Pedro on the board. 27Feb14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: SE 5-8 knots
Swell: 1.5m E
Water temp: 26°C
Current: at Jew Shoal none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, tarzan, pedro, jimbo, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: pedro donated today

Yes, there was a bit of a surf break at the end of the wall, but as jaro indicated in his recce report yesterday, the channel has deepened and lengthened a little, thus making exits and returns potentially easier, but as always, dependent on the swell and the tide state. Pedro and tarzan had already departed by the time we three older guys were ready to launch, but it was still pretty dark. In fact the biggest problem in launching this morning was the bloody shore break, especially when the larger waves arrived at the steeper bank our three yaks rested on top of. My boat got absolutely submerged when one of these nasties arrived just as I'd floated the yak, because the stern, resting on the sand, couldn't drop at all and therefore the bow couldn't rise easily enough. Never mind, no harm done, as the gear was all safe in the hatch but bear these shories in mind if you come across that situation at launch time.

So, all got out OK and we all headed for Jew Shoal. My near new headlight came in handy for shining a light to my stern, warning a couple of stinkies of our presence as they came up behind us in transit from the river mouth to Sunshine Reef. Another thing I do when stinkies threaten is turn on my sounder, whose bright vertical display can be seen a long way off from behind me, on the port side.

No action all the way to Jew Shoal where conditions were pretty nice, even though the wind was strong enough to cause an occasional whitecap. The rising sun when not masked by cloud is a pain in the eyes, however, so I always try to choose trolling patterns which don't force me to take its rays full in the face.

At last pedro called to say he was hooked up, possibly to a Spaniard. Pedro has put in a lot of hours this season for no Spaniards so we were all hoping that this was the break he'd been waiting and working for. From my position SW of The Pinnacles I looked north, to where pedro said he was and bewdy! I could see him, about 500m and 5-6 minutes away. I radioed him and let him know I was on the way with the camera and he came back to me and confirmed that he had a Spaniard on, as he could see it in the clear water conditions.

Pedro's first Spaniard for the season, between 110cm and 120cm long; taken on trolled slimy mackerel on pedro's own rig as described in Noosa Yakkers News a couple of months back.

This gave heart to the rest of us who knew by radio of the capture. Several stinkies had been trolling also but I had not seen any of them stop and fight any fish. We all trolled and trolled. Occasionally there were small flocks of terns getting excited about stuff around the SW corner of the shoal but I for one saw no bustups at all and don't think anyone else did.

Something floating caught my eye in my starboard footwell, awash with water, as usual.

A seahorse, very dead, possibly picked up when I was dealing with the shorey at launch time. Never seen one out here before but I have picked up a couple washed up on the beach.

By around 8:00 am we all started to wend our way home, to be confronted by some nasty stand-up waves at Middle Groyne. Jaro was first ashore, safe but a little breathless (wish I'd seen his run through the break). I was next and thought I'd stuffed it when I was run down by a wave: the Supalite was surfing it OK but wasn't quite straight on the wave and we were pointing at the jagged rocks of the groyne. However I kept my foot hard on the starboard rudder pedal and as we picked up speed the nose came round to starboard nicely and then we were through into the channel. Nice ride, though, with lots of spray being thrown out each side as we hit top speed.

Cropped frame from chestcam movie today.

I jumped out and grabbed the camera, switched to movie, as I could see that tarzan was close behind me.

He also was run down by a wave and did a fine job of keeping straight on a breaking wave until the yak eventually broached to port and he looked as if he was going to T-bone the groyne. But as you can see from the pic below he had his paddle out hard on the starboard side and as soon as he got into the channel next to the rocks the yak straightened up and he was in the clear.

Cropped frame from movie, tarzan dodges the rocks, just. Over the years we've seen several collisions with the rocks in situations just like this. Note also that his gear is stowed.

Jimbo was next. Now, he, jaro and I and many others have run this gauntlet many times in the past and we always stow our gear because you just never know. Today it seemed pretty harmless but choosing the right time to run is not easy, which is one reason why we always stow our gear. Anyway jimbo (who, as usual had stowed his vulnerable gear below deck) was run down by a wave and was running straight ahead, in control but then the wave seemed to rear up behind him and have another go at him and he broached (to port, again) and was rolled in an instant. The yak washed in upside down and as I looked at it being battered by the waves I could clearly imagine the damage that would have been done if his rods had been upright and reels attached.

Frame from movie. Jimbo a split second before getting a dunking. No serious damage done, but he broke a paddle leash and had a piece of external equipment break loose.

Pedro was last. He stowed his gear in his "Pedro's rod bag" then managed to pick a perfect quiet period for waves and paddled through with a big smile on his face. Clearly the sand monster had gone back to sleep after jimbo.

So, only one fish but a beauty. Good to see pedro on the board this season. Well done mate.

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

Spanish and squid, 21Feb14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: none, light northerly early
Swell: one metre E
Water temp: 26-27°C
Current: northerly at Middle Groyne
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: tarzan, jaro, jonno, redgreg, tunny, stormin, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: Possible donation by redgreg

Another launch in darkness. We were all headed for Jew Shoal, with pedro leading the way, about 30 minutes ahead, probably. Glassy conditions, with the faintest northerly and the sky in the east washed with pink as the earth rotated. I never get tired of seeing the dawn from a kayak in the ocean.

No action all the way out to Jew Shoal. But a radio update from pedro just as we arrived revealed that he'd seen a tinny out there bag a fish, probably a Spaniard. Once again, the kayaks outnumbered the stinkies and it wasn't too hard to do your own thing without crossing lines with a chugging aluminium container with up to three people aboard.

As there was no sign of surface action and no densely packed schools of bait on the sounder I headed for the shallows, water 7-12m deep near the Pinnacles. Yes, there were baitfish here, as usual, but apparently nothing harassing them.

Something down there.

I spent quite a lot of time here, prospecting and knew for sure that my SP was swimming around inside the bait shoals. Not a touch, well maybe one half-hearted bump. Meanwhile my colleagues were all trolling lures and baits all around the shoal.

Eventually, tunny came up on the radio and told me that redgreg looked as if he were hooked up. Looking around, I spotted him not far away and paddled straight toward him to get a pic if possible.

Not redgreg's first, but this is about as fresh as they get. Beautiful in the early morning light, eh? Taken on a whole garfish bait.

This capture woke everyone up. The trolling continued. Then stormin drew our attention to terns flocking and dipping about 500m SE of the Pinnacles. Several of us headed down that way just in case there were spotty macs present. Only mac tuna, apparently, as one of the guys in a tinny reckoned. Here tunny's pillie bait got taken but the fish gained its freedom when the line parted for unknown reasons.

Certainly there was no significant surface action that I saw. Pedro broke out of the pattern and decided to try for bottom fish and succeeded quickly, first with a sweetlip which he bagged and secondly with a probable big sweetlip which bricked him. His half pillies were pulling the action but my SP in the same area attracted no attention.

Then redgreg hooked up again, this time to an unusual catch for us.

Tiger squid (as pedro later informed me), which attacked his garfish bait and wouldn't let go. It wasn't hooked and Greg just gaffed it as it lay in the water next to the yak munching on his garfish.

Around 8:00am, with no significant breeze and the burning off of the clouds which had been giving us some protection from the sun, some of us, including me, started to head back in. Part way back we heard pedro report by radio that he'd just been inked by a squid. This one had grabbed a small fish that pedro had hooked and again had refused to let go, so that pedro could easily gaff it next to the yak. I saw pedro's yak when he came back to the beach and it was certainly looking quite mottled. Hope Wendy manages to get the inkspots off, pedro!

A pleasant morning spent in great company. Thanks for coming along guys, see you next week. Please feel free to add your comments and pics by email to steve or me.

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

Glassy at Jew Shoal. 19Feb14

TR by tunny and jag-one

Wind: None
Swell: 0.7 metre
Current: southerly
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: Jag-One; Tunny

We launched at 4h45 and both headed towards Jew Shoal trolling Halco Laser Pros and pilchards. The first sign of surface action occurred as we approached Jew Shoal with a bust up of large Tuna (thought to be Longtails). I was about a hundred metres ahead of Jag-one at this stage and the bust up occurred between the two kayaks but was over very quickly.

The sunrise was spectacular and the bust ups became more frequent but were mainly small tuna (probably mack tuna). Despite some aggressive paddling the bust ups were out of casting range so nothing was caught. Then at exactly 6h30 all surface action ceased, the fish were gone and the birds had disappeared. I don't know how they synchronised that so efficiently, but all the surface bust-ups and bird action ended instantaneously. The only ones who did not know the show was over were Jag-one and me and we continued fishing for another two hours.

Then at about 8h30 a very large shoal of bait fish came by, but they seemed to be in no hurry and were not being chased by any larger fish. The photo (taken underwater) shows the bait fish which were about 2 cm long.

Tunny taking the pic of the baitfish school. Pic by jag-one.

The only catch today was a small leatherjacket jag-one landed and released (prawn bait).

We arrived back MG at 9h30.

Jag-one's contribution

Fortunately, the forecast wind was non-existent and the launch and later recovery were, in Kev's words, a bit of a doddle. The tide was flat going out and almost full on the return.

After the tuna chases, I bottom bashed with prawns for a while and registered two good hits with no hook-ups. I then managed to boat an Elvis Presley, so I figured they were the bait robbers. The water was extremely clear and the bait school, which we sat in for a time, was very impressive.

I tried dropping a prawn under the school but no takers there either. Quite a few stinkies and one offshore fishing charter all had a troll during the morning. We only heard one whoop but didn't see the victim. One other kayaker out there too, of unknown origin.

Anyway, a good training run for me as I haven't been outside since before Jen broke her arm on 02Feb2013.

Enjoyed Tunny's company. Nice day.

Geoff Stolberg

Fishing today, 18Feb14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: none, light northerly early
Swell: one metre E
Water temp: 26-27°C
Current: northerly at Middle Groyne
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: prowler1, tarzan, jaro, jimbo, weeksie, scater, sunshiner,
Keen Angler Program: ASFAIK nothing today

So a very brief TR today. Dead easy launch, which is a bit of a shame as scater had his new Pro Fisha 475 out for its first ocean paddle and would dearly have loved to try it out in a bit of a decent break.

Tarzan, obviously keen to seek compensation for a broken rod etc, with prowler1 and jimbo headed for Little Halls Reef/Halls Reef. The rest of us opted for Jew Shoal.

As usual, I was trolling a HLP. One kilometre or so from Middle Groyne it went off, not with a screaming run but the bent rod, occasional click as line was released, sort of hit. It was very similar to my recent capture of a school mackerel and guess what, it was a schoolie. It was foul-hooked in the belly right near the ventral fins and really got vigorous once it got to the yak. What's more, it was very lightly hooked. Nevertheless, the schoolie was around 70cm long and I decided I'd take it. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The fish was too light for the gaff which didn't penetrate properly. I wasn't totally disappointed when it bounced off the gaff and the hook pulled. It swam away strongly.

Shortly after arrival at Jew Shoal I witnessed the capture of a reasonable Spanish from a tinny which was trolling at around 6 knots or so, buzzing back and forth and around the Pinnacles.

Over at Halls Reef, prowler1 reported a few spasmodic very brief bustups but I saw no decent splashes around Jew Shoal. After weeksie drew my attention to possible action just south of the shoal I did see what looked like a school of bonito feeding on tiny baitfish accompanied by gentle discreet splashes, as they do. I haven't seen this bonito action this season so far so watchout for these little horizontally striped battlers as they make great Spaniard bait and are easily caught on small slugs.

Scater is a high-school teacher so had to pull the pin very early but the rest of us stuck it out for a while longer. The wind dropped right out and the sun was glary and the temperature climbing quickly so I pulled the pin around 7:30 and was back on the beach by 08:15. It seemed all the older guys had the same idea and we left young weeksie and even younger tarzan out there to cook. I wonder how they went?

No serious baitfish schools seen on the sonar today, and nothing on the surface. No flying fish or dolphins. Yes, one turtle. Well at least we got some exercise and a nice cool swim at the end.

Standing by for the arrival of more baitfish.

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

Game on. 14Feb14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: none, light northerly later on
Swell: one metre E
Water temp: 26°C
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: tunny, stormin, aussie-stu, prowler1, whalebait, tarzan, geetrain, clappo, sunshiner,
Keen Angler Program: at least 1xSpaniard frame contributed by stormin

When I got down to the beach around 04:30, thinking I'd be the first as there was still some preparation activity in the carpark, I was surprised to see several others waiting there ready to launch, long-time-no-see Noosa Yakker whalebait among them (we missed you during the whale season, whalebait). Then someone told me that tarzan had already launched, about 15 minutes earlier.

The launch was ridiculously easy and before long the seven of us were heading out. Tunny, prowler1 and I headed for Little Halls Reef/Halls Reef while the others decided they'd try their luck at Jew Shoal. Stormin called up when we were abeam of Little Halls Reef and told us he was following us out to Halls Reef as he'd managed to get a substitute for the last two hours of his all night shift at work.

Superb conditions, but no sign of activity on our front, until we got closer to Halls Reef where tarzan could be seen with a severely bent rod (he had no radio today).

How much punishment can that slug chucker take?

Anyway, I hove to near him to offer my assistance and get some pics, especially as he said he had a longtail on. I couldn't help but notice, however, that there were some issues here. Tarzan filled me in on the details. He'd been paddling happily along trolling two outfits when a bustup of longtails happened right in front of him. His slug chucker was available so he chucked a slug, cranked fast, hooked up big time and the fish went where you hoped it wouldn't go: around the two trolling outfits. That explained the bird's nest I could see whenever he managed to retrieve enough line to (briefly) get the leader knot out of the water. Tarzan was valiantly trying to gain the upper hand with a helluva lot stacked against him. But at least it wasn't blowing 15 knots in a two metre swell.

Things were about to get worse. He was doing really well, I thought, just staying connected but then there was a loud bang as his slug chucker got much shorter instantly. Amazingly, the braid hadn't broken and he was still connected, but now the piece of rod in his hands had only one runner, which was not designed to take the sort of downward pressure being applied. Worse, the pieces (for there were two) of rod not in his hand were still on his line, sliding up and down.

Rod in three pieces, three lines involved and still connected.

At this stage tarzan decided to go for broke, heaving and cranking to try to get the leader up so he could grab it. The one remaining runner seemed to me to be distorting under the pressure. I noticed he was wearing gloves so at least he had that in his favour. Tarzan has nailed some big longtails in the past so he's no novice at this game. Next thing, he's got the leader in his hand, which has also got a HLP from one of the other outfits tangled in it. I winced at the possibilities but admired his efforts to stay in control of his rampaging opponent. He was making steady progress when the hook pulled or the leader broke. Nice try, tarzan.

While this was going on longtails were busting out not far away. Tunny was chasing them but the bustups were so brief and so widely separated that he couldn't get a decent slug chuck at them. After leaving tarzan to sort out his problems I joined in, trolling and occasionally getting almost close enough to the splashes and the leaping longtails, but never really getting the chance to have a whack at them. It was like one of those Whack-a-Mole games: no sooner was I ready to whack than the mole disappeared.

About now stormin came up on the radio nonchalantly announcing that he'd just hatched a Spaniard, taken on Lazybugger's pillie rig. Over at Jew Shoal as aussie-stu told us by radio, geetrain had also boated one.

Stormin and I met up a little later, close to the Halls Reef mark.

Stormin's second ever Spaniard, and the first to be accommodated in his recently acquired Stealth.

Oh and here's Jim (prowler1), who told me he'd just been busted by a hoodlum when trolling a white SP on his bream outfit. Sounds like a longtail attack to me and I think Jim was a little under-gunned.

By now the longtail surface action, such as it was, had fizzled out. We kept trying for a while, especially when Stormin caught another Spaniard, 2cm undersize, released in good condition. Just before 08:00 I decided to head for the beach and enjoyed the paddle in perfect conditions with a tiny following northerly.

On the beach was clappo, and I could see from out the back that he had a decent fish because beach strollers were deviating to his yak and staring and pointing at something arrayed on his stern. Some tiny waves made for a perfect opportunity to get an easy ride in and I took it.

Clappo with our first longtail taken in the 2013/14 season. Caught on a trolled jumbo pillie, while on the way back to Middle Groyne from Little Halls Reef. Length: just under a metre.

I hung around for a little while and took to the water for a dip, with the camera, when stormin and tunny returned to the beach.

Stormin's starting to get the hang of his Supalite. Picking up a small shorey and hammering in to the beach.

Tunny, as usual with a big smile on his face whenever he's on his yak.

One more pic of stormin's Spaniard.

Before I left for home whalebait came in fishless, having lost his one hookup to a badly driven stinky, which were apparently in plague proportions at Jew Shoal.

We would all like to see pics of and hear about the other fish caught today so please add your contributions, geetrain (now added). Whalebait thought that another yakker at Jew Shoal caught a longtail so let us know if it was you.

Geetrain's fish. 1.34m, 16kg. Caught on a trolled garfish. Pic by ?

A very enjoyable morning, and now the wind's getting up again, but only for the weekend!

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

Recce patrol, 12Feb14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: 5-10 knots SE at Jew Shoal, light inside the bay
Swell: one metre E
Water temp: 26°C
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: weeksie, pedro, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: Nothing contributed today

Now that the wind gods have had their 18-day party perhaps some sanity will prevail. It was nice to see some green arrows for a change and today the forecast was spot on. Here's hoping that Friday's forecast holds.

The sand monster was elsewhere or asleep today, a one metre easterly swell producing only occasional white water at the end of the launch channel. Certainly I dry-bummed it at launch time this morning, around 05:00, and I heard no complaints from my companions who launched somewhat earlier. I noted that there was enough light to have launched a little earlier which I reckon I will on Friday, even though the days are getting shorter. The water at Middle Groyne continues to be crystal clear in this wet season that isn't, so far. Two or three flying fish showed themselves as soon as I emerged from the shadow of the groyne. This is usually a good indicator of high water temperatures so I was happy to see them. These were around 75mm long, larger than the tiny specimens often encountered in summer here. Even in the low ambient light I could clearly see them getting speed up with their enlarged lower lobe tail fins, becoming totally airborne and cruising for ten or so metres just above the surface before splashing down again. No predators hassling them, however.

My radio check request was answered by pedro who was approaching Jew Shoal, no action to report. I could see weeksie not far ahead and he was headed in the same direction so I opted to head there too.

Trolled my HLP which has already accounted for at least three Spanish, a schoolie and a YFT this season but it was untouched when the warning call came from pedro that there were birds working at the NW corner of the shoal. I thanked him and altered course to port slightly, with still 1.5 km to go. Then a bustup in front of me, with no accompanying terns. At first only splashes then the unmistakeable profiles of leaping tuna, fat but not huge. I kept paddling steadily toward them and then could clearly see they were yellowfin, with their huge pectoral fins looking like a dark stripe along their bronze flanks. Pedro was trolling in from the other side and I decided I had plenty of time so retrieved the trolling line before chucking a slug. Picked up the slug rod -- too late, they're done, leaving only swirls behind as they headed for the next patch of bait, somewhere near NZ. A few casts without result confirmed their departure. Ah well, Mary did say to bring no fish home.

So we three trolled and trolled waiting for the next bustup which didn't happen. Pedro was trolling dead garfish and had two strikes which removed the gar but didn't hookup. Bummer, pedro really wants a pedro this season and deserves one.

Knowing that a snapper or sweetie wouldn't be knocked back at home I tried an SP for a while for nix, although I did get one heavy bump in 21m without a hookup. Still no more bustups, except for one small brief show near The Pinnacles, reported by weeksie. Perhaps the longtoms I saw hanging around there, and having a go at my SP were responsible for the splashing.

By 08:30 we're all back on the beach at Middle Groyne, fishless. Nice day and again no sand monster. Maybe Friday?

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