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

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