Getting a buzz from a snapper. 31Jul16

TR by sunshiner

Wind: Light southerly
Swell: 1m SE
Water temp: 21.7°C
Tides: High 05:45
Current: toward SE at Sunshine Reef
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: None sighted, except whales
Participants: eyetag, redwood, jimbo, sunshiner
My trip distance: 14.3km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: at least one snapper frame donated

I was getting desperate. I'd fished on several occasions during July and had failed to boat a fish and had only one hookup. Mid winter is usually tough with occasional diamond days, however, so I reckon it's worth persisting on every opportunity that comes along.

And so it was that yesterday, the last day of July, at dawn, I was trundling my yak down to the old familiar launching point on Main Beach. Another set of trolley tracks had followed the same path very recently, I noticed. Jimbo followed me down and we both launched into the gentle swell, dry bumming it again!

I'd decided to work over Jew Shoal thoroughly, despite the recent run of failures, and headed for there, while jimbo opted for A-Bay Reef area.

About 1.5km short of Jew Shoal, I heard redwood announce on the radio that he'd launched. He also opted to head for Jew Shoal.

My first cast SP was in the water at about 06:40, ten minutes or so after sunrise as I drifted north with the breeze. Then scatter came up on the radio explaining that he was crossing the bar in his stinky and heading over to say hello. And then eyetag (the mysterious early launcher) radioed that he was getting a little action at A-Bay Reef, nothing big, but persistent action from small snapper. Hmm! Might be worth a shift over there.

A short time later redwood was just visible to my south and at the same time scatter showed up on the shoal, apparently not to fish but just to look for whales. This was the cue for redwood to announce that he was hooked up on his trolled hardbody. Scatter offered to take a pic of the mac tuna (for that's what redwood had caught) before redwood released it.

Scatter's shot of redwood and mac tuna.

Another half hour of inaction for me at Jew Shoal. That was it, at least eyetag had proven that there were snapper biting at A-Bay Reef. On being told of my decision to head for A-Bay Reef, redwood decided to do the same and we independently set our courses for the 3km SE journey to our mark where jimbo and eyetag were drifting.

We were there in 30 minutes, helped by the current which was meandering toward the SE from the vicinity of Hells Gates. As soon as I arrived next to eyetag he boated a small but keeper snapper, caught on bait. This he kindly passed to me instead of releasing it, which he'd intended to do. Later, in turn, I passed this fish off to redwood to supplement his catch.

The sea floor in the A-Bay Reef area is pretty flat but with a sonar you can see occasional low undulations and, possibly more importantly, the gradual change of depth which goes from 30m to 27m over a relatively short distance. Eyetag explained that all of his fish had come from this shallower water area. On my sonar I could see occasional faint markings down deep which indicated fish, but the screen was not exactly lit up with fish echoes.

So redwood and I put our lines down at around 08:00. Jimbo, nearby, was fishless despite having been there since around 07:00. Eyetag wasn't busy, either. Pretty soon, though, redwood bagged a small snapper. Then the whales turned up, a mother and calf. Conditions were superb and the scenery amazing so it was great just to be out there in our tiny craft.

As usual, I was fishing using two outfits, both equipped with jig heads and soft plastics. The casting outfit, cast, let sink, jig for a while then retrieve, had a 1/4 ounce head and 90mm SP. The trailing outfit, just hanging vertically down was equipped with the heaviest jig head on the boat, 5/8 ounce, and a pre-loved 75mm prawn look alike SP which was the actual one taken by a Spaniard in May. This was hanging down an estimated 20m,

All remained quiet. Eyetag headed off home. Jimbo mentioned that he'd be going soon which prompted redwood to also decide for departure and me to announce that I would hang around until about 10am at the latest. It was just after 9:30am. Then my radio conversation with redwood was interrupted by a loud buzzing. The trailing outfit had gone off and line was peeling off at a furious rate. You can see how things went in the following one minute movie.

Here you can plainly see the jig head and SP. The depth on the sonar is 28.4m, but this was a few minutes after the initial strike. In any case I was fishing the slightly shallower banks area, from 27-29m.

This one fish made my day and my month!

We then decided to head home as we were facing a one hour paddle at least, depending on the opposing current. On the way home we ran the gauntlet at Hells Gates of a pod of whales and spectators in stink boats and jetskis but came through unscathed, and applauded, I like to think, by the many standing spectators on the headland.

Beach pic

Thanks for reading.

Kev Long
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

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