A few days at Woodgate, 30Oct12

TR by Pedro and Wendy
Location, Woodgate, Queensland

One thing good about the Noosa Triathalon is that Wendy and I get a day off from working the Noosa Farmers Market due to road closures. So we booked a house at Woodgate that backed onto the beach, perfect for a bit of kayaking, playing scrabble, reading, etc.

Woodgate is situated about 30 km east of Childers in Hervey Bay. It's protected by Fraser Island and only generates wind swell. It's a great place for family holidays especially those with small children. The beach is safe, and there is plenty of good quality affordable accommodation either on or near the beach.

We picked a house at the northern end, it backed onto the beach which made access easy and saved a bit of paddling as it's closer to the reef.

We arrived Tuesday mid afternoon, the wind was up from the north so we unpacked, set up for a pedal the following morning and went off to buy sandfly repellent. The local shop/takeaway owner told us that there had been no school macs caught since the northerly's started and didn't hesitate to tell us about the sharks...

I launched around 4am and headed for the artificial reef about 2k SE of the backyard. The reef is in 6-7meters of water, 1.5k long and runs SW to NE, you can pick up GPS marks at the boat ramp billboard at the northern end of town. I arrived at the SW end and continued trolling while checking out the bottom and marking anything interesting.

The reef was organized by the local fishermen and consists of rubble, old car bodies etc. and after a bit of sounding and nothing going for the HB's I decided to bottom fish the SW end as there was more structure.

Floating pillies over the area had me hooked up on a couple of large bottom fish, cod by the feel of them, both times the hook pulled. A few baits were lost to small ones and with no surface activity (the reef gets it's share of mackerel) I headed in fishless. There were plenty of turtles munching on seagrass as there was a carpet of cuttings floating on the surface and they were coming up for air regularly. 15knot NE winds for the afternoon. Wendy and I braved a launch and paddled into the wind for half an hour and enjoyed the free ride back. No takers on the HB's.

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Sunrise at Woodgate Beach on the first morning

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Wendy in a Swing on glassy water looking very happy

Thursday morning I launched early, this time trolling one HB and one gar on a headstart trolling rig. The conditions were perfect with only a slight offshore breeze. I trolled the reefs length a few times without a touch so changed over to pillies and drifted while taking in the morning. No action on the bait but there was a couple of splashes in the distance, this prompted me to continue trolling and five minutes later I had a soft hit on the gar. I stopped peddling and opened the bail arm a second before line peeled off at speed. I flicked the arm across, xxxx no hookup. No second take either, so I wound in to check the bait and in the water I could see a large fish following the bait, a spaniard? I peddled faster to keep him interested while winding as well and the fish followed it. A marlin cruised behind my gar with only two meters of line out. I peddled faster but he lost interest and disappeared into the depths. This all happened within a few seconds and even though I thought of the camera I was more intent on steering and pedalling to catch the fish so alas no pic.

I saw Wendy in the distance and we met up and paddled around for another couple of hours.

Terns were arriving in flocks all day and landing at the creek mouth, maybe some mackerel tomorrow.

No fish again but having another chance at the marlin club was great.

Northerlies picked up in the arvo and we drove a couple of km west and checked out Theodolite Creek upstream for a potential launch site.The creek seems to be surrounded by salt marsh and talking to a local who was fishing there it's very easy to get bogged so we legged it in three hundred meters for a look.

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Upstream Theodolite Creek

After this we drove south checking out Walkers Point, the northern side of Burrum River. With the wind at our backs I fished with small prawns from the shore, picking up one grunter bream. This area looked very fishy, lots of holes and sandflats with yabbies.

There's another reef east of the mouth and a boatramp with toilets.

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Looking South to Burrum Heads

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Pic of my Grunter Bream

I woke up 4am Friday morning and conditions weren't great with a 10 to 15 knot northerly, but being wind swell was doable.

So I launched and was soon escorted by a couple of dolphins for at least five hundred meters. I trolled the reef with HB's picking up two school macs. Who says northerlies mean no macs. I headed in around 7.30am as conditions were worsening and met up with Wendy who had launched but stayed in close. We headed in not long after.  In the afternoon we had a look at the mouth of Theodolite which was 4wd accessible to the waters edge high or low tide.

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Northerly wind at around noon.

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School Mackerel

The wind was still up Saturday morning so we had a lazy morning, packed up and headed for home around 11am.


Solo Doctor Dog, 27Oct12

TR by Doc Dog
Wind: NW early
Swell: Small
Current: 1 kmh at North Sunshine Reef
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Doc Dog

Hi guys, not much to report.

I went for a paddle at the gentlemanly hour of 7 am from MG. Exit from the beach and surf zone was a dry affair as I found I had the bay to myself, with only an occasional stink boat and a couple of outriggers for company. I called on CH 9 but when no Noosa Yakkers replied I logged into Noosa Coastguard.

I then headed out to North Sunshine reef dragging a couple of HB lures and checked out a couple of marks I have there. Nary a touch on either the trolled outfits nor the hour and a half of SP work.

There was only a slight breeze from the NW early and a N-S current of around 1.0 km / hr. Conditions were eminently fishable, but other than small schools of bonito working on the surface from time to time, there was no real activity. The bonito seemed to be chasing even smaller fry that were sheltering close to the large blue jelly fish that were in evidence in large numbers along a current line about 2 km off Hell's Gates.

Two whales cruised past about 100 m off, but no breaching action today, and a large pod of dolphins milled around my craft lazily for a time as I returned towards the headland.

A point of interest to me was a radio call I put in to Noosa Coastguard from about 1 km off Hells Gates without reply. I expected coverage at my position as I thought there was a repeater up on Noosa Hill. It wasn't until I rounded the corner and had line of sight to the tower at the river mouth that I was able to advise Noosa Coastguard of my delayed return to MG.

Not productive, no pics, but a great paddle with the freshening Sou'Easter helping to push me home.

Cheers, Mark
Doctor Dog

Lake Mac - 5 bass, 5 million mozzies, 26Oct12

TR by Gemini

Participants:  Gemini, Weeksie
Conditions: fine, steady breeze with medium gusts

By the time I arrived (just before 4PM), Weeksie was already unloading at the strawberry patch launch. I quickly unloaded and we hit the lake. We noted as we entered the water that the level of the lake had dropped significantly, but with the lack of rain I guess that's to be expected.

We moved around the S-bend slowly, but without a strike. The wind was also blowing us around a little, but it wasn't as annoying as it could have been. It wasn't until we approached Rusty's Run that I had the first strike of the day.

Bass, 31cm

We hung around the Palm Farm area for a while and I had another strike, but lost the fish in the weeds. I then let myself drift around the corner towards Fry's Run, but asides from a few black swans and some vague hints of surface action, there was little happening in that direction.

I started to head around the top end of the Palm Farm around the steeper banks, and I had another few good tugs on the line which didn't take. By this time it was getting dark and the mozzies were moving in. I swapped over my baby vibe for a popper and slowly made my way back to Weeksie at Rusty's Run. I was casting along the way, but with no result.

Cursing my popper (as I usually do), I swapped back to my baby vibe for the run home. This was a lucky thing, as not far from meeting up with Weeksie again I had another strike...and this one took. He was slow about it. I felt the tug, I paused, slowly moved the lure, then another tug, then he slowly moved off before realising there was a hook in his gob. Once landed I could see why: he had swallowed my baby vibe whole.

Bass, 34cm. Apparently the GoPro2 doesn't like low light situations.

Weeksie made his way over and told me he had landed three bass in my absence around the same area (photos to come). As much as we would have liked the fishing to continue, the mozzies were starting to take chunks of flesh off our bodies (AFTER liberal repellent application), so we called it a day.


Matt (Gemini)

Still quiet out there. 26Oct12.

TR by sunshiner

Wind: NW from 3 knots early, steadily building to 10-12knot NW by 09:30
Swell: 2 metre south easterly
Current: at Halls Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, sunshiner

A brief report today. Jaro and I launched close together into a sea with an annoying NW chop.

Launch time. Very easy, but to stay dry you had to time it well. Jaro's just a speck out from the end of the groyne.

Knowing that the wind was going to increase from the NW justified our NW destination, Halls Reef. Trolling the 5.5km all the way resulted in nothing for each of us. I drift fished with SPs for a while for nix, before opting to head inshore and troll back toward Middle Groyne. Jaro deployed both prawn and pillie baits and was rewarded with some action, although whether action from sharks is worth it, I don't know. But he did nail one reasonable grassy.

By 09:00 and with the wind picking up by the minute I was back off Middle Groyne, ready to tackle the sand monster. Obviously my adversary was having an off day, as pretty soon I was standing on the beach chatting to one of the locals and watching for jaro's sail on the horizon. Jaro had also opted to head back in as the wind strength had made drift fishing unviable. Then hollywood turned up, having ridden his bike from Peregian. Together we chatted while watching jaro transit the surf zone, which he did without incident.

Jaro's grassy. The only fish brought home today.

No sign of pelagics at all today, but I really enjoyed the paddle.


Snappy sesh at DB reef. 22Oct12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: dead calm early, going NW to 15 knots, then dropping off to a 5 knot northerly
Swell: tiny easterly
Current: at Doggie Beach Reef, none
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: sunshiner, pedro

Pedro didn't decide to come until early this morning, consequently I thought I was the only starter. Certainly I had the carpark pretty much to myself when I got there before 0500. I'd already checked the swell situation from the viewpoint near the surf club and was pleased to see that it was still pretty much non-existent.

So I didn't bother to check the launch situation and had the yak off and onto the trolley in a couple of minutes, heading for the beach. The tide was dead low and there's so much sand at Doggie Beach now that you practically need a cut lunch to do the trek from the end of the entrance path to the water. SO glad I had my big wheeled trolley.

As I trundled down to the water's edge I noted a lone board rider picking up tiny waves to the north, and a whale relaxing right in close to the headland, just off Doggie Beach.

Launch time. Woohoo! The high humidity was causing a haze on the horizon.

Easy launch, got woken up by the splash from the one tiny wave that got through my defences and dampened my seat. As I paddled out beyond the (apparently non-existent) break, another whale breached to the north east. Looks like the migration south is well under way.

Clear water, no birds, no splashing, quite heavy overcast, the clouded sun had only just cleared the horizon. Absolutely flat calm, for now. Soon I was paddling toward Doggie Beach Reef (location as per the blog), my HLP throbbing away one metre down and 35 paddle strokes behind me.

Paddling out on a glassy sea.

At my destination there was nothing in particular on the sounder, but that is never an indication that fish are not present. In came my trolled lure and out went my trailing outfit and shortly afterward my cast jighead splashed down and began gently heading for the bottom, 27m down.

The trailing outfit went off soon afterward and with a "Whoopee!" I put my first keeper snapper into the new boat.

Not big, but very welcome after my recent drought of fish. Note the jighead is rigged on single strand wire, in case of mackerel hits.

That one fish had already made my day, and it wasn't even 6:00 am! About 06:15, my radio, still on the Noosa Yakkers channel, crackled and up came the familiar voice of pedro. He confessed that he'd taken a tumble when coming out, but was on his way anyway, explaining that he thought he'd concentrate on Spaniards today but would come out and visit me at Doggie Beach reef first. It's only a 1.5km paddle and soon I could see him heading toward me.

Pedro, a little damp, drops in to say hello.

By now the breeze had picked up to about 10 knots NW. Pedro stayed with me a little while, prospecting the area with a big squid bait before deciding to head off into the wind with a big HB out, sticking with his original Spaniard plan. The breeze got stronger but was still very manageable. Because I'd got no more hits and planning to be back on the beach early today, I decided to try one of my closer in marks so paddled off toward the west.

As I approached this mark I came across some quite lumpy reef which I hadn't previously noticed on the sounder, so did a quick upwind run for 30 metres or so, hove to, popped the drogue and deployed the trailing outfit then the casting outfit.

Within a few minutes the casting outfit went off with a typical snapper take and fight. One fish is nice but two is confirmation that you're doing something right so I was extra pleased when snapper number two came aboard.

This jig also is rigged with wire but the multi strand, plastic coated type. Again, in case of mackerel strikes.

Being very satisfied with my lot, and because I had a meeting to attend, I headed in shortly afterward. Trolled the one km or so back to the beach, stashed the gear and surfed a wave in over the last 40 metres or so testing the rudder by weaving left and right on the wave as the wave pushed me along. Doesn't get much better than that!

Two snapper, the larger around 47cm.

Pedro's radio was a bit waterlogged but by the time I left the beach I understand he hadn't had any action, fish-wise. How'd you go, pedro? Beat the sand monster on the way back in?


Quick jaunt to HR. 19Oct12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: westerly to 5 knots, increasing to NW 10-12 knots
Swell: small southerly
Current: at Little Halls Reef, Halls Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: daveyG, baptism, weeksie, sunshiner

Baptism was dozing in his car, with his Revo on the roof at Middle Groyne when I arrived at 5:00am. Thinking I'd let him sleep in a bit, I unloaded my yak only to find him standing sleepily behind me. Being keen to get going I didn't hang around as clearly he had a bit of prepping to go through before he hit the water.

Here's the launch time pic

Take a good look at the surf break. Looks benign, eh? Read on.

Anyway, I dry bummed it. Didn't even have much water in the footwells. I extracted my rods and electronics from the hatch, set up and then swung the bow to where the GPS needle was pointing, Little Halls Reef. As I paddled off, just a few minutes after launch, I glanced over my left shoulder to see baptism dragging his yak down to the launch point. He knew where I was headed so I'd see him out there I thought.

Conditions were beautiful out there but again, nary a sign of fish. No birds, no splashes from predators. Rush on, summer! Having trolled my HLP all the way to Little Halls Reef for zip I then set course for Halls Reef, a further 2.5 km or so.

When I was one km short of Halls Reef and about 45 minutes after my launch daveyG came up on the radio from back at Middle Groyne. After exchanging morning greetings and learning from me that there'd been no action so far and no sign of fish Dave revealed that there'd been an incident at Middle Groyne. Baptism had rolled his yak going out, with two rods erect (one unleashed) and worst of all, had lost his glasses. The unleashed rod, his SP casting outfit, had been found eventually by wading the shallows but the rod was broken, and the reel obviously soaked and sandy. No sign of the glasses. The leashed rod, a short heavy trolling outfit, had stayed in the rod holder and was usable so baptism was now back on the yak and heading out. Dave and new Noosa Yakker weeksie (pic later) were on their way with him.

By the time they got to me baptism was looking quite weary, understandably, after sleeping the night in his car and getting smashed on the way out. I'd started drift fishing at Halls Reef to no avail and the place was feeling very dead. Two or three stinkboats were trolling or anchored nearby but signs of action for them were not evident either.

A couple of whales showed up just to the north of us but that was the extent of the on water excitement for the day. Baptism and daveyG decided to call it a day, having trolled all the way for nothing and I meandered over to weeksie to introduce myself.

Meet weeksie

weeksie and his Swing

With that, weeksie and I also paddled home in a strengthening tail breeze. An uneventful beach landing completed the day.

No fish, but back on the beach by 9:00am!

Sharks and sweety. 18Oct12

TR by Jaro

Conditions: clear sky, warm, waters a bit choppy early, flattening to mill pond calm. No current to speak of.
Participants: kiwibro, tarzan, jimbo, jaro.

We all arrived at MG around 4.45am and launched fairly easily into a sloppy sea. We all decided to go to Halls Reef via Little Halls.

No action on the way out.

When at Halls Reef I got a few nibbles and then a shark. It was very quiet fish-wise all morning. Tarzan ended up going to JS where he also caught a shark which I believe he released.

KiwiBro caught an undersize school mackerel which he released. Jim also caught a shark but it chewed through his line before it got near the yak. Everyone was ready to head for home and I was down to my second last prawn when I had a nice strike and after a short tussle landed a fat 48 cm sweetlip, making my day.

The trip home was uneventful and we all landed safely ashore.


Marlin hookup. 17Oct12

TR by Pedro

Wind: light NW turning NE 10-15knots
Swell: small
Current: none
Launch Point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Pedro

Launched at 4.15, the first hints of light were on the horizon.

Trolled to and around Little Halls then Halls with not a sniff on the HBs.

Bottom fished and caught a dozen or so small squire and grassies, all throwbacks.

When the wind turned, I packed up, and trolling west from Halls, I hooked up on something that had some weight but wasn't taking drag so while retrieving the other line I kept pedalling to hopefully stay hooked up. This achieved, I turned the yak by winding and holding the rod tip to the bow. I saw a splash about 50m out but didn't see the fish, still no drag taken. I start winding and the fish comes toward me, keeping the line tight. Ten metres out, a marlin jumps, mouth open head shaking (the marlin and me too I think), the lure flies and the fish is free.

I estimate it was around 2m long and 40-50kg and the lure was a Sebile Koolie Minnow LL FW in pilchard pattern.


Whale breach on video. 16Oct12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Gentle SW 5 knots, swinging to 5 knots SSE
Swell: small SE
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: sunshiner

Today's theme (cropped frame from video). See video link later.

When good offshore weather comes along I like to get out in the yak if at all possible. Today was such a day. I was aware that the fishing prospects were not good, but you never know around here, so at 0500 today when I awoke and checked Seabreeze I committed.

Launchtime. Wouldn't you have gone too, if you had the opportunity?

There was a guy baitfishing from the end of the groyne when I launched. He hadn't done any good but I did encourage him to get a yak, I think.

Cutting a long story short, I paddled out to Jew Shoal confirming on the way that my refit of the sounder in the new boat was working as hoped. That's another item ticked off the list. Conditions were great but in two hours of working SPs over much of the territory I hadn't had a touch. Still dead!

No sign of surface action, either. Even the local cormorant was eyeing me off hungrily. No whales, either. Then snort! Behind me, as usual. Maybe there IS a whale around. Louder snort! Lines and drogue in, I spin the yak horizontally just in time to see black portions of a large-ish whale less than 100m behind me, travelling toward the east.

Whale #1

OK, that's my fun for the day, so I may as well head back toward Middle Groyne, trolling as I go, of course. Noting that there'd been a tiny bit of pelagic action recently around the river mouth I set course for that area only to come across the white rigid inflatable used by the whale researchers. On board was the male skipper with several researchers who would have made very acceptable fish holders. They enviously ogled my yak, cameras in hand. I presume the yak was the object of their attention, although there's an outside chance they were ogling me, I suppose. Being used to such behaviour I thought nothing of it, but there could have been a touch of sexism there, from the fish holders that is.

Anyway, close to where they were parked, two km from Middle Groyne, a large white triangular object was protruding from the surface. It looked exactly like the buoyant bow of a sunken boat but the chief researcher and boat skipper told me it was a female humpback and her calf, resting, as they do. I promised to not get too close and paddled gently toward it as it was on my planned track.

Resting, belly up, only the end of the tail protruding.

A couple of other kayakers showed up. They were not fishos and I didn't recognize any of them. Despite the law, these guys started to get a bit too close to the whales, certainly within 50m of them.

Both mother and calf, plus kayaker.

By now I'd got my big camera out. I almost always shoot video with the small camera but in this case I was shooting stills but the subject was a little too far away. Then the calf surfaced and started to swim around mum so I switched to movie on the big camera and just started to follow the activity.

The calf nudged mum quite solidly and there was a splash, which I was quite pleased to see was right in my viewfinder, then mum got seriously annoyed and took off with a swirl in the 13m deep water. The camera was still going when she breached once, then again, before returning to more normal behaviour.

See the action in Laguna Bay today. And be wary of getting too close to whales!

As both creatures were now swirling around willy nilly I and the other kayakers decided to make ourselves scarce, so that was the show over for the day.

I paddled back to the groyne and picked up a beautiful little wave from just outside the wall, surfing it all the way in to the beach, hitting the sand hard enough with my skeg to bring me to a jolting stop. Bewdy! Now all I had to hope for was that the video I'd just shot on the camera I don't usually use for video was in focus. It was!

No fish, but what a compensatory experience. What a place to live!

Magnificent Medusa. 14Oct12

TR by sunshiner, with contribution from gemini

Wind: Cold westerly 5 knots, increasing to 8 knots
Swell: small southerly
Current: at Little Halls Reef, Halls Reef, Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, stormin, beejay, tarzan, richmond, gemini, whalebait, kahuna, Brock A (need a nickname, Brock), mangrove-mac, sunshiner

Finding fish wasn't easy today, but a couple of nice sweeties ended up in yaks.

In the carpark this morning at 04:30 there was a stranger in our midst. I wandered over to say hello, thinking that it might perhaps be Brock A, whom I hadn't met. No, it was Peter, unloading a Stealth Evolution 465. He'd been reading our blog and had come up from Brisbane on spec hoping to have some of the fun he'd been reading about.

He asked if he could tag along with someone as he had no GPS, no radio and had never launched here before so I pencilled him in as my wingman. Launch was as easy as it gets here and before long Peter and I, alone, were heading for Jew Shoal. Whalebait had opted for Sunshine Reef while the remainder of the contingent headed for Little Halls Reef and Halls Reef.

At Jew Shoal I briefly described the reef to Peter and our various methods of fishing it. We then set up a drift using the westerly wind to push us across the reef. Once again, it was a perfect drift, but once again, the action was almost non-existent. There were no signs of surface activity and no birds hovering over bait patches.

Peter. I invited him to join Noosa Yakkers via the blog link.

Shortly after taking the above pic my SP was taken and I was on! I knew very quickly that it was neither a snapper nor a sweetlip. My judgement was that it was possibly a trevally but after a see-sawing fight of several minutes up popped a small mac tuna. I should have thought of that first, as these are a fairly common catch on SPs at Jew Shoal.

Mackerel tuna

I was dressed for summer but by now I was bloody cold. The wind was cutting through my rashie so I decided to head for Little Halls Reef, 3.7km upwind. I don't know what happened to Peter as he left to troll the Noosa headlands to the SE.

Little Halls Reef was dead, as stormin had warned me by radio a little earlier, but at least it was warm there. Warm and no fish is better than cold and no fish!

After a decent try at Little Halls Reef I decided to head in, encountering a few miniature and brief bustups just outside the river mouth. But as I paddled away from Little Halls Reef I came across a majestic medusa, drifting in the limpid sea.

It was a beauty, about 40cm wide across the canopy.

It was at the river mouth that richmond and gemini caught up with me, an hour or so later as they headed for home. Both had had a bit of action (gemini will do show and tell, later) and we paddled in to the beach together after I took the opportunity to take a pic of richmond's two fish.

The sweetlip went 53cm.

The others mostly came trickling in after us (mangrove-mac had pulled the pin earlier as he was a little off colour). Jaro had eventually managed to bag a very nice sweetlip which he measured and photographed on the beach.

55cm. Nice but not a Noosa Yakkers record.

Whalebait and kahuna were still out there by the time I left so we don't know how they went. Please let us know guys.

Looks like I'm going to have to start fishing with bananas!


Additional material from Gemini

Not a lot to add really. A lot of wildlife today, so there is some footage of that below. The main event was seeing Richmond take a wave while in too close to the North Shore and end up in the drink (he didn't roll the yak at least!). The video doesn't show him falling off, but you can see him climbing back up. Best viewed in HD if possible.

GPS Track
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Distance 17.6 km
Max Speed 18.0 km/hour (I think my GPS or Google Earth is crooked)
Avg Speed 3.5 km/hour


Matt (Gemini)

Huge Humpbacks, 13Oct12

TR by Doc Dog
Wind: South 15 knots
Swell: Choppy out of the South
Current: Unknown
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Doc Dog and Eyetag

I went out for a late paddle this morning and met Eyetag as he returned from his early morning sojourn. He was returning fishless, "without so much as a strike", after four hours paddling.

I paddled around the bay to Hells Gates to stay out of the wind which came from the south at 15 knots. This was in excess of the Seabreeze forecast. Along the way I saw two healthy turtles in the bay and a few jelly fish but no bony fishes to speak of.

I then turned north determined to do a trolling run past Jew Shoal in spite of the small southerly swell, 15 knots of breeze and the attendant wind chop. Just 500 metres short of JS, a huge humpback breached directly in front of me, not more than 200 metres in the distance, and headed my way.

I quickly wound my two trolling rigs in and turned to the west.

Fortunately the whales (there were two of them) did not breach again but they did continue to track south passing directly under my previous position before I beat my hasty "exit stage west". I am usually quite relaxed around whales but being on my own with no other craft of any sort in sight I felt I should give way to the leviathans especially in view of their obvious "joie de vie".

I returned to the beach with no further excitement thankful for a pleasant outing and a vigorous paddle.

Sorry no pics.

aka Doctor Dog

Sweetie conditions. 10Oct12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Light SW-SE early before glassing off and swinging to NE
Swell: small southerly
Current: at Little Halls Reef and Halls Reef, gentle to north, swinging to gentle southerly later
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, daveyG, baptism, sunshiner

Big occasion for me today: I launched my new Supalite X for the first time, and paddled with a different paddle.

Jaro and I launched together, before baptism and daveyG were even in the carpark.

Launch time, new boat about to get its first bath.

No sweat, for either of us. The new fibreglass paddle felt quite strange as it was noticeably lighter, but it still managed to push the water backwards when I needed to accelerate to avoid getting a wet bum.

A few minutes later we were ready and off, heading NW for Little Halls Reef initially, and then onward depending on the wind situation we found there. I had been a bit concerned about a noticeable spike in the wind strength and direction which had hit Cape Moreton at 2300hrs and was just now showing up on the automatic weather station at Maroochy airport. Jaro and I had discussed it before launch, when there was almost no wind at all at Main Beach, and concluded that it may not even reach Noosa. This turned out to be accurate, but it is better to be aware of such possible unforecast weather changes than to be ignorant of them and bear the possible consequences. I don’t think any of us would relish being out at Halls Reef if the wind suddenly came in from the SE at 20 knots.

Anyway, conditions offshore were superb. Jaro and I paddled along trolling our HLP, mine a shallow runner in Qantas colours, his a deeper runner.

About 700m short of Little Halls Reef my trolling reel started clicking, not screaming, and I subsequently put the first fish into the new boat.

Australian bonito, kept for bait. I was thankful it wasn't a grinner.

The wind was still light and variable at Little Halls Reef so, seeing no sign of surface activity, we pressed on toward Halls Reef, another 2.5km or so further north. This distance was covered without further interruption, unfortunately. Jaro had brought a pile of banana prawns and some pillies so resolved to do some bottom bashing while I opted to troll in toward the beach to see if I could stir up any large predators, which I couldn't although I did find some baitfish being harrassed minimally by a lone tern.

Having heard nothing on the radio at this time, I was pretty sure that jaro was having a quiet time also. Even so, I figured I may as well join him and so paddled back east to the Halls Reef mark where I spotted a pedaller heading for the mark from the south. This turned out to be baptism, who'd driven up from Brisbane this morning. The two of us then kept jaro close company as he started to catch a few fish.

At first there was much swearing as sharks were taking his baits.

This was his second or third shark, but…

While he was performing surgery on this shark, his other rod went off.

That's better. A nice sweetie. Jaro's smiling again. Beautiful fish and conditions, eh?

Suitably impressed by this performance, baptism and I went back to the fishing with renewed optimism, completely uncalled for, as it turned out.

DaveyG turned up, having radioed us when he launched an hour or so earlier, just in time to see jaro boat a bigger sweetie.

The scene. Pic by daveyG.

doing it again a little later…

Hooked up. Pic by daveyG.

Definitely not the same fish as in the previous pic.

Banana prawns were doing the damage, rigged on a large unweighted circle hook and cast down drift to slowly descend to the waiting fish. The rest of us were using mainly soft plastics which, in Dave’s case were being sacrificed to the leatherjacket population. No fish however until…

Suddenly, not long after Dave had left to get back to work, my trailing outfit went off. The strike had sweetlip written all over it. I'd sweetened the SP with a chunk of the freshest bonito you could get and now was sure it was my turn to boat a huge sweetie, or maybe a snapper. D’oh!

Either a leatherjacket or a triggerfish, don't really know the difference. Anyway he went back.

Jaro dropped a big strike around now, when his whole dead fish bait went off and he was left with a shredded leader. Then I caught another triggerfish, same jig. Shortly after jaro ran out of bananas we decided to head home, as we had at least 5.3 km to travel and it was about 09:45.

Just after leaving we picked up with baptism who had been mucking around a little further south. Apparently he'd had an unequal encounter with something big and toothy but opted to head for the beach too, as he also had to get back to work.

On the way back, just north of the river mouth, I picked up my first mackerel of the season, an undersized school mackerel which took on the Qantas HLP, and ended up freed with a sore lip and a slight hook wound in the flank. So, three species in my new yak, first trip, but no proper keepers, for me. None for baptism either. Jaro, well, you couldn't wipe the smile off his face.

Back on the beach…

Three nice sweeties for jaro.

My new ride, faster than the old one (maybe it's just the new paddle but it does seem to have more buoyancy).

I don't know how daveyG went but possibly he'll let us know if anything of interest occurred on the way back.

Thanks for coming along guys. See you out there again soon.

Kev (sunshiner)

Sweetie, little else. 09Oct12

TR by pedro
Wind: Variable NW, SW under 5 knots turning easterly 10 knots
Swell: Southerly 1m
Current: Not detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Pedro, Kahuna, Tarzan

I launched at 4.30am and with the aid of the waining moon and taking note of the pattern in the waves I managed a rare predawn dry bum launch!!!

I headed north, close to the beach, then out to Little Halls trolling hardbodies. With one small hit near the river mouth and nothing at LH I headed for Halls and fished with gar and live bait.

The gar were attracting some decent hits resulting in one 50cm sweetlip, and the live fusilier I had out got smashed but alas no hookup.

Tarzan trolled past, nothing happening for him at that stage and Kahuna turned up and dropped SPs for no result.

I hung in till around 11.00 and when the first of the seabreeze kicked in, I packed up and trolled back.

Uneventful return trip.

Good luck tomorrow guys.



Beejay's day. 05Oct12

TR by sunshiner, with contribution expected by beejay

Wind: North westerly 5 knots, increasing to 10 knots
Swell: small easterly
Current: at Little Halls Reef and Halls Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, stormin, beejay, sunshiner, gemini, pedro, isobar (pronounced eesobar) and friend Pete

I saw the first small flying fish of the summer out there today, two little guys about the length of my finger, frantically fleeing my yak as I paddled back to Middle Groyne. I always think of these little guys as the harbingers of summer. Unfortunately they were the only fish leaping out of the water I saw.

Of the starters today, four of us launched together, about 0515, while stormin, just finishing another 12 hour work shift, launched around 07:30. I don't know what time isobar and Peter launched, but it was certainly after the first group.

Our (first group) launch, at dead low tide, was a bit tricky for anyone who cared about keeping a dry bum, but not so bad that we were likely to get unseated on the way out. Jaro and I watched beejay get a bit wet on the way out, then we held back and charged through together, timing it for dual dry bums. Fist pumping here! Gemini was a little later and got his radio wet so I presume he took a wave or two.

Little Halls Reef and then Halls Reef, if necessary, was my plan and I was first away from the unpacking area, accompanied by a pod of bottlenosed dolphins, and followed closely by jaro. Several terns made themselves obvious, dipping down to the sea surface where occasional dimples indicated that small baitfish were present. However by the time jaro and I reached Little Halls Reef there had been no action on our trolled offerings, so we immediately altered course slightly to starboard for Halls Reef, a further 2+ km away. The wind was right in our faces so we were travelling a little slower than normal but the sun was shining brightly and whitecaps were scarce so all was good.

About 1.5km from Halls Reef and at 6:00am a whale at the reef breached a couple of times directly ahead and shortly afterward jaro took a strike on his new overhead trolling outfit. Our hopes were high for a good pelagic but the hook pulled very early in the encounter.

On arrival at Halls Reef jaro and I opted to drift fish for a while as there were no signs of surface action at all. Then beejay, still paddling toward us, came up on the radio and announced he'd just boated a mackerel taken on his trolled lure. This turned out to be a small but keeper school mackerel, and a potential NY record claim, possibly knocking off axjax's schoolie established last December.

Eventually the four of us settled in to drift fishing or trolling around Halls Reef. Still there was no surface action and little or no action down deep either. Whales turned up again but not close or convenient enough to warrant getting the camera out. Beejay, using whiting fillets for bait, apparently, was managing the occasional fish and added a grassy and a high 30s snapper to his take home bag. I'd caught one black-tipped cod and had scored one decent strike on my SP, only to be bitten off immediately as the fish started to take line against the drag. Every year about this time I start rigging my SPs with flexible wire traces because every year in summer I get bite-offs, almost certainly from the three most common mackerel species we encounter.

By about 9:15 or so, gemini and I, still fishless, had begun to troll our way back to Middle Groyne, with a lovely increasing breeze right up our tails. About 2km out from the groyne was where I flushed out the flying fish, both of them heading downwind after launch as they usually do, to pick up max speed over the water.

Then there was the usual grinner, obligatory if you’re using a deep running lure, as I was, in the hope of a snapper or cobia.

One hook in the jaw and the other in the bum. And still he swam away after being towed rotationally who knows how long!

By now the water was much deeper at Middle Groyne but the waves, generated by the strengthening northerly, indicated that caution was required. Gemini and I both went through to the beach pretty easily, even though I had to broach the Supalite at the last second to avoid a possible embarrassing shallow water rollover.

Jaro and beejay were not far behind us, having sailed all the way back. Jaro took the gentle approach to the beach while beejay, muttering "Speed is your friend", charged in to the beach in fine style, paddling hard. I think gemini shot some of this on his GoPro and hopefully he'll post it on youtube and link it from here.

On the beach the kids, who'd been waiting for the fish to arrive, now flocked around beejay as he dug his catch out of the pod. The schoolie looked like a possible record claim so we put him on the mat.

Beejay's school mackerel. Min legal length: 50cm, possession limit: 10. This one 72cm.

Stormin now was ready to run for the beach. The video, in production now, will show how he went. Video now uploaded, see below.

Out the back now appeared isobar's friend, Peter, in his plastic SIK and isobar in his Stealth Evolution. We watched as they both successfully made their way in. Isobar's transit is also in the video (linked below).

A couple of beach pics:

Four fine yaks, three plastic, one fibreglass.

Isobar with his small bonito catch in one hand and his Evo on his shoulder, climbing the sandhill.

Despite the lack of fish it was well worth the trip today, if only for the exercise. Thanks for coming along, yakkers.

Kev (sunshiner)

Video (44sec) added at 3:30pm

Additional video and GPS track by Gemini

GPS Track
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Distance 15.0 km
Max Speed 6.4 km/hour
Avg Speed 3.1 km/hour

23k's for a Gannet 04Oct12

TR by Richmond

Wind: Light variable south east to south west to 5 knots
Swell: small easterly
Current: at Little and Big Halls, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Pedro,Tarzan,Kahuna,Baptism and Richmond

Conditions looked like they'd be too good not to take the day off today. All I needed was for the fish to play ball.

As usual, Pedro had already launched when I arrived at the car park about 4.30am. Baptism was asleep in his car and as I was setting up Tarzan arrived ready to go.

After the boats were set up, our launch was a breeze. There was a little bit of a wave but patience paid off and a dry bum launch was had by all I'd say.

Tarzan and I had decided to head for the close reefs to the north. I chose to go close to the beach whilst Eli chose a wider track. Didn't really matter which way we went as neither of us had a strike on the way out.

I had raised hopes as I saw a few Longtail bouncing out of the water just after I crossed over the bar, but that was it. Whilst we were trolling around Little Halls we met up with Baptism and Kahuna. Rob was obviously trying to emulate his feat from last week, no joy for Rob.

There was no bird activity like you'd want, there was the occasional Gannet dive bombing tiny bait, but no fish bustups. There was a heap of whale activity outside of the Halls Reef belt, I had them pretty close to me at one stage right near Little Halls Reef. A breaching whale is a great sight that's for sure.

I saw quite a few Dolphins, some big turtles feeding on the jelly blubbers, actually saw an Indo-Pacific Dolphin as described by Kev in one of his fairly recent reports.

But no fish!

Baptism and Tarzan left for Halls Reef and came back empty handed. I trolled Halls Reef with Tarzan for an hour or so for zero. I tell a lie actually, I looked around and saw my rod bouncing around but no line was being stripped from the reel. I then heard a bird squawking, a Gannet had decided it wanted my Laser pro.

After the gannet was released unharmed (thanks to running single hooks) I decided I'd had enough and headed for home. We all had the same idea as we pretty well hit the beach at the same time. Our landings were uneventful, just how we like it.

I tried to call Pedro a number of times, but couldn't get hold of him. I figured he went to Sunshine Reef with Noosa Headland blocking our transmission. I hope you did better than us Pete.

23k's for a bloody Gannet!

Sorry for the lack of photos in the report, but the whale was the only worthwhile subject I encountered.