Wind: Light north westerly, increasing to 15 knot northerly by 11:00
Swell: small easterly
Current: at Jew Shoal, none
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, jimbo, tarzan and brother Aidan, stormin, kahuna, jag-one, beejay, sunshiner, pedro
"I'd love to get a longtail", said kahuna recently, after catching a mac tuna, his first ever tuna, a couple of weeks ago. Well, what’s next, kahuna?
I launched a few seconds after the pic below was taken. It was a dry bum exit, but I did back paddle at the end of the wall as a few wet bum waves threatened to spoil my exit.
Although there were already several other Noosa Yakkers out there, I was the lone candidate for Jew Shoal, where I hoped the snapper and sweetlip would be cooperative. The others mainly headed for LHR and HR, with longtails on their shopping lists.
One interesting observation: there were thousands of pale blue jelly blubbers suspended in the water just off the groyne. Never seen that before, here.
Having trolled a HLP all the way to JS for nix, I settled in to really blanket the place with tempting offerings. Two hours later my offerings had not been touched, and nor had jimbo's succulent bait offerings, although he hadn't been out there as long as I had. On the western front (LHR and HR) all was ominously quiet, nary a radio call to interrupt our reverie. I wondered if they'd all gone to sleep over there. The last guy to launch was stormin, who came up on the radio about 07:30, explaining that he'd just finished a 12 hour shift.
Anyway, just before a pod of whales turned up at Jew Shoal the radio crackled into life. Beejay was hooked up at HR to something fast and powerful. Yay! And then kahuna came up on the radio for the first time explaining that he also was hooked up similarly and was dodging waves as he was towed close in to the beach break near First Cutting. Yay! again.
The breeze was just starting to strengthen, and shift more to the north when jimbo and I decided that the total lack of action at Jew Shoal was not worth any more effort, and so we started to head for Middle Groyne.
By now, beejay had boated his longtail and was also headed in under sail, and jag-one had stirred the pot a bit more with a report that he'd left the ranks of the fishless by boating a very good grassy, estimated (under-estimated as we later discovered) at 55cm. Pedro was engrossed in sticking with kahuna and giving us a progress report by radio from time to time. Incredibly, a full 90 minutes after hookup, kahuna had yet to see his fish.
In due course tarzan, Aidan, jimbo and I had beached safely. Jaro and beejay were visible just offshore, stowing their sails after their downwind trip all the way from Halls Reef. A couple of kids came up to me on the beach and asked to see our fish. Well, being a little embarrassed, I managed to put them off by explaining that the next kayak in had a biggie aboard.
And so it had, and the word had got around, also. Beejay was met by a crowd of fish lookers, all ogling, and pointing and "What sort of fish is it?" when he eventually dragged it out of his storage pod, which the tuna had shared with reels, rods, tackle, drogue etc.
A few pics of the occasion:
The hubbub died down a bit and then we spotted jag-one in his oil tanker just out there. By now the wind had picked up quite a bit and the break was looking decidedly flaky. In came jag-one…
He was going OK and keeping it straight until just abeam of the end of the groyne the bow went hard to port.
No real damage was done and jag-one's prize fish was secured to the yak by clip and leash. The crowd gathered again to ogle the fish, the fisherman and his strange boat.
The crowd had now spotted two more yakkers (pedro and kahuna) just out there, preparing to come in. And they'd been led to believe that one of the yaks had a monster tuna aboard. By now we could have sold tickets to view the fish!
Pedro had waited with kahuna while he finished off the fish after fighting it for over two hours, and they'd travelled back to Middle Groyne together, in a strengthening northerly breeze.
I waded out to video kahuna's return to the beach. As he got closer to me, I could see that it was a pretty big tuna alright, as it was sharing the meagre cockpit with him.
As the kayak ground to a halt in ankle deep water, kahuna fell full length face down into the water, further exciting the gathering crowd, who by now had seen the fish and could hardly believe their eyes.
It was a bloody nice fish and kahuna's first longtail. So here are some pics:
At one stage, applause broke out spontaneously among the crowd of holidaymakers. They'd never seen anything like this before. Kahuna was besieged by questions and questionners the whole way back to the wash point and on to his car later.
Video (55 secs), added 30Sep12. At 23 secs, jag-one hits the wall.
So, another great Noosa Yakkers day. Looks like the Halls Reefs are the place to be as soon as the weather allows again. How long will this new longtail record stand?
Space below for contributions from our three catchers today!
Contribution by kahuna, 02Oct12
Rob Gordon, October 2, 2012, 12.42pm
Tale of a longtail: The longtail tuna was captured after an almost 2.5-hour fight after it took a soft plastic (white, torpedo-shaped with no distinguishing features, make unknown) trailing from a gently paddled kayak at 7.55am, 30m west of the Noosa Yakkers-supplied gps mark for Little Halls reef.
I had decided to bottom-bash at Little Halls after a quiet troll along the surf line from Middle Groyne on a windless morning and had a gang-hooked pilchard hanging off my overhead rig, and the soft plastic hanging off an eggbeater rig. I was just quietly paddling to the mark after deploying the lines and having a cup of tea.
The fish struck as I approached the gps mark.
It headed directly west immediately after hooking up, straight into the surf line in front of a hill structure I understand is called "the cutting".
It then began to travel north in big zig zags, towing me in and out of the surf line, necessitating me to give it plenty of line so I could hang off the break and not get cleaned up by some fairly big swells coming through in that part of the bay.
After about an hour of being towed in this fashion, I finally radioed Noosa Yakkers, letting them know I was hooked up and where I was. Pedro came on to tell me he was heading in from Halls and would meet me, which he duly did, saying he'd hang about and keep an eye on me.
Thanks Pedro, for your oversight, it was a nice bit of moral support at that time, while I was attempting to subdue the biggest fish I have ever hooked up. I had no idea where it all would end because the fish, after an hour's fight, was not feeling like it was going to tire any time soon.
And so it turned out. Another hour and a half later, the tuna had towed me a click further along the surfline north and then to my relief, headed east out into the bay and slowly curved around south back toward Little Halls.
By this time it had made countless runs, peeling off a maximum of 150 metres (I had about that much again on the reel) then allowed itself to be drawn in closer to the yak. In the last half hour it made many efforts to dive deep rather than head away and then slowly came in closer in ever-decreasing circles.
I was beginning to wonder who would give up first, it or me. Pretty much every part of my body was on fire with the strain of it and four days later as I write this I'm still painfully tender right across the lower stomach where the butt of the rod was grinding in much of the time. I can see how a rod gymbal is a good idea in these situations.
Anyway, the fish slowly came to the boat with me grunting and carrying on all the way, until I managed to keep its head up and get a gaff into it to finally haul it on board. One last convulsive shiver passed through it and it gave up the ghost.
Pedro was deeply relieved, not having counted on me making so long a demand on his good offices. Thanks again mate for the support.
Then it was a painful haul back to the beach. Hemingway would have loved it. I certainly did.
October 2, 2012 12:45 PM