Wind: light SE
Swell: 1 m SE
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: tunny, stormin, sunshiner
With the brilliant run of weather, it was on again and Doggie Beach the launch point. As befits an old gentleman, I elected to launch later than the young guys, but not too much later. Just enough to allow me a more leisurely breakfast.
Hah! I thought I'd picked the run pretty well and had a dry bum until one of those waves came out of nowhere, stood up high and broke just as our locations converged. After that, nothing on the outside of the yak was dry, but at least we broke through, in a shower of spray in the early morning sunlight. When this happens it is no time to pause as there’s possibly another wave right behind the first. Vigorous paddling quickly got me out into quiet water.
Here I opened the hatch and dragged the radio out from its storage bag, immediately calling the boys to find out what they'd been up to for the last hour or so. Tunny was continuing his good form, and was just putting his second snapper away when my call came. They were fishing a fair way out and stormin still hadn't scored.
After setting up, I trolled out to the vicinity of my two companions so that the three of us were in a north-south line, about 400m apart, with tunny at the northern end and stormin at the southern. There was just enough breeze to make a perfect drift toward the NW so I adopted my usual practice of fishing two outfits hanging a trailing rig (SP) out the back while I cast another downwind and let it fall gently to the bottom.
As experienced lately, the action was slow. Soon after I arrived stormin caught a fish which he couldn't identify. He took a photo before releasing it so I can now confirm its identity.
The three of us went our separate ways after a while, in search of action. Doggie Beach reef eventually was my next chosen drift area as that is a place that I know produces fish, but not always. Stormin reported the capture of a Venus tuskfish and also mentioned a whale he could see nearby, breaching.
On my drift I eventually started catching yellowtail (commonly known as yakkas) on my cast SP. Yellowtail form vast schools and are an excellent baitfish so I hoped that perhaps some snapper might be hanging around with them.
Then the trailing outfit went off. On this I'd rigged a 125mm SP on a 30gm jighead and it was drifting along about 10m clear of the bottom. The fight was typical of snapper and sure enough, before long my first snapper in Noosa in 2013 was in the hatch.
Around now tunny, not far from me, reported another snapper in the bag. All of his fish were caught on a large SP so he’s doing something right.
And then a whale event. I'd just cast my lighter SP downwind and was still looking in that direction when a whale surfaced briefly, obviously travelling straight for me. It was about two or three cast lengths away and my first instinct was to reach for my camera but I quickly changed my mind when it became clear that it was moving steadily directly toward me. In the water I had my casting outfit, probably at about 10m depth and sinking slowly, my trailing outfit at about 20m depth with 30m of line out, and my drogue. All of these were in the direct line of the whale’s approach. Frantically I retrieved the closest first, the cast outfit, then the trailing outfit, then the drogue and by then whale was so close I could see that a collision was nearly certain. Paddling out of the way was now my only option and I did so, turbocharged by adrenalin. The whale submerged a little as it got to me and I literally looked straight down at it and its calf as they passed directly under my yak, which was now moving forward and out of the way. To my horror the calf appeared to peel off and come to investigate me, followed, naturally, by Mum. There was a huge swirl on the surface as they turned. As for me, I was still paddling flat out looking back over my shoulder to get out of the general area. The risk as I saw it was of an accidental collision which might end up with me in the water and my kayak upside down. Fortunately, that was the last I saw of them although we all saw more whale activity in the distance afterward.
Just after 11:00 we decided jointly to head for the beach as fishing action seemed to be slowing. By now the tide was much higher than at launch time, but there were still some tricky small waves, especially the shore break. I went in first and had a bit of fun on the shorey, which deposited me sideways at the top of the beach but right way up.
Some pics on the beach
Thanks for coming along, guys
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange