Wind: gentle SW early, dropping to calm by 0900
Swell: 1m SE
Water temp: 20°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, slight SW-NE
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: macca, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: N/A
Today was to be the day. Macca was determined to do his first launch into the open ocean on his yak. Several emails had passed between him and me recently, each from him containing a carefully considered question about beach launches and fishing at Jew Shoal and each of my replies contained a carefully considered response. Macca, like many of us, can only fish on weekends and, if you've been following the weather, you'll have noticed that very few weekends lately have coincided with weather suitable for offshore kayak fishing. But several days ago we bookmarked Sunday 31Aug as a strong possibility and the forecast proved accurate.
So that is how I came to be on the beach at Middle Groyne at 04:50 this morning. I'd arrived slightly early for our agreed rendezvous and was checking that conditions were suitable -- they were. It was now that I encountered a long tailed marsupial scampering on the beach, its gleaming eyes reflecting the beam of my head torch. I've seen ringtail possums with their distinctive and long white-tipped tails clinging to the branches of trees in the carpark on several occasions but this was the first I'd seen cavorting on the beach. It sought refuge in the casuarina clump adjacent to the lifesaver station and possibly is still there even now, awaiting darkness before venturing back to the treeline fringing the beach.
Paul, for that is macca's real name, turned up on time. We went through the formalities in semi-darkness, meeting face to face for the first time and then turned to the main task, unloading and prepping our yaks. This didn't take long but I think macca will be quicker next time, and probably will have a little less equipment.
Soon our yaks were both on the beach with just enough light to make it easy for me to describe the launch scenario, gutter, back paddling etc.
Today's launch was as easy as it gets and I sent macca off first and watched him dry-bum it after back paddling a little in the hole to allow a small breaker to pass through.
Soon we were together out the back. I was delighted to hear that Paul had a brand new Icom M-23 VHF radio. Callsign? Nope! Nickname? Nope! Pointing out that we already have four or five yakkers whose first name is Paul, I suggested that we call him macca in recognition of his Scottish ancestry as indicated by his surname. It was settled, for the time being at least; macca it was.
As you can see, beautiful conditions. We pretty much had the whole bay to ourselves, too. Jew Shoal is a good starting point for newbies, being far enough but not too far and so we set out for The Pinnacles, which we reached at about 7:00am. Sad to say, by 9:00am neither of us had received any attention from fish. There were a few big and noisy predator splashes early on, and a few tuna put in an appearance about 8:00 am. A large accumulation of the usual baitfish was visible onscreen in the shallows of the shoal, apparently not bothered by any predators. Oh and a sea snake popped its head up to take a look at me at one stage. Turtles, yes, plenty, but no whales or dolphins. Accordingly I opted to head for home. Macca decided to fish on. I hope he eventually bagged a snapper or two.
So, I donutted August (but, in my defence, I only had one opportunity to fish).
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
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