The internet service in Sicily is shithouse, even more shithouse than Australia, which is why I am putting the NY newsletter together instead of Kev this month. Hope your travels are going well Kev!
At last the fishing has picked up and it seems the winter fish we like to catch have been returning slowly to the reefs. The river has also been producing some action (better action than off-shore some would say) with a few river monsters being caught, but more of that in the in the individual reports to come below.
The pelican rescue
Lithium-ion powered sounders - the future?I'm not sure it's news but I thought I might tell you about my efforts to install a sounder into my Stealth Evo. I bought the sounder last Christmas (but I didn't give it away the very next day), so it's rolling up to a year and the thing is still not in. Why's this? Because I'm not very good at this type of thing and also because I've been battling with the concept that I need to carry around a large lead weight to power it. I bought a Garmin 300c, which as I found out subsequently is a bit of an energy hog using a max 1Amp whereas the Lowrance equivalent uses a third to a quarter of that power. This means that using a small 1.7amh SLA the unit would run for about 2 hours, which is not really enough. I could use a bigger battery, but then options for where it can go become problematic. Sunshiner has his installed on the sidewall of the main fish box which is a good place, but would get in the way of where I store my rods and other gear. Others have decided to put the battery in the dry hatch behind the seat, which is also a good spot but complicates the installation as you now have to get wires from the dry hatch to the fish box. I contacted Dennis T, from the AU Stealth distributors, as I know he has the same sounder and he said his solution was to install a small recessed battery box (fits a 1.7amh SLA) in the sidewall of the main fish hatch, and then take out 2 batteries which would then give you +- 4 hours run time.
I thought there must be another way and after doing some research decided to attempt to use lithium-ion batteries. There's been a lot of bad press about these batteries catching fire, but from the research I did it seems the fire incidents are not common and besides, if you take a mobile phone with you on the water you're taking a lithium-ion battery with you in any case. One precaution you could take is to use the lower powered li-on batteries as it seems the more energy they try to get out of them, the higher the risk of the battery doing something you don't want it to do. I only found this out after I ordered my batteries which are the highest capacity on the market. I did however order the best available quality batteries which are made by Panasonic instead of going with the cheaper options out there.
I originally ordered 2x 18650 Keeppower 3400mAh 3.7V batteries and a two bay Nitecore i2 Intellicharger. This was a mistake as the Garmin needs at least 10 volts to power up, so I should have bought the 4 bay charger and 4 batteries which came as a pack from Urban Outback and would have been cheaper than ordering them separately. I ordered another 2 batteries and then a 4 bay battery box from China which took more than 4 weeks to arrive. When it arrived I rigged it all up to test how long the batteries would last with the sounder set to demo mode and the transducer plugged in. I ran it for 16 hours and the volts were down to 15.3V before I went to bed and when I woke in the morning the unit was dead, but I'm sure it would have run for at least another 4 hours. This means the 4x 3400mAh batteries which, weigh 217 grams including the battery box, will run for about 20 hours. Of course I still need to waterproof the batteries and with the Dolfin waterproof box the total weight is 450 grams. You could also use 3 batteries and a smaller case which would be even lighter and still provide 10 hours plus operating time. The light weight and low profile mean I have a number of mounting options and I think I'm going to go for one closest to the unit, which is on the underside of the hatch lid (it's a flush mount lid with the face of the sounder tilted up and importantly I think, the cables are on the inside to avoid water splashes). If it does catch fire I'l be able to get to it quickly ;). I'm hoping to have this puppy in the yak in the next week or so and it better help my fishing given the effort and expense.
The future of fishing kayaks?Spotted this baby in BCF. I'll let you decide if this is the future of fishing kayaks.
G'Day Yakkers me again,
Thank goodness the fishing has finally picked up! I could try and speculate as to why, but I'd most likely be wrong. What I do know is that the reef fish have taken up residence again at the yak reachable reefs; Sunshine, Jew Shoal, Little Halls have all been producing fish for those in contention. Tuna have also been about as Diesel found out the hard way. A report from the newspaper had two rock fishos picking up a 26kg Blue Fin off the Noosa Headland Reserve! If you've ever done any rock fishing you'll know that's some feat.
Pedro and Eyetag kicked things off with a successful outing to Sunshine Reef with both bagging Squire and Grassies.
Mahatma, Tunny and myself headed to Jew Shoal on the 12th with Mahatma picking up the only keeper: a Squire.
|Mahatma with what might be his fist keeper Snapper of a yak|
Six yakkers had a crack at Jew Shoal a week later (Diesel, Mahatma, Stormin, Red Greg, Carlo and Jaro). Diesel saw the only action of the day hooking a Long Tail but had his fair share of drama trying to bring it in. First his reel broke which meant he had to try and land it by hand (not easy with a Long Tail). He managed to get it boat side but a mistimed gaffing exercise saw the Tuna break free and head for the hills.
The reefs may have been producing some OK fish, but the river was the better place to be IMO. I headed out for a sneaky one on the 20th and picked up a Big Eye Trevally and dropped a few more. I also landed a 70cm Jewie, but as per my previous three Jewie catches I had to release it as it was undersize. The Jew was taken on a R2S HBL.
|Redwood's 70cm Jew caught in the rock wall channel at the river mouth.|
|Eyetag's first Barra of the night|
Nearing the end of the month Tunny, Eyetag and Diesel headed offshore. Diesel landed three Snapper at Jew Shoal with the largest 50cm and Tunny two 40cm Snapper. Eyetag was testing out his arm and only trolled. I'm not sure what Diesel was using for bait, but both Tunny's Snapper were caught on Electric Chicken softies.
The last trip of the month saw Pedro bagging a couple of Grassies and myself bagging my first Grassie and what turned out to be a Needleskin Queenfish, also a first. The Grassies were all caught on pillies. The Queenfish was foud hooked and I mistook it for a Schoolie releasing it as I thought it had to be 50cm.
|30-40cm Needleskin Queenfish|
September streaked past us way too fast for my liking. The kids are already talking about xmas, and I'm unsure that I want to hear such crazy talk just yet. At least it's warming up though, which means more bums on yak seats, and therefore more fish in the hatches!
We have two new members for September, which takes us to a grand total of 117. We now also have 43 members using the Facebook group.
Let's see who has joined the fray this month...
Jonathan Steele (Sparkman)
Grant Smith (Gasyak)
Grant is a 50 year old estimator from Buderim. He paddles a Viking Espri, and has a little over a year worth of experience on the water.
|Eyetag's 96cm Barra smashing his own record by 9cm|
The Committee (in callsign order)
From top left, doctor dog, eyetag, gemini, jaro, jimbo, pedro, redwood, sunshiner, turtleboy.