Goodbye duck!

TR by DC & Redwood

Trip Report - 16/06/13
Wind  - NNW, 15knots at times
Current - Quite Strong from the northwest
Participants - Redwood, DC


Arrived at MG at 5.30am, pitch black, didn't quite time it as well as I'd liked (sun up) Redwood arrived a little later, just before sun up, we surveyed the scene and made the call to go.  Redwood was heading to Hall's Reef on  a mission to catch a reef fish, I decided to tag along.

DC ready to go, Redwoods yak ahead quivering with anticipation

Paddle out through the breakers resulted in me getting a wet bum, typical....GPS & radio went on when I reached out the back and then we set off, it was a long and uneventful paddle into what seemed to be a strengthening NNW that took for ever, Redwood's Stealth was so much quicker than the Prowler as well.  For the first half of the journey Tim would stop and let me catch up but the last couple of Km's he headed off in search of Hall's Reef with me trailing in his wake a long way behind

We stopped on the Coordinates in the GPS but I couldn't locate any reef structure on the Sounder which was strange, The wind was strong out of the NNW so the drift back over Hall's was done from the North West drifting back to South East, thankfully the Drogue slowed the drift a little, we did this a couple of times.  Redwood picked up a Stingray and a Grinner or two.  Also had a school of baitfish cruise past but could see anything feeding on the except the birds.  Having no real luck we decided maybe Little Halls was the go...

We made our way back to Little Hall's (much easier paddle going with the wind) as Redwood knew those Coordinates were fair dinkum, we set up the drift as before, Redwood with bait & myself with a Zman, Redwood hooked up again...those Grinners were thick

After another few passes over the reef I told Redwood I was heading back to MG.  I stopped for a few minutes and watched a pod of Dolphins feeding about halfway back and then stumbled on another bait school, rods were safely stored in the hull so could only watch them pass underneath me.  I nearly flipped the yak in the wave zone caught by those sneaky one footers.

I was surprised when I got back to the beach how calm the ocean looked...think that wind was finally dying off...typical!

Home for lunch and then taking the Viking Fisherman 2 out in the Maroochy with the family...*edit* instead I spent the arvo fixing a leak in the mains water pipe feeding the house...very muddy

Addition by Redwood

As mentioned in DC's TR I was on a mission for some reef fish, I had to break that duck as this was getting ridiculous. The trip up to Halls was hard going into 15-20 knot winds. As I knew we'd have an easier time getting back I was happy to push on to Halls. Wayne from BCF had told me that Halls was the place to be and he had given me a few tips on rigs and baits, so I was very eager to get there. Alas! No structure to be found on DC's or my Halls coordinates. We made a call to go back and try our luck at Little Halls.

Once at LH's we set up our drifts. I was using squid baits and first cast hooked onto a grinner. Second cast I hooked something very large but it spat the hook not long after hooking up. LH’s doesn’t appear to be a big reef and it only took a few minutes to drift over it, so back and forth was the order of the day (see below GPS track of my drifts). I’m thinking a bigger drogue might be the go the next time. The bites kept coming and a few more grinner, a baby stingray and a keeper bream, I finally landed my first snapper! $@&# a duck! It was barely legal, but this puppy was going on the BBQ.

Mmm, duck!
My GSP log of drifts at Little Halls

By this time the wind had died completely and the water had glassed over and the sailboats and sun were out—beautiful. Now that the wind was gone, the drift direction changed from wind drift NW to SW to current drift SW to NW. I was getting good bites on the new drift line, but not hooking up until I got another barely legal snapper, which if I had my way was also going on the BBQ, but it had different ideas and wriggled free—bugger! Lip grips will be used next time.

Lovely day to be on the water. White specs at the headland are the sailboats.
It was now around 12.00 and all of a sudden, having had the bay to myself for quite a while, stinky’s started arriving on mass. One turkey decided to troll figures of 8 around me! Aren’t there rules like surfing for this kind of thing? That was my wave dude. The arrival of the stinky’s and my growling stomach meant it was time to head in even thought the fish were still biting.

The 2.4KM trip back was quite a strain as I think my muscles were suffering from the trip to Halls in the strong wind and the amount of paddling involved in setting up the drifts. Luckily the landing was a doddle, the channel was totally waveless –just want I needed.

BTW – the bay seems to be full of baitfish. I came across 3 or 4 big balls, but couldn’t see anything jumping out chasing them.

France Yak Trip, 16June13

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm
Swell: none
Current: tidal only
Launch point: La Rochelle, France, western end of the big bridge to Ile de Ré
Participants: alain, sunshiner

You may recall that day one, 14June, was in the end, successful, as reported on this blog a couple of days ago. If you haven’t already done so I recommend you read that post first as it will set the scene for you for this one and possibly answer questions that may arise.

Strong winds killed our chances of a yak outing on 15 June, but conditions were deemed “perfet” for 16June.

Start time was ASAP after 4:30am, wake-up time. Although it’s close to the longest day here, there was barely a glimmer of light on the horizon at that time, but daylight saving time applies.

All we had to do was hook up Alain’s battered trailer, carrying the two yaks, to his battered fishing car, an aged Renault Twingo, hurtle down the motorway and cross the toll bridge to the Isle de Ré. Launch point was the same as the previous trip, and meagre (aka meager) were being targetted again.

We must have been on the water before 05:30 I reckon and the tide was running in, as indicated by the south-north current swirling around the huge bridge pylons.

Pre-sunrise. A different view of the bridge.

Despite our best efforts, neither of us had had a touch by 08:30, but Alain had confidently predicted that the next hour would see results. I was sceptical, but the tide had by now brought cleaner water to our fishing spots, a possible good sign.

The action started at around 08:35, and I got the first hookup, boating an “average” but welcome meagre, which I photographed and then swam beside the yak to revive it before releasing it.

First fish for the day.

The action then started, with Alain and I both hooking up consistently in a location we’d seriously worked over without success for much of the previous three hours.

Alain with the next, a few minutes later.

And another

A PB for me, I think. It took off in fine style upcurrent before I subdued it.

The proven technique of bumping the jig along on the mainly sandy bottom picked up this (deemed inedible by my colleagues).

Just after the first fish was boated, two other yakkers joined us.

Jean-Michel, from Lyon, in his electric-motored OK Torque. He is a friend of Alain’s.

Believed to be JM’s bro in law, and probably a newbie to kayak fishing.

This was a long session, with more than six hours on the water, the first three being devoid of action. Alain's prediction that the action would start turned out to be spot on.

Alain has an extended family and friends nearby so we ended up taking seven fish today for distribution to the family, and releasing others.

Strong winds are predicted for the next few days but we’re looking for an opportunity to get at the seabass, which is tide and wind dependent. Hopefully we’ll make it.


Peche en France, Jour One, 14Jun13

Yak fishing in France; Day One, 14 June 2013

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Calm
Swell: none
Current: tidal only
Launch point: La Rochelle, France, western end of the big bridge to Ile de Rey
Participants: alain, sunshiner

In our France holiday, today was the day that Mary went off to Paris, by TGV, and I stayed behind with kayak fisherman Alain and his wife, Claude who live near La Rochelle. This arrangement was made many months ago and our plan is that I will stay here for about a week and meet Mary in Paris on 21June.

Alain and I saw Mary off on the train about 09:30 and by 10:15 or so Alain and I were standing on a beach ready to launch our yaks. For me this was the first kayak fishing expedition outside of Australia, and for Alain it was the first time he’d fished with an Australian.

Launch point, zoomed out and zoomed in

Alain and the two yaks. He’s a pedaller. He loaned me his spare yak. an Ocean Kayak boat designed around an electric motor, but I was equipped with paddle only. What a nice guy! And a super keen and competent fisho, too.

Anyway, the word was out that the meager, a close relative of our mulloway (jewfish) were active around the bridge pylons. In fact, Alain had nailed a PB specimen two days ago (I saw it). Soft plastics with very heavy jighead in 15m or so of water (running tides) were the bait of choice for everyone that I came across. Initially we were the only two yakkers out there, but one other turned up later. A variety of power boats, all with fishos aboard, was visible from the launch point.

Having seen no action at our first hotspot, Alain and I headed for another bridge spot where I drew the first actual hookup, a cuttlefish, which managed to free itself from the hook while we were discussing in a mixture of English and French, whether to keep it.

We worked this spot over pretty well and Alain actually hooked and almost boated a meager but it spat the hook at side of the yak.

Alain playing his first hooked fish which managed to escape.

By the time we made our way back to the main bridge pylons, we’d put in several hours for no fish in the yaks, although others had told us of captures earlier. Anyway, back at the main bridge, near dead low tide, current still running north to south we continued to work the pylons, gradually getting closer and closer to our launch point. Still no fish in the yaks.

Then we saw a couple of bent rods and more, so joined the mob who’d found the fish and the fun began, at last. In short order we got two fish each, quite good sized meager, ideal for eating at this size, I’m told. Some pics:

My first ever French fish, a meager.
My second, slightly larger. Note the yellow tinge to the mouth interior.

Alain, acknowledging Australia 2, France nil.

Then he hooks up and nets one.

Alain, happy to be on the board.

So we finished up with two each in what turned out to be a beautiful day on the water.

Alain reckons we’re going to hit them again tomorrow…


June Jacks, 08Jun13

TR by Eyetag
Wind:10+ knots S
Current:Strong run out tide
Weather:Odd shower then rain

With the tides being good for a late session on the sand flats, I made a late call and packed my gear ready for a river session. I checked the radar for rain on the internet and it looked like there was a good clear patch approaching so I decided to go for it.

Launching 10.30pm from Noosa Heads Lions Park I headed around through the Woods Bays trolling a Gold Bomber and didn't get a touch until I hit the current line out from Rickys. It was the dreaded Hairtail.

I trolled this area for the next 30 minutes hoping for some Trevally but I got another 4 Hairtail. Not very pleased with my results I moved West onto the sand flats where I could hear the sweet sound of fish feeding on the surface and they were everywhere.

First drift, I cast a Gladiator Prawn on the alb outfit, slow rolled it across the bottom and after a few touches I hooked and landed a small Big Eye Trevally. The current was running quite quickly so I had to paddle back up to my start point before my second attempt. This was another successful drift with another small Big Eye. The flats were alive with mostly small Big Eye and they were coming in every cast. This process of catching a Big Eye then paddle back went on for an hour or two. Hoping there might be some bigger fish around, I decided to go a bit further on my next return paddle. Now I was in about a foot of water. I put out another cast started the retrieve and hooked up shortly after to something that didn't feel like a Trevally a couple of minutes later I landed a nice Whiting.

Hoping for more of this, I paddled back repeated the process only this time I was hooked up to a nicer fish. I was having a bit of trouble on the light gear so I had to paddle one handed across the current to calmer water so I didn't end up down near the river mouth. Eventually I landed a nice Jack, STOKED.

Again I returned put out a cast that was slammed with the process of paddling single handed across current had to be repeated and after another 10 minute battle I had a second Jack on board. I stowed him and on my return I could hear this noise that I couldn't make out then the all lights were fading and I realised it was rain, heavy rain. I put my head down and headed for home.

When I was safely back in the Woods Bay I trolled the Bomber back and managed to cross paths with another Hairtail. After this I paddled the rest of the way back without a lure out returning around 2pm wet but very satisfied.

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Two Jacks above

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Whiting and BigEye Trevally

Cheers, Eyetag.

Nobby, 06June13

TR by Pedro
Wind: south 10-15 turning sw 5-10 knots
Swell: 0.5 to 1 metre
Launch point: MG
Participants: Pedro

I launched at 5.45 am and had no worries getting out between the occasional wave dumping on the sand bar just out from the end of the rock wall.

Headed for JS trolling pillies and after a few laps around the pinnacles I changed tactics and hover fished pointing the bow into the wind and pedalling slowly keeping the pilly near the bottom. This resulted in three snapper, the biggest one going 79cm.

When the wind backed off I set up for drift fishing, landing another three snapper and a hammerhead about 1.5 meters, as well as a steam train run by I'm guessing a mackerel as I was bitten off after 100m of line peeled off very quickly.

No surface action seen, plenty of bait hanging around the pinnacles.

So I bagged out and a pb on the 79cm.

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