beach.

In about seven metres my big old Rap was dragging the bottom so I switched to the one metre running Laser Pro after cleaning the bottom debris off the Rap before putting it away again. One of these days that lure is going to go off and you probably won't see me again!

By now it was around 09:30 so richmond and I meandered toward Middle Groyne, having exhausted all options available to us. Just as we pulled up to prepare for surf zone transit richmond saw a cobia around a metre long swim past casually under the yak. This is not surprising to me as we have previously hooked several cobes inside the bay. Maybe a live sand crab or grinner might be a worthy temptation for a cobe in the area near the shark nets some time.

And so to the surf, which presented the sole opportunity this morning to get the heart rate up because the tide was low and, as usual, the small swell was kicking up a steep wave on the sandbank north of the groyne.

Richmond inspects the incoming sets while my chestcam records the scene (cropped frame from video -- ignore time stamp).

As I thought he would, richmond cruised through, picking up a small wave which carried him through until his BFS skeg cut into the sand in ankle depth. I also got a nice little wave in and also cut a groove in the sand. I should mention that kiwibro had already cleared the beach by the time we got there.

Three other unfamiliar yaks appeared at the end of the wall just after we beached and, as the occupants showed no sign of surf competence, I waded in with camera at the ready. All three, the last a double, were rolled and all three events were captured on movie, though a long way away from the camera so not suitable for still frame shots, except perhaps for the one below. Maybe a video later.

Double trouble (cropped frame from video)

Then, in a long chain, came the remainder of our colleagues except for pedro who avoids the camera by staying out fishing all day and into the night if necessary.

Tarzan, who was awarded a "Save" by the judges on the beach, for putting his body in danger rather than get his fishing gear wet (cropped frame from video).

Jimbo, who got through successfully first time (just!) decided to go out and try again. The above was the result (cropped frame from video).

Crofty, in his Revo, was still out there, just behind the break. In fact we were speculating as to what he was doing (saying the rosary perhaps?), he was taking so long. But crofty's obviously been out the back of a small but steep surf break before and was feverishly stripping and stowing gear to minimize the damage in case the sand monster put in an appearance at this, one of its favourite venues.

Eventually crofty lined up and went for it, paddle in hand, flippers folded. His first run was aborted when the Revo headed east when it was kicked by a wave, but he stayed upright and hovered in the break zone for a few tense seconds while we watchers on the beach mentally urged him to "get the hell outa there". Which he did, pushing water backward with renewed energy, into the home straight where he opted to take a closer look at the wall then came back the other way, finishing off with a flourish as he braced with the paddle on the starboard side.

Crofty bracing on a small wave. Nice job, in the end. (frame from video)

So, a grim result, fish wise, although pedro might yet salvage the day. But hey, it was fun, and a beautiful day on the water. Too bad we had no work for the legion of fish holders obvious on the beach!

Pedro, how'd you go?


Breeze, what breeze? 09Sep12

TR by Gemini

Participants:  richmond, gemini, stormin, sunshiner, tarzan, kiwibro, corie, jaro, salty, kahuna, mangrove-mac
Conditions: Perfect, glassy, light start with (I'll get to that later)

We all arrived at MG to a picture perfect start to the day. Very little wind, no swell, fantastic. Spaniards were to be the flavour of the day after Baptism's random catch the day before.

Launch time. Pic by sunshiner

A not so dry launch was my reward for jumping the gun, but my official excuse is that I was doing it for the camera...

Wet bum imminent!

Richmond had launched earlier, and after checking his location and status we all opted to head up the North Shore towards Little Halls and Halls reefs. The paddle up was largely uneventful, but we passed a number of dolphins enjoying themselves in the excellent conditions, some of whom had no issue with yak bound humans.

One of the dolphins only metres away.

After arriving at Little Halls, Sunshiner advised us that there was a reasonable amount of bait getting around, so he was going to paddle the area for a while. I opted for a brief bottom bash with some prawns, but turned a nil result.

With no action presenting itself, we then moved on to Halls. Once near Halls, the lack of bait in the water or strikes on trolled lines spooked a portion of our group who opted to move onto Jew Shoal instead. The remainder of us at Halls split again, with some trolling and some bashing the bottom. I opted for a brief bottom bash, pulling in a juvenile (type unknown) who went straight back.

After giving up on bottom bashing, I trolled my way over to Jaro who was pulling live bait from a school he had found. At the time I was only trolling a single line with a laser pro (for pelagics), but after leaving Jaro to his baitfish I dropped my second line. The second line was running a 120mm River 2 Sea downsider in gold...which was smashed within 300m of leaving Jaro.

The fight was brief, but he pulled pretty hard with a lot of head shaking. I thought I had a shark after spotting him circling below, but it turned out to be a healthy cobia.

Come to papa!

In the excitement the cobia had managed to foul hook itself nicely in the gills, so he went into the hold with lure intact. I had then intended to head back to MG via a slow troll in close to shore, but Jaro asked me to wait to assist with his yak, and to get a few photos.

Cobia, with lure intact.

This is where things became interesting. Sunshiner radioed to advise us of a stiff breeze whipping up from the south east which may cause us problems on the return trip. We decided to head back without any further delay, but we were still too slow. Halfway between Halls and Little Halls we saw the breeze stirring the water in our path...then it struck. At 10-15 knots, gusting to 20, we had a hard slog back to MG for the last 4KMs. I will most certainly be feeling that in the morning!

Re-entry was uneventful, although I did have one rogue wave slip under me that required a bit of leaning on my part.


Unfortunately the total fish count for the day was a bit slim. Asides from the cobia, Sunshiner bagged a bonito, and Kiwibro bagged a ?? (what did you get? I was too busy paddling to hear the identification on the radio at the time).

Cobia on the mat. 98cm. 5KG (exact, weighed at Davos) Pic by sunshiner

Distance 15.2 km
Max Speed 8.1 km/hour
Avg Speed 3.0 km/hour