Duck ducked! 24Feb13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm to 5 knot NE later
Swell: 1.5 m ESE
Current: at Jew Shoal, north to south
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: kahuna, lazybugger, jaro, stormin, soren, sunshiner

Here it was, 24 Feb and, other than eyetag's brilliant pair of spanglies in tough conditions last weekend at Stradbroke Island, outside our catchment area, Noosa Yakkers were possibly about to score an offshore donut for an entire month, an unprecedented situation. This offshore donut was about to come about because the weather had been so extreme that only two viable offshore opportunities were presented. On the first of these, 10Feb, several desperate Noosa Yakkers hit Laguna Bay but had to scurry home wet, embarrassed and fishless. What is more, a quick look at the weather forecast for the rest of February indicated slim chances of getting out. Could we throw the monkey off today?

Thankfully, the forecast for calm conditions was accurate and a reasonable swell completed the picture. It was go at 4:00 am, for a 5:00 am launch. Today I managed to reclaim my second favourite parking spot and was down at the beach with yak in a jiffy where jaro was about to launch. Soren and lazybugger were completing their preparations in the carpark and at least one more Noosa Yakker, stormin, had indicated he'd turn up later.

Even though we were in the flood phase of the tide, with about another hour to go before full, there were still waves closing out our narrow exit. But the lulls were readable and these were the best conditions offered for a month so how could we turn back now. Jaro paddled straight out cleanly without a pause, just at the end of a lull. Fifteen seconds or so behind jaro I was next. The Middle Groyne express pushed me out along the channel and, as I expected, a big set arrived causing me to back paddle at the end of the wall, as I've often had to do. Five waves went through before the lull invited me to go, which allowed me to dry bum it today. It felt good to get out in the bay again in windless conditions, even if the usually clear water was murky. This was another difficulty we faced today and much of this month, the seasonal rainfall in the Noosa River catchment was forcing the river to give up its store of tea coloured, tannin stained fresh water reserves which were now pouring into our bay and turning that area into a no-go zone for pelagic predators. So today our goal was to find the clean water boundary, hopefully within range of our craft.

Jew Shoal offered the best prospect, I thought. With Soren and lazybugger now safely launched also, the four of us turned for Jew Shoal as soon as we were individually ready. Paddling out was dead easy as the sea was unruffled and only slightly lumpy from the swell rolling into the bay. My trolled hardbody lure went all the way to the shoal without attracting any attention. Nor was there any surface action visible, and only one tern on the way out. But one good tern deserves another and there were plenty visible once out at Jew Shoal, where the water was still murky at The Pinnacles. The terns, however were flocking further out to the north and north east and I pushed on toward them, eventually finding the clean water boundary about 800m further out.

By now we were aware that stormin and kahuna had launched and were heading for Jew Shoal also as they were briefed by radio as to our situation.

Here I decided to drift fish a while in 23m depth, hoping that some fishy predators would arrive to feed on the smaller critters the terns were obviously having for breakfast. The silence was remarkable and such that before long I heard the unmistakeable shoaling and splashing noises which emanate from surface-feeding fish activity unseen but somewhere in my vicinity. When I commented on this and the clean water to the rest of the gang by radio, they started to head toward where I indicated. Soren soon found the activity first, and got a few casts away into a shoal of what I took for bonito, or maybe tiny mac tuna, rippling and causing a mini commotion as they joined the breakfast bar feasting.

No serious fish were evident, however, although lazybugger reported a huge strike on a trolled SP (I think, correct me if I'm wrong, Scott). This strike had damaging consequences as the carbon rod, in the rod holder, was snapped off, leaving the butt section behind. Scott's rod leash did its job however, and being attached higher up the butt, near the reel, saved the rod and reel from a watery grave. The fish busted the lure off but at least lazybugger got his gear back.

Lazybugger displays the butt end of the broken rod.

Shortly after this, with no activity for me on the SPs I was using while drift fishing, I decided to open up my horizons a little by trolling the area where the terns were still wheeling and dipping. Barely had I begun this when a huge splash occurred about 30m in front of me and then a longtail tuna over a metre in length cleared the water two rod lengths away on my port side. This info was passed by radio to my companions. Now we knew what we were up against.

Jaro at this time was bottom fishing with bait around Jew Shoal and had been pretty quiet on the radio so I knew the action was slow in that department. Then up he came on the radio saying that he'd caught and released a 60cm mac tuna (cast a slug into a bustup which happened to pop up next to him).

By around 7:55 I had paddled along, following tern activity, all the way down to A-Bay. Here I found kahuna, doing the same as I was, following the edge of the giant plume of fresh water which was spilling out of Laguna Bay and being carried out around Hell's Gates to the south. Terns were picking up a feed here with only rare glimpses by us of fishy predators, including my second sighting for the day of a leaping longtail tuna, this one blasting out vertically close by. I'd just decided to head back toward Jew Shoal when jaro, who was still there, came up on the radio saying he was hooked up to something huge. No other detail was offered and as I was heading in that direction anyway I let him know how far away I was and that I was heading toward him. Knowing that jaro was fishing with bait, I presumed his monster fish was a shark, especially with the murky water around.

Every now and then jaro came up on the radio to give us a progress report. My interest level increased when he told us he'd seen the fish briefly and reckoned it was a tuna. On the way to his location I marked a couple of spots to the east of Jew Shoal where heavy concentrations of baitfish were evident. The water here was clearer than before so perhaps these bait schools were concentrating along the edge of the murky water.

One of the baitfish concentrations.

I reached jaro about 8:35am, some 700m east of The Pinnacles, in relatively clean water. He'd been battling this fish for about 40 minutes by now and now I first learned that it had taken a large prawn bait, intended for snapper or sweetlip. The throbbing on the end of his rod tip indicated that he had a tuna on alright so I hung around to see the end of the encounter.

Jaro half way through the battle.

Having been through many such captures, jaro was in no hurry to finish off this fish. He just maintained pressure and gained line whenever he could. The fish hung under the yak most of the time and eventually the pressure did the job and he came peacefully to the side of the yak where jaro inserted the gaff into the operculum and lifted its head out of the water.

Gaff just inserted

Once he'd secured the fish and brought it on board we set up the standard Noosa Yakkers big fish pic and here it is.

Jaro with longtail tuna.

This was a good time for jaro and me to call a halt to our fishing for the day so we headed for the beach. All of our companions decided to also head in, but not all together.

The water level being lower than at launch time meant that the same swell as earlier was now causing the sand monster to become active. Waves were breaking 20-30 metres out from the groyne and prudence dictated that care be taken in timing. Lazybugger, soren and I all returned to the beach without drama. This left jaro out there getting ready for his run and, knowing that jaro usually has impeccable timing in this process I was not paying attention and did not have the camera running. I looked up briefly only to see him sideways in the break zone about to be engulfed by a breaking wave. Next instant he was upside down. He had failed to notice that the break zone started further out now than earlier. Soren and lazybugger were worried about the fish, which had been too long to be stored completely inside his fish box. I assured them that jaro would have the tuna secured to the kayak with at least two leashes and this proved to be the case when he eventually made it to the beach, a bit damp and a bit embarrassed, but with his fish. There's a lesson there for newbies. Always make sure that your valuable catch is very secure before running the surf zone.

A few beach pics

Kahuna reckoned he was hamming it up for the camera

The longtail on the mat; 108cm; 13.8kg

Lazybugger and his broken rod

A couple of Swedish visitors had an unexpected opportunity to experience Noosa locals.

Jaro with the fish that broke our duck


Adder Rock comp. 16-17Feb13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SE 20-30 knots
Swell: Not big
Current: N/A
Launch point: Adder Rock Beach, North Stradbroke Island
Participants: kahuna, lazybugger, lapse, indiedog, couta01, isobar, jaro, pedro, eyetag, sunshiner (sorry if I've missed any other NYs present) and lots of other fishers from as far south as Melbourne. Total about 40.

This was the first annual Queensland offshore kayak fishing comp, organized and staged by Australian Kayak Specialists, the Australia and Pacific Island distributors of Stealth kayaks.

Noosa Yakkers did not win, but nevertheless, one of our star performers caused a bit of jaw dropping by bagging two spectacular fish in the last session. These fish were not included in the eligible species list but were recognized in the prize list. Remember, this comp was the first, and as such was a test bed for how the comp will be conducted in future. I think we can be pretty sure that the fish in question will be in the list next time.

The other thing to understand is that team membership was based on where participants live. This meant that only fishers who live north of the Mooloolah River were designated as members of the Noosa team. We picked up two or three guys (salticrak, sprocket and redgreg) who live in our area but are not yet Noosa Yakkers, but may well join us soon.

Waiting to get on the ferry. Jaro and I travelled together as did pedro and eyetag who finished up travelling on the same ferry.

On the ferry. We're on the port side, pedro and eyetag on the starboard.

It's an easy 20km on bitumen from the ferry terminal to Adder Rock Camping Ground. Our first glimpse of the launch beach through the trees as we drove in was very uplifting: crystal clear water and a gentle shore break. Before long we'd chosen ideal camping spots and were setting up, just as the rain started.

All set. Excellent camping facilities.

First item on the agenda was the obligatory beach recce from the low rocky headland on the eastern end. The wind at this time was much lighter than later and everything looked hunky dorey with a sandbar about 150m out causing the small swell to break then roll through a wide gutter to the shore break. Getting out looked easy and generally was. Getting back through proved the undoing of many, however. Second item was the also obligatory briefing, conducted inside one of the two camp kitchen areas adjacent to our site. Then it was a BBQ and a few drinks with the opportunity to meet lots of fishers for the first time and renew acquaintances with others met in the past. Then it was off to bed to rest up for the 05:00 start of the comp.

Despite the obviously stiff "breeze" in our sheltered camping spot all the Sunshine Coast Noosa Yakkers opted to go. Kahuna, eyetag and pedro headed for the beach a bit earlier than I but when I got down there eyetag and pedro were hanging about deliberating on the best launch path to take. Kahuna had already launched and I could see him, safely out the back. I also noticed a mysterious black object floating in the gutter heading west with the current. To our surprise, Kahuna started to come back in. Why would he do this? He skilfully crossed the outer break zone then headed for the mystery object, picking it up and donning it as soon as he got there, before once more heading our through the outer break. Strange behaviour!

Launch time for eyetag, pedro and me; jaro was still not on the beach. Spread over a front of about 200 metres, the three of us, plus Redphoenix (AKFF) in his AI, launched. Getting out was a matter of jumping on quickly, like a Doggie Beach launch and paddling out to the middle of the gutter and then waiting for a lull and going hard when it appeared. All four of us got out OK but once out the back the full force of the wind could be felt. The water was pretty shallow and the waves steep as a result so I kept paddling until about 600m out before I felt I could safely open my hatch to access my fishing gear and electronics. I could see that pedro did the same but even so, during the time we were accessing our gear we were being blown and driven westward.

Shag Rock, I knew, because I'd checked on Google Earth a few days earlier, was 1500m from the launch area. It offered some protection from the wind so I headed straight for it, battling the wind and chop all the way, making about 2-3kph.

Once here, I found I was once more in close company with my launch companions who obviously had the same idea as I had.

Me at Shag Rock. Pic by Redphoenix, posted on AKFF.

Using the lee of Shag Rock as a somewhat smelly (as you'd expect with that name) shelter, I consolidated my position. During the 45 min paddle since I'd left the beach I'd not seen any surface action amid lots of white caps, and had trolled my Qantas HLP the whole way without a touch. Pedro however had picked up an undersized snapper so there was some hope of success. Drift fishing however was out of the question as far as I was concerned because the speed of drift due to the wind would have made things difficult to say the least.

There was some radio traffic but mostly about the crap weather, and no mention of fishing success. As pedro and eyetag were heading together out toward the north I tagged along for a while, into the totally exposed waters but still felt uncomfortable even though the boat was handling the conditions well. I therefore headed back around Shag Rock, still trolling and about then decided that the conditions were unsuitable for me and made the decision to head back to the beach, a straight down wind run. I stopped paddling and just steered with the rudder, finding I was travelling down wind at about 3-4kph, ideal for the HLP.

Kahuna, I could see, was inshore from me and obviously headed for the beach also. With my gear safely stowed, I easily crossed the outer bank, which was the worst part of the long break zone, and picked up a little wave at the end which took me right to the beach. Kahuna, well, you'd better ask him.

Other than a little later successfully taking up a challenge to take a Profisha 575 out and back without falling off (very pointy, very fast), that was the extent of my on-water activities for the comp. Jaro, having heard the radio conversations and also having spoken to returnees on the beach, wisely opted to not launch at all.

Pedro and eyetag checked back in before 11:00am, fishless. But a few fish, mainly small yellowfin tuna and reasonable snapper were brought back and there was a report that a marlin had been hooked but dropped. Indiedog scored a snapper around 45cm on a heavy octopus jig.

A couple of pics from Saturday morning, on the beach

AKFF legend Grinner shows how to have fun getting an AI going through a shore break. He eventually got out OK.

Hoit (AKFF), from Melbourne, took the opportunity to successfully tackle the break in Nadia’s pink Evo 465.

Right next to the campground is a great burger shop. That was my next destination and then it was off to the cot for a quick nap, in readiness for the arvo session which went from 3:00pm(?) to 5:00pm. The weather at 3:00pm was not significantly better but pedro and eyetag were off again, leaving us old farts to while away the afternoon, which I did, hanging out on the beach, having a swim and chatting.

In came the afternoon guys, and one smallish Spaniard had been taken, on a whole bonito. Eyetag and pedro still hadn't scored, but sprocket did present a keeper spangled emperor, so at least the Noosa team had a fish, even though it couldn't score points, being off the species list. This was the only occasion I'd witnessed eyetag take a bath, when he lost it in the maelstrom which occupied the gutter. Things weren't looking good.

Saturday evening saw another group BBQ, with yellowfin tuna and Spanish mack on the menu. Our foursome ate well and Jaro and I finished off with a nice bottle of red. By 8:00pm I was in bed, snoring, ready for a 4:00am getup.

Slept like a log! Rain had been tumbling down for much of the night and the tent walls had been responding to the wind which was stirring the trees overhead. The voices of pedro and eyetag woke me around four thirty. Pedro had already been down to the beach and pronounced it doable, even though the moon had set around 10:00pm and sunrise was 05:30. Accordingly, our two indefatigable chums were feverishly prepping for the last session (5:00am to 9:00am). Turning on my iPad, I checked the live weather at Cape Moreton, about 40km north. Wind ESE, 49kph! Having relayed this info I went back to bed. They scurried off down to the beach, dragging their yaks behind them, having made a plan about where they'd fish. Oh wouldn't it be nice to be young again (to Jaro and me, 52 is still young and 45 is barely out of nappies)!

Unbelievably, after a very early brekky, I lay down to read a book and fell asleep again, putting in another hour of shuteye before heading down to the beach to witness the return of our heroes. This time, the break on the outer bank must have been trickier because lots of yakkers could be seen chasing after inverted yaks as they were unseated on their way in to the beach. I spotted eyetag out there (that big straw hat is very visible) and nearby, pedro, who was wearing a new pale coloured hat presumably specially bought for the occasion. As I expected, they both negotiated the break carefully and cleverly, arriving at the beach the right way up, eyetag first.

Eyetag had a twinkle in his eye as I strode up to him. "It was shitty but worth it," he said. Popping off the lid of his rear hatch, he reached in and started dragging out the first fish. Onlookers, a dozen metres or so away, noticed this movement and uttered a loud collective "Phwoar!" when he removed the sodden towel cover from the first, huge but smaller, spangled emperor. This was the biggest spangly I'd seen in many years; and then he pulled the bigger one out. His old Swing, which had delivered uncountable fish to beaches around Noosa, became the centre of attention. Eyetag, of course, lapped it up, and deservedly.

The larger of these two fish was, in my opinion, the trophy fish of the whole comp, being a fish of species, size and desirability rarely if ever taken from a kayak in Australian inshore waters. Only an understandable technicality kept it from acquiring the trophy tag it deserved; after all, who would have predicted that such a magnificent and sought after species would have been present in these waters?

Pedro had lucked out, even though he was fishing the same location with similar lures and had pedalled/paddled the exact same route.

Pedro in foreground, eyetag in background, leaving the beach.

Shortly after this, sprocket (Dave), another member of the Noosa team who had caught a spangly on Saturday arvo, came in on his AI. Amazingly, he had two spangled emperor also, although one had been severely shortened by a shark. The intact fish looked to be about 68-70cm. Clearly the boys had found the spangly hot spot (and we know where it is).

Prizes and trophies were handed out at 11:00am, with the "Mexican" team being declared the winners of the comp. The prizes were generous without being over the top, and the top prize, a brand new Evo 465, for the first angler to catch and release a billfish, remained unclaimed. Next time, eh?

With the weather showing no signs of improvement, many, including the Noosa Yakkers from Noosa, decided to break camp and take a chance on catching the car ferry home, given that we were booked for the ferries on the following day, Monday. This we did successfully, with Jaro and I being last home, around 6:00pm, after a wait of a couple of hours in the Standby line. We all agreed that we'd return to Adder Rock just as soon as we could and that this is a viable location for a Noosa Yakkers assembly in future.

AKS did a remarkable job of organizing this comp and their team members deserve our thanks for staging it. They have now built up their expertise and experience to potentially make it even better next time. Even with crap weather, some great experiences were had. I personally spoke to many fishers who assured me they had gained valuable experience and confidence in fishing and navigating new waters and in defeating conditions rarely encountered. Well done Tom, Dennis and Nadia. Thanks.

Adder Rock beach. Yakkers paradise!

AKFF Report


Learnt the lesson. 10Feb13

TR by Jaro with contribution by JamieD

Participants: Jamie D, Redwood, Stormin, Kiwibro and Jaro
Conditions: Weather mostly clear and sunny, large swell especially further out, windy 10 to 15 knots also especially further out. Water still dirty from runoff.

Woke up this morning with DIP and Cape Moreton showing red. A few NYs sent emails saying they were pulling the plug but some keeping their options open for a later start like me.

Decided to have another look at 5.30am and found an email from Redwood stating that conditions at MG were not bad. DIP and Cape Moreton had gone down to 15 knots so I took off for MG.

When I arrived all the other participants had already left. There were large waves coming in sets with a reasonable interval in between them. Timing was of the essence and boy, did I time it perfectly, just got over the first of the next set and was in the clear with a dry bum.

Called the other yakkers to find Stormin and I think Redwood and Kiwibro heading for LHR. Jamie D was at JS where I headed as with an easterly wind present I did not fancy bashing into it on the way back if I went to LHR.

Conditions weren't bad at MG but the closer I got to JS the worse the conditions got. The swell was large with slop on top. By the time I got to JS, Jamie D had pulled the plug due to a roll over and encountering blue bottles in the process. The others at LHR on hearing Jamie's roll over and as the swell was scary with the wind appearing to pick up, decided to also pull the plug and head for MG.

So there I was at JS wondering if I should persist or let discretion be the better part of valour. Discretion won out after I had done one drift with no action. The paddle back was hard at first but I did the last half under sail at a fair clip reaching 11.5km/h.

The tide was now at its peak at MG but there were still large waves to negotiate and again, as luck would have it, my timing was perfect and I got in easily with some furious paddling to beat the big ones coming in behind me.

No fish were caught (or seen) by all 5 of us. All we got was a good dose of exercise and practice at getting out and in.

Contribution by JamieD

What a day! That is officially the last time I ignore the decisions of senior members local to the area.

What a deceptive place, it can be flat and windless at Middle Groyne and disgusting out wide. Got out okay. Got stung by bluebottles, which by the way is why no one could understand me on the radio as it has been drowned lol, capsized, was being stung by blueys the whole time I was trying to self rescue. After that I sulked all the way back to Middle groyne. Included the video of my day.


Lake Mac Surprise - 09 / 10Feb13

TR by Gemini
Participants:  Gemini, Whiblah
Launch Site: Strawberry Patch, Lake MacDonald
Conditions: Fine, light breeze

After the rain stopped on Saturday Whiblah and I decided to hit Lake Mac on the spur of the moment at around 3:30. Conditions were good, although the water was tea coloured and murky.

After a couple of hours flicking lures all the way around to the palm farm with no takes, I made the call to wrap up the day in disgust... I should make that call more often. Coming back past toga bay I cast half-heartedly at some floating debris and BANG! I was on.

At 38cm he was a nice, although somewhat unhealthy looking, bass. He had a few wounds and seemed a lot darker than normal. Perhaps he had a failed attempt at a wall jump...

As we rounded the corner back towards the strawberry patch I managed to entice another bass to take my lure.

This guy measured in at a slightly shorter 35cm, and then went back into the drink with his mate.

That was it for Saturdays exploits, but today (Sunday) was a different story. After aborting our trip out from MG at 5AM, we decided to hit Lake Mac again instead. Surely the fish would be kinder today?

Fat chance.

Asides from a (missed) surface strike on a fouled up lure, the fish kept their distance. There was plenty of jumping and splashing all over the place, but nothing would bite. Feeling rejected, we called it a day again...but this time, Lake Mac had something completely unexpected for us.

(Please view this video in HD and enlarge. It loads a lot slower, but you'll want the detail for this one.)

I've not heard of platypus living in Lake Mac before, and I've only ever seen one other in the wild only for the briefest of moments. This little fella was quite happy to have us hanging around for a good while, and came fairly close to us. Who cares about the fish when you get a magic moment like that.


Matt (Gemini)

Helloooo? Anybody home?? - 02Feb13

TR by Gemini
Participants:  Gemini, Lisbeth & Emil (2/3 VB Family)
Launch Site: Strawberry Patch, Lake MacDonald
Conditions: Fine, light-medium breeze

I launched around 5AM onto a slightly less full and murky lake (from the proper launch this time, not the bitumen). The rain had stirred the water up a little, so visibility was zero. Emil and Lisbeth arrived shortly after I launched, and quickly proceeded onto the water.

The conditions were otherwise great, and the bird life put on a show, but the fishing unfortunately didn't keep up the trend. We cast away madly all the way around to toga bay with no strikes. Here Emil had a take from a nasty tree-fish on the bank just past the bay, so I headed over to see if I could help. While scratching our heads about his lure high above, Emil noticed Lisbeth tugging away at her line a little ahead of us and waved me over to help there instead. By the time I arrived there was a nice fat bass in her net!

At 37cm it was a nice first bass. Lisbeth released him and we went on our way.

We continued around past the Palm Farm and on to the Three Ways. The wind whipping down the channel from the Three Ways was fairly strong, and this coupled with the heat and no fish led me to decide to start the voyage home. A few exploratory casts on the way home yielded no further results.

Not the best fishing trip, but a nice day on the water otherwise. At least the lake is full again for the moment, and it would appear that not all the bass have escaped over the wall. Here's hoping for next time!

Matt (Gemini)

Fishing Friday Night, 01Feb13

TR by Panno
Launch Point: Noosa Lions Park
Wind: Sheltered from the northerly at main beach
Participants: Carlton, Tiberium, Eyetag, Tunny, Panno

Hi guys, I headed off from Lions Park around 7pm after meeting a few other yakkers plus Turtleboy and friend Owen.

Whilst I think the others went up the back way towards Weyba Hole, I trolled a bibbed minnow along Woods Bay, closely followed by Dave. I hooked up on the western side of the Woods area a little before Ricky’s, and it was a solid fish that took a long first run against 20lb braid set on a stiff drag.

With the rod still in its holder I immediately paddled into the middle of the bay to give me some room to fight the fish off the rod, but due to the force of the fish and the wind, I was back where I started within 30 seconds. This act was repeated three times until suddenly I could no longer feel headshakes and my worst case scenario eventuated, the fish had wrapped me around an anchored fishing boat !

At least I got my lure back, but there’s a solid fish out there. To give you an idea, it went much harder (and longer) than a 68cm cod I hooked there a few weeks back, so I am guessing it was either a large Jack, a barra or a GT, but I suppose we will never know !

The rest of the night was uneventful for me. I trolled up to Munna Bridge and then to Weyba Hole where there were some intermittent splashes but nothing to get me excited enough to hang around for too long. The boys and one other yakker (possibly Eyetag) were also working that area when I arrived, but to no avail at that juncture. After about 30 minutes of flicking SP’s up there I returned home via the back channel.

Whilst you guys are probably already aware of this, I was surprised by the number of stink boats zipping about the estuary without lights. They certainly present a hazard and any yakker would not want to get caught out there without some form of light to flash at them if they are heading towards you !

The boys were planning to stay out all night. I look forward to hearing how they did. Oh to still have the energy to be able to do that !


Andy (Panno)