TR by sunshiner
Wind: to 5 knot westerly
Swell: about 1m SE
Water temp: 26.1°C
Tides: Low 12:32am (0.19m); High 07:10am (2.06m)
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne and Doggie Beach (redgreg)
Surface action: None
Participants: redgreg, weeksie, sunshiner
My trip distance: 16km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: One mackerel frame donated
Alone, very early. The waxing moon (near full) had set and the overcast sky to the east was reluctant to give up any early light. So it was pretty dark when I launched into a small sea around 0355, easily dodging the occasional larger set.
I took my time in setting up and by about 0410 was on my way north, toward Jew Shoal, my chosen destination today. At about the 2.8 km mark I put out my trolling outfit, armed with a medium running HLP 120. Of surface action there was no sign, but I was pleased to see a squadron of six terns overtake me and stay on my heading. Perhaps they had some arcane knowledge of a food supply out there near Jew Shoal. I hoped so.
I trolled over The Pinnacles, noting that there seemed to be the usual indications of baitfish in the vicinity, but nothing extraordinary. One of my favourite marks to the N was my next target. Bingo, heaps of baitfish, mostly hugging the bottom in 20-22m, and stacking up to the 10m mark. This looked so promising that I opted to stop trolling and try for a snapper, while hanging around to see if anything would happen on the surface.
After several casts with the SP without result and with the sonar still showing huge amounts of bait but no surface explosions I arrived at the notion that surely some big predators would show up some time so I should start trolling again. By now the terns had discovered that some of the bait schools were rippling the surface so moved in for brekky, dipping and fluttering, picking up unwary bait as it packed up to the surface.
Conditions were great for trolling, with light winds making it easy to choose a paddle in any direction. The terns were showing where the bait was and were scattered over several acres so I just kept to where they were active, steadily plugging away at 4-5kph, turning through 180° as necessary to cover the active ground.
By now, redgreg had called up from off Doggie Beach, telling me he was heading to fish out wide at Sunshine Reef. I had the place pretty much to myself, except for a couple of jetski fishers who buzzed around burning fuel for no result. Then weeksie let me know he'd launched at Middle Groyne, so I passed on the news about the baitfish. His response was that he'd see me in about 30 minutes. By the time I spotted weeksie arriving at the shoal I'd been trolling steadily for nearly an hour for no result. But the bait was thick so sticking with the trolling plan seemed the best idea. Also, I had a deadline which meant a departure for Middle Groyne by around 06:45 to meet family on the beach.
At around 06:28 (according to the GoPro), the trolling rod went off with a beautiful howl. After a brief but vigorous battle I looked down into the clear water to see my first Spaniard of the 15/16 season with the HLP fastened firmly to its lower jaw. The fish was knackered by the time it came within gaff range and barely reacted when the point went in just behind the head. Game over (all captured on video embedded below).
A few minutes later, weeksie kindly offered to take a pic.
My time was up, and I had my fish so I paddled the 4+ km back to Middle Groyne without a lure out, although I did have a slug outfit available if some spotties had put in an appearance.
It being the top of a fairly big tide, there were some nice little rollers available at the groyne. One of them delivered me quick smart onto the beach (right way up) where new Noosa Yakker bluedog (on childcare duty for the day) greeted me on arrival.
Movie, two minutes, of the capture
Thanks for reading.
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