Subject: fishing today, 27Apr09
Date: Monday, 27 April 2009 2:10 PM
0515. The alarm wakes Mary. She thumps me in the back as I'm sleeping with my good ear down and haven't heard it. Fishing time!!
As soon as I got up I could feel a slight movement of air through the house but the curtains weren't billowing the way they'd been last night. A quick check on the verandah confirmed a clear and cool morning with no significant breeze. Winter is clearly on its way.
The only other Noosa yakker I was expecting at the beach, Brian (madcowes) was already unloaded when I arrived at the car park at 0545 and we chatted as I got my bits and pieces together for the first time in five weeks, three of them spent in Egypt and the last two at home waiting for the weather to improve. It was perfect today, with a light SW, no swell, pretty much cloudless.
In no time we were out the back, rigging up. The sun rose, as expected at 0610 and a few minutes later I took a pic of Brian.
I headed for the western side of Jew Shoal, anticipating that the SW breeze would blow me across the reef. The trip out was uneventful, except that at one stage a small flock of terns passed over me heading west. I wondered what they were up to as I was pretty sure there were no schools of baitfish in the Bay, still discoloured from the last few weeks' disruptive weather. My mark was reached by 7.00am and I deployed the drogue and noted that the sea was at least clear of floating debris, although it was hard to discern at that hour whether water clarity was back to normal. I intended to fish a 1/8oz jig, as usual, on my casting outfit, plus, on my heavier trolling outfit, a trailing line rigged with a 1/2oz ball sinker, short wire trace and a floating (and thus unlikely to snag) lure which was designed to resemble a squid, even to the extent that the tentacles and head were made of soft plastic.
Very soon after deploying the first jig I noticed occasional splashes nearby. Shortly they were revealed to be tuna, probably mac tuna. Somehow they were finding and harassing small schools of baitfish hovering over the reef. Anyway, after drifting NE quite rapidly over a deeper section of the reef for about 20 minutes without any action on the jig I decided that trying the shallower area of the reef might be worth while so paddled over to a section which I knew was quite shallow and set up a drift to go right over it. Soon the sounder showed that my drift was working well -- the depth varied between 10 and 18m and lots of underwater structure could be seen. A few minutes later I was working my jig over some of this shallow structure when I got a hit from a small fish. I quickly boated it, took a pic and then returned to the business of (hopefully) catching a snapper.
A couple of casts later I was working the jig over the top of structure about 12m down when the line tightened, the rod tip bent over into the water and a scorching run took line off the reel against the drag. This fish meant business and showed no sign of complying with my "come here" tactics. Although at one stage I got a few metres of line back on the spool, this very rapidly disappeared as the next run had the spool down to the backing line. The yak was being pulled along across the breeze and I was settling in for a long fight when there was a loud scream from the other outfit, the one with the squid lure on it. Shit, isn't it always the way! Here I am with hands full with what is obviously a good fish and now I need a second pair of hands to look after what is obviously another good fish. The second outfit was emitting growling noises, a different tone to the other reel, and bucking around in its rod holder so I reached around with my left hand and picked up the rod to at least start to take control. At this moment the pressure went off the lighter rod, signalling a disconnect (mixed feelings here) and so I put it in its rod holder and gave all of my attention to the heavier outfit. This felt like a decent snapper and sure enough, within a few minutes my first snapper for 2009 appeared beside the yak. Very quickly he was gaffed and hauled into the footwell where he kindly posed for an early morning portrait.
This was just what I'd been hoping for, but I hadn't been very confident because I thought that perhaps the water discolouration might badly affect the fishing. As the ambient light improved I could see that the water was slightly murky but much better than I'd thought it would be so it seems likely that the foul fishing conditions recently experienced have gone. Before long, Brian came over to see how I was going. At this stage he'd had one half-hearted strike on a floated dead bait so he opted to join me in the shallow area which I was fishing. The next 45 minutes produced a smaller snapper for me, this time on the jig.
Then things went quiet. I stayed till about 0945 then headed for home, leaving Brian, still fishless when I left, to continue the hunt. I really enjoyed the paddle back and didn't even need to check the wave sets before running the surf zone as there wasn't a surf zone, the swell was so small.
Wednesday's now looking better than Tuesday. Who's interested in a trip? If weather conditions permit, a Sunshine Beach launch may be the go. Harry, are you OK for Wednesday? Please note that I'm away in Sydney for a week from Thursday so someone else should step up to the plate to coordinate trips.
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner