Wind: Light SSE
Swell: 1m S
Current: at Doggie Beach Reef, and Sunshine, none
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Participants: beejay, whalebait, bomber, yakfinn, darren cole, redwood, jaro, sunshiner
The easiest ever Doggie Beach launch and return, Jaro reckoned…
Jaro and I were last there, and slightly early. The small carpark seemed to be overwhelmed by cars each with a yak on its roof, except for one in the quietest corner whose towel-curtained windows indicated a mobile bedroom for somebody whose slumber was about to be interrupted. I parked next to them.
"Waiting for the experts," the six Noosa Yakkers said as Jaro and I sauntered over. Indeed, they were waiting for our advice as to the launch suitability. Very reasonable, I thought, as beejay, redwood and yakfinn had never launched at Doggie Beach before, bomber only once, and darren had never before launched in the surf at all. Whalebait is qualified, I reckon, but Jaro had made the call to arms and had to make the final recommendation.
A couple of minutes later those of us who hadn't this morning already visited the moonlit beach were on the water's edge. Right out front of the access path there were waves building but, just as we'd hoped, the big gutter just 100m to the north was still in place. Here the only white water to be seen was from the small shore break. On either side of a 100m wide gap, waves were building and occasionally breaking. On return to the carpark, where all yaks were still on the car roofs, I announced that it was "baby bath" conditions and the action started.
The big beach wheels were the go today. Being first ready, I waited at the launch point for the guys who hadn't launched here before to help if they needed advice and also to have the camera ready, just in case.
In the event, it was a doddle. Jaro literally dry bummed it, paddling out first and gently just as number three, yakfinn I think, arrived at the gutter. One at a time, the others all launched easily and my advice was scarcely needed. I warned them however that it is not always like this.
Our intentions were to paddle, trolling, out to Doggie Beach Reef, 1.5km out and there play it by ear. It was noticeable that several terns were hanging around just outside the break zone so perhaps there were fishy predators hanging around. I remember passing Beejay as he was rigging up just out the back and I proceeded directly to Doggie Beach Reef. Yakfinn had mentioned on the beach that he had a terrible headache and might not last long out there and before I got to my mark he let me know that in fact he was pulling the pin and heading in.
The six of us out at the reef then started our own fishing routines in beautiful conditions, with just enough breeze to get a nice drift going and the sun just clearing the horizon and lighting up the land behind us.
This peaceful setting was soon interrupted by beejay's radio call telling us that he was hooked up and that fish were busting out all around him. Immediately yakfinn came up with the news that he also was hooked up fairly close to beejay, having been hit on the way back in. These announcements caused a flurry of activity among the other four of us who had radios, resulting in a general movement back toward Sunshine Beach headland, especially when beejay confirmed that he had one longtail in the fishbox. Yakfinn's fish had spat the lure after a fifteen minute tussle.
I was trolling my only remaining HLP when it went off, right in the hot zone, about 500m off the headland. This was clearly a big fish, and here I was with a new Shimano Charter Special reel and new 20 pound mono. Somehow, after five minutes or so, I managed to bump the lever drag up a little too high (Just now I realise, as I write this, that I hadn't set the strike drag for the new line.) and pow! I was busted. This was just the start of my humiliation today, as you'll find out.
By now, almost all of us were trolling around off the headland, with reports coming in by radio of occasional bustups and general surface activity. The line had busted at my newly tied knot, as expected. Next lure in the lineup was a Qantas coloured big bib job which had nailed a longtail for me last week. As there were few more reports of action I figured that the fish I'd just lost was my one chance for the day, but put the lure out anyway and paddled off. Scream, off it went within five minutes. This time, I played the fish very carefully, knowing that my drag setting was far too coarse for the line. To my horror, when backing the drag off a little (just to be extra careful) when the fish was looking tired, I found I was virtually in free spool. A quick surge from the fish caused the spool to over-run and I had a birds nest in my hands, 40m of line out and a rampaging longtail on the end of it. The birds nest had recoiled on itself with the effect that no more line could go out. I was in deep shit! Fortunately the fish was tiring, but I was certain that one good run would result in a loud bang as the line broke, probably at the reel! Thumbing the spool, I played the fish ultra carefully but it was a tense time. Eventually the fish, a big longtail, came within view. (I had to spool line over the top of the birds nest to get line back.) Out came my trusty gaff, which I've used on hundreds of fish for the last seven years. The longtail swept round within reach and I made the decision to gaff it as soon as I could anywhere I could rather than wait for the best shot, in the head. The fat tail section presented a target and I took it, burying the gaff, and lifting the tail out of the water. At this the longtail went berserk and with its tail out of the water, my gaff with me hanging on to it buried in its tail, it vibrated violently. Holding on to the gaff was impossible and next thing I know the gaff and fish are gone, into a large hole in the ocean where the fish's torso used to be. Remember, I had only about 30-40m of line to play with at the most. The tuna roared off pulling line off the spool until the inevitable happened, the birds nest refused to give any line and there was one final heavy surge and the line broke, at the terminal knot. The longtails of my past are getting back at me. I've now lost four lures and my gaff in eight days, all to longtails. I'd not lost four lures in two years and never lost a gaff. Bugger, bugger, bugger!
Now I could no longer fish as my heavy outfit was out of action and in any case I had no gaff, not to mention that my lure supply was low. Then bomber announced he was on and beejay on again so I reverted to cameraman role. My tail was really down, I can tell you.
Beejay was thoroughly enjoying himself. He'd driven up from Brissy last night, launched from Doggie Beach for the first time this morning, already had one longtail in the fishbox and was fighting another and had barely paddled one kilometre!
Aside from jaro's catch of a large mac tuna, just outside the surf zone, no other fish were boated. Yakfinn dropped at least one, bomber dropped two (the first longtails he'd hooked from his yak). Over in Laguna Bay I could hear by radio that eyetag was encountering longtails but am unsure of the final situation there.
As far as I'm aware all of the Doggie Beach launchers returned to the beach without hassles. If anything, I think it was calmer when we came back in than when we went out. Jaro is talking about doing it all again, tomorrow.
Contribution by deecee
Finally got out there!
Woke early around 4.45am, checked the email and saw no one had pulled the pin yet so jumped in the car and headed to Doggy Beach carpark.
Arrived around 5.20am to a car park half full of cars with yaks on and a group of guys chatting. Sunshiner and Jaro arrived soon after and a few of us went down to do a recce on the conditions just as first light was happening. The gutter Jaro spoke about the day before was still there with waves breaking either side and a bit of a shore dump as well. Sunshiner provided some experienced words in relation to the launch for myself and Redwood. I was still very apprehensive but had been putting this off for far too long already. Today I was doing it.
Back to the car park and rigged up the yak for the trip out. I didn’t know it yet but I had forgotten to pack the camera, my pliers and my knife…
After nearly causing myself a hernia trying to get my yak to the launching spot (no beach wheels) Sunshiner had more reassuring words. I watched Jaro and Redwood go and then it was time for me to launch. I could feel the adrenaline running through me as I walked into the water, quickly jumped on and made my way out to the safety of the deep water… Piece of cake!
Once ‘out the back’ I set up my two rods, one was to be for trolling out to and one with an SP for the reef… it was now I found out I forgotten a couple of things… better luck next time.
Paddled slowly out to Sunshine Reef following the first two paddlers, also noticed quite a few stink boats around. Fished the reef for only a few minutes before there was a mass exodus of kayakers…
I was later told by Redwood this was because of BeeJay’s hook up being broadcast on the radio (my next purchase). I trolled back towards them and almost immediately had a strike. By the time I got my hand on the rod and got sorted I had dropped it… damn it.
Ten minutes later I thought I was on again but I had just caught Redwood’s trailing lure, quickly untangled and back into it. I hooked up again about ten minutes later and after a brief struggle felt the line go slack. Reeled it in to find I was minus one brand new lure. Seem to be having a run of them of late losing a few to the submerged hiding places of Yandina bass a few days before.
No more strikes for the morning but I did stop and watch Sunshiner have a brief fight with one of his fish and Jaro boat his mac tuna just outside the surf zone off Doggy Beach.
Was time for me to make a move after that so headed in not knowing what to expect. I paddled slowly all the way to the beach, no issues at all landing…
If I didn't have a hernia on the way after dragging the yak to the water I certainly was well on the way after skull dragging the yak up the sand to the walkway after a couple of hours of paddling..must..buy..decent..wheels
Did a contra deal with Yakfinn loading the kayaks on the roof and it was time to go spend the rest of ANZAC Day with the family.
Appreciate the words of wisdom from all who supplied!