TR by sunshiner and diesel (separate contribution at the end)
Wind: SE to 15 knots before 8:00am
Swell: 1.5m E
Water temp: 27.2°C
Tides: 5:39 am : 1.64 H
Current: no significant
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: Heaps!
Participants: diesel, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: missed out again today as we were targetting tuna!
As you may be aware, yesterday afternoon I'd reported large bustups in Laguna Bay sighted during an afternoon walk in the National Park. I decided to try for a shot at them early this morning and diesel, always keen for a paddle, accepted my invitation to come along. But we didn't decide finally until 4:00am today when my weather analysis told me that the sea would be lumpy, but the wind would be generally around 10 knots. We launched at around 05:30.
And lumpy it was, as we discovered once we'd cleared the dubious shelter of the headland. As per our agreed plan, diesel (younger, faster) had headed for Jew Shoal while I pretty much went straight for Hells Gates. By 06:30 diesel had already been to Jew Shoal and was approaching Granite Bay while I was circling just north of Hells Gates. It had been a slow trip for me, working my way eastward, upwind and upsea. Only a couple of individual terns sighted and no fish action at all.
Then the switch was thrown. Diesel drew my attention by radio to birds working close-in at Granite. Although I couldn't see them, I headed that way, and sure enough, there they were, and lots of splashing under them as the pelagics carved up their brekky. And right among them was diesel, visible only whenever we were both at the peak of a swell. In that area the depth is only about six metres and the swells were making the most of it to scarily increase their stature.
I decided initially to just drag my HLP 120 around the edge of the bustups. No hits, but I was passing fish busting out less than 30 metres away. Despite the number of bustups (we could see several at once over an area of about a square kilometre) I found it difficult to get into position for a cast. Deciding that trolling a HLP wasn't working, I rigged up a slug on my light casting outfit and then tossed out the back a white SP, just letting it hang out there while I manoeuvered to get into a casting position. At last diesel announced he'd hooked up on a cast slug and was headed for New Caledonia, not a good destination as he doesn't speak French, I understand. So I knew that the fish were susceptible to a well presented slug.
A short time later, my chance came as I was paddling toward the largest bustup I could see. All of a sudden, I'd made my own bustup as the ocean erupted with fish all around me. Out went the slug and instantly I was on. By now I was aware that diesel's fish was a mac tuna so I wasn't surprised when mine proved to be also. This fish wasn't boated as a terminal tackle failure at the last moment before gaffing let him free.
If anything the action was becoming more hectic as the sun rose, well hidden by the heavy bank of cloud which was keeping us in partial darkness. Then I spotted what was definitely a longtail tuna as it cleared the water nearby. With that I resolved to retrieve the white SP and replace it with the HLP 120, and to troll it eastward, toward the open water, where I could see two or three large flocks of terns whose individual members were becoming fatter by the minute, as no doubt were the tuna below.
This decision was rewarded with a strident hookup on the HLP but the hook pulled loose soon after I picked up the rod. Double bugger! I put it out for what turned out to be its farewell performance as it was soon hit again, in a powerful strike. This time I had the fish on a bit longer but felt the line go slack to find that a knot had failed at the small swivel connection of the wire trace I was using. Down two lures! And still no fish aboard. By now, about 9:00 am, I was happy to agree with diesel that perhaps we should head in. Remember, we'd been battling this lumpy sea for over three hours and our teeth are longer than they used to be, years ago. So I put on my next and second last HLP 120, the Qantas coloured one, with the rusting hooks, rigged with wire, which had accounted for several spotty macs, and then turned through 180° back through the maelstrom of churning fish and terns toward Middle Groyne. At least we were going downwind and downsea this time. Pow! Off it went as I paddled past the edge of another eruption. (Note that I'd trolled past many such eruptions earlier in the morning without any result.) Diesel was now nearby and kindly got out his camera for the coup de grâce on my third longtail tuna for the month.
At this we headed for home, literally leaving them biting as we passed two or three more bustups just north of Dolphin Point on the way in.
On the beach conditions were grey with very few beachgoers. But as we pulled out our new brag mats and our fish, all of a sudden we were the centre of attention and spent a good 30 minutes responding to the many questions of the holidaymakers. Diesel is particularly good at this reparteé and was holding the onlookers enthralled with tales of derring do on the high seas.
Some beach pics
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
Contribution by diesel
I had just unloaded the yak when Sunshiner arrived at Middle Groyne. It was about 0515 and we were not the only ones in the car park: a group of lady outrigger boat paddlers had also arrived and were prepping for a paddle. They were on the water and doing 15 kts before we launched.
Our launch went off well with me only taking on a little water ballast on the way through the first break. It was my third trip in the Evolution 4.65 and there are a lot of differences to the Prowler 4.5 and non draining foot wells is one of them. I now know all about foot saunas. I headed off for the shoal, lit by a glorious sunrise which promised bad weather.
On the other hand I'm loving the speed and made it out to Jew Shoal in record time, towing a Halco 120mm minnow pattern hard body lure without a hint of interest by the fishy inhabitants.
I trolled around there for about 30 minutes and then headed out past the headland chasing bust ups which were starting to happen. Sunshiner was already out there and there seemed to be bust ups everywhere I wasn't.
The Halco had no takers and this was getting depressing, a new yak on its third trip and not yet blooded.
Bingo, I'm sitting in the middle of a huge bust-up so I flicked out my $5 Aldi metal slug and I was on in about two winds of the handle. Whatever it was did a massive first run, taking me down to less than half the spool, then I started to win some line back. It took 11 minutes before I saw my first colour and before long I could see it was a Mackerel Tuna about 70cm. Opened the hatch and prepared the gaff. The gaffing was a non event and my first ever mac tuna was in the hatch and the Evo was blooded.
The rest of the fishing was uneventful for me with only one other hook up and spit out. I chased bust ups all around the headland to no avail.
By now sunshiner had his longtail in the hatch and was down a couple of lures. We started back to the Groyne dragging lures with me chasing little bust ups all the way.
The swell wasn't too bad at the beach but is still spat me out once again. My excuse is that I'm still learning this new yak!
It was now time to try out the new Noosa Yakkers brag mats which created a lot of interest and a possible new member.
Just another day in paradise! Hope it makes sense!