Wind: light but cool SW-W
Swell: less than 1m E
Water temp: 22°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: diesel, jaro, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: One snapper frame donated by sunshiner
Six bloody degrees celsius! 5:45am. My exhaled breath was fogging up as I gazed across the bay. And the sun was still 45 minutes below the horizon. But at least the days are getting longer.
I'd read jaro's email as stipulating a 0600 launch time (later he explained that it was 0600 arrival time) but he was nowhere to be seen. Nor was anyone else except a petite but obviously dedicated female ski paddler who was just about to launch her skinny and stark white 6m ski.
Given the weather forecast you'd expect a dry bum launch and you'd be right. The 180° view of Laguna Bay as you emerge from the shadow of Middle Groyne makes the early morning starts worthwhile, for me anyway. That's how it was today. Sublime. Except, that is, for the sand cleaning machine clanking and whirring on the north side of the groyne. But that's a small price to pay.
Not expecting any responses, I switched on the radio and asked Noosa Yakkers for a radio check. Diesel immediately responded, to my surprise. Where was he? Straight out from the groyne, but invisible due to low light levels. For the time being, as he lacks a good beach cart, diesel launches at Munna Point and uses the river mouth to access the bay (not recommended as a long term solution). He seemed pleased to hear me and we agreed to meet in 40 minutes or so at Jew Shoal. Jaro enters stage left, audio only, and is quickly made aware that diesel and I are on our way to Jew Shoal, where he also intends to fish.
And so we arrived there separately in the expected sequence. With a SW breeze it was pretty chilly out there for Noosa (tropical for Melbourne) but the newly risen sun was already starting to punch out warming rays. Pretty soon we'd need our sunnies on.
Soon after we'd started fishing diesel was asking for info on size limits for a "fingermark". From his radio description this was probably a striped sea perch which we occasionally get at Jew Shoal; he released it. I was engrossed in my usual standard snapper procedure, casting one SP outfit while trailing another. From yesterday's lack of activity at Doggie Beach reef I was not expecting much but hey, at my age, you grab every opportunity to get out, even if the fish may not be plentiful.
The very next cast after I released a teeny weeny coddy thing I felt the familiar bump of a snapper take and a minute or so later I was on the board, but only just.
This turned out to be my only action of the morning, despite another two hours of trying. Jaro was using bait, as was diesel, who was in danger of being placed under house arrest by SWMBO if he didn't produce a keeper today (or so he told me this morning). It seems that diesel is keen to learn how to catch fish but lacks experience although he's learning quickly and is certainly putting in the distance on his yak. Consequently I was very glad when I saw him chuck out a rigged pilchard bait and almost immediately afterward boat a fish which had taken it.
He paddled quickly the short distance over to me to seek my opinion on the species so that he could release it alive should it prove not to be a keeper. It was indeed a keeper, a school mackerel, which he then verified by checking that it exceeded 50cm (it was 56cm).
Later, when he'd run out of bait, I took a picture for him as he had a bit of bad luck involving saltwater with his own phone camera.
After the pic diesel paddled off toward the river mouth intent, no doubt, on gaining his lady's assurance that he could continue to fish with Noosa Yakkers. See you next time, diesel.
Jaro was still not on the board by 09:30 and I hadn't improved my situation so we decided to head home together. As we left Jew Shoal the wind started to drop off and by the time we were in the middle of the bay we were paddling in glassy conditions with a clear blue sky and on water so clean that every grain of sand could be seen in six metres depth. One matter of interest reported by jaro was a very large longtail tuna snagged but dead in the shark net running parallel to Main Beach. Several years ago we encountered a similar situation in the same net and somewhere on the blog there's a pic of Doc Dog holding that (rather smelly) longtail up. Possibly these fish are coming in at night?
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