If you hanker to put
yourself to the test with a real adventure, give ocean kayak fishing
The reel screamed
and the rod bent double under the weight of a Spotted Mackerel. "Take
your time, don't rush," Bill 'Billybob' Watson urged from the rear
of the two man kayak. His normally measured, fatherly voice quickened
with adrenaline. It was 7.30am in Noosa's Laguna Bay and a 15 knot South
Easterly was pushing us seaward as we rolled up
and down in the
1.5m swell. The
sun had just hit the water after climbing over a cloudbank and huge
numbers of Spotted Mackerel were in a feeding frenzy, chopping up a
school of baitfish about 1.5km offshore. A flotilla of watercraft -
including dinghies, paddle skis, half cabin cruisers, a jet-ski, a canoe
and us - bobbed around in the boiling waters. Men of all ages were casting
lures and pulling aboard long, thrashing, silver fish. We'd been trolling
a 20gm Halco 'Twisty' lure behind the kayak as we paddled a triangular
course from Noosa Main Beach, where we launched just after 6am, North
West past the shark nets to the river mouth and East to Granite Bay.
On the way back we saw hundreds of birds and a dozen boats swarming
around the thrashing water directly off Main Beach. We joined them.
Bill grabbed the Wilson Live Fibre rod and Shimano Baitrunner 3500 reel
loaded with 14lb Fireline and 30lb Platinum mono trace from its rear
mount, cast into the boil, hooked up and handed me the rod. That's when
the mounting seasickness erupted. "Just don't lose the fish,"
he said. I wanted to reassure him but all I could manage was a chorus
of "uurrrrraaarrghs." I drew the fish closer by lifting the
rod and reeling in the slack while lowering the rod as instructed -
different action to surf fishing. The drag on the reel and the strong
but flexible short rod did its job beautifully. The rig never felt overloaded.
Five action packed minutes later a large silver shape appeared 10 feet
below the kayak and was gently brought closer to the surface. "OK,
bring him round to me," Bill said, armed with the short gaff he's
attached, along with all sorts of other angling paraphernalia, to the
kayak. I turned and pointed the rod tip towards him; he grabbed the
line and a quick stab later he held a 78cm, 2.7kg Spotted Mackerel.
"Congratulations," he grinned, "Your first Spottie."
Bill is the President of the 'Perception Yak Anglers' club, a group
of anglers who crave more of a challenge, and hunt from kayaks. He's
the author of angling book 'Fishing Noosa' and runs a website by that
name offering weekly fishing reports, tips and details of charters plus
kayak angling. Starting up in the Noosa River, he gradually built up
the stamina, confidence and, throuigh trial and error, an arsenal of
fishing and safety gear that enables him to catch big pelagics offshore
from his sturdy craft. His catches include a 12kg Spanish Mackerel and
a 13kg Northern Bluefin Tuna. While trolling on the way back to the
beach we hooked up and landed another 2.7kg Mackerel. A short paddle
and excitng rush through the shorebreak later, we were back on Main Beach
Frank Wilkie with the two Spotted Mackerel he boated on the day.
"How are you feeling now?" Bill asked after we'd loaded the
35kg Synchro Tandem kayak onto his
car's roof racks in the surf club car park. "Priveleged,"