Wind: SE 5-8 knots
Swell: 1.5m E
Water temp: 26°C
Current: at Jew Shoal none detected
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Participants: jaro, tarzan, pedro, jimbo, sunshiner
Keen Angler Program: pedro donated today
Yes, there was a bit of a surf break at the end of the wall, but as jaro indicated in his recce report yesterday, the channel has deepened and lengthened a little, thus making exits and returns potentially easier, but as always, dependent on the swell and the tide state. Pedro and tarzan had already departed by the time we three older guys were ready to launch, but it was still pretty dark. In fact the biggest problem in launching this morning was the bloody shore break, especially when the larger waves arrived at the steeper bank our three yaks rested on top of. My boat got absolutely submerged when one of these nasties arrived just as I'd floated the yak, because the stern, resting on the sand, couldn't drop at all and therefore the bow couldn't rise easily enough. Never mind, no harm done, as the gear was all safe in the hatch but bear these shories in mind if you come across that situation at launch time.
So, all got out OK and we all headed for Jew Shoal. My near new headlight came in handy for shining a light to my stern, warning a couple of stinkies of our presence as they came up behind us in transit from the river mouth to Sunshine Reef. Another thing I do when stinkies threaten is turn on my sounder, whose bright vertical display can be seen a long way off from behind me, on the port side.
No action all the way to Jew Shoal where conditions were pretty nice, even though the wind was strong enough to cause an occasional whitecap. The rising sun when not masked by cloud is a pain in the eyes, however, so I always try to choose trolling patterns which don't force me to take its rays full in the face.
At last pedro called to say he was hooked up, possibly to a Spaniard. Pedro has put in a lot of hours this season for no Spaniards so we were all hoping that this was the break he'd been waiting and working for. From my position SW of The Pinnacles I looked north, to where pedro said he was and bewdy! I could see him, about 500m and 5-6 minutes away. I radioed him and let him know I was on the way with the camera and he came back to me and confirmed that he had a Spaniard on, as he could see it in the clear water conditions.
This gave heart to the rest of us who knew by radio of the capture. Several stinkies had been trolling also but I had not seen any of them stop and fight any fish. We all trolled and trolled. Occasionally there were small flocks of terns getting excited about stuff around the SW corner of the shoal but I for one saw no bustups at all and don't think anyone else did.
Something floating caught my eye in my starboard footwell, awash with water, as usual.
By around 8:00 am we all started to wend our way home, to be confronted by some nasty stand-up waves at Middle Groyne. Jaro was first ashore, safe but a little breathless (wish I'd seen his run through the break). I was next and thought I'd stuffed it when I was run down by a wave: the Supalite was surfing it OK but wasn't quite straight on the wave and we were pointing at the jagged rocks of the groyne. However I kept my foot hard on the starboard rudder pedal and as we picked up speed the nose came round to starboard nicely and then we were through into the channel. Nice ride, though, with lots of spray being thrown out each side as we hit top speed.
I jumped out and grabbed the camera, switched to movie, as I could see that tarzan was close behind me.
He also was run down by a wave and did a fine job of keeping straight on a breaking wave until the yak eventually broached to port and he looked as if he was going to T-bone the groyne. But as you can see from the pic below he had his paddle out hard on the starboard side and as soon as he got into the channel next to the rocks the yak straightened up and he was in the clear.
Jimbo was next. Now, he, jaro and I and many others have run this gauntlet many times in the past and we always stow our gear because you just never know. Today it seemed pretty harmless but choosing the right time to run is not easy, which is one reason why we always stow our gear. Anyway jimbo (who, as usual had stowed his vulnerable gear below deck) was run down by a wave and was running straight ahead, in control but then the wave seemed to rear up behind him and have another go at him and he broached (to port, again) and was rolled in an instant. The yak washed in upside down and as I looked at it being battered by the waves I could clearly imagine the damage that would have been done if his rods had been upright and reels attached.
Pedro was last. He stowed his gear in his "Pedro's rod bag" then managed to pick a perfect quiet period for waves and paddled through with a big smile on his face. Clearly the sand monster had gone back to sleep after jimbo.
So, only one fish but a beauty. Good to see pedro on the board this season. Well done mate.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange