Pre-storm Lake Mac quicky - 27Dec15

TR by Gemini

Wind: light, but heavy gusts as the storm approached
Launch point: Lake MacDonald, Hoy's Road ramp
Participants: Gemini

I dashed out to Lake Mac in the late afternoon after finishing a day out with the kidlets. The weather was on the turn, but I was determined to catch at least one fish before I had to avoid the rain and lightning. I launched at the Hoy Road ramp and headed south into the lilies.

I paddled around for a couple of hours with absolutely nothing to report. No strikes or surface action at all, and by this stage the smell of rain was on the wind. I decided to head back to the ute and bail out, casting along the way.

It was only a few casts after my decision to bail that I had a good couple of strikes on the baby vibe under some lilies. I managed to spook that particular fish, but a cast immediately after in the opposite direction had me nailed by another. It wasn't a long fight, but he managed to get tangled in the weeds, forcing my yak to come to him rather than other way around. It was a good 40cm bass.

After releasing I pressed on back to the ramp and packed up just in time to avoid the rain!

Spaniard, Spotties, Sweetlip - 27 December 2015

TR by Tunny
Trip date: 27 December 2015
Participants: Stormin, Sunshiner, Pedro, Irish luck, Diesel, Cuddles, Imax and Tunny all launching from MG, with Scatter from Doggie Beach
Conditions: Perfect, wind N less than 5 knots, Low Tide 2.30 am, High Tide 9.20 am
Keen Angler Program: 1 Spaniard frame donated

Scatter launched from Doggie Beach, dry-bummed it out through a rip right in front of the car park and headed for Sunshine Reef.  The rest of us launched from MG and opted to head for Little Halls and Halls Reefs as Stormin had seen bird action and fish bust-ups there the day before while I thought it best to avoid Jew Shoal on a day when the boating masses would be out.

The tide was still very low when we launched which meant hardly any boats were crossing the bar as we headed for Little Halls.  Diesel pushed straight on to Halls where Pedro was already fishing, while Sunshiner and I did circuits of Little Halls.

Perfect conditions at Little Halls
There was bait on the sounder but no bust ups or bird action early on.  I was trolling a weighted pilchard while Sunshiner used a Halco lure.  At 4.30 am my reel started screeming as line peeled off. The initial few runs were powerful and the fish was clearly bigger than my recent Spottie catches. After a short battle a nice Spaniard was visible beneath the kayak, then gaffed (two attempts as you embarrassingly see on the video), before being placed in the hatch.

Tunny's Spaniard

Stormin, who had started a little later was approaching Little Halls when his Halco lure got taken by a nice Spottie while I caught a Spottie about half an hour later on a weighted pilchard.  Scatter then hooked up to a Spottie out at Sunshine Reef using a trolled slimey.

Little Halls went quiet after the initial Spaniard and two Spotties so we continued on to Halls Reef. Here the surface action and fish bust-ups were more abundant, with Longtail Tuna busting the surface and clearing the water as they fed on bait fish near the surface.  But despite the better surface action at Halls the only pelagic caught there was a Spottie by Pedro.

I continued trolling while others switched to bottom bashing, with both Irish Luck and Cuddles catching good sized Sweetlip. Cuddles caught his on a shad soft plastic and is the biggest fish he has caught since moving to Australia.

I was chasing a fast moving patch of diving birds and ended up half way back to Little Halls.  As I had caught fish there but not at Halls I decided to continue to LH with Stormin not far behind.  On arrival at Little Halls I pulled up near Stormin and asked whether he had caught any more fish.  Just as he said "No" his reel started screeming and he was clearly into a big fish.  He had just switched over from a trolled pillie to a Halco lure.  I pulled up my line and took a few photos of the action:

The initial powerful run

Longtail circling below the kayak
After about a 20 minute struggle the fish started circling under the kayak, a move typical of Longtail Tuna.  I was interest in seeing the Tuna caught as we had arranged a trade, where I would give Stormin my Spaniard (his favourite fish) for his Longtail (my family's favourite).   This battle continued for another 10 minutes and the Tuna was close to the kayak when the line parted.

Stormin switched to bottom bashing (I guess he was tired!) and a short while later boated a Sweetlip. We then headed back to MG.  I decided to donate my Spaniard to Stormin, who in turn is donating the frame to Fisheries Keen Angler Program.

Cuddles with his big Sweetlip
Tunny's Spaniard - not bad hey?

Spotties by Tunny (top) and Stormin (bottom)
Scatter's Spottie
Sweetlip caught by Irish Luck

Boxing Day Spanish. 26Dec15

TR by Aussie_stu

Participants: Stormin, Diesel, Weeksie, Aussie_Stu
Conditions: wind S approx 10 knots, Low Tide 2.00 am, High Tide 8.40 am
Keen Angler Program: 1 Spaniard frame donated

By the time Norman and I launched from MG, Diesel was well and truly on his way out to Sunshine. 'Twas an easy launch and after setting up Norman decided to head to Little Halls Reef while I headed to Jew Shoal, later followed by weeksie and later again joined by diesel after a solid effort paddling to Sunshine and back.

Was a very slow morning, trolled hard bodies out to the shoal, then swapped to a pillie and a gar on skirted rigs and continued to cut laps of Jew Shoal. Norman reported bait and birds at little halls and we had similar activity on Jew shoal, with some bust ups here and there that seemed to be small spotties or Mac tuna. After trolling for a few hours at about 7.30 my pillie was hit and the fish started to take a bit of line. I kindly let the others know I was hooked up by letting the drag sing through the VHF and as the fight rounded up Diesel rolled in to lend a hand to get the Spaniard into my rear well and take the pics.

After that it was quiet again so headed in to the beach. Cheers to weeksie for lending me the mat for the shots, and after a few gawkers on the beach and nice young lady called Casey from Darwin kindly held the fish for a shot (again by diesel), it made it into the Yeehaa zone by 2cm and is a new PB for me.


Ido's first marlin. 25Dec15

TR by isobar (pronounced eesobar), with beach view contribution from sunshiner

My TR: Pushing the limits of kayak fishing
Conditions: S-SE wind 15 knots with gusts, 1.5m swell

Following ScottyD's (aka "shoulders") marlin catch on Wed, the promising forecast for Xmas day and considering I haven't caught a decent fish for a while, I was keen as to try my luck at Sunshine Beach.

The night before I went through my rigs and made sure that they're all in good condition, replacing hooks and wire as needed and thawing some pillies and yakkas that I caught a few weeks ago.

Morning came and I was ready to launch by 5:30, despite an annoying wind and quite noticeable surf.

Launch was fairly easy and I made my way towards the reef, while trolling my favorite Halco LP. The wind grew stronger as I ventured further offshore with some white caps forming, but as I said, I was determined…

The plan was to paddle against the wind, following the reef line (based on my GPS marks). A couple of minutes after turning towards the wind, I noticed that some line was creeping out of the reel (no clicker on this old faithful). Reeling in was easy as I was moving fast back towards the line by the wind. At the end of the line was a small tuna, which looks a lot like a juvenile yellowfin, but without the recognizable vertical pattern typical to those fish (might be a juvenile longtail, albacore or big eye).

Only about 40cm long. What is it? From Ido later: "According to my Japanese expert, juvenile longtails have such long pectoral fins, so he suggested that would be the fish (would have been great for my research)"

Once the tuna was safe in the hatch, I changed to a pillie on a safa rig and continued trolling without success for another half an hour. By then I was at the South end of the reef, so I decided to change to a light weighted bait and let the wind push me back north.

As I was rigging the bait a wave rolled on top of me and rolled me over. I had to put my Eskimo roll to the test (after not having to execute a combat roll in ages), so I dropped everything, and while upside down, reached for the paddle, grabbed it from the deck bungies and rolled back (to be honest, the first one failed and I had to retry). Once upright I saw my box of bait drifting away open, with bait floating/sinking around. I managed to grab the box, a pillie and a yakka and looked for my dead bait rigs, which luckily (or not, you tell) were hanging off various points of my PFD.

After that drama was settled, I rigged the yakka on a safa rig, with a light-weighted octopus teaser (taken off a pulsator rig I got from Dennis) and started my drift with the wind in my back. Not long after, line was coming fast out of the reel. I peeked behind my shoulder and there was a marlin launching to the air over and over again. The adrenaline was rushing through my veins, but I had to stay focused with a fish so strong, at these sea conditions, so I played it nice and easy, while trying to get my cameras to work (without success unfortunately).

The plan now was to get the fish close enough for good footage, without putting myself at risk (and after having a marlin jump out of the air 10 metres from you, you really take it seriously). After 30 minutes or so of a tow and retrieve game, the marlin settled in circles under the kayak, just like a tuna would do. Again, I tried to take an underwater photo or video, but couldn't operate the DSLR in the case. By then the fish was really exhausted, so I tightened the drag and brought it to the surface. It was done…

I grabbed its tail and hauled it over my deck. That extra weight (probably 20-25kg) over the deck changed the centre of mass of the kayak and it was really unstable now. I tried to secure the fish somehow, but couldn't do much except balancing it across the deck (over my skirt, the widest part of my flimsy kayak) because tying that much weight to me or the kayak would have been extremely unwise in these conditions, and started paddling back.

I had plenty of time to think about my beach entry strategy during the 1.5 hours of slow paddle back with strong side winds and swell. I was so focused on balancing, I didn't notice that a rogue wave decided to crumble on top of me… I don't know how, but I managed to brace it, stay upright and keep the fish on.

I realised my best option to get both me and the fish past the surf, would be to reattach it to the fishing line, drop it overboard outside the impact zone and reel it in once on the beach. It only meant I had to rethread the line through the rod guides and tie it to the rig hanging from the fish mouth, which I did slowly and carefully each time the swell eased a bit for me to keep my balance.

When I got to the beach, I executed my plan perfectly (though Kev, who by chance came down to the beach right then, thought that I lost the fish). Back on the beach, Kev (and Panno who came as well with his son) was extremely helpful measuring the fish, helping out and taking pictures.

Kev's account of the beach return
With all Xmas presents and family time sorted just before 9:00am, I decided to stroll down to my local beach and perhaps encounter one or two of the Noosa Yakkers I was aware had intended to launch on Xmas morning. Of course I carried my VHF radio and camera.

I tried a radio call on our usual channel, as I walked, from the high ground overlooking the ocean. The only response I got was from panno, who told me he was monitoring the channel from his nearby home. I explained what I was doing and he asked me to call him if I came across a marlin in a kayak on the beach. I agreed and continued on my stroll.

Once I'd arrived at the beach I found huge shoreys bashing in (top of a big tide, and augmented by a stiff SE wind). Close in shore conditions were nasty, I can tell you, and I was glad I was comfortably on the beach. Peering out to sea I just caught the flash of a paddle and a white yak way, way out the back. As I watched I could tell that the approaching paddler was isobar in his magnificent white SIK. He was travelling very slowly and carefully, not his usual boisterous self, but I couldn't discern any reason for this except perhaps the rough conditions. He could not recognize me, of course, as I was just one of many people enjoying a walk on the beach on Christmas morning.

He approached the shore very carefully picking a nice gap in the swell, but still facing the massive shore break. In the last 100 metres of his approach I spotted what at first looked like some broken off tree branches in the surge about 40m or so behind him. Then the penny dropped: he was towing a marlin with its bill and one of the pectoral fins showing intermittently above the surface.

On his entering the shore break zone I was pretty sure he'd be totally smashed so I started to run toward him to assist in any way I could. The marlin had now disappeared. Expertly, ido braced on the final smashing shorey and disappeared completely in the maelstrom but emerged still in his yak, going sideways up the beach, right way up. He jumped out and dragged his yak up the beach out of the reach of the surge, then picked up his rod off the deck and immediately started to winch in his fish, which at this stage was still hidden in the maelstrom of the beach fringe. I was truly astonished when the marlin appeared through the shore break. Wow!

I'll bet he was glad to get a good handgrip on the fish!

Check out the waves out the back!

Back to ido:

All the footage therefore was taken on the beach (thanks again to Kev), a reminder for me to get my cameras sorted.

It went 168cm, no doubt to scottyD's relief.

I must admit that yesterday's trip was one of the most challenging I had ever experienced, in marginal Straddie-like conditions (some would say I peaked too early), but one I'll never forget.

Video added 29Dec15

Merry Christmas and a happy new year, Ido

Spanish for Christmas. 24Dec15

TR by sunshiner

Wind: to 5 knot westerly
Swell: about 1m SE
Water temp: 26.1°C
Tides: Low 12:32am (0.19m); High 07:10am (2.06m)
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne and Doggie Beach (redgreg)
Surface action: None
Participants: redgreg, weeksie, sunshiner
My trip distance: 16km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: One mackerel frame donated

Alone, very early. The waxing moon (near full) had set and the overcast sky to the east was reluctant to give up any early light. So it was pretty dark when I launched into a small sea around 0355, easily dodging the occasional larger set.

I took my time in setting up and by about 0410 was on my way north, toward Jew Shoal, my chosen destination today. At about the 2.8 km mark I put out my trolling outfit, armed with a medium running HLP 120. Of surface action there was no sign, but I was pleased to see a squadron of six terns overtake me and stay on my heading. Perhaps they had some arcane knowledge of a food supply out there near Jew Shoal. I hoped so.

I trolled over The Pinnacles, noting that there seemed to be the usual indications of baitfish in the vicinity, but nothing extraordinary. One of my favourite marks to the N was my next target. Bingo, heaps of baitfish, mostly hugging the bottom in 20-22m, and stacking up to the 10m mark. This looked so promising that I opted to stop trolling and try for a snapper, while hanging around to see if anything would happen on the surface.

A typical sonar display from today.

After several casts with the SP without result and with the sonar still showing huge amounts of bait but no surface explosions I arrived at the notion that surely some big predators would show up some time so I should start trolling again. By now the terns had discovered that some of the bait schools were rippling the surface so moved in for brekky, dipping and fluttering, picking up unwary bait as it packed up to the surface.

Conditions were great for trolling, with light winds making it easy to choose a paddle in any direction. The terns were showing where the bait was and were scattered over several acres so I just kept to where they were active, steadily plugging away at 4-5kph, turning through 180° as necessary to cover the active ground.

By now, redgreg had called up from off Doggie Beach, telling me he was heading to fish out wide at Sunshine Reef. I had the place pretty much to myself, except for a couple of jetski fishers who buzzed around burning fuel for no result. Then weeksie let me know he'd launched at Middle Groyne, so I passed on the news about the baitfish. His response was that he'd see me in about 30 minutes. By the time I spotted weeksie arriving at the shoal I'd been trolling steadily for nearly an hour for no result. But the bait was thick so sticking with the trolling plan seemed the best idea. Also, I had a deadline which meant a departure for Middle Groyne by around 06:45 to meet family on the beach.

At around 06:28 (according to the GoPro), the trolling rod went off with a beautiful howl. After a brief but vigorous battle I looked down into the clear water to see my first Spaniard of the 15/16 season with the HLP fastened firmly to its lower jaw. The fish was knackered by the time it came within gaff range and barely reacted when the point went in just behind the head. Game over (all captured on video embedded below).

A great view, I'm sure you'll agree.

A few minutes later, weeksie kindly offered to take a pic.

By weeksie. Thanks mate.

My time was up, and I had my fish so I paddled the 4+ km back to Middle Groyne without a lure out, although I did have a slug outfit available if some spotties had put in an appearance.

It being the top of a fairly big tide, there were some nice little rollers available at the groyne. One of them delivered me quick smart onto the beach (right way up) where new Noosa Yakker bluedog (on childcare duty for the day) greeted me on arrival.

Beach pics

On the mat. 115cm.

Taken by my son, Nick, who was down there to meet me with seabass, his son (3yo).

Movie, two minutes, of the capture

Thanks for reading.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPhone, iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
FREE iBook "Kayak Fishing Laguna Bay & Jew Shoal" for iPhone, iPad and Mac

Doggie Beach marlin. 23Dec15

TR by scottyD

This post, with comments, also appears on our Facebook group page, as does the video (see lower down in this post).

Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: scottyD alone

I've been trying to fish Sunshine Reef as much as I can lately for mackerel or any other pelagic and was lucky enough to hook my first marlin on a slow trolled dead slimy mackerel. It's one I'll never forget and doubt I'll top any time soon.

Short GoPro movie of the trip

Apologies if any one disagrees with taking a marlin for the plate.

Beach pics


Revenge of the Shark!! 22 December 2015

TR by Diesel
Trip date: 22 December 2015
Participants: Scatter, Diesel, Tunny
Launch Site:  MG
Conditions: Wind variable less than 10 knots, Low Tide 11.30 am
Keen Angler Program: Nothing donated

After watching the waves for about 15 minutes , looking for a break in the big sets that were rolling through, I launched at around 0310 hrs.  Not a dry bum launch ,but who cares when the water is around 25 degrees. The idea to be on Sunshine Reef as dawn broke to hook into a few spotties real early, it seemed a sound enough idea, but was not to be.  I did laps up and down Sunshine Reef for an hour or so without even a touch and not a bird in sight.  At around 0600 hrs I decided to paddle back to old dependable, Jew Shoal for a bit of bottom bashing and maybe a change of luck.

Scatter was on Jew Shoal and Tunny was a Little Halls Reef, with Tunny the only one with a fish. He caught a Spottie of 80 cm and lost a second one when the fish went under the kayak and the line cut off on the rudder.  Both of these hook-ups were on trolled pilchard.

Sunrise from Little Halls (photo by Tunny)
It was quiet with nothing taking our baits, so Scatter pulled the pin and headed back to Middle Groyne at around 0745. I followed a short time later with a hard body lure out the back in a last ditch attempt to catch a fish. I was just past the shark nets when my reel went off and after a short battle I had a shark alongside the Yak. I went in with  the gaff and lifted the Shark, intending to shoot it into the hatch , head first. The Shark had different ideas and screwed around on the gaff and landed across the hatch, with one set of trebles in its mouth and two sets out. Having heaps of trebles to spare, a hook on one set lodged in my shin while the Shark is doing the “I’m getting out of here”  dance and I am move with the beat cos it hurts heaps.

That hurt !!!!
Decision one is kill the Shark and stop it thrashing around. Done with a knife in the head, left handed as right hand is controlling the Shark.  Decision two is get the hook out of the Shark. Done left handed as right is controlling the Shark to keep the weight off the hook. Hook is out of the Shark and the Shark is in the hatch, now to get the hook out of me.

I have two pair of expensive pliers on board and neither pair would cut the shank or the hook so we are back to square one. With split ring pliers I managed to rotate the ring around and detach the lure, oh the relief!
Lure detached
I then stowed all my gear in the hatch and headed ashore. The life savers didn’t have a tool box and no one in the car park had anything  that would do the job. I washed, loaded my gear and drove home and attacked the treble with a small set of bolt cutters, job done!

The lesson learnt was to  having something on board you know will cut through a hook.  I was lucky as it was right in front of me and reasonably easy to work on, but it could have been in my shoulder or head where I would have trouble getting at it. At least have something that will cut the wire trace!
By the way if you are worried about the Shark doing the same to you, don’t!

It’s in my freezer!

Tunny's Spottie

Spotties at Little Halls: 15 December 2015

TR by Tunny
Trip date: 15 December 2015
Participants: Jaro, Pedro, Noddy, Redgreg, Owen and Tunny
Launch Site:  MG
Conditions: Wind variable S to SE less than 10 knots, Low Tide 3.50 am, High Tide 10.40 am.
Keen Angler Program: Nothing to donate

Pedro had already headed out to Jew Shoal by the time Jaro, Noddy, Redgreg and I arrived at MG. We launched at 4 am and headed off trolling lures and weighted baits.  I headed for Hells Gates where I had seen a big bait ball on the previous trip while the others headed for Jew Shoal.  Hells Gates had signs of small bait balls so I trolled that area for about half an hour then headed for A Reef.  Pedro did several circuits of Jew Shoal trolling lures without success, before heading off towards North Sunshine.  With no signs of bait on the sounder, no bust ups and no bird action I left A Reef and was almost back at Jew Shoal when Owen came on the radio to announce that he had just launched and that there was bird action and bait busting the surface near the river mouth and up North Shore.

Jaro decided to head for where the bird and bait action was and the rest of us followed soon after.  The bird action was sporadic but there was certainly more signs of bait at Little Halls than anywhere else.  At Little Halls I met new member Owen Gray who caught a 65 cm Grinner which made Jaro extremely jealous as that is his speciality !.

Owen on his Stealth Pro Fisha 525
We did a few circuits of Little Halls with Owen trolling a lure while I had a weighted pilchard.  After trolling through the small patches of bait several times my reel went off and a few minutes later I had a nice spottie in the hatch.  Owen was keen to try pillies so I gave him half of mine.  I did several more laps without success then Noddy came on the radio with the news that he too had a spottie caught on a weighted pilchard.

Jaro and Noddy headed home first and I followed at around 10 am, with Redgreg, Pedro and Owen still out there.  It was a fun day on the water, and good luck to those going tomorrow.

Noddy with his spottie
Future Noosa Yakker Beau holding my spottie
My spottie went 86 cm

Spotted Mackerel: 10 December 2015

TR by Tunny
Trip date: 10 December 2015
Participants: Sunshiner, Jimbo, Tunny (with Jaro on a stinky)
Launch Site:  MG
Conditions: Wind NW 5 knots, high tide 7.25 am; drift at Jew Shoal to the West
Keen Angler Program: Nothing to donate

On Wednesday afternoon Pedro reported bagging three spotties at North Sunshine while he dropped another two while paddling over Jew Shoal on his way home.  So on Thursday morning, with spotties on our mind, Sunshiner and I launched at 4am, with Sunshiner heading for Jew Shoal while I planned to head in the direction of North Sunshine.  The launch was easy and we paddled off, with Sunshiner trolling his favourite Halco lure while I had one line with a Halco and the other with a weighted pilchard.

Sunshiner reported no signs of bait busting the surface or bird action but I came across bait on the surface and some birds diving as I crossed Hells Gates. There was a very solid bait ball at least 10 metres thick but despite several paddles through this I failed to get a bite.  Then two dolphins surfaced so perhaps it was them rather than the pelagics chasing the bait fish.

The bait ball disappeared after about 15 minutes so I proceeded on to A Reef and then on in the direction of North Sunshine.  There was no signs of bait on the sounder whereas at Jew shoal Sunshiner reported good signs of bait.

I then decided to turn for Jew Shoal.  Jimbo, who had launched a little later and was following me out to A Reef also changed path and headed for Jew Shoal.  At Jew Shoal we tried bottom bashing with Sunshiner and I using soft plastics while Jimbo used bait, all without success.

Jaro then came on the radio announcing he was on his way to Jew Shoal on a stinky and that he had hooked a spotty about 2 km off the river mouth.  He and his mates on the boat then hooked a second one about a kilometre east of JS at which point we gave up the bottom bashing and started trolling.

I had both a pilchard and Halco lure out, with the shallow diving Halco further back to prevent the risk of the lines tangling.  There was some signs of fish on the sounder:

View on the sounder just before the first strike
I had two hits, both on the trolled pilchard.  The first one I dropped but the second ended up in the hatch after a short fight.  While both my takes were on pilchard, all of the fish caught on Jaro's stinky were on Halco lures (4 fish in total).  Two of Jaro's spotties were over 90 cm, the other two in the 70's while mine was 82cm

Sunshiner headed in early to prepare for his holiday while Jimbo went on to Halls Reef.  No further fish were caught, but the great news is that we know THE SPOTTIES ARE OUT THERE!!!

My first for the season

Snapper/sweety double. 08Dec15

TR by sunshiner

Wind: 5-10 knot easterly
Swell: about 1.3m easterly
Water temp: 25°C
Tides: High 06:01am (1.69m); Low 12:07pm (0.73m)
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: None
Participants: diesel, tunny, sunshiner
My trip distance: 9.5km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: One snapper frame donated

The sickle moon occupied 12:30 to 19:30 on the clock dial. Just above it, Venus gleamed as it marked the imminent rising of the sun. Each of these objects seemed to be trying to outshine the other but together provided us with a glorious astronomical display. Tunny and I were on the beach at Middle Groyne. It was around 3:50am. Diesel's light could be seen just off the groyne. The eastern sky was just taking on a faint hint of dawn.

The launch was uneventful, except my yak floated off while I was securing my wheels (note to self: drop the yak a little higher up the beach). Having dashed into the surf and dragged this overkeen yak back I then got a thoroughly wet bum as several breaking waves in succession charged into our launch point just as I was trying to get out.

Once out the back, of course, all was good. Venus and the moon continued their display. Tunny and I set course for Jew Shoal, which destination diesel was already well on the way toward.

A northerly swell/chop was curling into the bay, making my trip slower than normal. This meant I was last of us to arrive. No stinkies, yet. Sun just peeping over the horizon. Tunny was trolling a big bait. Soon he announced to us that a large denizen of the shoal had taken a liking to it and would have ended up in tunny's hatch but for a line failure. He re-rigs and is quickly hooked up again. As I was close enough to see this hookup I paddled the 200m or so to hopefully get a photo or two, just in time to see a nice-sized school mackerel (in fact, equalling Noosa Yakkers record, also held by tunny) deposited into the hatch.

Tunny shows off the first fish boated today.

However, things were quiet for the next hour. We three were widely separated, but in touch by radio, of course. Having seen no surface action I opted once again to drift fish, with the breeze, pretty much from east to west, strength and direction exactly as forecast on MetEye.

At about 06:20, north of The Pinnacles, in 20m, I had one nice hookup on my cast SP (prawn lookalike) but the hook pulled free after about 15 seconds of zing and zang. Being undamaged, back it went, after a close inspection for frayed trace etc. Out the back, as usual, I had my trailing outfit, the SP-loaded half-ounce jighead hanging down 10m. Same rig which tempted the marlin recently.

Another ten minutes went past and then my Lowrance showed sign of fish, scattered vertically and horizontally throughout the water column. This was the first decent sign of fish I'd seen today. But the SPs remained untouched, until I'd drifted far enough to leave the fish sign behind, so back to the earlier sonar view: undulating bottom, normal surface clutter, and nothing between.

The surface was fairly choppy so the yak was rolling as normal, and quite stable. But suddenly, the yak took on a strong roll to starboard, a wave came aboard (normal, no problem) and the drag of the trailing outfit wailed. Yippee! The casting outfit was fully deployed, the jighead sinking slowly and opposite the trailing outfit. I had to get this out of the way so, after picking up the trailing outfit and making sure its attacker was securely hooked, I put the casting outfit into the leg hold position and started to retrieve the line. Bam! The casting outfit was hit vigorously and line was dragged from the spool. Double hookup! After no action for an hour!

No caption needed.

The first thing to do in this situation is to make a decision. Which outfit to concentrate on? The trailing outfit was in my right hand so the decision to deal with that first was easy; the casting outfit was secured by my leg-hold, its rod tip lunging and line being taken from the spool. After a short and vigorous tussle the trailing outfit yielded a nice snapper. Gaffed and into the hatch! Stow that rod then pick up the casting outfit. I was relieved to find that this fish was still securely hooked. Of course it had used a fair bit of energy in fighting the rod and reel, with minimal intervention by me. To my surprise, a nice grass sweetlip popped up. Surprise because I fully expected that the fish would have been another snapper. Despite my best efforts, I had not caught a keeper grassy this year and can't figure out why, especially as other Noosa Yakkers seem to nail them fairly regularly (mainly using bait, however).

Short movie of the action:

My nineteenth snapper for the 2015 "season".

My first grassy this year.

Shortly after this I decided to head in. Both diesel and tunny decided to also, and all of us were on the beach well before 8:00am.

Beach pics

The combined catch on the mat (where did that donut come from?)

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPhone, iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
FREE iBook "Kayak Fishing Laguna Bay & Jew Shoal" for iPhone, iPad and Mac

First cast, snapper. 02Dec15

TR by sunshiner

Wind: light northerly
Swell: about 1m easterly
Water temp: 25.6°C
Tides: High 12:24am (1.22m); Low 05:59am (0.65m)
Current: weak easterly at Jew Shoal
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: None
Participants: sunshiner
My trip distance: 12.5km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: At least one snapper frame donated

The last three days Seabreeze has indicated for the Sunshine Coast a strong-ish northerly all day every day, but here in Noosa on those days the wind was almost non-existent until about 10am when the usual summer northerly kicked in. So I figured that today may be the same and started my preparations yesterday before Seabreeze had indicated that the northerly wind might moderate.

There was a gentle northerly, as it turned out, at 4:00am, but less than 5 knots, as MetEye had predicted. Tiny swell, and very little chop. Paddled out to Jew Shoal at my normal, measured pace, noting lack of terns. Jew Shoal, lack of baitfish, too. However I had the place completely to myself and the wind was perfect to try out a new mounting position for my GoPro. Wind from the north meant a drift toward the south, which meant my yak nose would be pointing toward the SW. As it's important to have the GoPro facing away from the rising sun, my new home-made GoPro bracket was in its element today, as you'll see from the movie embedded below.

I'd used up 30 minutes or so trolling and prospecting around Jew Shoal without result before I decided to set up a drift. As a start point I selected a mark NE of The Pinnacles, set up the trailing outfit (marlin rig?) and then mucked about for a while getting the camera into position. At last I was satisfied so picked up the casting outfit and laid out my first cast. The prawn-lookalike SP had been through quite a few battles and had been repaired with superglue at least twice (maybe snapper, grinner, pearl perch and ooglies like the smell of superglue) but just in case the glue's smell was a deterrent I'd tried to mask it by smearing on some of the scent which comes in the packet.

Watch the vid and you'll see the cast, the wait as the SP sinks gently, and the take. First cast, I'm on! Bewdy.

Short fight, typical of a snapper. Before I'd seen it I'd guessed it as a mid forties snapper, and so it turned out to be.

Nice start to my morning.

Movie (1min 30sec) with some possible tips for others who'd like to try.

I tried a little longer for more snapper but there was nothing much doing so I decided to head in early, trolling as I went. (Should have) kissed goodbye to my very old and battered HLP as I hung it out the back and paddled off. Five hundred metres, thumb in bum, mind in neutral, Charter Special screams its head off. That woke me up. The drag was set a little light and line was pouring off the reel so I bumped it up just a touch, nowhere near strike drag, felt the increased pressure then the dreaded sudden slack line. Shit! Shit! Reeled in to find the front eyelet of the small swivel still attached to the line. The rest of the swivel is out there somewhere, still attached to the wire trace, which in turn is still attached to the tow point of the lure, which is firmly attached to a rampaging Spaniard (I imagine).

Troll back to the beach with another battered HLP. No result.

On the beach:

If you catch a Spanish with a HLP in its mouth can I have the lure back please?

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPhone, iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
FREE iBook "Kayak Fishing Laguna Bay & Jew Shoal" for iPhone, iPad and Mac