Yeehah! Longtails and snapper. 25Jun15

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.

Diesel's pic of the first fish of the day, taken on bait.

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.

A snapper canine tooth with root was impaled on the hook. Presumably the hook had embedded in the root area. So now I'm into snapper dentistry. And I've kept the tooth.

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.

But I did boat it. (Cropped frame from GoPro video)

Safely in the fishbox.

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.

The combined catch (pedro excepted, see below). Tunny, jimbo and I caught one snapper each, while diesel caught two.

The boys at the wash point

Info from pedro:

"Hi Kev
Made the Yeeha zone, fish went 24kg at davo’s
Caught on live yakker 8/0 circle hook drifting L Halls, 40min to boat.

In the Yeehah! zone. Only the second fish to do so at this stage.

Stonker of a longtail. Well done, Pete.

Looks like we might be in for a great winter.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Interesting weather. 18Jun15

TR by sunshiner

Wind: S to SE less than 5 knots (as forecast by MetEye)
Swell: 1.6m ENE
Water temp: 22.8°C
Tides: 3:22 am : 0.42 L; 9:02 am : 1.39 H
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: none seen
Participants: pedro, sunshiner
My trip distance: 10.5km
Keen Angler Program: Nothing today from me

This is more a weather report, or rather a weather forecasting report, than a fishing trip report because it contains some info which may be useful to all offshore kayak fishers.

But first to the trip itself, briefly.

The weather for an offshore kayak fishing trip has been crap this last ten days or so, and several of us were watching anxiously to see if the slight chance offered by Seabreeze (and others) for today would actually pay off. At 6:30am today, having examined the various options I decided that I'd go despite not having made my usual preparations the previous night. By 07:30 I was on the beach at Middle Groyne checking the situation. It was good to go so I doubled back to the zook to unload my yak.

Pedro, I noticed, was already occupying my preferred space in the car park. Probably he was already at Jew Shoal. The swell was definitely up a bit (see graph later) but nothing that couldn't be managed with a bit of patience and care.

Launch time. As you can see, it was a bit boisterous.

Safely out the back, I radioed pedro who confirmed that he was at the shoal and had already bagged a flathead and sweetlip as well as releasing a shark. Forty minutes or so later I joined pedro and started my usual drift routine. Conditions were ideal, with a light SW-S breeze, clear sky, clean water and no other boats. I started my drift fish at 08:45 and that's about when the fish stopped biting, although it wasn't a hot bite in the first place (new moon). I only got one hit on my SPs in two hours or so, and this was the fish I brought home as a bait for the future.

Yellow-tail pike.

Pedro was also catching nothing else despite having a live bait out and other juicy dead baits wafting around. As often at Jew Shoal, it looks like you need to be there before sunrise to maximise your chance of fish.

Anyway, pedro decided to head for north Sunshine Reef and I hung around until about 11:45 before pulling the pin. I was safely back on the beach at 12:35. Perhaps pedro will fill us in on how he finished up.

Now, for those interested, let's take a look at the weather forecasting situation for today.

This is how Seabreeze interpreted the wind forecast. At Noosa, the wind was actually far less than forecast on this graph, which is for the whole of the Sunshine Coast. If I'd relied on this graph only, I probably wouldn't have bothered going.

The MetEye forecast display. Although this screen shot was obtained late and thus doesn't show the earlier forecasts (one every three hours), all of the earlier ones for today which I saw at 6:15am were very similar to this, with light winds in the Noosa area all day. These forecasts are what I relied on when I made my decision to go, and they proved to be spot on.

My only reservation about today was the launch conditions. In the above graph, Seabreeze forecast that the swell would be from the ENE at around 1.5m. From previous experience we have observed that any swell over one metre from the N round to the E will penetrate Laguna Bay and potentially cause havoc at Middle Groyne (as will unusually large swells from the SE). The amount of havoc depends not only on swell direction but also on swell height and tide state. From my observations today, Seabreeze correctly forecast the swell as there was potential for taking a ducking at both launch and return. Yes, I got through without a swim.

Since I discovered that its service had been extended to Noosa, I have been using MetEye for wind forecasting and have found it to be excellent, especially when used in conjunction with the live wind reading from Double Island Point (see below). For swell forecasts, I will continue to rely on Seabreeze until something better comes along.

Today's Seabreeze graph of the actual wind recorded at DIP, whose anemometer is located in clear, unobstructed air atop the headland, albeit 50km from Noosa. As such, it remains a significant indicator of what the open water wind speed and direction may be in Laguna Bay.

Hope you found the above observations useful.

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange

Four species, Jew Shoal. 04Jun15

TR by sunshiner

Wind: S to SE less than 5 knots (as forecast by MetEye)
Swell: 1.6m SE
Water temp: 23.3°C
Tides: 3:15 am : 0.42 L; 8:53 am : 1.45 H
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: some mac tuna and longtail activity
Participants: diesel, tunny, jimbo, sunshiner
My trip distance: 10.5km
Keen Angler Program: I donated a snapper frame

Let's get this clear right from the start: before today I'd had seven (yes seven) offshore yak fishing trips in a row without bringing a fish back to the beach. To say that I was getting anxious is an understatement. What was I doing wrong? As it turned out, nothing. It's just that the fish weren't present or active, I presume, because I used exactly the same techniques today and in the same location as previously and today I caught fish. I hope this points to the possibility that our usual fishing spots are coming back to their former condition.

Yesterday pedro told us all that he'd had a great day in Laguna Bay. His catch of two snapper interested me most (even though I was awed by the massive longtail he'd boated), because the snapper is one of my favourite fish, and one I hadn't caught this whole calendar year. Seldom if ever in my kayak fishing career have I not caught a snapper for five months.

So snapper were on my mind when I accepted diesel's invitation yesterday to join him at daybreak for another expedition into the bay. Jimbo and tunny also accepted, so that meant four of us to brave the cold.

And it WAS cold, until we hit the water, as the air at sea level was warmed by the much warmer ocean.

6:00am, just after diesel and I started paddling north for Jew Shoal. Note that the moon is full. Many locals say that fish can't be caught when the moon is full. Myth busted, again!

Jimbo launched a little later and also opted to head for Jew Shoal. Tunny was later still and opted for Little Halls Reef.

A light southerly breeze helped us all the way to Jew Shoal, and I'd put my first cast out (SP) at 6:29am, starting a drift from the southern edge of the shoal to take advantage of the breeze. Soon, diesel, fishing with mac tuna chunks, started to tell me by radio that he was catching various reef ooglies. Then jimbo arrived, armed with big prawns, and very quickly let us know that he'd nailed a nice fat grassie. Then diesel was also in on the act with a 48cm flathead, a fairly rare offshore catch in Noosa in my experience. Me? Nothing. Not even a touch. I had my trailing outfit rigged with a 4 inch white SP and hanging about 10-12m down; my casting outfit was rigged with my usual one-eighth ounce jighead and a 3 inch Z-man SP. Still, this system had worked in the past, so…

The GoPro caught it all. Whack! I was instantly shaken out of my torpor. The drag of my casting outfit (6kg braid) was set properly and line was pouring off the spool. I knew that this fish was almost certainly a snapper. It ran straight, deep and strongly. This was a fish I really needed. After a time the run stopped and I started to retrieve line, slowly but deliberately. A minute or so elapsed and then I could see the pale shimmer below. The shimmer became clearer and the beautiful detailed pattern of colours of a snapper were revealed. Bewdy!

The second gaff shot found a firm grip (cropped frame from GoPro video).

My first snapper for 2015!

That felt better. I now knew that my system worked and that snapper were present. I was very glad I'd got out of bed at 5:00am on this cold morning.

Jimbo by now had boated a second grassie, on prawn. The next bit of action I had was about an hour later, when my cast SP was taken by something which was obviously not a snapper.

Coach-whip trevally (regarded as "unusual" by Ern Grant). This is only the second specimen I've caught at Jew Shoal. A possible Noosa Yakkers record claim as it is not previously recorded in our list of species.

About now jimbo reported another grassie, again on prawn. And tunny had reported in, also.

The action slowed after about 08:30 and we at Jew Shoal opted to head for home, in near glassy conditions, just before 10:00am. Tunny had reported by radio that he'd caught a 40cm snapper at Little Halls Reef and was probably going to head for Halls Reef before coming back in a couple of hours after us.

Some beach pics:

Combined catch.

Three amigos (tunny still out there)

Trekker from Toulouse, visiting Noosa. "I nairver saw men fishing from ze kayaks before!"

Movie of the morning's activities

A great morning. You should have been there, Jaro!

Kev Long
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange