Spaniard and pelagics, 30Jan10

From: "Stuart Denissen"
Subject: Fishing 30 Jan 10
Date: Saturday, 30 January 2010 1:51 PM

I arrived this morning at approx 5:45, Ian's car in his usual spot. Conditions were ideal with only ankle slappers coming through for the launch. I mainly fished Laguna Bay and the river mouth due to a heap of bird and bait activity. I hooked another small shark which was quickly released. I had another strike a short while later near the river mouth using the last of my two slimy mackerels. I decided to follow the birds and bait balls which turned out to be good fun on light tackle, catching heaps of bonito and yellow tail yakkers. The Southerly started to pick up pretty strong and trying to stick with the bait became a mission so I decided to call it a day. Ian arrived back a couple minutes later and as per usual had a nice size Spaniard which he caught at Sunshine Reef. See pic attached.


Stu

From Ian

Subject: Re: Fishing 30 Jan 10
Date: Saturday, 30 January 2010 5:44 PM

I fished SR with big Bonito on chin guards two baits lost half a fillet and failed to hook up but there was one unlucky Spaniard that got hooked and landed, approx 1m and I'm guessing 6-7kg. Stu put photo on his report. I was told today that usually the Spaniards hit the baits with their mouth open then come back for a second hit after wounding the fish, this would explain the missing sides of my baits, I'm going with it anyway. Thinking about a close session tomorrow bait gathering, this will depend on the weather and how energetic I feel in the morning.

DB launch, big paddle, 28Jan10

From: "Jim Thompson"
Subject: NY Fishing Report 28/1/10 - Part 1
Date: Thursday, 28 January 2010 3:39 PM

Hi Yakkers,

Basically another Clayton's fishing report.

With Seabreeze predicting a very low NE swell and low wind during a morning high tide period, the chance of a launch from Dog Beach at Sunshine Beach was on the cards. I arrived at DB at 0455 and a quick recce confirmed a launch was very doable, and thus the chance to access directly into North Sunshine Reef region which had reputedly offered up quite a few Spanish mackerel in recent weeks. I was aware that Hollywood Harry, Whalebait, Turtle Boy and probably new Noosa Yakker, LeRoux Uys were intending to launch at MG between 0500 and 0530.

By 0520 I had launched, was through the surf zone, had set up my rods with a trailing Spaniard Special lure loaded with a slimey mackerel, and was heading directly east into the the sun that was now a red ball partly shrouded in cloud just above the horizon.

I initially paddled due east for about 1.75 km, I then turned north and paddled over most of our known marks at the northern end of Sunshine Reef. Whilst conditions were pleasant, there was no bird activity nor surface feeding occurring anywhere. Soon after turning north I realised I was making only about 4 kph "over the ground", as, in addition to the 5-10k NNW breeze, I was also pushing into a very strong southerly current running at +1.5 kph. Nethertheless, I pushed on towards Jew Shoal (now trolling a HB Halco lure) as radio comms with Whalebait told me that he and LeRoux had come out from MG to Granite Bay on the headland and were now at Jew Shoal where there was at least bird activity and Bonito surface bust-ups occurring. I would also have the opportunity of meeting LeRoux, which I eventually did just east of Jew Sh Pinnacles. After introductions, I lead LeRoux to a couple of our Jew Sh marks, then left him having a go at bottom fishing as I set forth on my ~6 km paddle south back to DB. I paddled over to Whalebait on departing Jew Sh who reported only that he had snared a large (and therefore very angry) turtle who had busted his rod in the process of reeling him in before disengaging the hooks.

I did divert to our favoured in-shore Sunshine Reef mark to try a bit of bottom fishing on my trip back to DB. This did produce a just undersized snapper which was released. The only surprise in all of this was that the previous very strong southerly current had suddenly seamed to have just disappeared. In fact, my drift south with the still 5-10k northerly breeze was so slow I wondered whether the current had even slightly reversed!

The return through the surf zone was simple and uneventful and I was safely back on DB by 1015 having completed a 17 km return trip - see attached Google Earth image for a bird's eye view of my route. I heard a late radio report from Whalebait that he had landed a few undersized reefies at Jew Sh, but don't know anything of the fortunes of Hollywood or Turtle Boy. Maybe one of you NYs could complete Part 2 of this report.

Jim's paddle today

A very pleasant paddle but no fish. Maybe the "full moon" and/or the "Fish don't bite during a NW wind" theories might have been prevailing.

Cheers,
Jimbo

Later...

From: "Steven Crisp"
Subject: Re: NY Fishing Report 28/1/10 - Part 1
Date: Thursday, 28 January 2010 5:12 PM

Hello All,

From our side which fished predominantly WNW of middle groyne - Hollywood, new boy Wayne Edwards (call sign to be determined) and I had respective encounters with a stingray, small sharks and a mac that none of us boated.

Harry and I are headed back tomorrow (weather permitting) to launch at MG at around 5.30. We will be targeting small sharks in the area out from MG to the shark nets and then across to the river mouth and perhaps lower north shore depending upon any bird or surface activity.

As usual we will be on VHF 9.

Saturday could also be a possibility depending upon the Seabreeze forecast which is becoming exceptionally variable with each update.

Whalebait - you have to watch out for those turtles - they bite!!!!!

TurtleBoy

Just sharks, 26Jan10

From: "Steven Crisp"
Subject: Re: New member
Date: Tuesday, 26 January 2010 11:38 AM

Hello All,

I launched this perfect morning at 6am and met up with Doug McDougall near the shark nets off middle groyne. A little beach break at the beach edge but easy entry along the west wall.

We chatted as I rigged up and then Doug proceeded to catch 2 or 3 small sharks in a matter of 10 minutes. He was using pilchards on a gang of 3 hooks. Doug advised that he would head home via the corner of main beach in 20 minutes so we moved off on our different paths.

I then paddled across the river mouth and up the north shore approximately 2klms before turning back to the bay. Then out via First point, Tea Tree and Granites where I was accompanied by a dolphin, before calling it a day. From the radio chatter it appeared as though most stink boats were headed out to Sunshine Reef.

Upon my return to the beach I met up with Rod Cameron. He had been further out towards Jew Shoal and said there had been some bust outs but not much taking lures. All he had was a very tangled line, sort of on and off the reel!

All in all, a very nice paddle and too bad Kevin wasn't there to video my perfect wave surf back to shore.

I can't paddle tomorrow, but will be out there on Thursday, launching around 5.30. Wayne Edwards is going to paddle also in Kevin's spare Espri, so we hope to see you at MG or on the water.

Until then,

TurtleBoy

Regards, Steve

Very quiet, 25Jan10

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Report ..... 25/01/2010
Date: Monday, 25 January 2010 10:41 AM

Hi Yakkers,

Very little to report so will be brief.

Attendees... Sons Michael and Peter, Alex, Wayne, Stu and I... all arrived at MG at about 5.30am to find conditions a bit lumpy. Getting out was quite exciting but all got out without too much trouble including Michael and Peter who are very inexperienced in a kayak (2nd time).

There was a some good bird activity but it was hard to nail them down. As soon as we neared them they were gone. Many casts by all proved fruitless. So I decided to take the boys to LHR while trolling the halco lure. Alex also came with us while the rest stayed around Laguna Bay I believe.

On reaching LHR, Michael was developing seasickness so we turned for home trolling spaniard specials with bonito baits.

We arrived at MG fishless and without any strike of any sort. Coming in was fun, with many having to use all their skill to stay upright... and upright all stayed. We found Stu had already returned also fishless except for catching a shark when he first left the shore. Wayne came in soon after also fishless but he did have a decent strike that didn't hold.

Thanks for coming guys. Better luck next time??

Jaro
Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

3 Spaniards, 24Jan10

From: "Stuart Denissen"
Subject: Today Fishing 24 Jan 10
Date: Sunday, 24 January 2010 11:29 AM

I arrived at approx 5 30 this morning and met up with Harry in the car park (Ian'’s car in his usual spot), we were out on the water a little before 6. Harry and I paddled across the river mouth before heading straight out due to seeing bird activity. Pretty much every cast into the bait activity caught small bonito and little (yellow tail pilchard looking fish) which I believe makes real good bait. After about an hour chasing the bait fish with no Spotties coming out I lost sight of Harry and decided to head back towards the river mouth as the wind had pick up and was getting a bit choppy. I was trolling a red and white octopus skirt with a slimy Mackerel which Harry had earlier baited on the 3 gang hook set up for me. Approx 400 meters out from the mouth I got a big strike and was on. After about 20 mins I managed to pull up a still very energetic 7 kilo Spanish Mackerel. Once i had landed him safely on the yak i headed back in, shortly after I saw Harry and Ian paddling in. I pulled up my fish to show them only to be showed up by Ian’'s two bigger Spaniards which he caught at Sunshine Reef. Well done Ian.

pic removed
Stu's fish (Ian's further down)

I will be heading down tomorrow morning at approx 5 30 with Wayne Bardwell, hope to see you guys there.

Cheers

Stu

:::::::::::::::
From Ian (later)

My Saturday (editor: ie the day before) was pretty ordinary, I trolled a 40cm Bonito for 3.5 hours all over JS then up and around LH where I put him away and put on a Slimey which got hit but the fish wasn't hooked. After that I headed in.

Sunday I trolled a Slimy on SR from 04.15 till 5.00 for nothing so I decided to put the big Bonito on still rigged from the day before, it was in the water about 3.5 minutes and I hooked the smaller fish. I put on another 40cm Bonito and lost everything in less than 5 minutes. Only having 2 big baits I went back to the Spaniard Special Slimey combo and caught the bigger fish after about 40 minutes of paddling. After that it was time to head home.

Ian's pair

Tomorrow (at the moment) will be another paddle to SR with 3 big Bonito and a couple of Slimeys for Justin (just in case), the Bonito don't work.

Cobia rumour, 23Jan10

From: "Jim Thompson"
Subject: Fishing Report - 23Jan10 .... The Clayton's Report
Date: Saturday, 23 January 2010 9:42 PM

Hi Yakkers,

This is a Clayton's Fishing Report - the fishing report you have when there is (almost) nothing to report.

I arrived at the MG car park at around 0515 to find a kayak fisherman unloading who was unknown to me. After introductions I established this yakker was Gary G, who knew of "Sunshiner" (Kev Long) through being a member of AKFF, but didn't get out too often due to work/family commitments. The only other participant from MG appeared to be Ian Tagg who had no doubt launched much earlier.

Meteorology : Partly cloudy, steady warm easterly breeze 12-14 knots making the sea a bit lumpy on top of a low 1-1.5m ESE swell.

We trundled our kayaks down to the beach to be met with fairly easy launch conditions. My plan was to again target the area between the river mouth and Little Halls Reef which had been successful for me only two days earlier. I launched first and started setting up beyond the surf zone when I spotted Doug McDougall in his blue/white Perception Swing, who normally launches down near the Noosa Heads SLSC, already 300 m to the north heading in the same direction as I intended to go. Gary G soon joined me and together we headed for LHR, Gary by a more direct route generally following Doug, by now some 500+ m ahead, and I by a more circuitous in-shore route.

To bring this report to brief conclusion .... basically nothing happened. There was absolutely no surface activity, either from random feeding bonito schools (that have been prevalent for the last month or more), and hardly a bird to be seen. At LHR Gary told me that Doug, now headed back towards the river mouth, had boated "a nice cobia" .... this is the only positive I have to report. Doug, maybe you can fill us in on the details.

I dragged my Spaniard special lure all the way back to the river mouth and then across Laguna Bay to "Lookout Point" on the National Park with the same pilchard untouched all the way. I changed over to Jaro's favoured Halco hard bodied lure for the return to MG but still no strikes. I lost sight of Gary G and Doug after leaving LHR so don't know the outcome of their outings. Listening in on VHF Ch22 it seemed most of the weekend boaties headed to Sunshine Reef and it sounded like the charter operators also had a lean morning.

On return to MG at ~0830, Ian Tagg's car was still there. Ian, maybe you could enlighten us on the outcome of your outing.

Good luck for those who intend going out tomorrow (Sun) morning.

Cheers,
Jimbo

Jimbo's Big Day Out, 21Jan10

It was Jim's day, breaks duck for the season and bags out on Spaniards

Jim and I arrived at MG at just before 5.00am to be greeted by a perfect day on Laguna Bay. We were soon on the water and were met there by Doug.

We all initially started for JS but soon after Jim decided to go to JS via the river mouth. Doug and I pressed on to JS by a more direct route. After about 15 minutes Jim informed me that he was going towards LHR....proved to be the right move later on.
Doug and I passed schools of bonitos with me catching one approaching JS...kept for bait. We both trolled around JS to no avail. I tried different lures and baits unsuccessfully. There were a number of boats there with none showing any signs of success either. Doug left early (6.30am) due to daughter commitments.

Jim had reported the same conditions at his location......very little bird activity but some bonito activity. He did report that he had had a strike but that the fish had got off soon after. It was about 7.10am that Jim suddenly called to say that he had hooked a good one and shortly after said that he had successfully boated an about 1 metre spaniard about 1 km from MG. We decided to both paddle to LHR and arrived there at around the same time.

It was time to record Jim's first pelagic for the season and so took a number of photos with this one being the best.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
What a great photo.....certainly a novel way of showing off your catch to maximum advantage.....note the beautiful conditions

We then went back towards MG, trolling along the way and about 15 minutes later Jim had another strike, so I had the privelege of seeing Jim fight and boat another Spaniard.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Jim about to gaff his fish, which he did after a few misses......note the mill pond conditions

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Spaniard sucessfully gaffed and one gleeful yak fisherman

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
A close up view of the Spaniard ( and one now very happy fisherman )

Shortly after we both headed for MG as Jim had reached his bag limit and landed easily at about 9.30am.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Jim with his trophies

Of course Jim had to deal with all the spectators, on the beach, at the wash area and at the car. He was in his element and lapping up all the attention and answering questions to all and sundry.

Congratulations, Jim, on a great day.
Thanks for coming Jim and Doug.

Jaro
Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Dead quiet, LB, 20Jan10

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Report... 20/01/2010 and Fishing Tomorrow
Date: Wednesday, 20 January 2010 3:53 PM

Hi Yakkers,

Nothing much to report re the fishing today. We were greeted by a beautiful day on Laguna Bay. I took off for SR while the rest fished around Laguna Bay. I had a feeling that it was not going to be a good day as there was little signs of life... no birds and no signs of fish and so it proved for me at least. I paddled to and around SR using all type of lures and baits to no avail and landed back onshore at 8.15am.

Bill and Stu had also returned fishless while Graham was still out on the water. Stu had one incident worth reporting... he had stopped paddling not far off shore when he heard hissing near him and on looking round he saw a brown/olive snake, head raised as if to strike and hissing at him, almost shocked out of his kayak he swatted at the snake with his paddle and the snake then beat a hasty exit.

If anyone has anything worth reporting please do so.

Now about tomorrow... its looking very good weather wise (don't know about the fish though). I intend to go again as does Harry... our intention at this stage is to go to JS and if things are quiet there go to LHR and then back to MG. Of course this is flexible depending on what we find when out there. I will arrive at MG at 5.00am.


Jaro
Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Spotties galore, 20Jan10

From: "Wayne Bardwell"
Subject: Todays trip
Date: Wednesday, 20 January 2010 3:41 PM

Hi All

Decided to go to Mudjimba beach near Mooloolaba instead of joining Jaro and Stu at MG as have been told the Spotty Macks are on there at the moment.

Got to the beach at 4:30am saw there was a little bit of a swell so launching will be some fun as I try my best not to get wet.

Met up with a fellow yakker in the parking lot as he too was getting ready to get out and find some fish.

We both got through the surf with no problems but did have to pick the break as the sets were bigger than I expected. Rigged up quickly as the fish were smashing bait all around us, So on went the old faithful Onda-Onde and off went the first cast, it had barely hit the water and I was on to my first fish for the morning first cast... 5min later put my first Spotty Mack in the hatch. Well that was the beginning of many. I
then very quickly caught my bag limit of 5 and 3 Mack tuna. The fish were fussy not taking just any lure thrown at them as my mate discovered as he was not able to land a single fish. After releasing a few I asked
him if he wanted any fish to take home so quickly got a bag of 5 for him, he was very happy but not so happy he could not catch them himself.

I also lost a Spaniard at the yak when trying to get the lip grip in his mouth for a picture as did not want to keep it, had more than enough fish to take home, he would have been + - 10kg.

The stink boats were out in force must have counted 20 but they too were no getting many fish to take their lures, guess I have a winner with my Onda-Onde.

Was off the water at 9:40am.

Landed 11 spotty Macs, 6 Mack tuna kept 5 released the rest. Will be back soon for some more fun.

the fish.

Cheers

Wayne Bardwell

Huge Spaniard, 17Jan10

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 17Jan10 -- NY record Spaniard
Date: Sunday, 17 January 2010 3:12 PM

A 0500 start again, in conditions which were perfect squared.

The yakkers' parking area is starting to look like a camping ground. Never mind, we did our best to remind the campers, at 0430am, that they shouldn't be there. Obviously the Sunshine Coast Regional Council is doing nothing to police its own parking rules.

I arrived at about 0430 to find Brian (aka paddleparra, or is it parapaddler?) prepping his yak and Graham, slightly edgy on this his first foray with Noosa Yakkers, just about rigged and ready to go. Jim rolled in followed by whalebait then Jaro.

After yesterday's frustrating session in which we could see big fish but not induce them to take our offerings, our hopes weren't high of greater success today but at least we had top conditions with little or no wind forecast and very small swell.

0501hrs. Graham (L-Plater) with whalebait, ready to launch. Jaro is half way along the launch channel.

0504hrs. From front, paddleparra (perhaps it should be pedalpara) and his Hobie, jimbo, whalebait

I closely followed Graham on this his first surf launch which was fine. Well done, mate. We set up out the back and then Graham accepted my offer of a tour of the western side of Laguna Bay. Off we went, toward the river mouth, casting now and again when we came across bonito bustups. After a few minutes I recognized Stu in his camo Prowler Elite paddling strongly toward us from the launch area. He joined us before we got to the river mouth, as did Jaro. We four paused for a while checking for signs of mackerel activity before moving on toward the river mouth.

0539hrs. Stu and Jaro drifting and watchfully waiting off Main Beach. Great conditions, eh?

0540hrs. Graham, afloat off Main Beach, gets his first view of Noosa from the sea.

By now the other Noosa Yakkers were well scattered across the Bay. Those with radios could monitor who was where and whether any action was being encountered. Things were quiet, so I suggested to Graham that he might like to pedal the 2+km to Little Hall's Reef while I paddled it. He agreed and we set off, through the open ocean. Part way into this journey my trolling outfit (Penn 320GTi overhead reel, cheap boat rod, Halco Laser lure as favoured recently by Jaro) ratchet went off with a loud buzz. I reached around and picked it up and could feel the weight of what I judged to be a 2-3kg mackerel for a few seconds then the pressure went off. The hooks had pulled free. Bugger, it would have been nice for Graham to be present to see a reasonable fish caught from a kayak. Little did I know that later he would have this experience in spades.

We reached LH Reef and there was clearly no action around there so headed inshore where again finding no action we turned toward the river mouth area where increasing numbers of power boats could be seen congregating, perhaps because there were fish present. On reaching the western side of the river mouth we could see whalebait among numerous power boats big and small and a mass of fluttering and diving terns. The source of action here appeared to be small bait balls being harassed by small predators, perhaps school mackerel, bonito or long toms.

We hung around here for around 30 minutes, just casting occasionally and chatting, waiting for the spotties to hopefully arrive. At the end of this time I offered to show Graham the eastern side of the bay so we set off in that general direction, trolling as we went. A few minutes after we set off, at about 0730, with Graham travelling alongside me a few metres away, my trolling outfit howled. I picked up the rod and noted that the spool was spinning furiously against the drag and water was spraying off the spinning spool due to centrifugal force. This was some strike! I was fishing 11.3kg Trilene monofilament without leader, the main line tied directly to a tiny swivel on the front end of home made wire trace about 25cm long. This wire trace was wired directly to the tow point of the lure and as I'd done the wiring myself, I knew it was good. So, I had plenty in my favour.

The run stopped and the fish seemed to simply hold position and for a fleeting moment I thought perhaps I'd foul hooked a big ray. Then it took off again and the fight had me calling it for a shark, many of which had recently been caught on hard body lures. After about five minutes I had regained enough self control that I put out a radio message to Noosa Yakkers that I was hooked up to something big. For about ten minutes I was towed around, quite quickly at times, the water gurgling along under the keel as the fish tried its best to get away. Stu was paddling along behind me with his phone camera in action. At last I started to get line back onto the spool, even after I'd backed off the drag a little to ease stress on the single knot which was connecting me with the fish and which had been under pressure for 15 minutes. I was impressed with the force with which this fish had been pulling me around but clearly, after about 15 minutes, I was starting to win.

Stu was about ten metres away when I first saw the fish, about 5 metres down. A huge Spaniard! But it was now exhausted. I could see that the lure was entirely inside its scissor-like jaws so I knew it was well hooked. And I knew that the wire trace was sound. I applied pressure and the Spaniard planed up to the surface beside the yak. Shit! It was enormous!

Stu captures the moment when the Spaniard planed up to the surface. Note that the yak is still being towed. Thanks for the photo, Stu.

For a fraction of a second I toyed with the idea of using the lip gripper to boat her but then quickly decided to gaff him. The fish was on the wrong side of the yak for a right handed gaffer, as I am. So a left handed shot was necessary. The first gaff shot hit him solidly in the left shoulder, just behind the head. The fish barely responded -- it was knackered. I started to haul her aboard.

Stu does it again with his phone cam. Half of the fish is still under water.

I dragged her across my lap, taking care to keep those fiercesome jaws clear of the family jewels, still valuable to me even if they are a little tarnished with age. I then swivelled the fish around so its head would go into the footwell, the safest (only?) place for such a fish in the Espri.

Got her aboard at last. Thanks for the priceless photos, Stu.

For several minutes I held it securely by the tail with the head jammed into the footwell until I was quite sure that it wasn't going to suddenly leap out like a coiled spring. Then it was on with the tail rope which I always carry on the yak.

Clearly this was the end of my fishing for the day. Hell, I barely had space to paddle and was very glad that I was less than 1km from Middle Groyne. I'd told all kayakers who were on radio that I'd nailed a decent Spaniard and several came over for a look. I then announced that I was going in to the beach. Part way there, after achieving a relatively comfortable paddling style with the Spaniard's aft section tucked under my right arm, I encountered Jaro who offered to take some more, on water, pics with his camera.

We rafted up the two yaks, starboard sides facing each other and Jaro took several pics. Thanks, mate. Note that the lure is visible inside the jaws of the fish.

I'm very glad that there was hardly any swell today as it allowed me to take a small chance and proceed straight in to the beach without my usual disciplined stowing and tidying up procedure. Besides, I would have had to drop the Spaniard over the side (on the tail rope) in order to access the hatch in which I normally stow my gear.

Bill Barnett hit the beach a couple of minutes after me. He'd caught his first fish from the yak -- a legal sized school mackerel.

0822hrs. Bill with his schoolie on his 40th wedding anniversary. It's amazing he got permission to go fishing...

Then Tony Walmsley paddled in to the beach. I didn't even know he was out there. Nice to see you Tony.

Bill offered to take a pic of the Spaniard on the beach...

0826hrs. Seated on the rear deck of my Espri.

Jaro then came in and, as the Spaniard was too long for the measure mat, he loaned me his ruler to complement the measure mat and we agreed that the fish was 1.49m long.

Then a bikini-clad young lady came over to see what all the fuss was about. When asked, she agreed with alacrity to be photographed holding the fish.

Top day in Noosa... Check out the shadow

Our scales weren't big enough so I took the fish to Davo's where it went a neat 17kg.

While this report doesn't dwell on the experiences today of the other Noosa Yakkers present, I encourage them to add their own reports. I don't know for sure whether anyone other than Bill and I caught fish, but we'd all certainly like to know if you did.

I'm off to Bass Strait for a couple of weeks come Wednesday to sail the eastern island chain down to and around Flinders Island. See you all when I get back, and leave some fish for me please.

Kev
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Bonito plague, 16Jan10

Date: Saturday, 16 January 2010 1:38 PM

We're starting a bit later these days -- 0500 instead of 0415. I arrived at the MG carpark about 0445 to find Andy, setting up his Prowler Elite, and a lot of cars/vans in which people are still camping. My usual spot was again taken up by that same van but I noticed that Ian's Subaru was in its usual #1 place. Jaro arrived while I was down checking the surf, which I assessed was not likely to bother us.

Before long we were trundling our yaks down to the launch point. I hung back to take the usual launch pic, this time of Andy.

0501hrs. Andy in the foreground, Jaro, difficult to spot behind Andy, in the background.

Launch was easy and uneventful. Our plan today was to target mackerel so we were set up to troll HB lures and cast slugs. The breeze was light from the east with a tiny easterly swell so conditions were perfect.

Jaro being ready to paddle first, he announced that he would head toward the river mouth. It was my intention to follow him but as soon as I was ready to go a decent mackerel, either spotty or schoolie, launched itself clear of the water nearby, beautifully silhouetted against the early morning sky. This made me decide to hang about in the MG area for a while. Once Jaro heard this, by radio, he agreed and turned through 180∞ to join Andy and me. Although we thoroughly prospected the area we didn't raise any mackerel so after 20 minutes or so we decided to head for the river mouth/LH reef precinct, the scene of much previous mackerel activity.

Travelling along this track we came across numerous scenes of hectic feeding by what turned out (as we expected) to be small bonito.

0530hrs. A typical bonito feeding frenzy (note: no large splashes). Still from video.

The bonito were keen on our HB lures which were not much smaller than the bonito themselves. I caught two while trolling my Halco Laser between the bust ups such as is portrayed in the above image.

0544hrs. Bonito typical of those in plague proportions in Laguna Bay today and recently. No size or bag limit. All of us caught several.

Having seen no more sign of mackerel (but they HAD to be around) we jointly decided to head for LH Reef to see what we could find there. No mackerel there, either, and a huge flock of terns further inshore helping a pack of bonito demolish another hapless school of baitfish. So we eventually turned back toward the river mouth where we found, predictably, another large patch of bonito accompanied by terns. But here we met up with turtleboy (Steve) whom we knew was likely to be there as he'd informed us by radio that he'd launched. It was also here that my three yakking companions all witnessed a spectacular and graceful leap through the air by a Spanish mackerel, probably as the result of a fast pursuit of a bonito. Jaro at the time estimated the fish had cleared the water by a good 20 feet (~6.5m) vertically. Having seen this sort of behaviour elsewhere by Spanish mackerel I have no reason to doubt Jaro's height estimate. The things you see when kayak fishing!

We spent quite a while plugging away in the area near the river mouth but still could catch only bonito. Andy, however, reported a strong hookup the impact of which found a weak spot in an old wire trace he was using.

Eventually our patience dwindled and so we meandered individually back toward the inner bay and MG area. It was here that Steve radioed to me to come and take a look at the shark net as there was something ensnared. Here I found that at least four juvenile manta rays (real manta rays, plankton eaters, harmless to humans, with a long "horn" either side of its wide scooping mouth) had been killed by the net. Each of the rays was about one metre wide and they must have been travelling in close company for they were all tightly clustered in a short length of the net. [manta ray]

Near the net I encountered another two kayak fishers whom I'd not met before. The one I spoke to was named Connor and the other guy was his brother. Connor told me that a mackerel attack had just taken place nearby and as we chatted I could see some whirling and fluttering terns behind him with occasional individual splashes not typical of attacks by bonito. I let Jaro and turtleboy know by radio and we all paddled over to partake in the action.

0850hrs. A few hundred metres NE of Middle Groyne, which can be seen on the left of the image.

In this relatively small area schools of baitfish were being herded into baitballs by mackerel which then, when the time was right, launched individual charges into the baitball showering baitfish about and causing great interest among the kayakers (now seven of us as we'd been joined by Ian on his return from Sunshine Reef). The fish were extremely difficult to tempt, however and among the seven of us only about three mackerel were boated. The one I caught was a school mackerel, around 55cm long which I returned to the water to hopefully grow up a little.

At one stage I found myself floating atop a mound of baitfish densely packed around the kayak. Mackerel up to about a metre long could be plainly seen patrolling the perimeter, gradually tightening the noose. This was no place for me to be when the action started as all of the other yakkers would start tossing lures into the melee so I departed quickly.

Nor were mackerel the only predators present. I cast my slug into one feeding frenzy only to catch this little guy:

0936hrs. A very slender and hyperactive oceanic longtom, about 40cm long.

The upshot of this last hour or so was that we all had a bit of action and saw some spectacular assaults by mackerel, but no Noosa Yakker brought any fish home other than bonito, collected to be used as trolled dead baits. The action took place mainly within 300m of the beach and east of Middle Groyne.

We hit the beach around 10am, having no trouble whatsoever with the tiny swell encountered.

An interesting morning... Hopefully we'll get out again tomorrow and crack the mackerel code. As Jaro said, there's so much natural food around that it's difficult to tempt the predators to take anything else.

Thanks for coming along guys and thanks for organising, Jaro. See some of you tomorrow...

Kev
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Many yakkers, few fish, 13Jan10

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 13jan10
Date: Wednesday, 13 January 2010 1:25 PM

What a crowd we had today! And such glorious weather. Plenty of fish, but most of them tiny.

I woke really early and couldn't get back to sleep so consequently I was almost the first in the carpark. Jimbo had arrived already and there were a couple of unfamiliar guys (Ian and Frank?, friends of Mal G) setting up their Hobies. Graham Feeney had turned up as an observer. I could see him in my headlights beam as I swung into Ian's usual spot because my usual spot was occupied again by that same battered Toyota van whose occupants have been "camping" there for a couple of weeks.

The surf was potentially tricky but doable so I headed back to the Zook to find that the dynamic duo (Steven and Charles) had turned up, as promised. Now there were 6 yakkers there and it was barely 0430 and still dark. Then Mal G turned up just as I was trundling my yak down to the beach. 7!

The dynamic duo were first to launch in their double yak, in the semi darkness, followed by Jim. I opted to wait on the beach for Jaro and meanwhile Kev and Keith, two AKFF guys from Brisbane showed up, each with a Viking ProFish. That's 9 yakkers! Jaro wasn't expected on the beach until 0500 so I took a pic of some of the assembly as the light slowly improved:

0452hrs. From left: Graham, Frank (?), BigKev, Mal G, and Ian.

All others present had successfully launched by the time Jaro arrived. He launched immediately and I took the customary launch conditions pic.

0457hrs. Keith launching, Jaro about to launch, followed by me, as soon as I stow the camera.

Launch was easier than I'd anticipated although I had to climb a couple of steeper waves near the exit. It was a bit crowded out the back compared with the usual situation, and even more crowded when Doctor Dog turned up, muttering "So this is what the world is like at 5am!". Then a familiar yak could be seen paddling out toward the flotilla -- it was whalebait, who'd scored a leave pass even though he was in the midst of packing his household for a removal. So we now numbered 12 afloat in 11 kayaks.

No one knew where the dynamic duo had gone. Jimbo was reporting by radio that he'd already reconnoitred the eastern part of the bay and was now turning toward the river mouth. The Hobie flotilla and Jaro headed for the river mouth area, Big Kev and Keith headed straight out into the middle of the bay while Doctor Dog, whalebait and I opted to head for a large patch of birds which could be seen on the NE horizon, off Boiling Pot.

The white line represents my approximate track over the next couple of hours, starting at MG and going in an anti-clockwise direction.

The huge number of birds off the Boiling Pot turned out to be working a patch of baitfish which seemed to be intent, as Doc Dog proposed, on eating even smaller baitfish. There was no visual sign of large predators and so I headed for Little Halls Reef. Part way toward LH Reef I was informed by radio that Jaro's trusty Halco Laser had scored a school mackerel and that Jimbo had hooked up a shark on his Spaniard Special (aka Shark Special).

Then turtleboy came up on the radio, announcing that he'd just launched accompanied by two other yakkers whom he'd encountered in the carpark. These two later turned out to be Jay and Wayne, the latter out with us for the first time in his Viking Nemo. This made 15 yakkers out there!

Approaching LH Reef I could see far fewer indications of the presence of predators than on recent trips, but the baitfish were there, being hammered by occasional squadrons of small bonito or mac tuna. I was trolling continuously and stopping occasionally to cast where I could see action but couldn't raise a strike.

By 7am I was heading back toward the river mouth area, Jaro trolling parallel with me about 150m away. He yelled out and reached for his trolling outfit and then gave me the only reasonable opportunity today to get an on-water photo of a fish.

0710hrs. Jaro with school mackerel. A tough call for the camera, facing a very bright background. The flash helped a little.

By 0730 I was off Middle Groyne and couldn't resist chasing one last patch of birds. Unfortunately they were the same as every other patch I'd encountered that day -- unaccompained by large predators. And so I opted to head in, but not before bumping into one more yakker whom I didn't recognize at first.

0803hrs. Wild Bill Barnett floats fishless off Main Beach.

So Bill made 16 participants -- a record for Noosa Yakkers I think. With that I headed for the beach just behind Bill, and found that Keith and the dynamic duo had already returned.

I hung around on the beach while one by one the flotilla members paddled or pedalled in. BigKev had a nice school mackerel which I photographed on his measure mat.

0910hrs. BigKevs' judgement was that this is a school mackerel, not a spotty. At the time I agreed with him because the pectoral fin didn't have the characteristic scoop shape of the spotty. But now I'm not so sure, especially as I didn't take a close look at the lateral line path. Either way, it's legal.

Just before the last few guys (Jaro, jimbo, doc dog, turtleboy) came in Doc Dog announced by radio that the spotties had shown up, just off the MG beach. This delayed returns but had the benefit of producing one spotty mac for the combined take-home catch (pic later).

All but one of the returning yakkers had an uneventful ride back to the sand. We specialise in frightening old ladies (she's one of our fans, too!). The yak came in to the beach right way up while its operator took a warm bath.

Jimbo's shark, just under 1m.

Doctor dog's spotty mac.

Jaro's two school mackerel.

It was a beautiful day out there. Thanks all for coming along. And please don't hesitate to put in your two-bob's worth if you can flesh out the report.

Thanks for organising, Jaro. Can we fit in another soon (Sunday?)?

Kev
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Spaniard, spotties, shark, 11Jan10

From: "Jaro Cerny"
Subject: Fishing Report 11/01/2010
Date: Monday, 11 January 2010 2:11 PM

Hi Yakkers,

Steve, Stu and I arrived at MG at 4.30am. Ian Tagg's car was there so we knew he was already on the water. We could see that getting out was going to take extremely good timing or we would risk getting very wet. I have to say I was amazed that we all got out unscathed.

The conditions were very good and were not a reflection of what seabreeze had predicted or what was happening at DIP. We were soon on our way to LHR with me trolling a spaniard special using a slimy mackerel. No birds were seen at this time. We arrived at LHR without any action and met Ian there. He reported he had caught a spaniard of about 90cm on his spaniard special. We trolled around LHR to no avail and then slowly inched our way back toward MG and closer inshore. I was with Ian when I suddenly had a massive strike and as I went to get my rod out of the rod holder and feeling the full force of the fish's run, it suddenly went slack. Bugger!!! It had taken my spaniard special lock, stock and barrel. Ian then loaned his spare.

Steve and Stu had reported some strikes inshore but no hook ups when Dr Dog announced he was now on the scene (I think it was about 7.15am) and that there was bird activity by the shark nets. Soon thereafter told us he had bagged a spotty. This was enough for us and we all headed back to MG against the SE wind which had picked up a little but was still ok. By this time Hollywood Harry also arrived on the scene and Dr Dog had bagged his second.

Soon we were all (except Stu) in Laguna Bay chasing the birds and the fish... with the end result in Dr Dog getting 2 more spotties for a total of 4. Ian getting 2 spotties for a total of 3 fish. Steve, Harry and yours truly remained fishless.

Getting to shore also required great timing and as far as I know all made it unscathed. Kevin, you missed a great chance to get videos of professional yakkers showing how it is done getting in and out of the surf.

Stu later reported that he had trolled along the North Shore and had his new $18.00 large gold bomber taken lock, stock and barrel. He then cast a slug in front of MG where there was bird activity and hooked up with his first cast. After a short struggle he landed and bagged a good sized shark which he intends to eat for dinner tonight. He sent me a couple of photos which are shown below. Well done Stu.



Thanks for coming guys. Well done Mark, Ian and Stu. Better luck next time to Steve, Harry and me!!!

Tuesday looks to be about the same conditions as today but I will not be going. I will be going on Wednesday when conditions should be better but will confirm as per usual tomorrow afternoon. I will be arriving at MG at 5.00am as there was no activity before 5.30am.

Jaro
Noosa Yakkers Coordinator
Viking Pro Fish 45
Call Sign Jaro
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com

Spaniard and spotties 6Jan2010

From: "kevin long"
Subject: fishing today -- 06jan10 -- long hard paddle but great result
Date: Wednesday, 6 January 2010 1:49 PM

Today was one of those days when my low expectations were overturned.

I awoke at 0355, five minutes before the alarm would have gone off. Before going to check Seabreeze I turned the alarm off, unlike a recent occasion when it went off noisily, as it should, while I was unable, for very good reasons, to intervene until Mary was well and truly awake. Won't make that mistake again. Anyway, to my surprise, the wind had dropped in approximate agreement with Seabreeze's prediction 12 hours ago so NY next trip was on.

0425 in the MG carpark I found Jaro and whalebait pretty much ready to launch but I visited the beach to peer through the gloom to see if I was likely to get a wet bum this time -- not likely. I dashed back to the Zook and started to final prep my integrated fishing weapon/exercise machine. Meanwhile Jaro and whalebait were off to the beach and launching.

Launch was easy but if I had them, I would have turned the headlights on -- it was so dark due to the heavy overcast to the east. There was insufficient light to take a reasonable launch pic but don't fret, there are some decent substitutes coming up.

By the time I'd tied knots in the semi-darkness, out the back, J & W had departed for the eastern part of Laguna Bay and Jimbo had called up saying he was about to launch. Off I went, trolling one of my favourite lures, following J&W, noting that Jimbo wasn't far behind me, but somewhat closer to shore. The SE breeze was noticeable even in here, which made me speculate that the breeze out wide might turn the northern bay into a choppy mess. So not far from the Boiling Pot I opted to turn for LH Reef, some 3km to the west, informing my companions of this decision by radio. They in turn relayed info that they were encountering some diving, fluttering terns so I had some misgivings about my plan but stuck with it anyway.

Half way across Laguna Bay, having still heard no radio calls about captures from the other NYs out there, I saw Noosa Hill become enshrouded in cloud and mist, a good sign that rain was heading my way.

0529hrs. Looking SE from the middle of Laguna Bay. Rain is on its way.

About now Doctor dog called up, announcing that he was ready to launch with Paul, another kayak fisher he'd encountered in the carpark. After hearing reports from both the team out east and me, he opted to head toward my destination, LH Reef. A good decision, as it turned out.

As I approached LH Reef from the east the breeze was quite stiff, a good ten knots, with whitecaps appearing from time to time. At the Reef itself I broadcast a NY report which was pessimistic, quoting no sign of fish and few birds. This would have been about 0600, I think. Similar reports emanated from Jew Shoal, where the main body of NY were hunting. Thirty minutes later, just hanging around LH Reef trolling and ready to cast, I came across Paul, whom I know from previous fishing trips out in LB. We agreed that things were pretty quiet and I turned away to head closer inshore where some birds were starting to put in an appearance when a small bust-up occurred within casting distance. I was ready and fired off a (first) cast into the area where several splashes and swirls indicated feeding fish. I cranked the reel handle and immediately felt and saw a strike on my white slug lure. Then my wet hand slipped off the reel handle and the line went slack. Bummer. But all was not lost. I cranked harder and found that the fish was still connected. Accompanied by that beautiful howl that reels uniquely generate, the reel gave line to the fish as it frantically headed in the away direction. I knew from the fight that this was almost certainly a spotty mac and within a few minutes this was confirmed as the fish came up to have a close look at its adversary, then shot off again. Soon the fight was all gone from the spotty and I tail lifted him into the boat -- my first) fish for 2010!

0637hrs. Spotty mac hits the deck!

Shortly after this doctor dog called up and announced that he also had a spotty mac aboard after dropping one earlier. He was closer inshore than I and, looking in that direction, I could discern lots of birds wheeling and diving between him and me. I reported this activity to the other NYs at Jew Shoal and they opted at that time to start heading toward us, still about 45 minutes paddle time away from them, although whalebait had decided earlier that LH Reef was a better proposition and was already half way to us.

Suddenly there were birds everywhere and power boats seemingly materialising from thin air. The spotty macs and tuna were sporadically charging through small bait schools. But the action at individual bust-ups was brief. Still, people were catching fish, some of them, who were on on charter boats, for the first time, by all appearances. Around now whalebait arrived to join us and doctor dog announced that another spotty had hit his deck. "Bugger! Bugger!" came over the radio, obviously from fishless and frustrated Jaro, still about 30 minutes away.

I continued to cruise around looking for casting opportunities, taking care not to get to involved with the armada of power boats criss-crossing the active area. Around 0715, just as Jaro and Jimbo arrived, I'd decided that I'd better head toward home as the breeze wasn't letting up at all and the journey back was head-on into it, at least 3.7km of chop, probably 45 minutes at least. Anytime I stopped paddling I was moving away from the launch point at about 1.5kph.

I saw Jimbo with a bent rod and went over in the hope of a photo opportunity (I'm always looking for good pics), only to find he had boated an undersize spotty mac which had to be returned to the water without delay. Doctor dog was nearby and apparently drifting, in my path home but as I approached I saw that he had a substantial fish cradled in his lap. I was delighted to find he had a beautiful Spaniard, a fitting subject for the camera if ever there were one.

0753hrs. Mark's (aka doctor dog) best kayak caught Spaniard. He'd cast that lure hanging from its mouth into a small bust-up and come up trumps. Maybe he'll give us a separate, blow-by-blow, technical account later?

Doc dog and I spent quite a while getting photos (thanks, Mark) and were consequently blown back along our track about 500m before we started out once more toward MG. Around now, Hollywood, having finished outrigger paddle training around 0730 and launched for a fishing session, joined us. He'd caught a school mackerel (aka doggie mackerel) on his way out so was on the board already. Doc dog and I continued doggedly toward MG, a pretty hard slog through the chop. As we left them, Jaro, Jimbo, whalebait and Hollywood were closing in on another feeding frenzy.

Gradually the distance to MG as indicated by my GPS dwindled until at last it was less than 1km. The breeze slackened as we approached the shelter of the land so that gave us some respite. As we got to MG, Paul joined us from the east and we three hit the nearly empty beach within a few minutes of each other.


0902hrs. Doctor dog's Spaniard. 1.22m.

Doctor dog's two spotty macs (he'd released another as undersize)

My spotty mac, the runt of the litter

Paul, not a NY member, had caught two spotties about the same size as DD's. Then the other NYs started to arrive at the beach...

Whalebait's first ever spotty mac.

Hollywood arrives at Middle Groyne. Note NY sticker on his bow; Hollywood arranged to have them made. Thanks, mate.

The Sticker Company of Geelong provided the stickers. Great service, great price.

0930hrs. All safely back. Doc dog has already left the fish measure and photography point.

What the spotties were eating... fish about 30-40cm long.

Top: Hollywood's school mackerel. Bottom: Jaro's spotty mac

An unexpectedly better day than we hoped for. Everyone caught at least one fish and doc dog won't forget it for quite a while. Thanks for coming along, guys.

Kev
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner
http://noosayakers.blogspot.com


Addendum from doctor dog
Kevin as always wrote a great report and took some special photo's of our adventure on Wednesday 6.1.10 and as requested I should fill in a few details as to my captures on the day.
I'm not good at those very early starts so it was myself and Paul in the second or third wave of paddlers at around 5.30 am as we made our way towards LHR( Little Hall's Reef).
The early fishermen had gone to the outer bays and as they had no luck out there and Jew Shoal I decided to prospect along the shore line towards Halls Knob before heading seaward to the reef.
I was trolling a new Magnum Rapala in a blue colour pattern that has been successful for me in the past and keeping an eye out for "Birds & Bustups" where pelagics are feeding on bait from underneath the schools.
Not far north of the river-mouth I encountered my first feeding schools and stopped padddling to cast a metal slug of about 50 gms.
I am using a new Shimano one piece rod coupled with a Penn 850SS reel loaded with 10 kg Platinum mono. I tie a double of about 1.5-2 m and tie the slug straight to the double ---- no swivel no trace no wire--- .The slug is a Kmart silver fish--- from about 5-6 years ago when they were on special for about $1.00 each .
I have beefed up the split rings and trebles to something more heavy duty - these lures have been very successful for me over the past few years-- at 50 gms they are a bit big when the fish are feeding on small "glassies" but now that the bait is getting a little bigger ( 30-40 mm) not cm this lure seems to be working better. At that weight it is much easier to get a good distance with a cast as well.
With the wind behind me it was easy to get close to the schools and get a good cast and retrieve going.
At least until that bloody jet ski turned up. That craft really seemed to put the fish down very quickly.
Fortunately the jetski moved on and after a few minutes the fish started feeding again and I was able to hook up to my first Spottie of the morning.
In my excitement I was too hasty once I had him along side and he was able to throw the hooks before I got organised with gaff and towel.
I hooked another spottie shortly after of around 70 cm and was able to get a gaff into this fish and subdue him with a towel get him bled before stowing in the forward hatch.
Mr Jetski came back with more boats and the school dived again so I drifted and paddled towards LHR where I found another school of feeding fish. The mackerel seem to have a distinctive feeding pattern setting them apart from the tuna and bonito where the feeding fish often leap clear of the water it is more usual for the mackerel to scythe through the surface of the water without their bodies really becoming visible or leaving the water.
I shortly after hooked and landed my best spottie of the day and then proceeded to paddle back towards Middle Groyne as with the southerly breeze it was going to be a slog back home.
Jaro Jimbo and Whalebait had joined Sunshine and I at this stage after prospecting further east to no avail.
Jaro was a short distance to my right and in front when there were a couple of substantial but short lived boils just seward of our path . I whistled my loudest to him to get his attention without reverting to radio and after putting in a short burst of paddling was able to stow my blade and begin a couple of casts at this fairly inconsequential and so far "birdless bustup".
I had a fairly solid bump to my first cast and an enthusiastic follow to within a few metres of the yak as I retrieved. Jaro was excited to receive similar treatment to his cast. My second cast was nailed within a few cranks of the reel. I thought I had lost the fish before the fight had begun . No he was swimming towards me --- I was determined to set the hooks properly as I had felt the weight of this fish at the start so I cranked harder and put in a couple of vigorous pump and winds . The fish felt the hooks properly now and took off towards Granite bay at blistering speed . With the moderate drag I had set -- I was losing line at an alarming rate but as the fish initially was pulling on the quarter my yak was offering a lot of resistance --- as the bow came round to the fishes direction of escape my boat speed picked up but fortunately the rate of line loss slowed.
The fish slowed and I was able to retrieve about half of the lost line before he took off on the second and then third of his dashes for freedom.
When I first saw the fishes tail I was worried I had a shark --- that impression turned out to be an optical illusion as my quarry then turned sideways and gave me a "flash" of his broad silvery side-- no shark this one.
The first three torrid runs were followed by several progressively weaker efforts before the Spaniard came to the port side of my yak. I burried my gaff into something vital and soft just behind his left pectoral fin and he barely moved. I was taking no chances with a fish of this size so I left the gaff in him and covered his head and the lure with my towel.
I was slowly and carefully able to reach down to the tail and put on a tail rope while he lay along side my yak but with head swathed in towel and still pressed with the gaff onto the port gunwhale . Once secured with the tail rope I could retrieve the lure which by now was hanging by only one strand of the double.
Kev came and took a swag of photo's. I was feeling very pleased with myself and paddled home-ward dragging a sweet little bonito on a "easy troll XOS special".. NO touches all the way back to MG but I had enough fish anyway.
I was really stoked to get a spaniard of this size especially on a cast slug. He measured 122cm and weighed 10 kg.
Thanks Noosa Yakkers for the company and doing the early research out to the bays and JS you saved me a lot of paddling.
Cheers,
Doctor D