Wind: calm at first, then a gentle southerly
Swell: small E, insignificant
Water temp: 25.6°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, strong from W to E
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: aussie_stu, diesel, scatter, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: No frames donated
Having told my companions that I would be concentrating on getting some pics today, I was still the first at the car park, so grabbed my favourite spot, which either pedro or diesel usually gets. Soon diesel and stu were unloading, with scatter still in bed, presumably.
Fantastic morning, no wind, some cloud on the eastern horizon, and a dry bum launch. We paddled soundlessly toward Jew Shoal on a silky ocean, with nothing to interrupt our progress, unfortunately, despite a variety of lures being offered as we went.
Other than the mystery jetskier, who again appeared this morning like the mythical phantom horseman, we had the place to ourselves for the first hour or so.
But that first hour yielded some action. I'd reminded diesel and stu to give me a radio call if they hooked up as I wanted to shoot some pics and vid. Pulling up at my chosen spot, just a couple of hundred metres past where diesel had stopped, both of us close to The Pinnacles, I was about to cast the first SP of the day when diesel's radio call gave me pause. He reckoned he was "on". Looking back I could see that he seemed busy, with one rod demonstrating by its bend the presence of a decent fish.
So I stowed the rod and set off to see what was going on.
Yes, clearly the fish was a decent size, and then diesel, looking straight down into the water, identified it as a cobia as he's hooked a few before ;-).
So I spent some time shooting video (edited version to be created ASAP). At one stage of the fight I saw a surface disturbance behind diesel, when his fish was clearly just under and near the kayak. When reviewing the video I could see at the disturbance what looked like a dorsal fin protruding from the water. It looks to me like a small shark, come to take a look.
Having learned from recent experiences to take it easy with big fish like this, diesel took his time and eventually sank the gaff into his biggest kayak caught fish yet. I was happy to be on hand to get a nice shot for him and the blog.
His personal account of the day:
START Diesel's contribution
I arrived at MG at about 0406 and Sunshiner was already there and had checked out the conditions which were as it turned out to be as good as it gets. Hard sand from last night's rain to drag the yak across and near zero swell or wave action. Aussie Stu arrived at about this time and we all started to prepare for launch.
Sunshiner launched first and headed outback to set up his gear and I launched soon after. All my gear was set up as I don't have the luxury of a centre hatch, so I did a radio check with Sunshiner, threw out a Halco HBL and headed out to the shoal with the single thought rolling around my brain: "Third time lucky, Third time lucky, Third time lucky".
About now Stu came on channel 9 for a radio check, which he got and we all paddled out toward Jew Shoal ready for another big day.
I arrived at my planned start point for my first drift just after 0500. I recovered the HBL (no Bonito this time) and set up my ganged hooks with a treble stinger. I baited it with a prime pillie and cast it out. Game on.
I set another rod up with a 100mm SP and started fishing. Sunshiner arrived a short time later, questioning why I hadn't caught a bonito on arrival as per usual. Everyone is a comedian!
At approximately 0510 my reel starts to scream and the line is heading toward Main Beach at a fair rate of knots without let up. I called sunshiner and told him I had a big hook up. I screwed on a little drag and proceeded to recover the SP and haul in the drogue, trying to clear the decks for action which I presumed would come.
I stopped the run on the line and started to regain some line, getting all bar about 20m then it was on again. I had renewed my leader and wire trace and put new hooks on the gang set up to alleviate any gear failure which had bugged me on two other occasions and now the match was going to extra time and I'm starting to stress.
With most of the line back on the reel I get my first glimpse of colour and it the right one for cobia. Sunshiner who was doing David Attenborough impressions for the day arrived on scene with all cameras blazing, well at least one.
I continued to play the fish and be as gentle as possible to save the pain of a bust off and had it on the surface, circling the yak, waiting for a gaff shot.
The cobe is circling and I'm waiting for my time. I'm told by Aussie Stu that this was top comedy in its own right. He had arrived moments before and was enjoying the show.
Time for the gaff, gotchya, wrong, it's off the gaff and it's game on again.
Stu is laughing, Sunshiner is filming and I'm stressing.
Back around it comes and this time I gaff it and haul it onboard the yak. Game over!
Sunshiner takes the money shots and we critique the catch and I have a grin you couldn't scrub off.
My first cobia and the largest thing I have ever pulled into the yak. The rest of the day was an anti climax after the catch of my life and it wasn't till I was disassembling the fish at home I realized how lucky I was.
The treble hook on the stinger was digested and the soft braided wire attaching it was cut off. The second hook in the gang had its eye straightened. It was all holding with one hook!
END Diesel's account
While this activity was underway, with stu and I both hanging around, scatter radioed that he was leaving Middle Groyne to join us.
As mentioned in the preamble, the current today was fierce and we spent quite a bit of time paddling back up to our Jew Shoal marks to continue fishing. What was unusual, in my experience, was the turbulence and upwelling caused as the water rushed eastward past the various bottom features around The Pinnacles.
I don't know whether diesel was seriously fishing at this time, or just hanging out mentally reliving the experience of his great cobia catch. In any case, he wasn't reporting any more action. Stu let us know, in two quick and garbled radio calls, that he was (a) hooked up to a screamer and (b) busted/bitten off. Bummer (no wire, floating pillie)!
I'd been amusing myself by prospecting with a SP around the afore-mentioned turbulence in 10-14m depth, with lots of baitfish showing up. My first hookup resulted in this fish, which I'm including here as I don't think I've seen one in the flesh before.
Shortly afterward I had a spirited hookup on the SP, again while prospecting the shallows, but not a big fish. I suspected a school mackerel as I was bitten off about a minute into the fight.
Stu had now put a short wire trace on his floater and this was grabbed, followed by a screaming run, followed by another bite off. It seems certain that members of the mackerel gang were responsible again.
By now it was getting late. Scatter had left at around 7:00am to get to work and the rest of us pulled the pin about 8:00am. Just out from the shark nets we encountered a shoal of small fish surface feeding on even smaller fish. I tried a couple of lures on them with nil result. Possibly the larger fish were very small tailor.
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