TR by sunshiner with contribution by weeksie
Wind: light, variable
Swell: about 1m E
Water temp: 26.7°C
Tides: Low 04:26am (0.35m); High 10:57am (1.96m)
Current: none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: Heaps at Halls Reef, spotty macs and very small mac tuna or bonito.
Participants: diesel, muzza, weeksie, sunshiner
My trip distance: 17.5km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: unknown
First up, will the membership team especially note that new member "muzz", who launched today for the first time and had access to a borrowed radio, has agreed to use the nickname "muzza" because his first chosen nickname, being a single syllable, was unsuitable as a radio callsign.
New Noosa Yakker muzza arrived at the car park just as diesel and I were getting organised, ie long before first light. We exchanged pleasantries and assured muzza, who, being a north Queenslander, is not accustomed to launching through any surf that gets your knees wet, that his choice of craft (Supalite X) was ideal for a Middle Groyne launch. In the background waves could be heard breaking on the beach. It was muzza's first launch through surf, ever.
No cloud this pre-dawn, no bloody moon either. It was dark on the beach. It was a very low tide. As far as we reasonably could in the poor ambient light, we explained to muzza the expected wave patterns and laughed off the white water which loomed out of the blackness and threatened to float our yaks in their parking positions. The waves come in sets, we explained. Watch diesel, we said. Muzza and I stood back while diesel with his yak strode forward.
Diesel's launching with his head torch on. Jumps aboard, paddles forward, stops briefly, back paddles, paddles hard, hits the first wave and punches through. The next wave, three seconds after, stops him dead, the headlight's buried in a head high breaker. He's momentarily going backward but then recovers, to my surprise, and paddles hard forward to meet the oncoming next wave, same size. Standing on the edge, waiting and watching, muzza and I could hear the thump as diesel bellied after the third wave. He got through, totally soaked, but he was through and paddling out to the setup area. "See", I said to muzza, "nothing to it!"
He and I launched together. As happens fairly often, especially when my vision is limited, my timing was not quite impeccable. I counted four biggies as we waited thigh deep in the surge and then signalled "go". We both got very wet but every wave we encountered had either already broken (and thus is easy meat for an X) or was still building (that's easy meat for any yak). Anyway, there were only about four waves to deal with before we were into deeper water, so a good first launch experience.
The three of us headed for Jew Shoal, hoping to dodge the chaos of cruiser commanders at Halls Reef. My hopes of finding baitfish at Jew Shoal were dashed. Bugger all on the sonar; no surface action; no birds except one or two shearwaters. I paddled around, checking all the usual places. Nothing. Weeksie called up from the beach and told us he was on his way out, too.
But as the sun tipped over the horizon we all could see dozens, if not hundreds, of terns purposefully flying from around Hells Gates toward the west. Looked like Halls Reef was on again! It's only another 4.5km, so why not? The four of us headed west.
Pretty soon we started seeing stink boats on the horizon, dead ahead. It was only when we got within about 500m that we could see that the terns and the shearwaters were flocking around and feeding on massed baitfish. So we joined the melee. The bustups were of two types. Firstly, small tuna were tidily terrorising the bait raising only a small ruckus, punctuated by eruptions of baitfish and the presence of dozens of shearwaters, sitting on the water, right in the middle of all this. Secondly, the spotty macs were feeding, usually separately, in their usual boisterous style, making larger splashes and high speed dashes into the packed bait.
I tried several casts of my smallest slug into the tuna bustups. No reponse, even though in many cases the fish were feeding within five metres from me. Spotty macs then drew my attention. The same lure got a couple of hits but no solid hookup from the spotties. I switched to a bigger lure, rigged on my second rod, chucked it out, let it sink and cranked hard. Immediate hookup then nothing. 40 pound mono bitten clean through!
As described by jaro and jag-one a couple of days ago, the spotty macs were cruising around, highly visible from my seat in the yak. But they were finicky and pretty soon I tired of dodging stink boats and proposed to muzza and diesel that we start heading home as the temperature would likely climb pretty high soon.
As explained by him below, weeksie had opted to go for Little Halls Reef rather than Halls Reef. On the way back we heard him calling us that he had a Spaniard in the hatch. I'll let him tell his story.
Contribution by weeksie
I paddled from Middle Groyne at around 4.15am destination Jew Shoal where I eventually caught up with Sunshiner, Diesel and met Muzza on the water.
The general call was to make tracks to Halls Reef several km to the west which is where many birds seem to be headed.
The armada of boats at Hall's became apparent as we got closer to the mark. Little Hall's seemed more appealing for me so a new mark was set slightly south west to troll a pink skirted slimy mack bait.
The wind dropped out and with the morning sun at my back, it was quite peaceful, a bit too peaceful.
Birds working inshore to the south west drew my interest and a Barred Long Tom was released after casting into one of the bust ups. On the way to another bust up and paddling at a fair clip, the ratchet on the trolling Jigmaster rig buzzed. I paddled hard and eventually boated a beaut Spaniard.
We all paddled in about the same time and exchanged pleasantries on the beach and t'was good to meet Muzza.
The Fisha 460 did everything I asked of it this morning (except motor in) and it is a pleasure to paddle.
Thanks for reading.
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