Wind: gentle SW, changing to gentle NE later
Swell: 1.5m E
Water temp: 26.1°C
Current: at Jew Shoal, none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants (13): noddy, diesel, aussie stu, deecee, waltz, sparkie, tunny, stormin, redwood, peebee, scatter, soren, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: one snapper frame donated
A moonless morning but almost cloudless sky with the usual summer land breeze coming over our left shoulders from behind as we faced Laguna Bay. The first launchers (diesel, noddy, deecee, soren) were ready to go before 4:00am and I could see that this was going to be tricky, especially as I was looking after two new members (waltz, sparkie) neither of whom had launched their kayaks into the open ocean before. While the swell wasn't very big, the tide was a very low 0.16m which meant that the sand bank out from the end of the groyne was very shallow -- ideal sand monster habitat. Pulses of four bigger waves came in as sets and stood up with hollow faces ready to gobble up the unwary. Diesel had decided to set an example and headed out first to do battle with our old adversary. A minute or so later his headlamp could be seen gleaming out the back. Clearly he'd made it out unscathed. Twelve to go.
As is often the situation at Middle Groyne, there were significant lulls between the sets and I pointed these out to our two new guys. They got the message, I think, but it was noticeable that sparkie, for one, followed me very closely as I made my way out on foot with my yak to the end of the groyne to launch. As far as I know, only one yakker got hammered at the launch, and perhaps he'll tell his story (no, it wasn't one of the new guys). Suffice to say all 13 of us got through, some wetter than others and I have to say that my timing was a little off and the small bath I took was very refreshing.
Highlights of the morning
(1) All was quiet at Jew Shoal at first, but noddy, without his GPS and sounder as he was in a brand new Profisha 525 had headed off somewhat blindly toward the north, just trolling as he went, following his instincts and presumably trolling. Then we got a radio call from him: "Bagged out on spotties, somewhere north of the shoal". A couple of questions elicited the info that deecee was also there and noddy was sorry that he'd accidentally changed the VHF channel while he'd been battling spotty after spotty, thinking he was telling us about it by radio. Later, on the beach, I showed him how to lock the buttons on his M23 to stop accidental channel changing. By the time we'd got his first radio call the action was all over, unfortunately, and in any case, he was possibly too far away for those of us with radios to have got to him before the action stopped. Nice way to blood your new yak, noddy!
(2) Deecee also got a spotty mac, from the same bustup that noddy had exploited. I understand that there were some tackle losses also, as there often are with spotty Macs.
(3) Sparkie nailed his first ever cobia on his first offshore yak fishing trip (and first trip with Noosa Yakkers). He'd trolled a rigged garfish all the way from the beach and several times around the shoal before it eventually went off. I understand that redwood got a pic of the fish on the water; we'll include that pic when and if it becomes available. Well done sparkie.
(4) All I wanted today was a nice sized snapper but I would have happily joined in a spotty mac mayhem session had it happened. My wish was granted. I was waiting for possible pelagic action at the south eastern corner of the shoal and was killing time by casting around an SP (Z-Man, as recommended by fatyak, who is a prodigious SP user) in 21m, with a fair show of fish and other stuff on the sonar. The SP was picked up right near the bottom and a spirited fight followed.
Not so good stuff, but of interest
(1) Both waltz and sparkie opted to follow me out to Jew Shoal as neither possessed a radio and it was their first time offshore in their yaks. We left Middle Groyne together but I noticed when about 2/3 of the way out that sparkie was a lot further back than I'd anticipated. It turned out that he'd accidentally rolled his yak by turning around quickly in his seat just as a wave was tilting the boat. The point I wish to make is that he lost nothing, however, as everything was either inside his secured hatch or was leashed, including a brand new expensive GPS. A rollover can happen very easily, even when in deep water, and sparkie had clearly taken note of the warnings issued about this, so well done again, sparkie.
I left the shoal about 8:00am and at about that time there were sporadic radio reports coming in of bustups, including some at Jew Shoal. Certainly there were shoals of small bonito (ideal Spaniard bait size) popping up in Laguna Bay and aussie stu at least took advantage of their presence to augment his future troll bait supply. Most of us were back on the beach by 9:30am but tunny and redwood were still out there when I left the Middle Groyne carpark shortly afterward. Hopefully they'll have more fish catches to contribute to this report.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
Contribution by deecee
24Dec14 - What could have been…
Arrived at Middle Groyne around 3.30am, it was pitch black, Diesel & Noddy were already unloading. I grabbed a good park (found out later this was Sunshiner's favourite… I now know why, very easy to get the yak on/off the car).
Setup and wheeled her down to the water's edge waiting for enough light to launch. Diesel and noddy went out before me and it looked like they got out pretty easily. Kev was in the car park waiting for some others to arrive.
I thought I had timed it well but I hadn't and copped one of the sets right on the head, making me very wet. Luckily after that set it was an easy paddle to the rigging zone, where I found out the Lowrance wasn't working so I had no sounder or GPS (wire had pulled off battery in front compartment I found out on my return to the beach). Didn't take long and I was on my way. I could see Noddy in the distance and because the GPS wasn't working I thought I'd follow him to Jew Shoal (JS).
Well after an hour or so of paddling I was wondering when he was going to stop; this had to be the longest trip to JS I'd ever had. I didn't know that he also didn't have a GPS and was on his way to New Zealand…
When we finally caught up at Spot X Noddy already had three spotties on board. There was a massive bust up just north of us and the fish were firing. I bagged one before having to rerig; I had another going into the esky when it decided to have a fit and jump out… can't afford to have that happen! Had a few more hook ups with no fish boated but a few lures requiring new trebles, some terminal tackle went astray and then as quickly as it started the fish were gone.
Noddy had bagged out and was heading in so I thought I'd head west until I ran into the other yakkers which I did about 30-40 minutes later. We must have been six or seven km off the beach initially.
Trolled around JS with no luck until sunshiner came on the radio saying he had caught a snapper, got some inspiration and had a short stint bottom bashing with no hits before pulling the pin and heading for shore.
Had a few minor bust ups on the way in but no fish hooked and an uneventful trip through the wave zone (luckily as there were some good dumpings to be had!).
Caught up with a few guys on the beach for a chat before heading off…
Merry Xmas all!