I arrived at MG at around 5am, after waking up at 3am for the nappies shift (first child, daughter, born recently).
The car park was all mine, so I chose the closest one and started unpacking my gear. As I was ready to head down to the beach, Sam (scatter) arrived and we had a small chat. It appeared that his plan was to troll along the NP, all the way to JS, and then return early to his day job, so our paths split and I headed straight out to JS.
Launch was easy and the sea was glass calm, with a light offshore wind (SSW). A couple of dolphins greeted me on my way, but the rest of the way to the reef was uneventful.
As I got there, I replaced the HLP I was trolling with a pillie on two gang hooks. The hooks were a bit small for the size of the pillie, but that's what I had in my tackle box. While drifting along with the pillie (from SW to NE of the reef), I dropped a bait rig (just trying blind, as I don't have a sounder on my SIK).
It wasn't long till the pillie was taken, with a very shy and subtle pull. I grabbed the rod and started reeling, and at first I thought I caught the reef, it was rock solid. Then the fish realised it'd been hooked and took off in some powerful runs.
As I realised the fish was on, I was determined to turn on the camera, but had to struggle with the rod with the fish, eventually managing to turn it on, while not letting the line go slack.
When I knew the camera was on, and the fish seemed well hooked, it was time to enjoy the fight.
I wasn't quite sure whether it was indeed a Cobe, or a shark, because it held its ground for quite some time.
Eventually it started to come up, but then I was worried that it would entangle in my bait rig, which was still in the water, so I reeled it in, and grabbed the bait rig line, to secure the hooks to the line guides. Unfortunately, one of the tiny hooks found itself in my finger. I managed to release it, only to get it deeper in my thumb this time. From there it wouldn't move. I tried to break the line or the hook, but it only went deeper. Just to remind you, while I was occupied with that on my left arm fully stretched backwards, my right was holding the rod, with a strong fish on!
After a few futile attempts, I came to my senses and reached for my safety line-cutter on my PFD, and cut myself loose.
Now I was back fully focused on the fish, and I saw another kayaker nearby. Thinking it was Sam, I called him for support, but he was busy with his own fish (later I found out he also had a good fish on, probably a Cobe as well, but he soon lost the fish).
By then (probably a good 20 mins into the fight), the fish was getting tired and coming to the surface. Now I had another challenge: getting a heavy, slimy, slippery Cobe onto the kayak without a gaff or a net. Fortunately, I'm already pretty experienced with that, so I waited for the right moment, and tail-grabbed the cobe. It shook itself loose once, but I grabbed it again, and using the well hooked line with my other hand, lifted it onto the deck, where I grabbed it by the gills and put it in the back hatch - game over!
By then, the other kayaker approached me; his name is Tom, from Redcliffe. I offered him some of my pillies, and we both continued drift fishing. Tom eventually hooked and landed a sweetlip on the pillie. I was so pleased with my catch, I couldn't care any more and after half an hour, I started heading back to MG, not before sending you that email you all got.
Kevin (Sunshiner) was kind enough to meet me at the beach and bring his camera and brag mat. The fish went 111cm, exactly the same as Sunshiner's from the previous day.
Beach pics by sunshiner
Overall another fabulous day in Laguna Bay, and a fish I've been waiting to land since I got to Australia. My wishlist is getting shorter…
I hope to edit my video soon and add it to the TR.
Good luck for all attempting fishing in the coming days
Isobar (pronounced eesobar)