Wind: SE, to 10knots
Swell: 1m E
Water temp: 24.5°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, NW to SE, pretty quick; at SR, quick N to S
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: eyetag, tunny, soren, jaro, sunshiner
The sea temperature rose suddenly yesterday, not by much, but the change registered on the buoy off Mooloolaba in the last 24 hours confirmed what pedro and I, two days ago, had reckoned was happening, the bomb was about to go off. The water was warming, we'd seen the longtails blasting out and I'd caught my first Spanish for the season. What more confirmation did we want?
So five of us fronted this morning, with Soren taking his second trip in two days and I my second in three days.
Everyone dry-bummed it. The morning was glorious, with the SE breeze blowing just hard enough to ruffle the water of the inner bay and draw off excess body heat. As Jaro said at launch time "Ain't it great to be alive and here". The sun was still way below the horizon, with just enough light for setting up, but still too dark for unflashed photos.
Lazybugger's recent catch of a stonker GT very close to the shark nets has been noticed as I think everybody started trolling as soon as they were set up. Four of us were bound for Jew Shoal while eyetag had his heart set on Sunshine Reef, having nailed many Spaniards in that area in the past.
I troll a 120mm Halco Laser Pro, rigged with wire. Why? Because it's worked well for me and many others in the past. Eyetag has taken to calling this lure the Jaro Special as jaro pioneered its use among Noosa Yakkers a few years back. To set up the troll I hang the lure out the back, making sure it's swimming properly, free spool the overhead reel, tuck the rod butt under my left leg in the Stealth footwell so that I can see the spool turning as line runs off, then paddle 35-40 strokes before engaging the spool and ratchet and then inserting the rod butt into the port side rod holder.
Today was no different and I'd aimed a little NW to miss the shark net by a safe margin. Ten paddle strokes after I'd inserted the rod butt into the holder the reel ratchet screamed and I thought "Stuff it, shark!", because sharks often do hang around this shallow water and they also attack HLPs, in fact any lure. "Shit! Spaniard," was my next thought as the fish flashed past just below the surface. A brief fight resulted and I could then confirm that the fish was above the 75cm legal limit (this a judgement call, based on previous experience and the fact that my gaff is 75cm long). Bang with the gaff, fish into the hatch and my day was already made. I'd been fishing five minutes at most.
Announcing this capture to my colleagues by radio gave me great pleasure, as you can imagine. It also told them that the Spaniards were here, a fact that jaro managed to confirm a little later, in the best possible way. Tunny, who had yet to depart for Jew Shoal, immediately opted to troll a Spaniard Special a couple of laps around the shark net area.
As for me, I decided to head the 3.7km straight for Jew Shoal, trolling the HLP all the way. With about 1.5 km to go, I hear jaro's announcement that he's hooked up at Jew Shoal and "whatever it is it's a biggie". Then about 20 minutes later he's telling us it's a lovely Spanish so I arrange to RV with him to the east of the Pinnacles to get some on-water pics.
It's a nice Spanish, alright, the latest of many that jaro has caught from his Profish, but his first for this season.
Back to the fishing for me. Off to the NW the terns and a few remaining shearwaters were whirling around so that caught my attention and with the yak pointing at the activity, and a nice downwind paddle I headed for a hoped-for hookup. It was not to be but the baitfish were present in concentrations I haven't seen for quite a while. Thought you might be interested in seeing what I was seeing:
Predators were not apparent on the surface but probably were hanging around in that stuff somewhere. It was slim pickings for the terns because the bait was mostly out of their reach but when the predatory fish arrive in numbers it will be carnage out there. Today I didn't see a single instance of a surface strike, not even a mac tuna.
And so we headed for the beach. Some pics:
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange