Spaniards & Schoolies - 24Jan14

TR by Jimbo
Launch Point: Middle Groyne.
Wind: E-SE, 10-12 knots, with numerous rain periods early.
Swell: 1.2m ESE with with lumpy chop
Current: Not tested (wind predominant & paddling continuously)
Participants: Noddy, Clappo, Stretch, Jimbo

When I arrived at the MG car park in darkness at 0420, Noddy (having driven from Ipswitch), and relatively new NY, Clappo, were already unloading and preparing to trundle their yaks down to the beach. By the time I joined them at the water's edge it was just light enough to determine the shore break at fairly low tide was quite doable with just the odd wave standing up at the end of the rock groyne. On returning my trolly to my car I found Stretch, unloading his yak in preparation for one of his infrequent fishing trips (Stretch and his mate, Hollywood, spend much of their spare time involved in dragon boat racing).

I soon joined Noddy and Clappo out the back, getting just a little bit wet in the process, and after the usual preparations we three set out in the general direction of Jew Shoal, some hundreds of metres apart. However, this was about the last we saw of each other as the wind-chopped swell combined with numerous rain downpours made visibility quite poor (thank heavens for our trusty GPSs).

About half way out to Jew Shoal my rolled Halco Lazer Pro (HLP) went off and I easily reeled in a small school mackerel about 60 cm long. I nice start to the day me thinks.

When only about 150m from the Pinnacles, my trolled HLP went off again, this time a nice spaniard (later measured at 95 cm) was reeled into the yak after a brief fight. An even better start to the day me thinks. I radioed this info to my unseen NY mates, and was delighted to lean from Clappo that he too had boated a spaniard on a trolled mullie (another name for a pilchard?) somewhere out to the east of the Pinnacles. I had not heard from Stretch at all and was unaware of his location after launching.

It was becoming apparent there were plenty of palagics in the vicinity of JS, but not having a sounder to target areas of bait fish, I decided to paddle a "wheel spoke" pattern back and forth across the pinnacles. Also, there were only a few birds dipping and diving randomly in the area, and if there was any surface bust-ups happening it was practically impossible to see or hear them because of the choppy/rainy conditions. My strategy of "spoke-wheeling" the pinnacles seemed to be paying dividends when, on about my third crossing the trolled HLP screamed for my attention once more. However, I had just picked up the rod for a second or two, sufficient to feel the weight of a sizeable fish, when the line went slack. Upon reeling in the line it was clear a mackerel (most likely) had shredded the main line above the wire trace. Unfortunately this meant I had also lost my favoured HLP lure in the grey/silver/mullet colour.

I tried two other lures and made about three more crossings but there were no other strikes. It was now about 0800 and the wind had gone around to the SE and strengthened to the point where white caps were starting to become prevalent. Having two nice fish in the bag I decided to head for home via Teatree Bay hoping I might be able to see some surface bust-ups in the relative shelter of the National Park headland. I radioed my intentions to Clappo and Noddy, and was delight to hear from the latter that he had boated two spaniards and a spotty (see later), and was also heading for home.

I did see one bust-up within the "L" formed by the two shark nets but this had disappeared by the time I reeled in my trolled line in order to cross the nets to get to the area.

Once back in the car park Noddy showed me his two spaniards, both about 85 cm, and his "spotty". I'm not good at picking the difference between spotty and school mackerel, but I think Noddy's "spotty" was more likely a school mackerel. In either case, it was at least 92 cm and would be a NY record if Noddy has taken sufficient photographic evidence and wished to claim it as a record school mackerel. For Noddy, I'm suggesting you claim for a school mackerel, because having returned from MG this morning (Sat), I know at least ten NY bagged out during a session of "spotty mayhem" and there is more than likely a new spotty mack record amongst the many spotties taken this morning.

I also caught up with Stretch in the car park who reported that he had initially headed towards JS, but was diverted back into the bay and towards the river mouth chasing numerous surface bust-ups and bird activity in this area. Although experiencing a couple of equipment malfunctions, he still managed to boat two schoolies on trolled HBLs.

Clappo was the last of our band to return to shore, and he was pleased as punch to show off, not only his first spaniard boated out at JS (~85 cm), but a very nice 1.24m spaniard caught by casting a slug into a bust-up close to the shark nets on his return to MG. Here's Clappo with his larger spaniard.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And here's my spaniard taken at home (after gutting).
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

That's it guys; five spaniards and four schoolies amongst four of us. A great morning's fishing in less than ideal conditions.


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