TR by sunshiner
Wind: S to SW up to about 5 knots (as forecast by MetEye)
Swell: 1.2m SE
Water temp: 22.8°C
Tides: 1:54 am : 1.43 H; 8:39 am : 0.54 L
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: at least one longtail seen jumping at Jew Shoal
Participants: pedro, diesel, peebee, tunny, jimbo, sunshiner
My trip distance: 11.5km
Keen Angler Program: I donated a snapper frame
Relying on MetEye's wind forecast, several of us headed out today. Good decision! If anything the winds were a little lighter than I expected at Jew Shoal, so thanks very much BOM for providing this extra insight into our local weather.
To my surprise, on this chilly morning, pedro hadn't yet launched when I arrived at Middle Groyne around 05:40. Diesel was there too and the three of us were soon down on the beach, ready to launch. "Dry Bum!" was the call from each of us as diesel and I launched in semi darkness, paddling towards pedro's light as he'd launched just ahead of us. Pedro had opted to go for Little Halls Reef/Halls Reef while diesel and I reckoned Jew Shoal might be worth a shot.
Beautiful morning. Sun still 30 minutes or so from the horizon. Heavy clouds to the east showed the presence of offshore showers, while we had clear sky over head.
I took my time paddling out, being entertained by some dolphins half way and noted that I was fishing on the shoal by 0645. The water seemed beautifully clear, despite the stirring up of the big blow we've had over the last week or so.
It didn't take long. My radio chirped with diesel's announcement that he had a snapper on board. Bewdy! This also heartened our second lot of three yakkers (peebee, tunny, jimbo), who had just launched together about ten minutes earlier and were enroute to their chosen fishing areas. Jimbo to Jew Shoal, tunny and peebee to Little Halls Reef.
A little while later diesel announced that he had another snapper aboard and jimbo responded immediately letting us know that he too had just boated a snapper which had taken a banana prawn on his first cast on arrival at Jew Shoal. As you can imagine, I was feeling a bit left out, but decided to stick with the technique which usually works for me rather than switch to bait.
As we've noticed before, the snapper seemed to go off the bite at js about an hour after sunrise, as my two companions caught no more today. But I got a bit of action…
Firstly, when relocating the 500m or so after my first drift, my trolled HLP went off. I have caught, and seen others catch, pretty big snapper on trolled hard body lures around Jew Shoal and suspected that this was what had nailed my lure. I was just putting more pressure on when the hooks pulled free.
Then, a little more than an hour into my casting/trailing session I lost my jighead in a puzzling incident involving the ocean floor and maybe some weakened braid. A change of SP pattern was necessary as I had no more left of the type I'd just lost so I put on an old favourite, a dark coloured 4 inch PowerBait. Note that I'd been diligently fishing the previous SP for around an hour, today, for no action. First cast with the new SP I hooked up (coincidence?). Not big, but I called it for a decent snapper and was relishing the tussle when the pressure suddenly went off. A few curses here! When I retrieved the jighead and SP I noticed that there was something impaled on the hook.
So I was still fishless (but not toothless). But now comes the reward. I'd just clocked up two hours drift fishing when my SP was comprehensively nailed in a typical snapper take. As usual, line poured off the spool and my heart rate went up to dangerous levels, as I really love to catch snapper and would be even grumpier than normal if I failed to boat this fish.
Movie of the capture (1:36)
Whew! While this was going on I had become aware through radio chatter that pedro was again strutting his stuff over near Halls Reef somewhere. It seemed that he'd boated another big longtail after a long battle (see pedro's pics at the end of this TR). Peebee had been forced early to retire for the day due to sea sickness and tunny also had nailed a snapper over at Little Halls Reef. Jimbo and diesel, nearby to me, had reported no more action.
So the remainder of us, except pedro, who was now harassing the grassies at Halls Reef, decided to head for home.
Info from pedro:
Made the Yeeha zone, fish went 24kg at davo’s
Caught on live yakker 8/0 circle hook drifting L Halls, 40min to boat.
Looks like we might be in for a great winter.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange