Original pic: Sunshiner. Beejay battling longtail off Doggie Beach, ANZAC Day, 2013
Hi there yakkers
At last the great weather we pay our rates for arrived and this month we got amongst the fish which had been awaiting us during that horrible ten weeks of generally strong winds, big swell and rain marking the latter part of summer this year. Based on previous years, during the period from now until October you can expect more longtail action and the more frequent appearance of snapper on the reef menus so get out and enjoy it. Remember, early morning starts are not so important as the day temperature drops during the winter and spring. As demonstrated many times in the past, we can still get good fish in the middle of the day and late afternoon.
The gannets are back in Noosa. If you’ve never had to deal with an angry gannet while sitting in your yak in the ocean you might care to review the advice given in Noosa Yakkers News last June. Stormin at least found it useful, last year, I understand. Anyone who fishes Laguna Bay in winter may have a close gannet encounter so be ready if (when?) it happens to you.
Turtleboy will be assembling May’s issue of Noosa Yakkers News due to my temporary absence from Australia for the second half of May and most of June so if any of you have any contributions you feel like making, just get in touch with him.
In signing off, I thought this pic sent in by Brian K-C, newish member, might pique the interest of all.
Jew Shoal, April 2029? (Pic courtesy of National Geographic and seems genuine.)
With 13 trips recorded in April (same as last year) we have totalled 50 trip reports so far this calendar year. That's not bad considering the exceptionally bad weather from the end of January.
Conditions are generally improving as we move towards the winter months, with a Doggie Beach launch being made possible on the 25th due to a large hole and channel half way between DSA and the National Park.
The exceptional event to the relatively easy conditions came on the 15th April when Panno reorganised the deck of his boat at the newly named location to be known as "Panno's Bar and Grill". Long and Lat to be provided!
The significant pelagic catches this month were recorded by Jaro, Stormin, BeeJay, Eyetag, Solman and Sunshiner. Gemini also landed some healthy looking Bass in Lake MacDonald at the beginning of the month.
Nice photo below of BeeJay with one of his two fish caught just off Doggie Beach…
Photo by Sunshiner
and of EyeTag on Little Halls…
but my photo below of Sunshiner this month I think really depicts what we are all about…
"Yeah, this is what we came for!"
Well that's about it folks, until next month...
The reel problem
Having been kayak fishing out in Laguna Bay and offshore generally for seven years now I reckon I've gained some insight into how tough that fishing environment is. I started off with fishing gear I’d used for years, on and off, in all environments except kayaks, hoping that the reels would last the distance, but they generally didn’t. The old reels have all died lingering deaths. Kayak fishing in the ocean is at least as tough on gear as fishing in big surf on a fine sand beach.
Initially, I launched and returned my Viking Espri through the surf with the rods fully made up, but lying horizontally along the long axis of the yak. Even when I got lucky and ran the gauntlet without falling victim to the sand monster, the reels were invariably totally soaked with salt water. If the sand monster got its way, they had sand in unimaginable places, just as I did. My worst mistake was to meet the sand monster when a brand new expensive Shimano threadline was attached to its rod and both strapped to the yak, lying down, but totally exposed. The yak was rolled in the shorebreak in a great slurry of salty, sandy, water. The reel wouldn’t even rotate afterward and needed a complete stripdown from which it has never recovered (couple of bits left over after I'd finished rebuilding!).
This phase lasted the first couple of years or so, during which many of my lifetime collection of reels finished up in the wheelie bin. Even my venerable and much loved 1975 ABU 10000C went that way, the spool having burst due to line expansion.
Then one day I figured out a way I could store the reels below deck for surf zone transits. Problem was I couldn’t fit the rods in too. The ten minutes or so of rigging up and rigging down “out the back” increased the life of my reels tremendously, and I never once dropped an unrigged reel over the side, which was always a potential hazard. Always rig and derig so that if you drop a reel it falls into your lap!
The best solution for fishing gear protection I’ve found so far is the inbuilt hatch such as in the Viking Profish modified like Jaro’s and the Stealth fishing kayaks which hold made up rods and reels (and lots of other stuff) away from the clutches of the sand monster.
Even when the reels are protected during a surf zone transit they still need extra care than if they were carried on a stinkboat. Never put them away without at least giving them a spray with fresh water (I use a spray bottle bought at BigW for less than a dollar). Another thing you should consider when reels are first bought is to strip them down and put lubricant in most places where there is metal to metal contact. Usually your local tackle shop will do this for a small fee if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself. Periodic strip down and lubes will also probably help increase a reel's kayak fishing life.
Many Noosa Yakkers are at least as experienced as I am in this field so I welcome contributions from the likes of eyetag, pedro, jimbo, jaro, salticrak and anyone else. A conversation started through our email system might be worthwhile. How do you protect your reels? Email the group now and start the conversation!
What a month guys! There have been plenty of trip reports coming in, and some nice fish being taken in the bay. The mailing list has also been fairly busy, with almost 50 individual topics of discussion occurring for the month, and some of those span quite a number of emails.
The mailing list clean-up occurred as I mentioned last month, and seeing as I've had no complaints, all has apparently gone smoothly. Thanks to those of you who may have been affected briefly by this. Your patience is appreciated.
Memberships seem to be steady this time of year, as we have another two new recruits like last month. This takes our total numbers to 89. Let's see who we have…
Owen is from Sunshine Beach and has a little kayak experience from fishing the river with Turtleboy (he has since been offshore with us). He paddles a 4.3 Prowler, and hopes to pick up a few more pieces of gear to make his offshore adventures a more regular occurrence.
Rob is a 52 year old Sales and Service Manager from Bald Hills in Brisbane. He started yakking on a Viking Tempo in a variety of on-shore locations, but has recently moved on to a Stealth BFS and hopes to test out a surf launch soon. Rob is also a keen fly fisherman, but hasn't found a lot of action in SE QLD so far (check out the bass lakes Rob, Ewen Maddock Dam in particular). Like Owen, Rob needs a few more items before offshore becomes a regular event, but is very keen to try it out for himself.
Welcome guys! Hope to see you on the water soon!
April has been quiet in the record keeping department - no Noosa Yakker has presented any record fish claim. So rather than make no contribution I started thinking about various fishing experiences that might make interesting reading. Rather than try to blow my own trumpet and risk embarrassing myself I thought I might recount several of my favourite tales about fish hooks and veterinarians.
Firstly as a young veterinarian coming to work in Noosa after several years of working in New South Wales, South Africa and the UK I found myself drawn to working with wildlife and encouraging clients to bring injured and sick wildlife to the practice. This made no money for our struggling sole practitioner but it did make a change from working with pets and made me feel like I could make a little difference at the human/wildlife interface where so often the wildlife comes off second best.
One day a kookaburra was presented in a box with the story that the "kids left some bait on a hook and the bird flew down and grabbed it and we think the hook is stuck as it tried to fly away and could not because of the line attached". The concerned citizens had cut the line, put the bird in a box and brought it to us early in the morning.
I took an X-ray and sure enough there was a long shank hook in the first part of the bird's gastrointestinal tract -- not in the mouth or the neck but down behind ribs and things. This was going to require surgery and a little research -- they didn't teach us much about wildlife in Vet School. I got on with the business of the day attending to the paying customers and made a few phone calls to colleagues more experienced with wildlife.
Armed with the necessary drugs, equipment and information we planned to do the "pro-bono" surgery at the end of the day. The bird was not the least bit distressed and seemed to tolerate being handled for its premedication just fine. We then proceeded to anaesthetise the bird and prepare it for surgery. In a moment of clarity I thought I had best take another X-ray to check where the hook was before commencing to slice and dice.
Lo and behold there was no hook to be seen on the evening X-ray and had us comparing the morning picture to be sure we were not dreaming. Once you have seen a hook on X-ray you can be sure of what you are looking at -- the bright white outline of the hook is unmistakeable so not to see it at all was a bit confounding.
Only careful searching of the box and towel revealed a pellet of regurgitated waste complete with line and hook tucked in a dark corner of the box. The bird had obviously vomited it up during the day. The kookaburra was safely released none the worse for wear.
Another case brought home to me how much some young blokes love their dogs -- sometimes they get really attached. Early one Sunday morning I was called to the clinic for a "fish lure" emergency. I arrived to find a young man sitting on the bench outside the clinic with his boisterous young labrador on his lap.
The dog was happy - wagging his tail and his whole back end. The owner was clearly not comfortable and the young male friend who had driven them both to the clinic and made the emergency contact was as white as a sheet.
I unlocked the doors and asked the blokes to come in. "I can't," says the fisherman with the labrador on his lap -- my second glance showed the reason for his discomfort and reluctance to move. Both dog and owner were attached to said lure and to make matters worse the dog was attached to the lure in two places.
The story rapidly retold was that the pup had "retrieved" the lure in a fit of youthful exuberance and got it caught in his lip. He then swiped at the offending lure with a front paw and got that appendage hooked as well -- the distraught owner then bundled the dog up and carried it to the ute whereupon his mate drove to the clinic and contacted me. Somewhere along the way the struggling dog and the distraught young owner became attached by the lure embedding itself into the young man's thigh just above the knee.
My heavy duty tile/side cutters were called into action to separate dog from owner cutting the treble from the lure. We were then able to send the young man off to a suitable medical facility to have his hook removed while I was then able to anaesthetise the still bouncing labrador to remove the trebles from his paw and lip.
Another happy-ever-after story -- I don't think the dog was allowed to run free on fishing trips ever again. Neither gentleman wanted the lure back and to this day it still graces my tackle box and has caught a wide variety of species.
The Committee (in callsign order)
From top left, daveyG, doctor dog, eyetag, gemini, jaro, jimbo, pedro, sunshiner, turtleboy.