Swell: not much
Current: at LH Reef and Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: pedro, richmond, sunshiner, kahuna, doctor dog, daveygee, turtleboy
Still the calm days continue, and still the fish fail to show up. But the hookers continue to go hunting, because you never know when the fish will return. Mostly our winters are slow, fish wise, but we have had some cracker days at this time in the past, so when a beautiful day beckons it’s hard to resist. You just never know.
And so it was today. Anyone who can interpret a weather forecast could see that offshore conditions were likely to be superb so there was a great rollup this morning. I'd nominated my launch time to be anywhere between 0600 and 0730 and found that pedro and richmond had both launched by the time I parked my zook (thanks, Jeff, for leaving that parking spot for me).
As soon as I was out I turned on the radio to hear jimbo (in the river) calling richmond. From this brief conversation I learned that pedro and richmond were at LH Reef and that baitfish were schooling nearby but that they'd had no action so far. Sounded good to me, so I immediately opted to head to Little Halls Reef.
I'd been paddling only a couple of minutes when kahuna radioed from the beach. Looking back, I could see him standing there with his yak but he explained that he had to get rid of some onboard waste but would be following me out.
The sea was so flat that I could see pedro from about 1.2km out. By now richmond had decided to reconnoitre Halls Reef, a couple of km further north so pedro and I had LH to ourselves for the moment. It took a while to find the densely packed baitfish which were clustered around the shallow peak which lies very close to our Little Halls Reef waypoint. Once we did, pedro and I shadowed them, hoping that predators would show up. With his bait jig, pedro showed that these fish were probably small tailor as that was what he was pulling up from time to time. He had a live yakka out and that crazed look on his face when he's seriously hunting for BIG fish.
Meantime, we got the radio message that the late shift had now assembled on the beach. After some deliberations they too decided to head for Little Halls Reef.
Kahuna, meanwhile, was plugging along toward us. He was trying out a brand new electronic toy this morning and I expected that he would have no difficulty finding us. He duly arrived on our horizon, a bit further to the east than I would have expected, but there nevertheless.
This new toy wasn't working, through no fault of the manufacturer I hasten to add. A short consultation between us and a bit of hatch opening and messing around in the innards of his yak gave the new toy what it needed to come to life and soon kahuna was trying to figure out how it worked.
Pedro and I were still shadowing the baitfish and every now and again they'd come up to the surface and flip out, causing a ruffle and giving us encouragement that maybe the big guys had arrived for brekky. But no, looks like the big guys were eating elsewhere this morning. The gannets, of course, were having a great time, plummeting with folded flying gear into the packed bait from about 20 metres up within 50 metres of us and bobbing up again like a cork. Sometimes they were successful, sometimes not.
The arrival of the late shift at this scene didn't change anything. Only pedro had caught any fish, a couple of undersized snapper, on bait, and several baitfish on his bait jig. The six of us milled around, hoping for action but getting none. But it was a glorious morning, with nary a stinkboat in sight. Everyone was smiling, even kahuna who was gradually making sense of the info the new toy was giving him.
When I announced I was moving to Jew Shoal richmond came up on the radio and revealed that Halls Reef was today populated by only small fingermark and sharks. This caused kahuna and doc dog to defect from the LH reef group and join me. Jew Shoal is just over three km from Little Halls Reef so I set course, opting to troll the jig that I'd been trailing along behind me as I shadowed the bait.
Within a couple of minutes the jig went off, the 10kg overhead outfit screaming in a long, straight run reminiscent of a Spaniard. Pretty quickly I decided that I'd picked up a longtail as the yak was being towed in a straight line back toward the group still hanging around the baitfish. Visions of richmond's longtail record being smashed appeared in my mind as this fish was still going hard. But then, quite suddenly, it showed signs of tiring but was still strong enough to be pulling the yak around in circles for the last few minutes of the fight.
To my surprise the fish turned out to be a mackerel tuna, albeit a pretty big one. As I was with him when pedro had caught his Noosa Yakkers record mac tuna back in March, I knew the record was 83cm so opted to gaff this fish because I could see that it was close to that size. I was also pretty sure (I was right) that the fish would be welcomed as food by one of our party so there would be no waste involved.
So kahuna, doctor dog and I headed for Jew Shoal, which we reached quite quickly without interruption and without seeing any surface action on the way. Here conditions looked perfect, with clear water, a gentle SE breeze, and only a dive boat on the shoal.
Despite all this, none of us got any action, the usual story at present. Doc dog and I pulled the pin at 1100 while kahuna and pedro, who'd come over to Jew Shoal later, hung about for a couple more hours.
Once on the beach I pulled out the measure mat and found that my tuna was, at 82cm, two cm too short to qualify as a record. I remember saying, when pedro set the record, that it would be hard to beat.
It was a great morning regardless. I wonder what the trigger will be that will bring the fish back on to the bite?