Wind: light NW swinging to north 7 knots about 2:00pm
Swell: 1.3m NE
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: sunshiner alone
Having had no success locally since I returned to the Noosa fishing scene in late July this year despite several trips, I was starting to wonder if I'd lost my mojo. Today the weather offered an opportunity for an afternoon trip and I spotted it about 9:30 am after viewing the forecast and noting that the wind was lighter than forecast and the wind speed trend was downward. Having no commitments I couldn't postpone I demurred for a while then finally cracked about 10:30 am, it was irresistible.
Opting to launch from Middle Groyne and head for Jew Shoal for the afternoon I was well aware that the biggest hassle on sunny days at Middle Groyne is finding a carpark. Amazingly, the number 1 carpark, usually eyetag's, at Middle Groyne was vacant when I arrived so I grabbed it. Maybe it was my lucky day!
The gentle NW just ruffled the surface of the bay and barely slowed me down as I headed for Jew Shoal. My trolled HLP got no action as I covered the 4km without sighting any surface action. Planning on my usual drift and cast routine, which has worked well in the past but not recently, I found that the breeze was perfect for a slow drift from NW to SE. The first two drifts were uneventful except for the hookup of a tiny bar-tailed flathead in 21m SE of The Pinnacles. Conditions were perfect but there seemed to be nothing around.
I'd already decided that I'd be heading back in about 3:15pm and a wind shift and increase in strength around 2:00pm reinforced that. I figured I had time for one last drift and, as I'd been fishing the deeper water without success decided to target the shallow water around The Pinnacles. Here the slightly rougher conditions and reducing sunlight might encourage predators to get amongst the baitfish which usually hang around there. It was worth a try anyway and I had no better ideas.
So by around 2:20pm I was setting up the drift in about 14m, starting by deploying my trailing outfit then laying out a cast with my preferred snapper outfit (6kg braid) loaded with a 1/8 ounce jighead and 100mm soft plastic. This sinks very slowly but even so you need to fish it very carefully to avoid snagging.
This cast was clobbered soon after it hit the water. After a couple of minutes I was sure that either this was the biggest snapper I'd ever hooked or possibly it was a big slatey bream. It wasn't a tuna, which I've hooked many times in similar situations. Early on I thought that I'd been reefed as I seemed to be able to make no progress at all and the depth was around 10m. But after a while it was clear the fish was free swimming, but probably pretty big and that was why I couldn't lift him. In all of this, the trailing outfit snagged up and as the yak was pulled around it seemed likely that a tangle would ensue so I quickly opted to cut it loose as it wrapped around my head.
At last I started to get line back and then the leader (about 5m) appeared and was wound on to the reel but was then given back, several times. I still hadn't seen the fish, possibly because it was directly under the yak but then it suddenly appeared out to my left and I thought, in quick succession, cobia, shark, and then as it got closer to the surface I could see it was a magnificent jewie. My first!
It must have been completely knackered as once it came to the surface planting the gaff was easy, and it didn't even respond. By now the Stealth hatch was open and with a heave I dragged the jewie across my lap and dropped the heavy end into the hatch. The tail followed, but I had to slide the head forward to get it all in. Stoked!
Some on water pics
Some pics on the beach
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange