TR by sunshiner
Swell: 2m+ easterly
Water temp: 27.2°C
Tides: Low 03:53am (0.50m); High 10:06am (1.77m)
Launch point: Middle Groyne
Surface action: none
Participants: tickey, doctor dog, stormin, diesel, red greg, sunshiner
My trip distance: 12.5km
Redmap: No sightings provided
Keen Angler Program: Nothing today.
Mexican Immigrant Food Appeal: One spot-tail shark donated.
A whole week of strong winds before, with today's forecast lull the last for another week, made for a keen bunch of Noosa Yakkers; keen to get a fish, but not so keen to take on the huge swell resulting from the remains of TC Winston, which recently made a mess of some parts of Fiji. We'd gone to the trouble of recce-ing the launch point 12 hours before but we knew a larger swell was coming. It was only a question of when it would arrive.
So there we were on the beach, just before 5:00am, all five of us ready to go and not a man under 60 years old (kid stormin came later). The waning moon was bright and the sky almost cloudless. Low tide was at 4:00am, so the water was shallow on the sandbank out the front of the groyne. As every seafarer knows, shallow water causes waves to break, and the bigger than usual swells were certainly breaking spectacularly right in front of us. The background roar and the frequent "crump" as a biggie spent its energy trying to smash the end of the groyne were enough to make a grown man want to return home to bed.
It's important in this situation to minimise the time you spend in the crunch zone, so this means you get as close as you dare to the maelstrom before boarding. Once aboard you go like hell, as staying in your place is not possible; you'll either be swept sideways or backward. At one stage this morning, while waiting to jump on I saw tickey next to me, submerged to the chest and still holding on to his upside down Supalite; this was before he'd even boarded.
The difficult part is judging when to board and paddle out, especially in low light, as what seems like a coming lull can change in an instant as a big nasty surprise appears from nowhere. There were no dry bums today. But we all got out, some on their second attempt, and paddled the minimum 300 metres or so to the "safe" area out the back. Here, diesel spent some time trying to catch a small shark, which were here in plague proportions last time we launched. In fact I had a presumed shark whack my paddle as I paddled out.
Red greg and doc dog opted to visit Little Halls Reef/Halls Reef while the remainder headed for Jew Shoal. Stinkboats were not an issue today as the swell, and the resulting hair-raising bar crossing, deterred all but the desperate and the crazy.
Jew Shoal was dead. No sign of surface action, no sign of bait shoals on the sonar. It was quite a relief when doc dog told us that he'd seen some baitfish and longtails at Little Halls Reef. Off we paddled, tickey, diesel and I with tickey demonstrating that he really has mastered his GPS by travelling unerringly the 3.5km across the bay to our mark at Little Halls Reef.
Little Halls Reef seemed dead also. Certainly no surface action. Doc dog had moved on to Halls Reef where he reported that a small turtle there was begging pilchard pieces from him. Tickey pulled the pin around 8:00am while diesel and I had agreed that we'd head in around 08:30. Stormin had launched (much easier launch than at the earlier time) about 7:30am after working all night and opted to paddle to Halls Reef.
I was just tidying up to leave when my trailing outfit, with large SP and jighead hanging down about 10m, went off with a scream. For 30 secs or so I held a faint hope that this might be a snapper, but of course, as you'd expect, at this time of the year and in this place, it was a spot-tail shark. Diesel and his missus love eating shark so I radioed him and he confirmed he'd take it if I didn't want it.
And so we headed back in, noting as we approached the groyne that there were some big waves blanketing the outer edge of the rocks and throwing spray high into the air.
It's important here to time your run well if you wish to avoid embarrassment. Wait as close to the break zone as you dare until a set of three or so big waves have passed through then verify that no more big waves are visible before paddling like hell for the beach. Invariably you'll be run down, but by then you should be past the break zone and into water where you can deal with these fairly easily.
I saw diesel dash through safely and followed soon after, picking up a nice small wave to carry me right in to the beach.
Tickey confessed that he'd got a soaking both going out and coming in. The only fish brought in was the shark that I'd kept for diesel. Several other sharks were caught and released, a couple of them right in front of the groyne.
Hope to see some of you for a beer at the NH surf club, 5:30pm next Wednesday.
Thanks for reading and thanks to my companions today for coming along.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPhone, iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange
FREE iBook "Kayak Fishing Laguna Bay & Jew Shoal" for iPhone, iPad and Mac