Wind: ESE to SE later, 5-15knots
Swell: 1.0m ESE
Water temp: 25°-26°
Launch point: (1) Middle Groyne (2) Doggie Beach
Participants: (1) stormin, weeksie, imax and friend tash, jimbo, jaro, sunshiner (2) jamieD and spanky, visitor from Townsville
Again, jaro and I launched about 4:00 am in clammy conditions, little or no wind and absolutely flat seas and in near darkness. Our fellow launchers left a little later. Part way to Jew Shoal jamieD came up on the radio and let us know that they had launched from Doggie Beach, also in flat conditions.
Of those that launched at Middle Groyne, only jimbo didn't head for Jew Shoal initially, letting us know that he'd decided to check out Little Halls Reef.
At Jew Shoal we trolled lures for a couple of hours before it became apparent that there was nothing doing. It was noticeable that the bait schools so promininent lately were no longer present. Not once in all of the time I trolled all over Jew Shoal today did I detect a single shoal of bait. The only fish I saw were a few tiny flying fish, fleeing from my path as I paddled along.
Stormin had arrived a little late and I didn't see him until he arrived at Jew Shoal, maybe 30 minutes after the rest of us. In the early morning murk I could see that he was using his new paddle instead of pedalling and figured that he was working on getting his paddling skills up but then I realized, when much closer, that he was paddling his new ride.
Shortly after the above pic was taken the breeze started to increase slightly and as no one had even seen a bustup or any pelagic fish at all we started to head back in. We were in good contact by radio with jamieD and his mate, on the other side of the headland and it became clear that conditions over there were steadily worsening and that they couldn't find fish either. Similarly, jimbo, at Little Halls Reef was reporting absolutely nothing happening. Totally dead! Yet a pleasant morning for a paddle.
And so it happened that the Jew Shoal crew were back on the beach at Middle Groyne by around 0730-0800. Jimbo was heading in but got interrupted at the river mouth when his trolled hb lure got monstered. Here's his story:
Long story short… the hooks pulled out after 2.25 hours. Almost definitely a shark, I would guess about 2.5m long based on the shark that towed me for 3.25 km about 3 years ago). I had the lever drag on max for the last 30 mins (about 80% of line breaking strain, 13.5 kg mono) and still couldn't get the bastard up. With the rod bent beyond 90 deg for the whole time my upper body was really starting to hurt towards the end. I was almost relieved when I had a legitimate reason to give up the fight. It towed me initially about 0.75 km to the NW, did a 200m circle, then 0.75 km back to about where the fight started, just north of the river mouth, about 1.0 km out from the lower north shore.
Several of us hung around on the beach, hoping against hope that jimbo's big fish would be something better than a shark, but as the time went on we left him to it, although we were in radio contact with him all of the time we were there, and could even see him from the beach.
I didn't hear any more from jamieD but possibly he'll add a comment to this post.
So ended the fishing for 2013. Looks like we're going to get a good start to 2014 as long as the baitfish return to the bay soon.
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Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange