Goodbye 2013. 31Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: ESE to SE later, 5-15knots
Swell: 1.0m ESE
Water temp: 25°-26°
Current: n/a
Launch point: (1) Middle Groyne (2) Doggie Beach
Participants: (1) stormin, weeksie, imax and friend tash, jimbo, jaro, sunshiner (2) jamieD and spanky, visitor from Townsville

Again, jaro and I launched about 4:00 am in clammy conditions, little or no wind and absolutely flat seas and in near darkness. Our fellow launchers left a little later. Part way to Jew Shoal jamieD came up on the radio and let us know that they had launched from Doggie Beach, also in flat conditions.

Of those that launched at Middle Groyne, only jimbo didn't head for Jew Shoal initially, letting us know that he'd decided to check out Little Halls Reef.

At Jew Shoal we trolled lures for a couple of hours before it became apparent that there was nothing doing. It was noticeable that the bait schools so promininent lately were no longer present. Not once in all of the time I trolled all over Jew Shoal today did I detect a single shoal of bait. The only fish I saw were a few tiny flying fish, fleeing from my path as I paddled along.

Stormin had arrived a little late and I didn't see him until he arrived at Jew Shoal, maybe 30 minutes after the rest of us. In the early morning murk I could see that he was using his new paddle instead of pedalling and figured that he was working on getting his paddling skills up but then I realized, when much closer, that he was paddling his new ride.

Stormin can now store his fish and gear below decks and feel more confident in surf zone transits. Stealth Supalite.

Shortly after the above pic was taken the breeze started to increase slightly and as no one had even seen a bustup or any pelagic fish at all we started to head back in. We were in good contact by radio with jamieD and his mate, on the other side of the headland and it became clear that conditions over there were steadily worsening and that they couldn't find fish either. Similarly, jimbo, at Little Halls Reef was reporting absolutely nothing happening. Totally dead! Yet a pleasant morning for a paddle.

And so it happened that the Jew Shoal crew were back on the beach at Middle Groyne by around 0730-0800. Jimbo was heading in but got interrupted at the river mouth when his trolled hb lure got monstered. Here's his story:

Long story short… the hooks pulled out after 2.25 hours. Almost definitely a shark, I would guess about 2.5m long based on the shark that towed me for 3.25 km about 3 years ago). I had the lever drag on max for the last 30 mins (about 80% of line breaking strain, 13.5 kg mono) and still couldn't get the bastard up. With the rod bent beyond 90 deg for the whole time my upper body was really starting to hurt towards the end. I was almost relieved when I had a legitimate reason to give up the fight. It towed me initially about 0.75 km to the NW, did a 200m circle, then 0.75 km back to about where the fight started, just north of the river mouth, about 1.0 km out from the lower north shore.

Noosa Head was capped by heavy cloud the whole time we were out there but we didn't get rained on. Pic taken on the way in.

Several of us hung around on the beach, hoping against hope that jimbo's big fish would be something better than a shark, but as the time went on we left him to it, although we were in radio contact with him all of the time we were there, and could even see him from the beach.

I didn't hear any more from jamieD but possibly he'll add a comment to this post.

So ended the fishing for 2013. Looks like we're going to get a good start to 2014 as long as the baitfish return to the bay soon.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Stormin the snapper whisperer. 28Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm all morning
Swell: 1.0m ESE
Water temp: 25°C to 26°C
Current: at Jew Shoal and A-Bay Reef, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: stormin, gemini, corie, weeksie, eyetag, jaro, sunshiner

Doc Dog reported on our FB page that they'd caught zip yesterday. I noted that he said they'd launched around 5:00am and wondered if that was why they missed out. Recently, launches around 4:00am have produced some of the Spaniard results so last night I was in bed especially early to make sure that I got my favourite carpark and I was on the water by around 4:00.

Eyetag reckoned he was going to launch "early", which usually means within a couple of hours of midnight. But today he was sorely embarrassed to turn up last in the carpark with the unlikely story that he'd forgotten to set his alarm. Getting old, eyetag?

Launching started just after 4:00, with the moon a sickle which had risen about three hours earlier and thus was about 45° elevation. Just enough light and top of the tide too. And no swell reaching Middle Groyne and no wind. Does the launch get easier than this? No.

Eyetag arrives to launch a bit late.

Most of us were heading for Jew Shoal with eyetag opting for the longer paddle out to SR. Imagining that there was a tiny breeze from the south, jaro erected his sail as he and I plodded along together, our boats slicing through the water and the super dense, high-humidity air.

Fortunately, the cloud cover gradually increased as the sun approached then cleared the horizon. This made the pleasant conditions even better. It was almost like a lake, except that a steady swell was rolling in from the east.

It being holiday time, Jew Shoal was crowded. At one stage I counted 15 stink boats, all mixed up with our kayaks. And nearly everyone was trolling, hoping for a Spaniard.

Gemini drew our attention to a bustup on the NE edge of the shoal, and sure enough, for about 30 seconds I could see pretty big splashes as predators carved up a school of baitfish. Speaking of baitfish, there were a lot fewer there today than a week ago, I thought. Anyway, gemini reckoned he saw a guy in a stinky catch a longtail just near that bustup. I just continued trolling, keeping a slug handy just in case. When I spotted another stinky operator with a severely bent rod I paddled close enough so I could see the result and then helped confirm that the fish he boated was a yellowfin tuna, close to but less than a metre long. He told me he'd also picked up a Spaniard, both on lures.

Ah well, there were fish around. But not for me.

The Noosa Yakkers crew at Jew Shoal started to thin out as word came from eyetag that there were some birds working at Sunshine. Eventually most of us finished up out there especially after eyetag announced that he'd just boated a spotty mac which he'd plucked from a bustup using a slug. Travelling the considerable distances involved was pretty easy as still there was no wind and no chop, and it was still cloudy, so not as hot as under a cloudless sky.

At one stage gemini, jaro, stormin, corie and I rendezvoused at our A-Bay Reef mark, showing the value of recording such locations on our GPS devices. Here stormin opted to try for snapper, with immediate success using pilchards. Once he had three in his bag I joined him, hoping to share in his success but my SPs were ignored. After being bricked by two possible coral trout hits he eventually picked up his fourth snapper and was thus bagged out. Together we headed home, at the tail end of the long string of Noosa Yakkers heading from SR or Jew Shoal to Middle Groyne.

Sorry, no beach pics as eyetag's spotty mac was deemed inadequate by the several available fish holders who now won't pose with fish less than a metre long.

So stormin won the day, I reckon. First time he'd bagged out, and he did it in about one hour's fishing time, at A-Bay Reef. Incidentally, between when I turned on my GPS after launch and when I shut it down 200m out just before hitting the beach I clocked up 19.9km.

Something interesting seen today, by me. A lone black swan, flying low to the water just north of Jew Shoal, heading straight toward the Teewah area. No, it wasn't a cormorant.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

S is for Spaniard, 26Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: W ~5 knots
Swell: 1.2m ESE
Water temp: 25°C to 26°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, west to east, light
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: stormin, gemini, tarzan, pedro, stretch (?), corie and friend Nick, jaro, sunshiner

Glassy seas, dry bums today. Having over-indulged a little (actually, quite a lot) yesterday I put off setting up the yak in the faint hope that the weather would change and the wind would be too strong. After all, this run of amazing kayak fishing weather probably has to end sometime.

But no, when I checked DIP live weather around 2:00am I could see that winds in Laguna Bay would be light and that there would be no excuse for not launching. So it was on. Packed and loaded the yak between 2:00 and 3:00, after I'd put out the rubbish bins, and was in the carpark at Middle Groyne by 03:35. Must have a nap this arvo!

Jaro and I launched by the light of the last quarter waning moon, with just the faintest glimmer of daylight on the eastern horizon. It was around 04:00, I reckon, and we were the first to hit the water. This timing would put us on the fishing grounds at Jew Shoal before the rising sun had cleared the horizon, a time we've noticed in the past which seems to suit the Spaniards. Anyway, that's our theory but clearly Spaniards do get caught at other times of the day, just ask soren and stormin.

Jaro and I were both trolling 120mm mid-water Halco Laser Pros today, poking along at a steady 4-5kph. Probably jaro was hoping for a repeat of his recent 70th birthday fish, or a bigger one. I certainly was hoping for another Spaniard to bring my score this season up to three.

My little Garmin GPS was pointing at our Jew Shoal mark and counting down the distance. It had been a beautiful paddle in glassy conditions and I was in the last two hundred metres to the target when the HLP went off, as announced by the screaming ratchet on my trolling outfit. In this area at this time such a strike could be caused by one of several species: Spaniard, spotty mac, one of several tunas, snapper, shark (blah!), or perhaps even a cobia. But it sure felt like a Spaniard as it quickly changed direction several times at high speed and easily pulled line off against the drag. The sun was just peeping over the horizon and the sea was still dark so I couldn’t see my fish until it got within about three metres of the surface and very close to the yak. Yep, Spaniard, about a metre long.

Opened the hatch, picked up the gaff and buried its point right into the Spaniard's head. It's not a huge fish, but very impressive and beautifully patterned and coloured in the faint cloud-filtered sunlight. It's lying in the fish box now, totally beaten. Took great pleasure in announcing the capture to Noosa Yakkers by radio and was delighted to find that jaro was only about two hundred metres away and has an operating camera with him. Thanks jaro, the on-water shots are usually so much better than those taken on land.

Having accepted jaro's on-water photo offer, I applied my tail rope (just in case I fumbled it) to the still-quivering fish and hoisted it back out of the fishbox for the pose. Pic by jaro.

The lure and wire trace.

Why wire is important in the rig.

A few beach pics:


Beachgoer from Brissy

As far as I'm aware, no other fish were caught except possibly by pedro. Hopefully, we'll get that info soon from other participants.

Looking good for Saturday, and maybe even tomorrow.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Stormin's first Spanish, 24Dec13

TR by stormin, with contribution by corie m-t

Note from editor: Stormin can write and speak in at least two languages (and English is not his first language) which beats his monoglot editor, sunshiner, so I acknowledge that this TR in English would require a lot of effort from him. It's great to have him write his personal report for us and I'm so glad that I'm able to help him in describing this amazing experience: his first Spaniard from a kayak. I have made minor changes, but the sense remains the same. Well done, stormin! Here it is.

Participants: corie, stormin

Launched this morning with Corie at the eastern side of MG around 4:30am with no dramas. Sea was flatter this time compared to yesterday.

I wanted to try my luck north while Corie had JS in mind. So after setting up I made a quick radio check with Corie who was already a few hundred metres away.

Arrived at LH and still no sign of bird activity. Bottom fished there for a few minutes using pillie without a nibble. So straight to HR I went.

Arrived there and it's so alive; no need for the sounder to tell bait fish are around I can see lots of bait fish just under my yak and birds everywhere. I was so excited; trolling my favorite lure (Rapala 12 slash bait in white and a bit of orange, with wire trace). Lost one of these lures yesterday (no wire) on one solid strike and before I even touched my rod got bitten off. So this time I'm wired, as advised by sunshiner who already got two pedros this season. Doing a big donut around HR for about an hour with no strike, I got tired and bottom fished for about an hour landing three undersize fish: a grassy, a squire and an estuary cod. All went back to the water.

Received a radio call from Corie that he's heading to LH after YFT with shark encounter (editor: Corie retrieved only the head of his tuna, see pic later). Nothing is happening at this time at HR so I decided to head in via LH to meet Corie. About 500mts to the mark and my new Charter Special screams for the first time. Announced to Corie that I'm on so he paddled back to accompany me during the fight. After few more minutes I got my first pedro safe in the hatch of my revo.

Remembered what sunshiner said from the car park yesterday after the trip; he probably noticed that I'm jealous with soren's first pedro (well who wouldn't be, right? lol). He said next one will be yours mate and so I went today and he's right :)

Returned to the beach with no dramas. Fish measured 114cm. Not bad for my first and I am so happy. (Editor: and so are we, for you)

pics on beach

Norman (stormin)

Contribution by corie m-t, as posted to our Facebook group page today

There are also a few larger sharks out there. This was 4m away from being my first yellowfin before a 6ft shark got this one, looked like a hammerhead. Kept 3 stripeys (editor: perhaps bonito?) for bait.
Stormin cleaned up again, well done mate.

Spanish for Soren, 23Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SW ~5 knots
Swell: 1.2m E, with chop from NE
Water temp: 24°C to 25°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, west to east, light
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jono, stormin, soren, tunny, sully, sunshiner

Sully let us know last night that he'd be a later starter, around 05:00, but the rest of us were itching to get out there as early as possible. Probably due to the northerly which had blown for a portion of the night, that and low tide, some quite nasty waves were smashing into our launch point. But we all got out OK, admittedly with wet bums, after a deferral while we awaited a little more light so we could see the oncoming waves better. Stormin opted to go for the eastern side and also got out, wet.

A crappy chop from the NE made for a slower paddle out but before long we were all hanging out at Jew Shoal, either bottom fishing or trolling or chucking SPs. While there wasn't as much bait showing on the sonar as two days ago, there were still significant patches, particularly to the north of the shoal and also near the Pinnacles. No predatory action was visible but there seemed to be lots of turtles there today.

An undersized cobia was hooked up by stormin on a whole dead yellowtail which had been in the freezer for months. It was released after confirmation that the min legal size is 75cm.

By around 0645 I'd decided that I'd take the opportunity to take some shots for the Members section of the blog:

Here's sully in his quite old but good Stealth Supalite

And here's jono in his OK Torque (motor deliberately left at home)

While I was taking these pics soren had announced that he was heading in and it was only a few minutes later, while I was chatting to jono and sully, that soren came up on the radio to let us know that he was hooked up. Hoping it might be a Spaniard, I immediately started paddling toward him as I could see him just a little south. The occasion of a man's first Spaniard capture is worthy of a photo on the water, so why not get there to take the pic if possible?

Yes, it was a Spaniard; soren's first. He was stoked as he'd really put in the hard yards over the last couple of years. I think this was his first fish over a metre long from a kayak.

Soren's first Spaniard. Taken on trolled Halco Laser Pro, Jew Shoal.

After this, most of us headed back toward Middle Groyne, leaving only tunny out there (please let us know how you went, tunny).

The Spaniard went 107cm. Nice fish Soren!

OK, who's going tomorrow, and maybe the 25th?

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Cylinder Beach Joy Ride - 22Dec13

TR by Redwood

Trip date: 22 December 2013
Participants: Redwood
Launch Site:  Cylinder Beach Stradbroke Island
Destination:  Middle Reef
Conditions:  Wind SE 5-10 knots, swell 1 m

It’s an expensive day out, but when you’re in Brisbane and need to take advantage of some brilliant weather there are not many other options. So our party boarded the 6am Stradbroke ferry and arrived at Cylinder Beach around 7am. The family setup under the trees and I set out into the unknown. Getting out wasn’t a simple affair but I managed to stay upright until all the breakers were cleared.

Cylinder Beach with Shag Rock in the distance
Before heading out I did feel a bit discombobulated being out of my routine and that feeling manifested in me leaving all my comms on the beach. The worst part of this wasn’t the lack of communication, but that I had no GPS! My Garmin e30 died last week and was on it’s way back to Garmin to see if they would replace under warrantee. In a desperate attempt for some kind of GPS I download an app for the iPhone, but it was all for nought as I’d left the phone, my VHF and backup UHF on the beach. I wasn’t going back through the surf zone to get it, so it was onwards and hopefully upwards.

Without the GPS I didn’t have much chance of finding Middle Reef, so I decided to head around Shag Rock and see if I could spot any boats bobbing in the general direction of Middle Reef. No such luck, so the plan changed and I would just hang around Shag Rock and see what that brought.

Shag Rock 1km off Cylinder Beach Stradbroke Island
After rounding the rock I reeled in my lines and on the end of the hardbody was a 30cm Bonito. I’d inadvertently been dangling a nice live bait out the back; unfortunately there were no big takers. I thought about leaving it on, but I wasn’t really setup for such a big bait so chucked it in the hatch. One of my party on the beach said she saw the rod bend when I was setting up. I usually do a visual check of rod bend once I’m going just so I know what the rod looks like under hardbody resistance, so when I looked back and saw it bent I just thought it was the lure! Anyway, 1x Bonito was not a bad start to a morning in unfamiliar waters.

Looking back to Cylinder Beach.
The water was very clear and there seemed to be a good mix of reef and deep waters around the rock. The guys that fish around Stradbroke Island are spoilt for choice. I paddled up to the Northern tip of the rock with a plan of drifting to the Southern end. When I got the top mark I started reeling in the lure so I could start bottom bashing. The lure was taken by something very nice, but it came off. Then the bottom bashing rig with a 1/2 pillie, which was dangling just behind the boat, was smashed. After a short but strong fight a 40-50 cm Kingy was next to the boat. I tried to net it with my new net, but the hook got caught in the fabric which rendered the net useless. I managed to get it on board without the net, de-hooked and release it.

45cm Kingy
The bottom bashing was also firing and I was getting a lot of strong bites, but no hookups. It was now around 10.30am and as much as I wanted to stay out, had to head in as my party had plans for brunch. Given the rough launch, I had resigned myself to a rolling return, but to my great astonishment remained upright all the way with some fierce bracing. After this success I then proceeded to not take my yak far enough up the beach and while I went to get the beach wheels, apparently the yak started to drift off. Someone managed to save it, but everything in the hatch compartment was completely covered in sand.

After a few hours onshore I headed out again for the afternoon shift. This only yielded a ton of small reef fish unfortunately.  I did however hook up with a Palmy Army yakker who has spotted me and charged out to join the session. For any yakkers who took part in the Noosa leg of the Stealth comp, you might know this yakker, he was the one who was taking on water and had all the jet skis looking for him. As his Stealth was in for repair, he was out in his Popes Canoe which looked like an interesting boat. We fished for a while and he landed an undersized Kingy, while I hooked up with lots of small reefies but nothing decent. I have to hand it to the Pinkies though; they know how to pull! I thought I must have had something decedent on the end, but turned out to be the smallest Pinkie I’d ever caught at about 10cm. 

At 5.30pm I pulled the plug and headed in. My return was not as classy as the earlier one and my poorly timed run saw me catching a rather large wave on which, I couldn’t control the boat and over I went with the whole family watching! Very amusing for them I’m sure, but I didn’t care; three families had had a brilliant day out all because of kayak fishing.

Looking good
Not looking so good

Solstice donut. 21Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SW ~5 knots
Swell: 1.2m E
Water temp: 25.5°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, not much
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: gemini, jono, tarzan, stormin, baptism, couta and Dad Ian, jaro, sunshiner

Perfect offshore conditions today, complete with a small wave at launch and return to make things more interesting. It was jono's first launch through the surf zone today and first time offshore and he took to it like a flathead to a sandbank. Couta came all the way from the Goldie, bringing his Durban-based Dad to show him what Noosa has to offer.

Ian, visitor from Durban, ready to launch.

In the event, the hoped-for predatory fish were a no-show, but we just had to get out there to find out.

Jew Shoal had the no-vacancy sign out for baitfish, there were so many out there, but all down deep, and few if any predators pushing them up to the surface. Jaro had a powerful strike on his HLP but the fish self-released after a screaming run. Gemini and stormin saw at least one longtail leaving the water. Couta thoroughly soaked a live bait for nil result. Gemini also hooked a slimy mackerel on a cast slug (haven't seen many of these at Jew Shoal).

Go-Pro pic of gemini’s slimy mackerel, top bait, live or dead.

The rest of us had no action at all. I paddled 16km non-stop, trolling all the way, and others would have had a similar result.

The beach returns were made more interesting by the participants in a judo club Christmas party, all of whom seemed to be kids. They packed onto our launch beach and the entire club simultaneously proceeded to put on coordinated judo demos in the shallows, all the time wearing those white jacket and pants outfits.

Somehow we managed not to collide with them. Jono did a great job of his first re-entry, putting on a fine show for his wife and three kids who cheered from the top of the groyne and everyone arrived on the beach the right way up.

Jono arrives back at Middle Groyne, to the relief of his family. Collage of stills from a small movie file.

Man, when those predators arrive it'll be carnage out there. Try to take every opportunity to get out. Monday's looking like my next best chance.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Damn, 16Dec13

Wind: Moderate Easterly turning E/SE later
Swell: Low in close building out wider
Current: Not Applicable
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Imax

After a late night I arrived later than planned this morning. I launched around 5:30am into a nice deep channel close to the groyne. Out the back I setup my trolling spread for the day. One side had a small x-rap and the other I was trying out the lucky door prize I scored at the Stealth comp a couple of weeks back. This was a wired rig with a duster head to which I added a large Gar.

With the wind direction predicted to be E/SE I decided JS would be a good destination as it meant an easy sail there and back. I was also hoping that there may be a Spanish or two left after the others success recently.

My trolled offerings didn't get a touch on the trip to JS. There was a single boat out there already that was doing big laps trolling around the area. Coming up on the Western side of JS the sounder lit up with bait from top to bottom and would have covered a good 100m area. It was looking good.

Soon after my reel with the lucky prize rig and Gar screamed off. After furling my sail I tried to bring my second line in before worrying about the fish. After 3 good runs it was feeling like the fish may be spent and soon I got my first glimpse of a good Spaniard. I was confident for calling it over a metre and it was a very thick fish so prepared to bring it on board. At this stage the fish was out the side with the tramp and I wanted to try and bring it in on the other side. As I was passing the rod around the sail between hands the fish took one last run. Unfortunately when it did this I grabbed the reel by mistake and my finger jammed the level wind locking the reel up and causing the line to break.

Damn, I had a choice few words before re-rigging to try again. About then another 5 boats turned up and I could hear some rumbling along with ominous looking clouds in the distance. I pulled the pin and headed for home.

So not to be today after my stuff up but keen to do it again tomorrow. Who else is up for it?


Spaniard, spaniard, 14Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SE, to 10knots
Swell: 1m E
Water temp: 24.5°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, NW to SE, pretty quick; at SR, quick N to S
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: eyetag, tunny, soren, jaro, sunshiner

The sea temperature rose suddenly yesterday, not by much, but the change registered on the buoy off Mooloolaba in the last 24 hours confirmed what pedro and I, two days ago, had reckoned was happening, the bomb was about to go off. The water was warming, we'd seen the longtails blasting out and I'd caught my first Spanish for the season. What more confirmation did we want?

So five of us fronted this morning, with Soren taking his second trip in two days and I my second in three days.

Everyone dry-bummed it. The morning was glorious, with the SE breeze blowing just hard enough to ruffle the water of the inner bay and draw off excess body heat. As Jaro said at launch time "Ain't it great to be alive and here". The sun was still way below the horizon, with just enough light for setting up, but still too dark for unflashed photos.

Lazybugger's recent catch of a stonker GT very close to the shark nets has been noticed as I think everybody started trolling as soon as they were set up. Four of us were bound for Jew Shoal while eyetag had his heart set on Sunshine Reef, having nailed many Spaniards in that area in the past.

I troll a 120mm Halco Laser Pro, rigged with wire. Why? Because it's worked well for me and many others in the past. Eyetag has taken to calling this lure the Jaro Special as jaro pioneered its use among Noosa Yakkers a few years back. To set up the troll I hang the lure out the back, making sure it's swimming properly, free spool the overhead reel, tuck the rod butt under my left leg in the Stealth footwell so that I can see the spool turning as line runs off, then paddle 35-40 strokes before engaging the spool and ratchet and then inserting the rod butt into the port side rod holder.

Today was no different and I'd aimed a little NW to miss the shark net by a safe margin. Ten paddle strokes after I'd inserted the rod butt into the holder the reel ratchet screamed and I thought "Stuff it, shark!", because sharks often do hang around this shallow water and they also attack HLPs, in fact any lure. "Shit! Spaniard," was my next thought as the fish flashed past just below the surface. A brief fight resulted and I could then confirm that the fish was above the 75cm legal limit (this a judgement call, based on previous experience and the fact that my gaff is 75cm long). Bang with the gaff, fish into the hatch and my day was already made. I'd been fishing five minutes at most.

About 4:30am. My second Spaniard in three days and second for the season. Pic by tunny.

Announcing this capture to my colleagues by radio gave me great pleasure, as you can imagine. It also told them that the Spaniards were here, a fact that jaro managed to confirm a little later, in the best possible way. Tunny, who had yet to depart for Jew Shoal, immediately opted to troll a Spaniard Special a couple of laps around the shark net area.

As for me, I decided to head the 3.7km straight for Jew Shoal, trolling the HLP all the way. With about 1.5 km to go, I hear jaro's announcement that he's hooked up at Jew Shoal and "whatever it is it's a biggie". Then about 20 minutes later he's telling us it's a lovely Spanish so I arrange to RV with him to the east of the Pinnacles to get some on-water pics.

It's a nice Spanish, alright, the latest of many that jaro has caught from his Profish, but his first for this season.

Probably jaro's last Spaniard before he turns 70 next Thursday (because the weather forecast for the next few days is crook).

Back to the fishing for me. Off to the NW the terns and a few remaining shearwaters were whirling around so that caught my attention and with the yak pointing at the activity, and a nice downwind paddle I headed for a hoped-for hookup. It was not to be but the baitfish were present in concentrations I haven't seen for quite a while. Thought you might be interested in seeing what I was seeing:

Baitfish taking up the space from 3m depth to the ocean floor, at 20.7m. Note the water temp.

Predators were not apparent on the surface but probably were hanging around in that stuff somewhere. It was slim pickings for the terns because the bait was mostly out of their reach but when the predatory fish arrive in numbers it will be carnage out there. Today I didn't see a single instance of a surface strike, not even a mac tuna.

And so we headed for the beach. Some pics:

Jaro's went 1.26m, mine 0.86m

Happy Birthday for next Thursday, Jaro. Fish taken on 120mm Halco Laser Pro, rigged with wire trace.

Another perspective. Pic by tunny.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

A Couple of Snaps (only) - 13Dec13

TR by Jimbo
Launch Point: Middle Groyne.
Wind: Initially <5 0800.="" 8-10="" after="" br="" increasing="" knot="" knots="" southerly="" southwestly="" then="" to=""> Current (at Lt Halls): None
Participants: Soren, Sully, Jimbo

Sully and I arrived together at MG carpark at 0410. We were aware that some other NY had launched some time earlier because of the trolly tracks on the sand. Launch conditions were perfect and we both dry-bummed it. Once launched, we determined by radio that the early-launcher was Soren who was now just arriving at Jew Shoal.

Sully decided to join Soren at Jew Shoal while I decided to take the inshore route via the river mouth and the lower north shore to Lt Halls. When about 1 km inshore of LH, in almost dead calm conditions, there was some sporadic surface activity which appeared to be mac tuna. I only got close enough on one occasion to get a couple of casts away, but unfortunately no hook up before the bust-up disintegrated.

With no other bird activity in sight, I paddled on to Lt Halls for a bit of bottom bashing. A prawn bait attracted a just keeper snapper and wire netting cod (the latter released). I tried two other marks just north of Lt Halls but without a bite.

Sully reported catching a nice snapper (~55 cm) at Jew Shoal on a weighted pilchard. Radio talk between Sully and Soren also indicated one or two surface bust-ups in their area, but otherwise equally quiet as Lt Halls.

Soren departed early due to work commitments while Sully and I continued on in hope at our two locations. The breeze started to pick up from the south after 0730, and since neither of us had had a bite for the previous 1.5 hours, we both decided to head for home around 0815-0830.

The shore break on return to the beach at MG had increased marginally due to the lower tide conditions but was otherwise quite docile.

So, a couple of snaps, nice conditions, but a little disappointing with regard to lack of pelagics given Sunshiner's promising TR from yesterday. But still a terrific day since it is Josie's and my 40th wedding anniversary!


Snap and Span, 12Dec13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm
Swell: 1m ESE
Water temp: 24°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, NW to SE, pretty quick
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, sunshiner

Although pedro had announced by email last night his intention to pedal today, I didn't make up my mind to go until this morning, although I was all prepped last night. Glad I went.

With rain threatening, the Middle Groyne car park was understandably near empty. As pedro, the only other parker, had got there first he had my (and his) favourite spot. No problem, the backup was available.

Actually, you can’t see pedro, but he's not very far away, out of shot to the left.

Easy launch, turn on new fish finder (more later), works, bewdy! Start paddling after pedro who doesn't know I'm here and hasn't turned his radio on. He's heading for Little Halls Reef and as he goes he keeps catching sharks (so he tells me later) which slows him down so I eventually get close enough to yell out to him in the dead calm and quiet conditions. Radio contact established, we push on together toward Little Halls Reef encountering a brief mac tuna bust up or two along the way.

Pedro thought he'd have a go at picking up a few live baits at Little Halls Reef but I change course for Jew Shoal, snapper on my mind. No action all the way there (trolling HLP) except for one of those largish yellow coloured sharks which we sometimes encounter lounging near the surface. Oh, and a couple of dolphins. No flying fish, though, which is strange as there were plenty last Saturday.

I went straight for the Pinnacles, noting a few patches of bait once I was over the shoal. Once in the shallows, however, there were lots of shows on the sounder.

As you can see, there's something down there.

On one of my oldest T shirts is printed: "The secret to fishing: fish where the fish are" so I generally try to do that. In this case I was pretty sure there should be some predators around so manoeuvered into a drift to fish the general area which had been the source of the image above. Almost no wind, however, but I chose a spot to start, retrieved my HLP and changed rigs on my snapper stick (which doubles as a slug caster) to bring it back into action as my SP stick. In shallow water such as this I always use only the one rod as snagging is a definite hazard. I cast the SP (1/8oz, 100mm Squidgee) out as far as I can and slow count it down, working on a descent rate of about 1m per long second. So 12m depth, slow count to 12 before interrupting the fall, then gradually hopping the lure back to the yak. First cast; the lure has progressed so it's hanging almost vertical from the rod tip. I give it another jiggle and the strike almost takes my breath away. Snapper can hit like a punch from nowhere and this one follows the initial strike with a screaming deep-down run. At this stage if your drag is set too heavily you'll likely get busted. Mine is set a little lightly but enough to provide some pressure on the fish. This was a typical snapper strike and I was loving the feel of it. A few runs and then I was steadily getting line back on the spool. The water was very clear, although the leaden sky was reducing the amount of light available. Don't you just love that first sight of a beaten snapper as it comes to the yak? I've had a sparse year on the snapper this year and this was clearly my biggest for 2013 so far. Not huge, but bloody nice.

One quick gaff shot and she was in the hatch accompanied by my !YeeHah! which pedro probably heard 2km away, on his way to Jew Shoal. It was deathly quiet out there, with only the distant roar of the surf as deep background.

The hook was securely lodged in the corner of the jaw. Took quite a while to get it out.

Now I could relax; the pressure was off. It'd be nice to head home with a decent fish for a change.

Pedro, aware of my catch, was by now coming on to the edge of the shoal to the SW, and soon deployed a floating bait which went off pretty quickly, but the fish spat the hook. He and I had the place to ourselves and every now and again there was a brief flurry of terns and fish somewhere within view. I stuck with my drift fishing with SPs and noticed that there was a pretty strong current pushing from NW to SE. Perhaps this strong current was the leading edge of the new water coming from up north and the fish were arriving on the front of it. In any case, things were looking up, especially when pedro reported that a sizable Spaniard had launched itself, missile-like, as they do, three metres into the air nearby. Smaller tuna could be seen from time to time busting up at all points of the compass.

Things were really looking up a little later. I had repositioned myself back at the Pinnacles, ready to do one more drift. Having trolled back to this position, I started to retrieve the HLP in order to get it out of the way while drift fishing. Part way through the retrieve it was slammed. Didn't feel like a snapper; perhaps a jewie (the water was quite shallow)? Then deep down I could see the unmistakeable stripes; a Spaniard, not big but probably a keeper.

My gaff is 75cm long so is an aide to judging the length of fish while they're still in the water. I could see that this fish was over 75cm so very soon he was in the hatch. My first Spaniard of the season and the smallest keeper I have ever boated!

The vertical bars became less distinct very soon after boating the fish, but came back later.

By now pedro was really fired up and then panno arrived in his stinky, pointing to the horizon to the NW. I just pointed to my hatch with a thumbs-up. Where panno was pointing a large flock of terns was wheeling around with lots of splashing underneath them. This was a fair way from where pedro was fishing and after a while the action dissipated, as it often does. Then, very quickly, large splashes appeared around pedro and I could see him firing off casts at the fish which were large and clearly visible and confirmed by pedro to be longtails. He hooked up at least once but again the hooks pulled.

It was raining gently by now with just a very light breeze. With two fish in the hatch I decided to head in, leaving pedro behind, determined to not go in "until I catch a fish". I'll be surprised if he doesn't.

The break had kicked up a bit at Middle Groyne as the tide was now low compared with high at launch, but no serious problem getting in although I did need to brace as the bow got a little out of line when we were run down by the fifth wave in a set.

Some pics on the beach (no fish holders, due to rain and no sun).

79 and 59. Very pleased!

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Epic Monsters Landed in the river - 11Dec13

TR by Cybertech,
Wind: 5 - 10 knots
Swell: NA
Current: run out tide
Launch point: Noosa Sound
Participants: cybertech, Redwood

FAR OUT...what an epic night Redwood and I had. Where to begin.

We launched around 8pm Wednesday night. Both trolling HB lures slowly heading to Ricky's current line, not much action in woods bay. Got past the rock wall and started drifting down towards the mouth. Next minute my spool screaming. Thought I had something massive. Well it was a 72cm foul hooked flathead. Hooked on its stomach however that happens.

72cm Flathead. “was my PB”

Tide was quickly rushing me out so I had to land on beach to bring it in. Once measured I advised Redwood this was a PB for me. Redwood come up took some photos and while I was sorting out my lines decided to have a flick, he got onto a school of trevally. The next 2 hours was epic. I'm rigged up and thought I would get a trev too.. 2nd cast and BAM. I'm on, a very heavy fish, not a trev, I didn't know what it was until I landed this monster on the beach screaming me guts out. Which in turn this is now my PB.

92cm monster

3 or so trevally, 3 or 4 45cm + flathead later it was getting late so we started to head back in. 200 meters up Redwood hooks onto something massive. Unlike me he wasn't on land so had to do all the work from his yak. Luckily he did as he landed this monster too. We believe it also might be a record.

Measuring 94cm.

Time was past mid night. We decided to head straight in and pack up. Nope not finished yet..... Half way up woods bay Redwood landed this beaut. Nice Jack mate.

43cm Jack.

 Haul for the night (less 2x monsters and a couple of others that were released)

Redwoods hammered River2Sea mullet minnow - Redwood and I both trolled these and gold bombers, but the bombers weren't touched, these saw all the action.

Spot the monster flathead