TR by sunshiner
Wind: Light north westerly
Swell: way less than 1m
Water temp: 22.2°C
Tides: 2:26 am : 0.20 L; 8:41 am : 1.60 H
Current: none detected
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Surface action: None sighted, except whales
Participants: diesel, gemini, weeksie, freeyakker, jimbo, sunshiner
My trip distance: 6.3km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: at least one snapper frame donated
Our Facebook Group is a great asset, making it simple for even the most time- and tech-poor among us to contribute to the conversation. But, being so immediate and in-your-face it doesn't provide, yet, a facility for creating an easily accessible record of our adventures. So our blog lives on and here's my latest contribution. Possibly, an as-yet-unborn Noosa Yakker will be able to view this, learn from it and know that his predecessors enjoyed and relished their kayak fishing experiences.
So to yesterday. Diesel beat me to the car park, which was all but empty. [For the benefit of our future reader, autonomous cars, although widely accepted as the future of personal transport, have not yet been embraced by the motoring fraternity so we still need dedicated spaces called car parks where we can leave our kayak carriers.] The moonless, clear sky showed no hint yet of the approaching dawn, the gentle wave noise arriving from the east hinted of expected ideal conditions and the ambient air temperature was unexpectedly low (maybe 8°C). Within a minute or two gemini rolled up with his ute and Supalite X and we three set off on foot to inspect the launch situation. Being low tide and with a very wide beach presently anyway, we got our morning warm up exercise before dipping our toes in the warm Pacific, whose surface was ruffled by the cool and gentle westerly breeze. Back at the car park jimbo had unexpectedly rolled up and also, as we started to trundle our yaks down the path and across the wide soft sand beach to the launch point, freeyakker, having driven all the way from Brisbane, drove in with his yak on the roof.
It's a singular feeling, standing in the semi darkness on the ocean's edge, preparing to embark in your personal boat. Most of you know what it's like.
As often, Diesel had gone first. I followed gemini and noticed a whale pop up nearby almost immediately. With setup accomplished and radio checks done we set out for Doggie Beach reef, a mere 1.5km distant while jimbo and freeyakker dawdled a little. On our way out we were serenaded by music blasting out from what we presume to be the remains of a party in a beachside home. Probably accidentally "Here Comes the Sun" was the song of choice.
Fantastic dawn conditions [movie (15sec) paddling out]
By the time we'd paddled out to Doggie Beach Reef the wind had dropped away completely, as you can see if you watch the 15sec movie below. And weeksie had become our second unexpected participant, radioing us when we were half way out.
So these were the conditions in which I laid out, at around 5:30am, my first cast with my usual imitation prawn SP rigged on a 1/4 ounce 3/0 jighead (6kg braid). With so little breeze, even at 28m deep it was easy to keep the SP close to the bottom. I noticed that the distance from the mark was slowly increasing and that I was travelling south.
As is my habit, I gave the SP a little twitch every now and again and I'd travelled around 100m in a few minutes when I felt a faint bump on the line and I struck instinctively. (This was seven minutes after I'd started drift fishing, as revealed by the GoPro.)
Whatever it was didn't put up much of a fight initially and certainly didn't follow the usual big snapper pattern of a fast if brief horizontal run. But it did demonstrate that it had some weight by heading for the bottom with line peeling off the conservatively set drag and the rod bending appropriately, much to weeksie's enjoyment, not to mention mine. After three minutes or so of these strong lunges for the bottom I started to gain the upper hand. I was getting line back and the runs against the drag were less menacing. Even now, after many, many years of fishing I still feel the temptation to increase the drag when I have a fish like this on. If this happens to you, resist it. If you're hooked up and have been for a minute or two there's a good chance that you're winning the battle. Upping the drag even a teensy bit might cause the hook to rip free or a weak point in the terminal gear to become obvious. With a threadline reel in a slugging match such as this you can gain line by laying a finger on the edge of the spool (and thus temporarily increasing the effective drag) as you gently lean back on the rod; then you lift the finger and wind the reel quickly as you drop the rod tip back toward the fish. Repeat. If at any time the fish shows a tendency to run you can quickly lift the finger and rely on the drag system.
Anyway, at last I had the fish about half way up but was still puzzled as to the species. You can see and hear my reaction in the video below, which ends with the capture of my best snapper so far for a couple of seasons.
So, not counting the ten minute troll out I'd been fishing less than 15 minutes and now felt I could go home. Note that Queensland law limits anglers to possession of no more than one snapper of 70cm or longer, and this fish was clearly in that category.
While I'd been dealing with my fish, gemini, nearby, had hooked up and boated what he thinks may have been a Venus tusk fish which he released as he thought it undersized.
I decided to fish on, reasoning that it would be unlikely that I'd hook another snapper exceeding 70cm, especially since I hadn't hooked one that size for at least two years, despite boating many snapper in that time.
Around the same time I hooked and boated another snapper on the SP but released it as it was just legal. Shortly afterward I decided to head home to make sure my fish was refrigerated.
Track movie (30sec). Note that the start and end points indicate where I turned my GPS on and off.
Always be careful of the shorey at Doggie Beach. Note that the swell had not changed from launch time but the tide had come in and the water edge now coincided with a steep section of the beach. Also I'm not as young and agile as I used to be. This was the easiest return to this beach I've experienced.
Beach return movie (39sec)
Thanks for reading.
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