Super Quickie - 27Oct13

TR by Gemini

Participants:   Gemini
Launch Site: Strawberry Patch, Lake MacDonald
Conditions: cloudy periods, wind strengthening through the morning

I ducked out for a quickie on Lake Mac early yesterday morning, launching just after 5AM. There was plenty of surface action, and I disturbed a few large fish on my paddle around, but it took a good while to land anything. After an hour or so I managed a 39cm bass just past toga bay.

Not long after the wind started to strengthen to the point of being annoying, so I headed for home. Not far from my launch point I ran aground (due to wind while casting), and used the opportunity to take a quick shot of a few rather upset pelicans.

I was barely on the water for 2 hours, but a brief paddle is still better than none!

'Eye'ronic Tailor Record - 26Oct13

TR by Tunny  

Participants: Redwood, Eyetag, Mike and Freyr visiting from South Africa, Tunny
Launch Site:  Lions Park
Destination:  Noosa River
Conditions:  Wind South less than 5 Knots, outgoing tide (close to low)

Redwood and I arrived at 5am to find our very keen South African visitors Mike and Freyr unloaded and ready to launch.  They headed off towards the Woods and we headed off in the same direction a few minutes later.  Redwood and I were both trolling hard bodied lures, and as we headed towards Ricky’s we met Eyetag who had just landed a nice Mangrove Jack.  We stopped for a brief discussion on tackle and Eyetag suggested I replace my small Rapala with a Gold Bomber.  He very kindly offered me one of his.  I initially hesitated but with Eyetag’s success and experience in the river I knew I should accept the offer.  So I replaced the Rapala with the Gold Bomber and headed to Ricky’s, went out past the sand bags then returned to Woods Bay.  At around 6.30 the Bomber was hit hard and line peeled rapidly off the Shimano 2000 reel.  I radioed Redwood and he headed over to where I was fishing.  As the fish came to the surface I could see it was a good size Tailor.  It had a few good runs before finally ending in the net.

Tunny with the Tailor in the bag

Tunny, the Tailor and the 'Eyetag' lucky gold bomber

Mike and Freyr were pleased to see a fish they recognised.  Tailor are known as Shad in South Africa, and also move along the East Coast during June – October.  By 8am both Redwood and I needed to head off home.  Just before leaving, Mike hooked up on what we suspect was a Tailor using a fly rod but unfortunately he lost the fish.  

Mike and Freyr enjoying the beautiful Noosa morning at Woods Bay

They were keen to continue fishing as Redwood and I paddled back.  Just before arriving at Lions Park the Gold Bomber was taken by something a lot bigger than the Tailor.  As I was using 6lb line I had to keep the drag loose.  The fish headed across the channel as a boat was approaching and to avoid the line getting near their motor I tightened the drag, the line snapped and Eyetag’s Gold Bomber was gone.  So on my was home I stopped at Davo’s to buy him a replacement Bomber, and also bought a measuring mat.  I had my Tailor measured at Davos – came in at 68 cm.  This is well ahead of the “New Record” on the NY list, and with the aid of a magnifying glass, marginally ahead of Eyetag’s old Tailor record.  The guys at Davo’s reckon the fish had been attached by a shark – look at the photo of the tail which is shredded and also the marks across the body behind the dorsal fin.

So a big thanks to Eyetag for the Gold Bomber -  and I do have a new one for next time I see you.

Record Tailor at 68cm
Overall a fun trip.

While driving home I got a call from Mike who had just landed a Hairtail, the biggest fish of his Australian trip so far.

Mike and Freyr

Mike using a fly outfit to catch Tailor and Hairtail. Obviously a very experienced fly fisherman as he managed to get incredible casting distance from a yak

Mike onto his Hairtail

Mike advises that Hairtail make excellent bait for Spanish Mackerel

No run, no fun. 26Oct13

TR by eyetag

Wind: Calm
Current: Run out tide
Launch Point: Noosa Heads Lions Park
Participants: Eyetag

I launched Lions Park around and paddled straight to Ricky's without a touch. Things were pretty slow with not much current due to the small variation between the tides. I did a few drifts with a Gladiator Prawn and got a couple of small Big Eye Trevally and trolling the Gold Bomber on the return trips only produced Hairtail.

Both trevally were hooked like this

With the sun starting to rise I headed back for a troll through the Inner Woods Bay and got lucky with a nice Mangrove Jack. A couple more laps of the Bay,then around the back of the sound up to Munna Bridge and back stopping at a few favourite spots to flick the Gladiator Prawn. With nothing else added to the bag I headed in.

Thanks for reading


Mutton birds, Kingfish and sinking feelings - 19Oct13

TR by Redwood

Trip date: 19 October 2013
Participants: Stormin, Danu, Imax, Redwood
Launch Site:  Middle Groyne
Destination:  JS
Conditions:  Gusting 10-15 knots, swell 1.5m, strong current to the South

Imax heading out, the Gold Bomber looking on
 I arrived at the MG car park at around 5am to find Imax almost ready to head out. I did a quick check of conditions and could see Stormin already setting up behind the breakers along with Danu. Imax's plan was to do laps in close to try avoid the wind and hopefully strike some pelagic gold. Imax launched just before I did and had no trouble getting out in the BFS ramping a medium size wave with ease. I managed to time my launch well (for a change) and got out without a problem.

I set up my trolling rigs and as the swell was going SW to NE I decided to hug the headland on my way to JS or ABR. I passed Imax on the way who'd already snagged a small Tailor (not sure how he went in the end). I continued along the headland shaking my head at the crazy rock fishermen risking life and limb for a feed of fish. No doubt they thought the same of me.

Without the fear of the swell pushing me into the rocks it was a nice paddle out, but the swell was fairly large and as I got out to Picnic Cove Point conditions became very tricky with the swell seeming to come from multiple directions. The Evo is not particularly fond of this type of movement and I had to keep my wits about me. I decided that with the strong Southerly wind, it would be better to head for JS than ABR, so I turned North and cautiously headed that way.

Mutton birds seemed to be all over the place and I recalled what Mango had said a few weeks back about the potential for Tuna below the bait balls these birds were looking at. I also wondered if these birds would go for my lures and just following that thought I saw one attached to one of my trolling lines. I started to reel in slowly thinking it was hooked somehow, but as it turned out it was wrapped up in the line and as it fought to get away it got more and more tangled. Untangling it proved difficult and I lost my halco twisty in the process as I had to cut some line. I also received a few bites and scratches. Mutton birds may indicate the presence of bait balls and predators, but trolling past them can be troublesome. I did notice 20-30 dead Mutton birds a couple of days later on Doggie Beach; perhaps all killed by frustrated anglers?

After I safely freed the bird I headed to JS and had to chat to Stormin and Danu, neither of whom had seen much action. I trolled JS for a while before deciding to set up a drift over the pinnacles. The first drift yielded nothing, but on the second the squid bait was hit hard and from the initial fight, head shaking and diving I thought perhaps a decent size Snapper. It was peeling off line from a heavy set drag on the Penn 7500 in short bursts and after about 5 or 6 of these bursts there seemed to be little fight left. I reeled in and could see it was not a Snapper but something more silvery and streamlined. I got it next to the boat but given my experience the week before with 3 lost schoolies, I was keen not to stuff this up and I also didn't want to gaff it in case it had to go back. Norman came over with net in hand trying to sidle up to me so that I could grab it, but after three failed attempts he tried to throw it to me but it landed short. I was tied up with the fish so I could only watch as the net sank to slowly out of sight. With no other option left I dragged it into the hatch successfully, grabbed the fish guide and pegged it as a Yellow Tail Kingfish (which was later confirmed), which measured around 53cm, 7cm short of keeper status, so it was released.

Yellow Tail Kingfish not a usual suspect in Noosa waters

Danu had pulled the plug earlier and Stormin and I decided to head back in. On the way back there were lots of diving birds, but our trolling gear was left untouched. The surf zone return was as easy as Saturday morning.

A Bonito and 2 Sharks - 15Oct13

TR by Jimbo
Launch Point: Middle Groyne.
Wind: Light southerly initially, calm for 2 hours, then light easterly after 0800.
Current (at Lt Halls & Halls): None
Participants: Pedro, Dr Dog, Jimbo

Just a brief report as there isn't much to report.

Pedro had already launched (I think before 0500) when Dr Dog and I arrived at MG car park at 0515. Launch conditions were a doddle as there was virtually no swell and it was only 30 minutes after high tide. Once launched and set up, I called up Pedro who reported he was already at Jew Shoal but had not caught anything and there was no birds or surface action. Based on this info I decided to head for Lt Halls and Halls Rf, as did Dr Dog shortly after me.

I had set out a deep diving gold bomber HB lure on my trolling line and it went off after paddling only about 100m. This turned out to be a 40 cm bonito which was released, but it did make me consider doing a few laps between the river mouth and MG, a strategy that had produced a few school mackerel hook-ups for Redwood only three days earlier. However, I continued on to Lt Halls and Halls trolling the gold bomber and stopping off to do a bit of bottom fishing along the way. Dr Dog did much the same.

For me, all this produced just a "standard" 1m whaler shark at "Middle" Halls on a trailed pilchard, that I kept, and second shark at Halls on a cast prawn which I released. I also had a strong bite at Middle Halls but it self-released after an initial run, and in hindsight was probably just another shark. I think Dr Dog remained fishless.

At about 0845 Dr Dog called up Pedro at Jew Sh and he reported no real change from his initial report about three hours earlier. Based on this info, and the fact that the whole scene at our location appeared "dead", Dr Dog decided to head for home, followed by me not long afterwards.

Both Dr Dog and I landed safely back on the beach at MG about 1000. I called Pedro on the radio but got no response as I think he may have ventured further south to Sunshine Rf as he had previously indicated that was what he may do. Pedro, perhaps you could add a comment to advise how the remainder of the morning turned out for you.

That was it for Dr Dog and me ... ideal paddling conditions but only a bonito and couple of sharks landed.


School Macks, Fish Heads and Sharks - 12Oct13

TR by Redwood

Participants: Redwood
Launch Site: MG
Destination: Little Halls
Conditions: Cloudy, light breeze, flat sea, mild current to the North

I arrived at MG car park just before 5am and after the email's from the previous evening it looked like I was on my own. The forecast looked pretty decent and the conditions didn't disappoint--they were almost perfect and the low swell allowed for a dry-bum launch. I pulled up 300 m past the surf zone to setup my trolling rig and flicked out a small River 2 Sea mullet minow and started paddling with the bail arm open letting the line out. Soon after I noticed that the line was no longer coming off the reel and I was no longer sure how much line was out so I started reeling in to start over when something took the end. Without too much resistance I got the fish to the boat and lifted it out the water to try and grab it but it thrashed about so fiercely that it wiggled itself free. I wasn't sure what the fish was but subsequent research (and help from Sunshiner) revealed it to be a school mackerel and with a 50cm minimum it's likely this one would have been border line. I put the line back in the water and started for Little Halls. Two minutes later the reel went off and I got another school mackerel to the boat and again as I lifted it out the water it thrashed itself free. At this point I was thinking I should have bought that net I was looking at. I postponed my plans for LH to troll up and down the beach hoping for another schoolie. This time I opened my hatch with the plan of dragging the fish into the hatch where it couldn't get away. Not long after I was on again with another schoolie and most unfortunately it ended the same way. I'm not sure what the issue was? Perhaps the hooks weren't set very well or perhaps the hyper thrashing was just an effective way of getting free, but the conclusion was that I either needed a net or some tips on landing these types of thrashers without one. I'm fairly sure all three of the school mackerel would have been South of 50cm in any case.

I was still keen to go to LH so I stopped doing laps off main beach and headed North. Not much action on the way except an odd 'thud' and when I got to LH I found my River 2 Sea was gone. Joining me at LH was a jet ski fisherman but he didn't stay very long, zooting off to JS to SR after 10 min with no action. Indeed there was very little bottom action. I landed a small reef fish, but that was really all besides a few nibbles.

View from Little Halls back to main beach

There was however a lot of surface action going on all around the reef with a lot of 10-20 cm fish jumping with what looked like long tail tuna in pursuit. I packed in the bottom bashing and rigged up a slug and a Halco LP and started trolling the area. I trolled for 15 min without any action before I had to head back. I decided to troll a new lure that Davo sold to me and also troll the slug. I found the going really tough going back and GPS confirmed I was going 1-2 kmph slower than usual, which I attributed to the large bib on the new lure so I pulled it in just trolled the slug.

Downsider Minow with bib that slowed paddling down by 1-2 kmph

Not long after the slug was hit and I stared reeling in what I suspected was a shark. As it came closer to the boat I could indeed see a shark, but then I also saw another three all fighting over something. The something turned out to be a very nice size bonito but by the time I got it to the boat only 1/3 was left. In the video below, I'm not moving the line, the bonito is still very much alive despite it's condition.

In my efforts to try and save the bonito from the sharks I had gotten my line wrapped around the tip of my Balistix Pro and in trying to undo the line broke yet another graphite rod. This reminded me why I started using Ugly Sticks in the first place. So I was down a rod and given that motion sickness was lurking I decided not to put the slug on the good rod and just troll the Halco LP back to MG. I flicked it in and not long after was it was hit, ironically by one of the sharks that eroded my bonito. I was keen to seek revenge, uh I mean, keep the shark as I'd not eaten shark before (knowingly) and also keen to use it as an opportunity to practice landing a biggish fish. I got the 1 meter shark to the side of the boat and tried to get it with my gaff but I found it very difficult to get through the shark's skin and I'm not sure if this is due to my gaff or the toughness of shark skin or both. Eventually I decide to do the usual and grab it behind the head and put it in the hatch and head for home. The surf return was a breeze.

Crime scene reconstruction
If anyone can ID this shark in the comments that would be appreciated
As you can see I took the bonito head home as my wife is quite fond of fish heads (guys from Cape Town, you can stop that right now) and the shark was pretty decent eating.

All-in-all probably my most eventful outing to date. Next time I'm hoping not so many get away.


Windy river session, 08Oct13

TR by eyetag

Wind: 10-15 knot S
Current: Run out tide
Launch Point: Noosa Heads Lions Park
Participants: Eyetag

I launched around and trolled to Ricky's, arriving without a touch. Things weren't quite as calm here being more exposed to the elements and as I started my first drift the wind and tide were pushing me down stream way too fast, I was almost at the sandbags when a small Big Eye Trevally took my Gladiator Prawn and by the time he was released I was only a couple of hundred metres from the river mouth. Not comfortable with this I headed back upstream and decided only to fish from Ricky's to the rock wall about 300 metres downstream. This was safer and after about a dozen drifts with a Gladiator Prawn I had a mixed bag consisting of small Big Eye, Flathead and Jew fish. All were released.

Now it was about 4.30 and I could see the first light appearing. Thinking this is prime time I decided to troll the Inner Woods Bay with a Gold Bomber and as I passed between the two Bays the Bomber got smashed by a hard running fish taking plenty of line and after a good 10 minute battle I landed a 52cm Jack. I trolled for another 30 minutes and didn't get a touch so I headed in.

Thanks for reading


Whales, Rays and Cobia. 06Oct13

TR by Tunny

Participants:  Cybertech, Jaro, Sully, Redwood, Tunny
Launch Site:  MG
Destination:  Jew Shoal
Conditions:  No wind at launch, Light NW breeze of around 5 knots mid morning, strong current to the North

L2R - Jaro, Redwood, Sully, Tunny

 Cybertech was ready on the beach by 5.30am, just as the rest of us were arriving in the car park.  This was Sully’s “maiden voyage” in the ocean, so we had a quick photo shoot on the beach before heading out.

The shore break was tiny, making it a very easy launch.  Shortly after we started paddling for Jew Shoal Cybertech, who had already arrived there reported the presence of some whales.  We trawled hard bodied lures out to Jew Shoal but with no success.  While there was no surface action from either fish or birds, Jaro reported quite a lot of bait fish detected on his sounder.

Addition by Redwood: As I arrived at JS I paddled over to CyberTech to say g'day when 10 meters behind CyberTech a 1.5 metre ray launched itself 2 metres out of the air and almost landed on him!! One of the easier but more dangerous ways of catching a ray.

On arrival at Jew Shoal I packed away the hard bodied Rapala, and started jigging with a 5” soft plastic on a ½ Oz jig head, while at the same time drifted a lightly weighted prawn bait.  After around 20 minutes the soft plastic was hit hard, the line screamed off the reel and the fight was on.  My rig was a light snapper rod with a 4000 reel.  The initial burst of speed from the fish made me think I had a really big one, but eventually it slowed and I managed to gradually gain line.  As it got close to the Kayak I could see it was a Cobia / Black Kingfish.  The fish must have found the idea of joining me on-board unattractive, as it took one look at me then headed off, stripping another 30m of line.  But that  was the final burst and a few minutes later it was gaffed and happily housed in my fish hatch.  It must have been lonely in there as that was the only fish I got.

1 x Cobia in the hatch for Tunny 

Cybertech caught a small Yellowfin Tuna which he released.  Hopefully its older siblings will be around next time.  Other fish of note were a Grinner by Jaro and Trigger Fish by Redwood.

The highlight of the day for all of us out there was the whale activity.  Late in the morning Redwood came on the radio to let me know there was a whale heading my way.  It passed about 30m in front of my Kayak, arched its back before disappearing below surface.

Whale pops out 20m in front of Tunny - good thing he was given that new camera for his birthday.

On our way back to MG we passed another 2 whales. The beach landing was uneventful as conditions were still very calm.  On arrival we measured the Cobia.  At 103 cm it is 4cm shy of Pedro’s record.  Bugger – should have waited another month or two before catching him.

103cm Cobia caught by Tunny... 4cm short of the record
Hannah from New Zealand posing with 'Slimy' the Cobia

Thanks very much to David Irwin for sending this pic of his daughter Hannah holding the cobia. Tunny's pic of Hannah was unfortunately ruined due to water on the lens. However David looked up the trip report once he got back to New Zealand and saw the note about the smudgy pic and promptly sent his version from his phone camera. Thanks also to Hannah for holding what was one very slimy fish.