Doc Dog Lessons Learned TR, 29Nov12

N Y trip report 29.11.2012
Wind: light NE less than 5 knots
Swell: half metre
Current: negligible
Launch point: middle groyne
Participants: Pedro , Doctor Dog, Weeksie, + unknown(Byrnes)

Paul Weeks was ready to launch when I reached the carpark just before 5 am and Pedro was already out of sight. We elected to head to JS as that had bee the site of some recent action. Paul headed off in that direction and I followed as soon as I was organised. The light nor easter was just ruffling the surface and quite a few power boats were heading out to make the most of the forecast good conditions.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The small swell did not cause any problems with the launch and I was soon paddling towards JS.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

There was little bird activity in the inshore waters but more could be seen as I neared JS. Radio contact as I neared the shoal verified that Pedro was there and had chased some birds to the east but as there was no takers for his trolled or cast offerings he returned to JS to drift & bottom bounce for Snapper and Sweetlip.

I was having a bob each way today with SP & pilchards. I had a couple of drifts from the NW of Jew shoal with the breeze and current taking us back to the south east. No activity - could not buy a bite. I saw many turtles and lots of bait flipping on the surface but no predators other than what I took for dolphins making a huge splash and noise then disappearing. I did not see what made the disruption I just heard the noise and looked behind me to see a huge boil.

I set off to the start of my drift leaving my unweighted pillie dragging along 10 - 15 metres behind as I paddled slowly back to where the birds were fluttering & dipping .

There was an enormous splash just behind me and my overhead with 50 lb braid started screaming in protest as one very fast angry large fish headed east. I battled round in circles for 30 minutes with what turned out to be a metre + ( estimate) of longtail tuna.

After 30 minutes he /she became tail wrapped and came meekly to the side of my yak hanging apparently spent and motionless with braid and leader wrapped round his body and tail stock. The head end was too far down in the water to get a gaff shot so I grabbed the tail stock in my left hand and tried to lift the fish for a better shot. It was then that all hell broke loose as this apparently spent fish got a second wind and I was unable to hold on or get a tail rope to bear on my quarry. The fish freed himself of the tail wrap and sped off again with renewed vigour. After another 5 minutes of charging runs and dogged circling the hooks pulled and the fish swam free.

I paddled slowly back to MG and had a easy surf into the beach and avoided the sand monster.

Lessons learned

Lesson 1 - keep the tail rope to hand as in Kev's book - salt in the wound as he has illustrated it with a pic of me with a tail rope on my Spaniard.
Lesson 2 - be patient don't put too much hurt on.
Lesson 3 - if the fish is tail wrapped, leave it that way and just put a tail rope on it to secure it and then put a gaff in it.

A great morning and yes the rest of the pelagic crew cannot be far away.

Doc Dog

New PB for Jamie. 28Nov12

TR by Jamie-D

Hello Fellow Noosa Yakkers

Well this is a happy place report. Had to rise and shine at 2.15am this morning to make my intended launch at 4.30am. Nothing like hurtling along the highway at 3am in the morning with a kayak on the roof, God I love that feeling.

I was in the water at 4.25am, the early rise worth it. Launched at Middle Groyne destined for Jew Shoal. The surf was up a bit this morning as I had hoped, as I do love a good surf exit. I was doing the 45 degree slap 45 degree slap dance as I passed the rock wall. Trolled a 2m + Halco Laser pro on the way out to my waypoint hoping to mix it up with large pelagics; no such luck.

Reached my intended location not long after launch, fished with pillies on a double hook rig, one hook in the head one in the guts, and also flicked plastics.

Lots of bait in the water but apparently no predators under it. Decided after the turn of the tide from high dropping to low to move to Halls reef. Hummed and Hahed about this but I wanted to make the best of my time on the water.

Upon arrival I launched into an attack of the bottom with plastics and baits again. While I was sitting there dreaming (((((((((bang))))))) my plastic got absolutely nailed, yeeeehhhaaaaaaaaarrrrrr after brief but heavenly fight up popped a new Sweetlip PB: 47cm to the tip up from 35 cm to the tip so I was really happy with the outing.

And I nailed my surf entry well, which I like especially when there are people at Main Beach watching the guy on the kayak land.

Jamie D

A few snaps on prawn. 26Nov12

TR by pedro, with contributions by crofty and dugout
Wind: SW 0-5 knots turning light E
Swell: ESE .5mtr
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jimbo, dugout, crofty, tarzan, pedro

I achieved a dry bum launch at around 4am and as soon as I started pedalling, (I launch and land with hobie mirage drive locked in the up position and use a paddle) one of the cables on the mirage drive snapped. Nothing for it but use the paddle and some muscles that are not tuned for long distance paddling.

I headed for JS to catch a snapper or two after the recent success of a few NYs. There were hundreds of terns circling in the early morning light and the bait schools were still hanging around the western side of the shoa. Prawns were working. I ended up bagging out on 40 to 50cm snapper plus one sweety, while Jimbo landed three snapper on prawns.

I was the last to head in from JS and while making my way back, Crofty announced that he's bagged an approx 60cm sweety at Halls.

The fish are playing the game and all we need now are the pelagics.


My sweety with my best snapper

My drought has broken. Pic by sunshiner with Wendy's camera

Contribution by crofty

I have a love hate relationship with summer. In one hand it gives us glorious days, on the other it gets light way too early. The drive to Noosa is roughly 1 hour 40 minutes without traffic and I usually try to arrive at my launch spot with enough time to get set up before the dawn of nautical twilight. But with nautical twilight at 3.37am and the sun rising at 4.47am it was never going to happen. I rolled into the car park at 4.10am to be met by Jimbo putting his wheels back in the car. How I wish I lived closer to the water.

An uneventful launch and I was off into the dawning day. Chatter on the radio suggested that Dugout was launching from Main Beach and Jimbo was heading to meet up with Pedro already on Jew Shoal. Tarzan was arriving in the car park as I left. Dugout and I kept pace chatting as we made our way out to Jew Shoal.

On arrival at the reef, flitting terns caught our attention and a paddle close showed they were picking off tiny bait from a football field sized school on the surface. Without any other obvious predators, the bait was seemingly just hanging around. Reports from the previous days suggested that they had been there for several days. I trolled across to the north east of the pinnacles which were covered in a heavy blanket of trichodesmium. Not a lot to show on the sounder other than the first ball of bait, I returned to the pinnacles and set up a drift. I had a whole yellowtail drifting in the current behind me as I flicked plastics forwards ahead of my drift. Reports from the others drifted over the radio as they hooked up and landed fish.

"I've got a 40ish snapper on prawns"
"I've got a 40ish snapper on prawns too"
"I've got a 50 on prawns"
"I've got a high 30's and a sweetlip on prawns"

There seemed to be a common theme. Prawns were catching fish, and I was catching none. Not even a sniff. There was a snapper party happening and I wasn't invited. After several hours listening to the cheers, I decided to take my ball and go and play somewhere else. I turned my steed towards the north and trolled off into the distance.

Four and a half very uneventful kilometres later, my gps told me I was over Halls Reef. If I thought the trichodesmium was thick at Jew Shoal, it was incredible here. I've never seen it so thick. It looked like great big lily pads had formed up into a stinking mess on the surface.

There seemed to be fish sitting below it though and after ensuring I was upwind of the stench, started hopping the closest plastic to a prawn I had, an atomic prong, across the bottom. Third cast and it was engulfed by a lively grassy in the high 30s. Finally I was on the board. Next cast got smashed and some spirited runs put my first homemade rod though its paces. This was a much better fish and a few minutes later a beefy head popped through the surface scum to reveal a good grassy at 58cm. I made a radio call to skite to Pedro and was quickly reminded by Sunshiner (on the beach) that I had a few centimetres to go to tip Jaro off his pedestal. Another 30 mins proved fruitless and it was well after 10am so was time to head for home. I still had an hour's paddle and a two hour drive in traffic to get back home.

As I neared the beach, I stripped down my gear and turned to come through the tiny swell caressing the sand. I locked the pedals away, stowed the rudder and began to paddle the revolution. Stopped waited for a swell to pass beneath me, and then put the power on to make it to the beach hopefully upright. Only to watch the right hand blade of my paddle waft away into the murky depths. Oh shit. Not again! I've been through this before with the Hobie noodle. Thankfully I was not destined to play the didgeridoo again, not destined to swim, not destined to be eaten alive by the shore break and destined to keep the other blade and the yak upright as I returned to the beach. Pedro was standing on the beach wondering why I was paddling like a loony. He kindly photographed my fish and emailed me a copy.

Crofty's two sweetlip.

So what was really an uneventful day, turned into quite an event.


Jon Croft

Contribution by dugout

Hi All,

Woke about 4.00 am and walked the kayak down the hill and launched out at First Point/Main beach about 4.30.

I heard from Jimbo who was on his way to Jew Shoal and Crofty had arrived on the beach. I think Pedro may have already been at JS. Fairly smooth trip out with alga out fairly thick all the way out. Terns were feeding on schools of small bait but no fish seen chopping.

I fished near Jimbo most of the time as I did not have the GPS. I was using SP but did not have any action. Jimbo had caught a couple of snapper on bait as well a small shark which he kindly donated to me for the table tonight with beer batter! Thanks Jimbo.

Also there were other fish caught by Pedro. I was back on the beach about 7.00 after an enjoyable morning. Thank you all for your company.

May go out Wednesday all being well. Will take some bait as well next time.

All the best,

Cobia among snaps. 25Nov12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: NE about 6-8 knots
Swell: 1m easterly
Current: at Jew Shoal, none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: beejay and friend Brian, redwood, kingdan, gemini, lapse, carlo, sunshiner

As soon as I walked down to the beach at MG just after 4:00am I could feel the NE in my face. The sea was ruffled as well and the northerly chop was generating a small surf break. But it looked OK for a paddle and the others, who started arriving soon after I parked, accepted my call and started to ready their boats.

In the event it wasn't too bad but punching straight into the chop inevitably made for a slow plod out to Jew Shoal. Again, the sounder showed stacks of baitfish on the southern edge, where they were a few days ago. Terns were fluttering around picking off the unwary which happened to get too close to the surface, but again, no sign of surface feeding predators.

Redwood was following me closely, without GPS, on his first launch from Middle Groyne and his first visit to Jew Shoal and was quite relieved, I think, when I eventually told him that we'd arrived at our target. I chose to head toward the outer NE corner of the shoal to start my drift in safe but less than perfect conditions.

First drift, no action. I tried another line, still nothing. All of this time I was watching the terns fluttering to the SW, shadowing the bait schools. Eventually this got too much for me and I decided to get close to the baitfish schools to see if I could raise a fish or two. By now, all of the other participants had arrived, in dribs and drabs, and gemini had turned and gone home as a result of a sudden onset of illness (not seasickness).

The move closer to the bait schools proved worthwhile as before long I could see bait on the sounder, down deep. Within a few minutes I came to a sonar display which caused me to exclaim to myself "Gotta be fish here!" and just then the cast jig, which was at max depth directly below the yak, was whacked and the rod took a severe bend.

This was more like it. I initially thought it was a horse of a grassy and knew it was probably not a snapper. The battle took a few minutes on 6kg line but eventually my adversary appeared just below. Cobia! Not big but obviously legal. Very welcome.

Cobia and the SP which led to its demise.

As soon as the fish was aboard I radioed the others to let them know and encouraged them to travel to "where the birds are". I then paddled back up my GPS track and set up another drift on about the same line as the previous. The camera shows that the next hit happened quite soon after the first. The cast SP was clobbered again. This time I confidently called it as a snapper long before I could see it.

Snapper about 43cm, same SP as before.

I was quite happy about this result and even happier when beejay, nearby, hooked and boated a keeper snapper, indicating that the move to the SW part of the shoal had been worthwhile for him. I then elected to stop fishing and catch up on a few Members Blog pics as the opportunities were there. While I was taking a couple of pics of lapse he hooked up too and soon boated another snapper. Shortly afterward kingdan also hooked a quite reasonable snapper, all in the same area.

Lapse and snap.

Kingdan delighted with his snapper. Pic by lapse.

By now the wind had started to drop a little and the air temperature started to rise. Time to head back for me, so I announced my intention by radio only to find that the others were also interested in pulling up stakes. The trip back was uneventful although the last two arrivals at the beach (no names, no video) took a bath as the tide was now lower and the waves dumpier.

Another pleasant sojourn with Noosa Yakkers. Clearly Jew Shoal is starting to produce so is worth a visit if you get the chance.


Grassy record busted. 22Nov12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Gentle SW land breeze at first, then glassing out about 8:00am
Swell: 1.5m SE
Current: at Jew Shoal, none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro and partner wendy, sunshiner, jimbo, kahuna

What a glorious morning. Gentle SW wafting across Laguna Bay, clear sky, clear water, almost no waves at Middle Groyne. Fan-bloody-tastic. Pedro and Wendy were at Middle Groyne car park before me and there was as yet no sign of the other two.

Wendy was the first to launch, in her newly acquired Prowler. I tried to get a pic but she beat me to it and was very quickly out of range in the semi-darkness.

Launch time. Safe to launch with rods erect, I think. Pedro and his Revo in the foreground; Wendy and her Prowler out the back.

As soon as we launched we could see terns wheeling around just offshore, way before sunrise. Pedro decided to chase them around a bit hoping for some surface action but I stuck with my plan to hit Jew Shoal as I figured the snapper were probably arriving at the inshore reefs, based on my experiences in my recent couple of trips. I'd bagged out on snaps very quickly at Doggie Beach reef on 17Nov, then scored another couple on 19Nov at Halls Reef. Surely today, 22Nov, they had to be at Jew Shoal, which is between the other two reefs in terms of depth and location.

With pedro and Wendy charging around the inner bay, I set course for Jew Shoal, trolling my as-yet-undamaged HLP. Perfect conditions. The yak was just kissing the water, making that lovely gentle swishing noise as we loped along on the 4km journey.

Only one stinky went past me on this journey, and its single crewman gave me a friendly wave as he went past, heading east toward Sunshine Reef. The sonar was running as I approached Jew Shoal and the closer I got to its edge the more baitfish were showing on its display. Eventually I could resist no more and hove to on the SW edge of the shoal in about 18m, surrounded down deep by baitfish, packed into the vertical space starting about 3m down. The light breeze suited this location anyway, as a drift from here would likely take me right over The Pinnacles and out into the deeper water on the NE corner.

By now, jimbo was also on the water having decided to head toward Halls Reef after initially chasing the terns near the river mouth without result.

Using the same SP on my casting outfit as I had over the last two trips, I started the drift, moving gently toward the NE with the breeze. The trailing outfit was out as well, hanging near vertical in mid water. Second cast, the SP got clobbered and I very quickly boated a small but keeper snapper.

Snapper #1. Lovely fish, fresh out of the water, eh?

As I'd promised Mary fresh fish for dinner tonight (I cook Thursday nights) I could now relax. I also, as usual, passed on the news by radio to my companions, scattered around the bay. The drift was going nicely and I could see that it would go close to plan, passing into the deeper water NE of the mark. So I simply continued, as there was plenty of sign of baitfish all along this section.

We drifted past The Pinnacles and soon the depth started to increase past 18m and the cast SP got clobbered again, this time by a fish which I could tell was better than #1. After some line in and line out episodes up popped the next fish.

Snapper #2. Subsequently measured at 55cm.

My day was now made. Other than a noisy stinkboat whose fishless skipper had been manoeuvering, trolling and drifting, with the engine running for pity’s sake, there were no other watercraft in sight. Pedro and Wendy were on their way to the shoal, however, and kahuna had now launched, been given the fish info, and was also headed for Jew Shoal.

Having now judged that I was at the end of the productive water (seeing flat bottom at 22m on the sounder), I headed back SW toward the Pinnacles to do that part of the drift again. This manoeuvre gave me an opportunity to take a pic of Wendy as our paths crossed when she and pedro arrived at the shoal.

Wendy, in her own boat.

OK, I'd gone far enough. Back into the drift, pretty much duplicating the path I'd just travelled and which had produced snapper #2. Again, just as we slid off the shallows into the deep, the cast SP got hit. This was a different take and a different fight. A sweetlip fight, up and down, not with runs to the side as you tend to get with snapper in deep water.

Sure enough, a grass sweetlip, later measured at 47cm. Mary prefers these to snapper so I was rapidly accumulating brownie points, which I'll easily spend in the next couple of months.

Shortly after this the breeze started to drop and thus the drift would change. I had enough fish anyway so hung around for a little while longer before deciding to pull the pin and get home early. Jimbo was still fishing at HR and had caught and kept for the table a small shark. Action had been very slow for him and I think he was despairing of catching anything other than sharks. Pedro, usually a prolific catcher, had caught nothing and neither had kahuna.

When I announced that I was heading back in, Wendy, who had been suffering a little from sea sickness, opted to come in with me and so she and I set off together, leaving pedro to try to contribute to the Doff larder.

Then jimbo announced from HR, with great relief evident in his voice, that he'd boated a small but keeper snapper, the first in many months for him. Wendy and I were paddling in glassy conditions toward Middle Groyne, occasionally passing evidence of anchovy concentrations, but seeing no sign of pelagic predators.

Wendy again, heading south, with me as escort.

Before beaching I heard from pedro that he'd boated a keeper sweetlip, and then from jimbo asking for the current record for sweetlip as he'd boated an exceptional specimen, apparently. Indeed he had (see pics later).

My better two fish, on the beach.

Jimbo's exceptional grass sweetlip, pic by beachgoer.

A record claim at 63cm. Jaro's previous record of 61cm, which I'd confidently said, a couple of weeks ago when it was established, would last a long time, blown away very quickly. How big can these grassies get?

Another great Noosa Yakkers day. Comments from other participants welcome.


Snapper still biting. 19Nov12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Gentle NW at first, then picking up to 10-12knots
Swell: 1m northerly
Current: at Halls Reef, none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: richmond, baptism, stormin, yakfinn, tarzan, sunshiner, drewboy (AKFF, visitor from Adelaide), pedro (later)

Drewboy, having never fished at Noosa before, was using my old Stealth Supalite, but staying in Hastings Street, so we were a little late launching today, with both my Supalites carried on the Suzuki.

So here he was, at launch time today. My old Supalite is the red and white one.

Except for pedro, who turned up much later than usual, I was the last to launch but, again excluding pedro, we all launched within a fifteen minute time span.

The string of yak fishers was heading for Halls Reef, based on the likelihood that the wind would pick up from the NW and thus give us a tail wind.

Drewboy had settled in to the unfamiliar kayaking environment by the time we'd gone about 3.5 km into the journey. He normally pedals his Hobie Adventure and has it set up with a super comfortable armchair. Rarely does he need to paddle so the seat, and the fact that his legs are too long for my borrowed Supalite, caused him some discomfort for a while until he jury rigged the seating arrangement and settled in to the paddling routine.

By the time we'd done the five km plus to Halls Reef he was keen to do a bit of drift fishing (relief from paddling) so I showed him how we achieve this here in Noosa and set him free. All the way out none of us had had any action on our trolled lures and there'd been no sign of pelagic action.

Blow me down, my first cast was just bottoming out under the yak when the SP went off, just as I was passing on some info by radio to Richmond, who by now was at Jew Shoal. Very soon I was on the board with a low forties snapper, a tiddler by drewboy's standards.

Snapper #1

I'd been using the same SP which had caught three fish on Saturday, so this was rapidly becoming a favourite. Stormin was using various baits and reported returning a couple of undersized fish and Richmond had reported a hookup and drop at Jew Shoal but the others were silent.

The wind had been picking up steadily from the NW and soon whitecaps were starting to appear. I went back up the drift track to start again and soon I felt the gentle tap of another customer so fed some line back to confirm the deal and another smaller keeper was soon in the bag.

Snapper #2

Very soon after this the wind started to pick up even more and it was about now that pedro came up on the radio, having just launched, I think, and started to ask about results, eventually opting to head for Jew Shoal. Richmond was heading back in at that time as the more exposed conditions at Jew Shoal made the wind even worse.

With at least 45 minutes travel time ahead of us to Middle Groyne I proposed a return to base on the radio and soon most of the Halls Reef contingent were heading for our familiar rock pile on the beach. Only tarzan was left out there and he turned up at the groyne also, about 30 minutes after we'd beached in fairly easy conditions.

So a satisfactory result for me, but I heard of no other keepers but maybe pedro will show us all how to do it. How'd you go, mate?

And thanks for all for coming along and welcoming drewboy in the Noosa Yakkers tradition.


He slimed me! - Lake MacDonald, 18Nov12

TR by Gemini

Participants:  Gemini, Whiblah
Conditions: light rain, clearing mid morning

I jumped out of bed at 4AM to the sound of rain falling steadily on the roof. Normally this would ensure my quick surrender and I would end up back in bed within seconds, but today was a different story. Whiblah (Andrew) was making a 2.5 hour drive from Minden to tackle the waters of Lake Mac with me, and seeing as he would be on my doorstep within minutes, I figured the hide under my pillow plan was a bit weak.

After meeting with Whiblah and loading my yak (it couldn't be loaded the night before due to the rain and fresh sealant around a new rod holder from some event yesterday that I now deny having any recollection of), we made our way to the Strawberry Patch launch site.

Whiblah setting up in the dreary wet conditions.

We paddled off into the rain looking for the edges of the weed beds to start our attack. They weren't there. The rain was causing too much disturbance on the surface to make the weeds visible at a distance. Not a huge problem, but annoying. I pointed out a few of the known channels to Whiblah, and we struck off to try our luck.

Whiblah scored first with a healthy 34cm bass not far from the launch. His first in Lake Mac!

Whiblah prepares to release his bass.

We cast our way around the next bend with no action until we hit toga bay. The bass were active here, and I landed 5 between 6:12 and 6:45 (according to my video records).

Casting around toga bay (Photo by Whiblah)

38cm bass

A little further up from toga bay I was casting into the lillys in the middle of the channel when I took a hefty strike. A large swirl in the water as he took off gave me reason to believe this was no small fish, and I was right. He took off at speed and with power, giving my rod a severe case of the bends. I managed to get him up reasonably quickly and into the net, but to my surprise I found this fish to be HEAVY. What was it you ask? A big fat Saratoga!

He barely fit in the net!

He was desperately trying to get out of my net and being a right pain, so I opted to find a bank to deal with him so I didn't lose him over the side. Whiblah followed me over and we set to work measuring and de-hooking.

I've never seen so much slime on a fish. It was like being in Ghostbusters!

He swallowed the lure whole. I'd be uncooperative too if I had a pair of trebles in my throat.

Yeah, i'm not sticking my fingers in there (Photo by Whiblah)

On the mat. Whiblah and I verified it as 72cm, but none of our photos are overly good. We're hoping Richmond doesn't disqualify the record ;)

The fish! (Photo by Whiblah)

After releasing the toga we got back to hunting. We continued around towards the 3 ways but with little success. Whiblah had managed a small bass on the troll, but nothing else. By now the sun was peeking through the clouds, and the rain had all but disappeared. We started to make our way back when the temperature crept up.

Heading back past the palm farm I snagged another small bass, and then Whiblah did the same not long after. Coming back through toga bay I also picked up 2 more.

Buy this stage we were damp and hot, and I could feel my skin protesting under the suns rays, so we called it a day. For me a total of 8 bass and one saratoga were landed, and 3 bass landed for Whiblah. Not bad for a dreary wet day.


Matt (Gemini)

Bagged out by seven. 17Nov12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm at first, picking up to northerly, 5-10 knots for an hour or so from 5:00am then back to 5 knot northerly
Swell: 1.5 metre northerly
Current: at Doggie Beach reef, none detected
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: gemini, sunshiner

The wind dropped off to almost nothing at midnight, just as I'd hoped. I found this out at 3:30am this morning when my heavy and dopey sleep was interrupted by my wakeup alarm. I wouldn't say I sprang out of bed but within a few minutes I was up and about, noting that there was a heavy overcast on this near-moonless night.

Our plan was a Doggie Beach launch and for Gemini this was to be a first. The small surf cascading onto the beach was audible but subdued from the carpark and visible because it was white once I'd strolled down to the water's edge. I judged the launch doable but probably, in light of subsequent events, should have gone for the northern corner, 200m or so further north, where the headland provides protection from any northerly swell. Gemini met me on the path as I walked back up in the darkness and he accepted my assurance that it was OK.

By the time we'd got back to the beach, ready to launch, there was sufficient light to show that the small waves were dropping onto the edge of the sandbank on which we stood. The Doggie Beach sandmonster was hanging around.

I'll let gemini tell you about his experience if he wants to but I got through pretty easily, while he didn't, and this led to today's trip being a solo effort. I did speak by radio to gemini after I'd launched and confirmed he was OK. Sorry you couldn't make it mate.

Launch time.

Feeling a bit downcast that gemini wasn't with me, I nevertheless pressed on in windless conditions, out to Doggie Beach reef, which was a mere 1500m further out.

Having seen the anchovy shoals off Doggie Beach yesterday, I was not surprised to see that a few terns were already prospecting the area. Being hopeful that there may be some predatory pelagics around I trolled my trusty HLP, which hadn't had a decent strike since I pulled it out of the packet a couple of months ago. It still hasn't.

But on the way out the fishfinder was showing me that there was more bait hanging around near the bottom than the last time I came here a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I was in with a chance.

By the time I was ready to start my drift the breeze was just starting to puff from the north, and the light levels were increasing rapidly, even though the rising sun was masked by heavy cloud. Doggie Beach reef was reached without any action and after retrieving the HLP I immediately deployed the Bunnings shopping bag and sent my trailing rig (half ounce jig, with 5inch white snapback) on its journey to mid water.

My first cast with the casting outfit (quarter ounce jig with a 4 inch SP, rigged on a wire trace) must have been just after 5:00am, as shown by the following pic, because the first cast was nailed when it got near the bottom, 27m vertically below.

Snapper #1. Only about 40cm, but nice eating and a keeper for me.

When you're on a good thing, stick to it, the old saying goes. So I paddled back up my drift track, with the wind increasing steadily, and white caps starting to appear. Today I pretty much used one of my marks near our Doggie Beach reef mark as a focal point, trying to get my drifts to swing through the mark, and not go very far south as the wind was showing a tendency to make upwind travel more and more unpleasant. One of the reasons I hung around this mark was that there were plenty of signs of fishy activity below, as shown by the fishfinder.

One of several similar favourable indications on my drift line.

I'd spent 30 minutes or so manoeuvering into a better upwind position, trolling as I travelled, before I was happy to restart a drift. Almost immediately the cast outfit went off again. Another snapper, this time a bigger one.

Snapper #2. Same bait.

With the wind picking up in strength and my drift speed increasing accordingly, my trailing outfit was not deep enough, I thought, so I whipped off the half ounce and substituted a heavy, maybe two ounce, octopus thingy from R2S, also rigged on wire in case of mac attack. That seemed to do the trick, as the line angle was much more vertical than before. But still it hadn't attracted attention. As if to emphasise its superior fish catching qualities, a short while later off went the cast SP again.

Snapper #3. Same bait.

With mixed feelings, I was now facing the prospect of bagging out. On the one hand it's great to catch snapper, but on the other hand another fish would put an end to the trip, as catching another species today seemed unlikely. Then again, four snapper is enough, surely.

A few minutes after these thoughts went through my mind, the yak leaned unexpectedly to starboard and the drag clicker on the trailing outfit sounded the alarm. The octopus thingy had gone off. This had happened immediately after a small school of bonito or similar made a flurry on the surface nearby so at first I thought maybe a different species was involved. But no, it was my bag-out snapper.

Bag-out snapper (#4). Taken on heavy octopus jig thingy.

Hey, it wasn't even seven o'clock. Immediately deciding to end the trip, I rationalised that I'd surely earn some much needed brownie points by getting home so early. Turning the bow toward the beach, a mere two clicks away, I deployed the trolled HLP, just in case, and paddled back in. On the way in I passed several indicators that the anchovy shoals were still being hammered by small predators, but no large predators seemed to be present.

Noosa Yakker turtleboy was on the beach exercising his dogs when I beached. So were many of the village's dog lovers and, as usual, a barrage of questions was directed at me. No sweat; I love telling others of the joys, satisfaction and challenges of kayak fishing, especially from an ocean beach. And I never exaggerate.

A few beach pics

Local beach lady, and fishing fan.

Turtleboy's dogs show an interest in kayak and fish. Pic by turtleboy, my camera.

Snapper and Stealth. Pic by turtleboy, my camera.

So, the fish are there, Noosa Yakkers. What are you waiting for?


GeminiSupplementary Report by Gemini

A brief summary of my report in a nutshell: I stuffed up.

After leading a pampered life of smooth launches from MG, in my infinite wisdom I thought I could apply my luck successfully to Doggie Beach. Big mistake. Doggie Beach is deceptively different to MG. The short break builds up and comes at you fast, and the little breakers still have significant power behind them.

Following Kev's lead, I waited for what looked to be an opportunity to launch into the wash and head out. The results didn't exactly end well. See for yourself...

For those of you who run with rods up on launch (like me), Doggie Beach is NOT the place to do so. It's far too unpredictable, and I certainly won't be making the same mistake twice. An extra 30 minutes rigging up on the water is preferable to the damage I sustained today.

Another point I will make is to be prepared for when you roll. In the video above you will see I was under water for around 8 seconds. What you can't see is that I was under the yak the entire time. I had to force the yak up and off me using my legs and back, and the suction was incredible in the shallow water. I had nobody on shore to assist, and it could have gone badly very quickly. In the famous words of Douglas Adams: DON'T PANIC! 8 seconds under a yak in the surf seems like an eternity, and your brain does funny things in that time when you don't have access to the open air. Take your time, assess the situation, and keep calm. There would be nothing worse than flailing around getting tangled in ropes, or paddle leashes ( Dave mentioned the other day), and taking a big breath of seawater in a panic.

The good news is repairs have been done, the yak is ready to go again, and the reels will be stripped over the course of the week. An expensive learning experience for sure, but a needed one I think. No cutting corners for the sake of more fishing time from now on!



Four fish, four species. Noosa River 16Nov12

TR by Richmond

Wind: Initially, 10-15knots NNW, then abating to no wind
Launch point: Munna Point

I hit the water at 10pm last night, there was a stiff 15knot wind from the NNW. Not ideal. I didn't expect the wind to be that strong. Fortune favours the brave, and off I go, paddling 3/4's into the wind I was taking spray and splashes over the bow.

With no hits on my trolled minnow whilst paddling to the area I intended to fish and the wind making it extremely hard to fish the way I wanted, I decided to head off to the sound for a bit of wind protection.
I ended up at Weyba Creek. The mullet were everywhere, thick as. There were a few bustups from trevally now and then, but generally it was pretty quiet.
I couldn't buy a hit on the soft plastic so decided to troll a Cultiva deep diving minnow around Weyba Hole. After a few laps I had a bump and hooked up to a nice little Jewfish. After a short fight, measure and photo he was released to grow bigger.He was well undersize at 52cm.

With no more hits here and a lessening wind, I trolled my way back to my original spot. This was better, little to no wind and fish busting up.It was now about 1.30am, the tide was in it's prime and I was itching to catch a fish.

The trevally were into the prawns big time, popping up here and there. They weren't going berserk, but they were actively feeding. I cast my Gladiator Prawn into a boil and hooked up solid. I'd had a heap of touches and dropped fish already but this time the hookup was solid. After a short battle I boat a Bigeye Trevally that went just over 40cm.

I kept at it but I could not get another Trevally to inhale my plastic. I kept getting short takes, they'd grab the lure then let it go. Very frustrating as trevally can be at times.I continued casting the prawn plastic at surface boils. I let the plastic sink to the bottom, gave it a couple of twitches, bang! I was on. This time it felt like a much better fish.

He played up a bit, strong short runs, changes of direction, I didn't know what this fish was. To say I was happy when I landed it would be an understatement. A beautiful Mangrove Jack that measured just on 50cm. I'm glad I brought my bigger net. I paddled to a nearby sandbank, measured him and let him go.He was one lucky fish and I was one happy angler.

The tide was now slowing right down which in turn had an effect on the fish as well. The bustups were declining, the bait was no longer flicking on the surface. I gave it another half hour or so, then decided to troll for home. Halfway home I had a touch on the minnow and boated a small flattie in the low forties.

The night turned out pretty good in the end considering I was thinking of throwing in the towel early on when the wind was up. Persistance pays at times, that's for sure.

Baitfish aplenty, LB 14Nov12

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Westerly, to 2 knots, picking up to northerly, 5-10 knots
Swell: 1.5 metre easterly
Current: at Little Halls Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, richmond, pedro, jimbo, daveyG, doctor dog, kayakone, sunshiner

Glassy conditions in close to Main Beach today at launch time were a change from the last few days which had been characterized by howling winds and big swells.

By the time I got to the carpark at 04:50, somewhat later than I intended, pedro, richmond, jaro and jimbo had already launched. Kayakone was in the last stage of readying his Adventure and in fact got it down to the beach just before I did.

Yaks belonging to Kayakone and me, ready for launch. Spot the difference?

A couple of minutes later I was out the back and a couple more minutes after that I was off, paddling toward Halls Reef, via Little Halls Reef, where the earlier launchers had gone.

The reasons for choosing that area were two: firstly that we had information from recent TR that schools of baitfish were present; and secondly that the wind was forecast to blow quite stiffly from the north. The five km journey from Halls Reef with the wind up our tails is quite a more pleasant experience than having it in our faces which does happen sometimes.

Soon after I set off pedro came up on the radio and let us all know that he was hooked up. Whatever was on the end of his trolled line had taken a whole bonito bait and was putting up a hard fight. It turned out to be a shark, estimated by pedro at over 1.5m long. Somehow pedro managed to retrieve his gear from the shark’s mouth and set it free, without losing his fingers.

By now we had the western part of Laguna Bay covered, with several boats scattered over the distance between Little Halls Reef and Halls Reef. Also about to enter this space were the remaining three of our group who had just embarked at Middle Groyne.

The partial eclipse of the sun early today occupied our attention for a while out there, with the light and heat from the sun decreasing noticeably as the moon partially masked its rays. A quick glance at the sun while wearing sunglasses revealed a moon shaped bite out of its left face. It would have been really interesting to experience at sea in north Queensland where a total eclipse occurred at the same time.

Jaro was the first to announce success with a small snapper and later he got another, both on bait. Then pedro, with another, a bit larger, taken on a half pilchard. We were all keeping each other informed by radio, but the info was mainly that there were no obvious pelagics around even though there were many schools of baitfish.

Kayakone paddles past, on his first fishing trip with us.

Pedro and I shadowed several of these schools, visible on the surface and on the fishfinder, dragging lures deep and shallow through the fish without result, a strong indication that no pelagics or other predators were present. One or two terns hung around these patches of bait, but generally they were ignored by the few terns we saw today. It seemed that a couple of pics might be worthwhile so I pulled out the camera.

The rippled surface indicating the moving baitfish.

Underwater shot of the fish, 40-50mm long, as they moved past my yak.

Clearly there's quite a bit of Laguna Bay fresh food awaiting the predators, so it's probably worth visiting the area whenever you get a chance as sooner or later the razor gang will show up and put on an unforgettable display of brutal carnage. That's when you need to have the slugs ready, and a suitable casting outfit.

I'd planned to get back to Middle Groyne by 09:30 so started the slow haul back in company with Doctor Dog about 08:15. We both trolled HBs all the way back in lovely tail wind conditions and even encountered a few more patches of bait but got no action.

Richmond and daveyG were back at Middle Groyne when we got there, the latter going in and out several times just for the fun of riding the nicely shaped waves rolling in to Main Beach. I decided to have a go too and was going well surfing the wave until at the end I ran out of water while bracing and was promptly spilled out onto the sand as the starboard side of the yak hit the sand while the port side was still in knee deep water. This was a case where I should have gone nose first into the beach instead of bracing and showing off to richmond and turtleboy who stood on the beach with wide grins as I tumbled out.

Braced on the wave. Should have kept going straight and skidded to a halt (frame from video).

Video (47 secs) of return to beach added 1945hrs. Voice over explaining what's happening.

At the time of writing I'm unsure of final results but richmond, daveyG, doc dog, jimbo and I all scored donuts. Hopefully the others will let us know how they went.