Subject: fishing today -- 23feb10 -- BIG Mac
Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2010 3:17 PM
The BIGGEST fish comes at the end. I expected only three of us to front this morning, jimbo, whalebait and I. On arrival at MG carpark at about 0515 there were whalebait and jimbo rearing to go. As usual I wandered down to check out the surf break. Almost non existent... should be an easy launch today.
At launch time we were happy to see that within a few hundred metres of the groyne there were a couple of thousand terns in several clumps, wheeling and fluttering over breakfast baitfish. This boded well for the day. There's nothing like an easy meal to encourage the larger predators to come into the bay. A gentle southerly breeze in close hinted that things might be a bit choppy out at Sunshine Reef and there had been some discussion earlier about where we'd fish. In the end whalebait and jimbo opted to head for north Sunshine Reef, despite the breeze. I opted for Little Halls Reef on a hunch that there may be pelagic predators hanging around there and also as I felt like having a go at the reefies for a change.
With so much bird activity right in close, how could anyone not be tempted to have a few casts before heading off to the chosen spot? Jimbo headed toward a huge flock hanging around the closest shark net while I happily finished my post launch preparations. I'd just rigged my casting outfit when there were several splashes close by so I fired off a warming cast and immediately hooked up to what turned out to be a long tom, about 40-50 cm long and as skinny and wriggly as the beachworms I sometimes catch at A-Bay. There being no larger predators evident I soon put out the trolling outfit, armed with that lure again and turned toward LH Reef. On the radio I heard that jimbo and whalebait were on their way to their chosen reef.
Conditions were pleasant even though the humidity was quite high as demonstrated by the sweat accumulating on my brow. Wherever I looked I could see terns busily taking advantage of the bounty offered to them by the ocean.
A few minutes later the radio blared. It was doctor dog announcing that he'd just launched and that Stu and Wayne were in the carpark getting their yaks ready. After some discussion he opted to join me and mentioned that Stu and Wayne would be heading for Sunshine Reef, hopefully to meet up with jimbo and whalebait who know the reef pretty well.
Pretty soon, as I trolled along I began to see signs of larger fish -- their larger, isolated splashes a dead giveaway against the background of washing-machine like churning typically caused by the small mac tuna and leaping bonito. Clearly there were some larger predators here and this info was passed by radio to doctor dog. Once I got to the area around LH Reef, some 3.4km from launch, I was like a pensioner in an all-you-can-eat restaurant. All around there were tempting bust-ups and I couldn't decide which to head for first. The closest is the obvious choice and that was the one that usually got my attention. I could see the small mac tuna breaking clear of the surface but couldn't tempt them with my offering. Never mind, I wasn't really interested in these little guys so I just plugged on, trolling gently and casting from time to time.
By 0730 doctor dog and I had joined up, just inshore from LH Reef. He'd caught and released a mac tuna which had taken his trolled lure. I still had nothing on the board. We headed toward one of the bigger patches of bait, noting occasional large and isolated splashes which were almost certainly bigger predators hunting down the mac tuna and the leaping bonito. As I recall doctor dog and I were a hundred metres or so apart, he slightly in front, heading south when my trolling outfit (Penn 320GTi overhead reel/Halco Laser Pro HB lure) growled. I called out to doc dog who acknowledged and continued his focus on the job at hand. This was no howling strike such as I'd expect if I'd become connected to one of the larger predators so, on picking up the rod I mentally tagged it as a mac tuna, of which there were thousands nearby. Then the first run started. I changed my mind. Maybe this was a big mac tuna? I gained some line and suffered another fast, long run. Aha! Maybe a longtail tuna. The yak was being towed at a fair clip and by now I'd convinced myself that this was a longtail tuna and that I was probably in for a long fight. But it had taken my mackerel lure, now heavily scarred after a couple of interesting encounters.
At around the ten minute mark I spotted him -- a beautiful Spaniard. A couple of minutes later he was knackered and flopping along next to the kayak. The gaff went into the shoulder cleanly (left hand again) and I started to lift him in. There's something about catching big Spanish mackerel from a kayak -- something that usually results in the kayak angler letting out a huge whoop! I'm no different. I blurted out a radio message to Noosa Yakkers, some of whom were too far distant to receive the transmission, probably. "Big Spaniard!". Doctor dog paddled over. "Done it again, eh?". I smiled and asked if he'd mind taking some pics.
Then I took a couple myself, just for the hell of it!
Then doctor dog interrupted my photo session. He was only 20 or so metres away. "Pretty big shark here", he casually mentioned. I saw a couple of big swirls and took his word for it. About 3m long he reckoned, and it cruised around us for a couple of minutes. With that, and mainly because I didn't want to catch any more fish, I decided to call it a day. The GPS showed that I was 4.3km from the launch spot so I stowed the Spaniard and headed back to Middle Groyne, all the way passing feeding fish and wheeling terns. Possibly I could have trolled on the way back but I seriously didn't want or need to catch another Spaniard. This was enough for me, today.
Forty minutes or so later I was back at Middle Groyne where I stowed my gear and went in through an easy surf, putting a few more scratches on the yak when I grazed the rocks dodging a partly immersed, immobile and presumably deaf elderly lady right at the end of my run.
And then I managed to find a young lady who was delighted to hold the fish for the camera. "Oooh! Isn't it heavy?"
I would have packed up and gone home now except that doc dog told me he'd heard on the radio that Wayne, one of our gang had nailed a very large Spaniard and was paddling back in from Sunshine Reef (about an hour's paddle away). Being unsure as to whether anyone else had a camera I resolved to tidy my gear up and then hang around until he came back in. I'm glad I did. Here are some pics...
Then whalebait and Wayne arrived off the beach. I hadn't heard this until just before they hit the beach, but whalebait had scored his first ever Spaniard after Wayne had nailed his. Well done and congratulations, Brian.
He'd also caught a spangled emperor.
Then Wayne paddled in, his yak obviously heavily loaded.
Thanks for coming along guys. What a great day!
Red & Yellow Espri, black paddle
VHF channel 09 or 22 (if alone), Call Sign: sunshiner