TR by sunshiner (pics by me)
Wind: 10 knot E, swinging into Laguna Bay
Swell: 1.m SE
Water temp: 24.4°C
Tides: Low 04:02am (0.25m); High 10:41am (1.86m)
Current: None noticed at Jew Shoal
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: None seen
Participants: isobar, weeksie, sunshiner
My trip distance: 11km
Redmap: No sightings
Keen Angler Program: One snapper frame donated by me.
Having not been out for a fish since 14Oct, when I came back with a donut and redwood with a cobia (grrr!), I was understandably keen to get out ASAP to prove to myself that I do sometimes catch fish. Also I'm keen to test out the theory that the bigger snapper are caught during early summer so, as the main experimenter, I have to get out as often as possible to find out what's happening on the local reefs.
I was back in the Army, in my dreams, and woke up at 3:00 am with a considerable degree of relief to find I was in Sunshine Beach and no longer a soldier, as my upcoming Army posting was to be Canberra (Sorry, swabio, but I've been there and done that!). The wind reports looked a bit dodgy, but I reckoned I could handle the bay and Jew Shoal OK, so went downstairs and loaded the yak onto the zook and headed for Middle Groyne. I knew that isobar and weeksie would be along a little later, and also noted that the forecast easterly breeze was making its presence felt at the launch point; meaning that the seas would likely be a bit lumpy out there.
Launching at 4:30 am allowed me enough light to see pretty well, and as a bonus I could clearly observe to the east the rare view of three planets, Venus, Jupiter and Mars, rising simultaneously. As I expected, with the chop rolling into the beach, I did get a wet bum, but it certainly wasn't cold.
Within a couple of minutes I was paddling north east, punching into the chop, and as soon as I was well clear of the shark net I turned on my GoPro and deployed, on my trolling outfit, my customary wire-rigged Laser Pro, shallow runner, 120mm, pilchard pattern (What a deadly lure that has proven to be, for me.).
Weeksie called me up for a radio check when I was about a click out from the beach, as I was making steady, albeit slower than normal, progress toward Jew Shoal through the chop and against the wind. A few, but not a lot of, terns were passing overhead, going my way, I noticed. Sometime in the next month or two I expect to see those terns wheeling around over bustups, but the baitfish aren't yet in the bay in sufficient concentrations.
Normally I can get to Jew Shoal from the beach in around 40 minutes. Today, I was slower by at least ten minutes, I reckon, and was abeam and east of The Pinnacles around an hour after launch where to my delight, the trolling outfit went off with a beautiful screaming run. Straight away I knew this was probably a snapper, as the run ceased pretty quickly and the fish went deep (the lure I was using runs only about one metre down). The fight was typical of a snapper, too, and the GoPro shows that it was all over in less than three minutes, with the 9kg line and Charter Special making it tough for the snap. Even so a decent snapper is a glorious sight, when first seen, down deep in the skinny daylight, as it gradually increases in perceived size, and its colours become more prominent, as the line is retrieved onto the spool. I never get tired of that.
Movie (GoPro). Less than two minutes. See the strike and the fight in the beautiful early morning light.
My day was made, and it was only 5:30am. Weeksie joined me at the shoal soon afterward and understandably opted to troll also. My sonar was showing few if any baitfish down deep but I tried a drift for a while and it was shortly after this that isobar showed up and paddled over to say hello and to find out what was going on.
As I said, my day was already made, so I decided around 07:00 to head for home, particularly as the wind didn't seem to be lessening.
Weeksie and isobar followed me in and we were all on the near deserted beach by around 08:00 with mine the only fish among us.
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