Pointy nosed fish. 29May14

TR by sunshiner with contribution by jimbo later (inserted into the original post in time sequence)

Wind: light NW throughout
Swell: about 1m E
Water temp: 24-25°C
Current: at Doggie Beach reef, northerly
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: jaro, jimbo, diesel, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: Zip

I must admit to being a bit edgy about launching at Doggie Beach today. Jaro had checked it out yesterday arvo and reckoned it was OK for a launch but I'd gone down a couple of hours later to see for myself. By then it was what I would rate as marginal for a safe launch so I spent a restless night because I never get casual about a Doggie Beach launch.

Anyway it was up and at 'em when the alarm went off (05:08). Live weather feeds were showing a light NW at DIP and I could feel a westerly coming in onto the verandah. Offshore, nice! Now if only the swell is friendly.

In the Doggie Beach carpark diesel was sitting in his Forester with his prowler on the roof when I arrived. I hadn't been expecting him but it was good to see him anyway as he has only been a Noosa Yakker two or three weeks. So this was to be his first outing with us. Jaro and jimbo arrived and the four of us meandered down the path to the beach to check conditions.

There was just enough light to see that some waves were breaking on the outer bank, maybe 150m out from the shore break but we all noted the gap in which white water rarely appeared, so doable it was.

Then we were assembling on the beach.

Looks benign, eh? Don't you wish you'd been there?

Diesel impressed us by jumping in first. Possibly he has done this before? Or maybe he just doesn't know how unforgiving this launch can be. Off he went and as he paddled out he got quite a bit of air under his Prowler when cresting (just in time) the last wave of a set as it crossed the outer bank.

I hung back to get the launch pics. My excuse, anyway!

Diesel, first Noosa Yakkers launch, first Doggie Beach launch

Jimbo, holding position. That black horizontal line is an incoming wave.

So diesel's out the back wondering whether we three are ever going to get the courage up to go. But we're waiting for the sets to go through and sure enough, the sea flattened out and the three of us exited using the same lull, jimbo, jaro and I. Safe out the back. Almost, but not quite, dry bums!

Out here there were a few terns dipping and splashing so clearly there were baitfish near the surface. No splashes from below though, but still… Jaro opted to try a bit of a troll around just out the back while diesel decided to follow me out to our Doggie Beach Reef mark, 1500m out. I must admit I was tempted to try a troll close in as we have encountered feeding longtails here and at this time on several occasions. Jimbo came up on the radio and informed us he was going to head to A-Bay Reef.

***** Jimbo's contribution starts

Having made it successfully through the surf zone, and noticing Sunshiner, Jaro and Diesel had headed generally east out to the Dog Beach Reef marks, I decided I would head NE to the A-Bay Reef area, primarily intent on doing some bottom fishing once there.

However, I did troll a pilchard set up on a weighted 3-gang hook lure with a trailing treble, see pic below showing how an XL pilchard would be attached.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As I set out for A-Bay Rf, I noticed a few birds casually working an area about 500m off the headland between Doggie Beach and A Bay, so decided to troll generally through that area on my way to A-Bay Rf. As is often the case, when I got to that area, the birds seemed to migrate to an area about 200m behind me, from whence I had just come. As it was early, and I had only about 2 km to go to A-Bay Rf, I circled back to troll once more through the same area. Of course by the time I got there, the birds had once again disappeared, so I set out once again for A-Bay Rf.

I had only gone about 200m after completing my circle when the trolled rig started to growl, but not a real hot screamer. As I picked up the rod and looked back I saw a fish clear the water standing vertically about 40m behind me, possibly a mackerel by its silvery colour and shape. But as I didn't see a line attached to this fish, and my line was still angled down into the water behind me, I assumed it must have been another from the same shoal. In hindsight, it probably was my fish ... read on. So I was now retrieving "my fish" without too much resistance, when only about 20m from me a sailfish/marlin bursts from the surface tail-standing for a second or two before falling back into the water and going for a short-lived run … Woohoooo!!! I'm hooked up to a billfish, albeit a relatively small one.

It only took about five minutes before I had the fish on a "short lead" when it twice more performed a brief tail stand only 2-3m from the yak, but I could now gauge its length to be about 1.3m. My immediate thought was … Is it long enough to keep? A quick call to Sunshiner assured me that if it was a sailfish or marlin, I could definitely keep it.

With the fish along side the yak I gaffed it cleanly, but I was of the opinion it was still too "green" to bring on board. So with the gaff up through its head, I was able to hold the fish in the water but held firmly against the side of the yak. This strategy worked well as the fish quickly succumbed but not before propelling the whole kayak through the water at about 2-3 kph. It was like having a small outboard motor attached to the side of my yak.

I pulled the fish on board and Jaro kindly came over to take a photo for me.

Pic by jaro.

I eventually continued on to A-Bay Rf and another mark just to the south, where I bottom fished for a couple of hours. I was fortunate to land a nice fat sweetlip about 48cm on a prawn bait, but that was the only other serious bite for morning.

At around 0930 I decided to pull the pin and head back to do battle with the notorious Doggie Beach sand monster which had a bad habit of showing up while you are out fishing.

*****back to sunshiner
Conditions glorious. Diesel and I were drift fishing the Doggie Beach Reef and being carried south quite quickly, much quicker than the wind alone could achieve. Then jimbo came up on the radio asking for the size limit for "swordfish". Flabbergasted, I passed on the news to him that there were no restrictions on such fish but was unable to glean from the info that jimbo gave me what the species was (marlin probably, sailfish less likely). At this time I was about two kilometres from jimbo but jaro was much closer and offered to rendezvous with him and get some on water pics as jimbo does not have a camera on board.

Meanwhile, diesel and I were catching nothing of note on the bottom out at Doggie Beach Reef. Oh, except this…

Yellow emperor (aka barred soapfish). Exudes the toxin grammistin so not a table fish. A sought after aquarium species, apparently.

The bottom fishing where we were was dead. Jaro was now fishing in the same area with succulent baits and raised a couple of hits but nothing in the boat except grinners. But jimbo was hot today as he nailed a lovely grassy on prawn near A-Bay Reef as he told us by radio.

Diesel looks comfortable out there. What a beautiful morning, eh?

By around 09:30 I was starting to get bored and I'd also lost two SPs to various munchers down there. They take surreptitious half moon bites out of the SPs, gradually converting them to debris. I was ready to battle the sand monster, really ready.

So I headed for the beach and was exhorted by jaro to find the best way past the sand monster so I could act as a guide for him and the others. Sure, jaro. Trust me.

Anyway I hit the beach the right way up after a great ride on a steepish wave which carried me over the outer bank seriously quickly and into the deeper water adjacent to the shore break.

Jimbo had secured his two fish really well because he knows how vicious the Sunshine Beach sand monster can be. By radio I directed him to my chosen path but he came in from the north rather than the east and just a teensy bit too close to the break zone, I thought. Uh oh! Next thing I see he's valiantly trying to get his Espri pointing east because coming from that direction was a mini-mountain of water steepening by the second as it encountered shallower water. He almost made it too, got the angle right, but the wave broke just as he went up its face. He stayed on the yak for about a second, going backward in a giant washing machine look alike then over he went and the yak was upside down. Fortunately (or not?) jimbo has had a lot of practice at what to do next and soon he was back on and returning to the out-the-back holding area to have another go.

His second run, from further out, was perfect and he let the sets go through then turned toward the beach encountering almost no white water this time. Diesel had come in at the same time as jimbo so they hit the beach almost together, only metres apart. Jaro came in a little later, same place, and just took his time, working his way through the encountered waves, also avoiding the sand monster.

Jimbo by now had dragged his "swordfish" out of the Espri fish hold and was attracting quite a bit of attention from the many beach strollers enjoying the magnificent beach weather.

This one was quick to volunteer her services as a fish holder.

On the measure mat, 1.26m, surely a new Noosa Yakkers record as well as a new species for us.

A black marlin, rarely caught from a yak in Australia. It took a trolled pilchard.

Hopefully jimbo will leave a personal account of this capture on this post. C'mon jimbo, tell us what it was like!

Note: I originally identified this fish as probably a sailfish, but consultation with experts showed that the fish was in fact a black marlin, likely 5-6 months old. The main basis for this identification is repeated here for future reference.

Email from Jeff Johnson, ichthyologist at Queensland Museum

Hi Kev

The more I looked at your fish the more I was convinced it was not a Sailfish, but was no closer to working out what it actually was! I queried a number of my ichthyologist colleagues throughout Australia about your fish, but none except for Julian Pepperell could say. His answer follows:
Yes, I saw a different pic of this fish yesterday (sent to me via Facebook). It is definitely a black marlin (istiompax indica). Over many years, I have seen many juvenile billfish, plus lots of photos. Early on in my career at NSW Fisheries, I receive a whole specimen of a very similar size to this one, which was identified as a black marlin, partly via x-rays and vertebral count. I have now seen enough of them to be very confident about this ID. One of the diagnostic features is the second dorsal fin being anterior to the second anal, which, among the istiophorids, is the case only for the black marlin. A blue marlin of this size would have virtually no bill while a sailfish would have a much higher first dorsal. Striped marlin of this size would have a relatively higher first dorsal anterior lobe, which would be noticeably rounded. I have quite a few photos of all the species at small sizes if you're interested. One last point just in case you weren't aware of a feature that does not seem to appear in the main literature. Black marlin only have rigid pectoral fins above a size of about 15-20 kg (the pectoral girdle ossifies). This fish would be around 5-6 months old, by the way.

I hadn’t previous heard the bit about the pectorals not being rigid in juveniles up to 15-20 kg. One of the posts in your blog had mentioned the pectorals could readily be folded flat, so I discounted a black very early in the piece. This process was informative for me as well, so thank you for cutting me in on it.


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

Jew Shoal today. 25May14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: light SW throughout
Swell: about 1m E
Water temp: 23-24°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, easterly
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, jimbo, stormin, josh, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: Zip

Glorious morning. We all launched at about the same time.

High tide. Occasional large sets breaking on the outer bank called for caution. Jaro, who has launched here safely hundreds of times, often in flaky conditions, today showed us another way of getting a wet bum at launch. Third to launch and with stormin and I watching from the beach, he was being particularly careful and hugging the rock wall, which had a bit of a surge around it. In fact he was so close to the wall that one surge lifted him and pushed his stern sideways, depositing the stern of the yak on a flat rock. As the water level dropped, he was left hanging there, with the bow floating and the stern clear of the water. This situation could not last long, as you'd guess and pretty soon Jaro was neck deep in the gutter, hanging on to his upturned yak which had now freed itself from the rock shelf. To his credit, jaro jumped back on and paddled out.

Just a reminder, secure everything at launch time. A gaff was lost today by one of our newest members when it was carried off due to taking on water during launch.

Another spectacular sunrise, today. Out the back, setting up.

Anyway, we all headed for Jew Shoal, encouraged by bunches of early rising terns heading east and starkly visible in the clear sky.

We fished it solidly for about two hours with baits and lures. The result: unimpressive. Josh brought home a keeper bream caught in the Jew Shoal shallows on bait. A couple of grinners and tiny cod were reported, but dead quiet, really. All the time we were out there shoals of small bonito were working their way through but nothing larger was visible. These could have been targetted but I don't think anyone bothered. The water was as clear as it gets, with the bottom visible in 7-8 metres in the shallow section.

Beautiful morning, but we started pulling the pin around 9:30am and paddled back more or less together to enjoy the small surf break now working just off the beach.

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

Yeehah Teewah! 25May14

TR by Redwood

Trip date: 25 May 2014
Participants: Scater, Sprocket, Redwood
Launch Site:  Teewah Camp Site
Destination:  Behind the breakers 
Conditions: Big surf at times, low swell, light breeze from the South
Keen Angler Program: 1x frame donated

I awoke with a heightened sense of anticipation and excitement on Sunday morning as I’d arranged to hookup with Scater for a Teewah launch. This was new territory for me.

I’d met Soren the previous day in the MG car park and he’d explained that the increased numbers on the beach that day were due to a Surf Lifesaver rubber duck comp being moved from Coolum to to Noosa because the Coolum surf was too rough! Just what I need to hear. I also bumped into Scater at Davo’s on the Saturday and mentioned the rough conditions. He wasn’t phased, he was launching regardless. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they, so a Teewah launch was on.

At 5am I jumped in the 4B and headed down to the Tewantin barge where I was meeting Scater to catch the first barge across to the North Shore at 5.30am. We barged it across, let our tires down and zoomed up the beach in some rather soft sand due to the tide being high. Scater was in a super-poo (as my wife calls Subaru’s) and despite the low clearance had little trouble getting to our Teewah launch spot.

Cereal box sunrise on Noosa North Shore
I was surprised to see another yak already on the beach with someone next to it setting up; it was Sprocket the Rocket who was camping at Teewah for the weekend. This was good news as Sprocket is a very experienced Teewah launcher.

Sproket gave us the rundown of surf conditions and fishing opportunities and then, as casual as you like, hauled his yak down to the water and with what seemed like zero consideration for the conditions, jumped in headed out. This was surprising as the surf conditions were far from easy. If you timed it perfectly you could make past the 10 or so sets of breakers unscathed, but get it wrong, and you were definitely going to know about it. The furthest breaker out was about 200m and at the hight of the set it was a stand up 2m monster. Sprocket timed it perfectly though and was out the back without any drama. Scater was out next and also timed it perfectly. My turn. I read the sets as best I could and then made the decision to go, jumped in and paddled like I’ve never paddled before. 250m at full tilt saw me make it out safely, but left me rooted. I limped up to Scater and found him feeling the same way. But, we were out unscathed and siting on some beautifully glassy water with the prospect of hooking up with some serious fish less than 1km offshore. Scater had shown me a pic of an AKFF member who landed a 35kg Spanish a couple of weeks back. Game on.

A perfect morning with glassy water
Scater trolling in the ideal conditions

We both rigged up with safa-rigs and dead slimies and headed South in Sprocket’s wake. Scater hadn’t paddled for more than 5 minutes before he was hooked up to something decent. Scater called it as a Tuna and after a 10 min tussle had a beaut of a Long Tail along side the boat. His second LTT I think. Scater asked me if I wanted it as his freezer was still full from Spotty mac mayhem day and was going to release it if I didn’t. Does Niki Lauder have ears? Scater gaffed it, brought it on board and bled it using the YouTube-Tuna-cut-behind-the-pectoral-fin trick. He also put the fish back in the water whilst it bled! Yikes! Not something I would have been brave enough to do. I loaded the Tuna into my boat and we continued on our way South.

Scater hooked up within minutes of starting to troll 
Scater landing a beautiful 1m / 10kg Long Tail Tuna on a Safa Rig
Scater spotted a school of Tuna and I hurried over but couldn’t get my flick stick out in time. This was the first time I’d seen a school of Tuna at the surface. They disappeared as fast as they arrived. 

We passed Sprocket on his way North and he said he’d been smoked by something; a big Spanish he thought. We continued South a while longer before turning around and heading in the opposite direction. We were doing a very slow troll, stopping and starting every now and then to give the bait a bit of life. It was all very relaxed and we were able to have a chat as we made our way in the diction of DIP.

Looking North to DIP

We paddled about 1km North of our launch mark before Scater decided to head back the other way again. I decided to do the same but was now behind him. Not long after I’d made the turn I noticed some odd shapes in the water ahead of me. I couldn’t make out what they were at first thinking perhaps just shadow and sand in shallow water, but as I passed over the top of them I could see it was a large school of Rays—about 30 or 40 of them ranging from large to small. I radioed Scater mentioning that Cybertech once said that where you find Rays you’ll find Cobia, Scater confirmed this but said they needed to be Manta Rays and asked if they were diamond shaped. I said they were and not one minute after this my reel went off! I grabbed the rod and started reeling in, and from the initial resistance wasn’t too sure what it was as it wasn’t putting up much of a fight. I thought this was going to be an easy land, but after reeling for a bit the fish must have woken up and decided my direction wasn’t the direction it wanted to go. Viiiiizzzzzz, went the reel time and time again. I’m not sure how long it took and how many runs later, but eventually I got a glimpse at the fish and went; bugger a Shark! But hang on. I’ve made that mistake before with a Cobia and along with the Rays it was more likely a Cobia than a Shark. I now had it boat side and decided it was definitely a Cobia, however it wasn’t done and had a few more runs in it before with some advice from Scater I gaffed it and boated it.

Redwood lands a 118cm Cobia on a Safa Rig just after seeing a school of Manta Rays - where there are Rays there are Cobia.
What a beautiful fish. It saddens me to kill it, but that’s what I’ve come for and I’m thankful for the food it will provide.

Leg wells filled with blood

We were aiming to be off the water by 10am which left us 45min to try and snag something else. We trolled toward our launch point without any further action. The wind had picked up a bit and I was finding it difficult to make ground, plus I also had the dreaded surf return running through my mind. I saw Scater running the gauntlet and making his way back to shore. I couldn’t see how he fared as he quickly disappeared from view in the surf. I decided to head in right where I was due to the difficulty I was having with the wind and I had scoped out the spot earlier as a good return option. It seemed to be calmer than the surrounding water, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. 

My plan was to sit behind the back line and try and get a good sense of the sets from the back so I could pick my run. There were decent lulls and the shore could be reached without incident with perfect timing. I waited and waited and then it seemed I’d waited too long as I had inadvertently drifted into the surf zone. This was made apparent by a massive wave building on the wrong side of me. Oh dear. I was side on so I couldn’t paddle my way out of it, so I could only hope that somehow I’d make it over the top before it broke and for a brief moment I thought I had made it as I floated onto the preferable side of the crest. But it wasn’t to be and the wave started to suck me in backwards. With my nose pointed at the sky, I covered my head with my hands and hoped for the best. After a short time under water I popped out and could see my yak 30m in front of me. I was hoping that the waves would push my boat and myself to shore but I was too far out and I’d have to retrieve the yak and remount. I managed to do this with some difficulty, paddled for a bit before a wave caught up with me and took me on a short ride before I rolled. Not the return I was hoping for, but I was back on shore without any injury, my boat unscathed and fish in the hatch.

Scater and 10kg LTT
Scater's LTT goes 1m
Redwood and Cobia (Black King Fish)
119cm / 9.5kg Cobia. Current Cobia record is 106cm, so potentially a new NR
What a great day out—thanks Scater and Sprocket.

PS - Sprocket didn't land anything on the Sunday, but scored a very nice Spanish the previous day.

PSS - a few more pics from home below

LTT was hooked with the chin hook and weight and not the trailing treble
The cut bleeding the pectoral fin on the LTT. There's a main artery that runs here so easier to do this on a LTT than cutting the gills
Filleting the LTT. It's easy to get to this point with a filleting knife, but after then a boning knife is preferable to cut through the rib cage bones (thanks for the tutorial Richmond!)
Surprisingly thick skin on the Tuna
Cobia with Safa Rig still attached. The fish took the trailing treble
A good guy from QLD Fisheries told me this is Pyloric Caeca in the stomach and is more prominent in certain fish species. The fish is perfectly fine to eat. He also gave me some great Cobia recipes. 

Long trip for longtail. 01May14

TR by sunshiner

Wind: calm then 10knots NE seabreeze
Swell: less than 1m E
Water temp: 26°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, easterly
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: weeksie (early shift) then sunshiner (gentleman's hours)
Keen Angler Program: ?

As forecast, rain surrounded Noosa at 5:00. I checked the radar, saw it was going to hang around for an hour or so at least, so turned off the 5:15 alarm and slept soundly for another two hours. Meanwhile, weeksie had launched and got wet.

By 08:40 I was ready to launch. As you can see, rough surf.

Right out in front of the groyne, no more than four hundred metres out, a small but vigorous bustup was underway, terns wheeling around a series of splashes, clearly visible. I could see it before launching so that got me fired up.

While I was setting up after launch I spotted weeksie heading back toward Middle Groyne. We met and had a brief go at the bustup but no hits before it dissipated. Weeksie had been to Little Halls Reef and had an unhappy encounter with a longtail and then, to his delight, had caught a snapper on a SP.

That's a smile!

We parted company soon afterward, both of us off to work, but I went north, he south. I really wanted a snapper or sweetlip so headed for Jew Shoal, on the way picking up a wingman, a retired guy from Tewantin, Greg, in a yellow Prowler. Possibly we will get a request to join Noosa Yakkers from him soon. I guided him to The Pinnacles at Jew Shoal, which he marked on his GPS and soon after he headed off home as he'd already been out since about 6:00am, fishless.

Spasmodic bustups were happening all the way out to Jew Shoal. I put them down to small mac tuna, but may have been wrong. In any case my trolled HLP was unmolested.

Having tried for bottom fish for about 30 minutes at Jew Shoal without success I suddenly got the urge to try A-Bay Reef, only 3.2km to the SE. Beautiful weather, trolled all the way there, no action. The familiar profile of A-Bay Reef appeared on the sounder, bottoming out at around 28m. Here I encountered a very brief tuna bustup and then the first gannet of the winter buzzed me, complaining loudly at my presence.

After 45 minutes there with no action at all (two lines out, bugger all on the sounder) and a small easterly breeze picking up, Jew Shoal seemed attractive once more so I retraced my track of less than an hour earlier.

I was still trolling a HLP as I approached Jew Shoal then saw some splashing just ahead, no birds. Tuna were busting out (mac tuna, I thought) and heading straight for me so I stowed the paddle and picked up my light snapper outfit, still rigged with the same SP I habitually use for bottom fishing. This is a casting rod with Stradic 3500 spooled with 6kg braid and 6kg mono leader. As the feeding fish approached, right in front of me, I dropped one cast right in their path and cranked it jerkily back. This was taken then dropped. My second cast also got nailed and this time hooked up solid. I've caught a lot of mac tuna and pretty soon I figured out that this was either a mega mac tuna or a different species, although almost certainly a tuna. I was being towed into the breeze and the spool had been depleted so much that I was looking at line that hadn't seen daylight for quite a while, and expecting the backing to appear any moment. For about five minutes I got no line back at all. At the same time, I was trying, one-handed, to retrieve my HLP, which was still hanging out the back. In this, I was eventually successful, as I couldn't retrieve line on the rod in my hand anyway, so just reached back with my left hand and winched the HLP back in, leaving the trolling rod in its holder. Leaving such a lure out can cause all sorts of problems in situations like this, as fast swimming fish can easily double back in their path and foul the other line.

So eventually things settled down and I started getting line back, albeit slowly. The familiar rhythmic throb of a tuna could be felt in the rod and eventually I could see the fish circling directly below and positively identify it as a tuna. It was only when it got really close to the surface that I could see it was a longtail, so no surprise there. The gaff found its mark first time and I hauled him in.

Even at a mere 75cm long, this fish had really impressed me. I think it's the smallest longtail I've ever boated but went faster and harder than any mac tuna I've caught, some larger than this fish.

Still hoping for a snapper, I kept trying, without success. Neither the deep nor shallow waters produced any hits so I pulled the pin and headed south around 2:00pm.

Unfortunately, due to an approaching shower, there were no fish holders available on the beach so this is the best I could do.

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