TR by sunshiner (pics by me)
Wind: less than 5 knot WNW
Swell: less than 1.m NE
Water temp: 23.9°C
Tides: High 03:36am (1.23m); Low 09:12am (0.73m)
Current: Slight toward east at Jew Shoal
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: None seen
Participants: sunshiner (although tunny paddled out as I paddled in)
My trip distance: 12.5km
Redmap: No sightings
Keen Angler Program: Two snapper frames donated by me.
I'd been watching the forecast crack in the windy weather for several days, and felt confident enough early yesterday to announce that I was planning on launching at first light today. But then MetEye's forecast went downhill and so I thought the planned trip was buggered. 15-20 knot northerly winds is no picnic in Laguna Bay. Then taking another look at MetEye after 6:00 pm I noticed that the forecast had gone back to similar to what it was 24 hours earlier (MetEye is a great facility, but it's important to know that it updates at irregular intervals and also you should note the published update time, in the small print in the Wind Forecasts box on the left. It's best to reload the forecast page on opening just to make sure you've got the latest update.)
So the trip was again a possibility. Unfortunately, my two companions who had indicated they'd go too, originally, were unable to accompany me at such short notice. Unfortunate for them, that is.
The wind was just the faintest zephyr, from the west and the eastern sky was just becoming pale, this at 4:30am as I stood ready to launch. A dry bum launch would have been possible but I stupidly let a small wave in the splashing shorey flood the seat space. Never mind, with the water temp of 24°, it wasn't hard to take.
Paddling out today, heading for Jew Shoal, I saw my first flying fish of the summer, a little guy only a couple of inches long, but a welcome sight, and a confirmation of warm water.
After my success last Saturday, I opted to troll the known snapper haunts (ie, everywhere there's reef) first while watching the sonar for signs of bait fish down deep. Certainly there was no sign of surface action, no birds, no splashing. And down deep there was very little sign of baitfish, even in the relatively shallow places where they usually hang out.
The first place I spotted a few traces of bait on the sounder was in the region of Old Faithful, a mark known to several of the Noosa Yakkers old hands, and in fact named by jaro, as I recall. Here I tried my drift and cast routine and very quickly scored an undersized snapper (released). Well, at least they were here! The air was calm, but I was moving along gently with the current, so kept prospecting with the SPs and continuing to watch for fish sign on the sonar.
After an hour or so of this, at various places, with very limited success apart from a couple more undersized snapper I decided that I should really go searching for bait on the sonar and then, if successful, fish there. This search led me to a mark which I rarely use, where, to my surprise I found lots of fish sign, mainly near the bottom.
I chose a start point, based on likely drift direction, hoping I would pass over the "hot" area I'd identified. My GoPro was running and shows me exactly what happened. Within a minute of laying out the first cast with my SP, I was hooked up to a decent fish which took line off the spool in a short but savage run. The fight then turned into several minutes of dogged up-and-down struggle but eventually I could see my snapper, for that's what it was, about 5 metres down in the clear water.
This capture is shown in the 2 minute video embedded below, so well worth a look if you need to pick up a few pointers on SP fishing generally.
This was a nice fish, and I estimated that it was around 70cm long although the brag mat later showed that I was a little bit optimistic.
After picking up another undersized snapper in the same general area I returned to the start of my drift, by using the Tracks feature on my GPS and sure enough, before long I could see signs of fish appearing on the sonar. Starting my drift at the same place as I had before, I put out the trailing outfit, which unknown to me was about to get in on the action, and sent out my cast SP. Hardly had the cast SP start to descend when the trailing outfit went off with a beautiful howl. The important thing when this happens is to set the hook and maintain pressure and, at the same time, retrieve any other lines out there. This requires some dexterity but I've had some practice over the years, and again you can see my frantic activity to sort things out in the movie.
This fish put up a solid fight but, at only about 50cm, had nowhere near the pulling power of the first. Soon, it too was in the hatch.
My day was made, really, and it was only 8:00am. So I opted to head in, satisfied with my catch.
I'd just left Jew Shoal when tunny, newly returned from a month's absence in South Africa, came up on the radio, explaining that he'd decided to launch, even though it was a bit late. I had great pleasure in letting him know about my catch and then agreed to rendezvous with him to pass on the "hot" location details. I think that today my sonar was a great advantage, as I've often found when fishing for snapper. Unfortunately, tunny's sonar was not working today and I understand that he got a NIL result at the location I passed on.
Movie, two minutes
Looks like the snapper are coming on!
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