Try-fish-athon, 03Nov13

TR by sunshiner, with contribution by redwood to come

Wind: light NW
Swell: 1m SE
Current: none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: stormin, redwood, weeksie, soren, emil, jaro, sunshiner

Distance to foreground: Sunshiner, Jaro and Redwood - 4am launch

The Noosa Triathlon, in the end, had no effect on our ability to park at Middle Groyne at 4:00am. This observation may be useful for fishing trips planned for this day in future years.

Having said that, it was clear that some cars had been parked overnight, and some vehicles had sleeping occupants who would have been pissed off with the hubbub starting around 4:00 am in the moonless dark as Noosa Yakkers started to arrive to go fishing. Too bad, it's illegal to camp there anyway.

With the eastern horizon just starting to pale, Jaro was first out of the starting blocks at 04:14, way too dark to take a pic, but the light adapted human eye could discern the small breakers coming through and no one reported difficulties with the launch. Radio checks completed, the flotilla broke into two groups, one for Jew Shoal (jaro, soren, emil, me) and one for Halls Reef (stormin, redwood). Weeksie was yet to show but later turned up at Jew Shoal.

I led the Jew Shoal group and soon after crossing the shark nets started noticing little floating corpses bobbing in the tiny NW chop. Some were right way up, with heads hanging under the water, while others were belly up. All were black and feathery and very buoyant which explains how they end up making mutton bird cemeteries on our east facing beaches. Also obvious were the occasional living individuals of this feathery tribe, bobbing heads up on the waves or fluttering along near our kayaks, probably doomed to share the fate of their head-down lifeless kin in the very near future. As Darwin pointed out, these clearly unsuitable individuals will contribute, by never getting to breed, to the gradual improvement of the well-being of the species overall.

As I said, I was in the lead, and headed straight for the Pinnacles towing a HLP in Qantas. Grrr… went the reel, just as the lure swung through the slightly deeper area close to the shallows. Bewdy, I thought, but quickly concluded this was no big fish, although it did pull some line off the spool as I retrieved the lure, but then somehow, somehow, the lure lost its grip and swum into my view sans fish.

A few laps of the strike area using the same technique failed to elicit another hit, and neither did the next 20 minutes as I fished the 10-14m shallows with a SP. First drop in the deeper water to the north did result in a quick rat-a-tat which coincided with the neat chopping off of the paddle tail of my SP, as I discovered when I checked it a minute later.

The surviving, starving mutton birds were gradually becoming a nuisance today. They seem to associate boats with food and hung around us, occasionally risking their perilous existence to try to grab a rapidly sinking bait meant for fish, and even, in my case, a large SP.

This one tangled in my line and pecked me while I went about freeing it.

Jaro was way off to the north, fishing in flat and featureless 22m with pillies and prawn, and soon became the first with a fish on board, a 35cm grassy (Carol will be pleased!). As there was nothing doing where I was I joined him on his drift line and was nearby when his prawn rod went off so paddled over with the camera when he revealed that a better grassy was the culprit.

OK, this was more like it

Just as this sweetie was being stowed carefully in the fishbox Jaro's pillie outfit went off, this time to a small but keeper snapper which ended up in my boat (thanks, Jaro).

But really the action was tediously slow. We would have soon become totally bored if it wasn't for the occasional distractions. There was the free-leaping dolphin not far away to the SE. And then weeksie and I, drifting along fairly close together felt rather than heard this almighty WHOMP! Suspecting a whale, I unsuccessfully looked for it but then, sure enough, it (or they) popped up to the north and started to put on a display worthy of the best you’d see in a SeaWorld theme park, if any of them actually had a full-grown humpback whale among its employees. Lastly was the turtle-mating event. I'd seen this once before, m-a-n-y years ago, just north of Hinchinbrook Island, in far north Queensland. Flippers held up above the surface is the giveaway, and today this was happening not far away from me so, suspecting sex, I gently paddled over to the floating, groping huddle with two heads and two backs (reminds me of Shakespeare's "beast with two backs"). Obviously they were somewhat distracted as they let me get quite close before becoming embarrassed and dodging downwards behind a watery curtain. Show's over for today!

Mating turtles

Also keeping us entertained were stormin's occasional radio calls reporting sweet(lip) success at Halls Reef. Last I heard he had three in the fish bag and he was checking with me the possession limit (10)! We await with interest the final bag result.

Soren and Emil having departed earlier, by 9:00 am even Jaro was happy to consider heading for home, especially as the breeze now had more of a northerly component and thus was more suited to helping his sail help him home. Leaving stormin and redwood at Halls Reef and picking up weeksie on the way, we packed up and headed south, both trolling Halcos across Jew Shoal and through its southern fringe which has sometimes in the past supplied a trolled up fish as a parting gift. Even though he had his sail up, Jaro was bringing up the rear, sipping coffee and looking at the scenery as I burnt oxygen to try to stay in front using muscle power alone. Yes, he was trolling through the very water that I had just trolled through. "Yahoo" from Jaro? WTF? Surely not? I spun around to see his trolling rod bent and watched him madly cranking and lifting, shouting all the while, as he does when he has a biggy on. Some days are diamonds, some days are stones. Still, another photo opportunity. My HLP retrieved, I paddled back to make my old kayak fishing mate even more famous.

Nice snapper, taken on mid depth golden Halco Laser Pro.

And so we resumed the journey. We hit the beach together, right way up and pulled out the measure mat. Note: hardly anyone on the beach, despite perfect weather; certainly no fish holders around.

Jaro's two best, although he did take two large grinners also, allegedly to feed to the poor little mutton birds.

Thanks for coming guys. Lovely day, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

 Addition by Redwood

As mentioned in Sunshiner's report Stomin and I headed North to Hall's via Little Halls. We both trolled on route to LH but no action despite changing lures a few times. We decided to have a quick bottom bash at LH's but with few bites decide to move onto Hall's. Stormin went ahead whist I did a 2km slow troll with a spaniard special. Half way there Stormin radioed in with his Sweetlip catch and I felt like speeding up but stuck to the plan with no result. The fish were on the chew at Hall's and despite my best efforts I couldn't hook up and boat anything. I had a very good hit on half a pillie and it was hooked up, but not 30 seconds into the tussle the braid snapped. Buggery bollocks! Tunny subsequently advised that my drag was too tight, so I'll be slacking it off in the future.

Stormin on the other hand was havin' a stormin' day. He landed 8 fish in total from 36-44cm: 1 undersized squire, 4 small cod and 3 keeper Grassies (one of which he kindly gave to me - shhhhhh, don't tell my wife and kids, thanks Stormin).

The fish where still there; Stormin had run out of bait and was trolling, whilst I continued to try and get something with pillies and squid but it had gone quiet, plus I was feeling very tired from the 3am start. We decided to pack it in and troll our way back to MG as the wind was really starting to pick up (luckily an offshore wind). We paddled back and beached without further action or incident at around 11.30am.

Stormin's Grassie catch

Stormin's biggest Grassie at 44cm

It was a long day and a long trip and I was totally zonked when I got home, but still a great day and as Stormin said, "What a great sport to do in our part of the world".

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