I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of heading out on an AI kayak fishing trip with Geoff Williams in Jervis Bay today, the pair of us launching from Murray's beach ramp at around 6AM. It took longer than expected but eventually we both found ourselves with inked yaks and a squid each on board, with which we then took off towards Bowen Island in order to offer them to the fish gods. Snapper and Kingfish were our targets. One out of two aint bad.
Geoff pulled in a nice panned sized reddie with a fish-carved shape from a chunk of squid hood fed onto a jighead, which I'd earlier suggested he try, fishing it like a soft plastic. Long time readers might recall me discussing this technique on Yakabout 5 years or so ago - 'squidplastics' is the phrase I gave it back then. It worked for him to, this reddie being the best fish pulled in for the day. He concentrated his efforts on the north end of Bowen, while I did a quick pass with a lure (to no avail) and then moved on to Middle Ground. It was here that I met my mortal enemy and eternal nemesis: evil, EVIL Pike.
Pike. I hate em. For the uninitiated, take it from anyone who is, these are the smelliest, stinkiest fish in the sea - they are the perennial smelly skunks of the ocean. They are so damned bad that even if they come anywhere near you, you will smell like one. If you make the mistake of letting one touch you, you'll smell like one for at least a day (depending on how often you shower). I'm told they are fabulous bait and in a way I can understand why - they have such a strong smell, there's no way anything could possibly swim near it and not become aware of it. So that makes sense. But to me they smell so damned bad that only the thought of rigging or carving one for bait is traumatic enough. And I think to myself, man, these smell so damned bad that even other fish wouldn't want to touch them surely. So rather than entertain thoughts of bringing one aboard to stink me up more than I already am by even bringing it to the side of the yak, I just try and shake them off the hook without having to touch them.
So when I hooked my first one, imagine my horror when I saw that it been impaled by all three barbs from the rear treble from a Rapala X-Rap (please Rapala, don't cancel my sponsorship for admitting these lures also catch Pike), meaning that I really had no choice now but to grab the fish by hand to give me better control so I could remove it without killing it. Soon after I caught another, this time hooked at both mouth and body with both trebles, so once again, I had to handle the damned thing to get it off safely. So now I really stunk of pike!
By now I had found middle ground and it was here that I deployed the squid whole on a 2-hook rig (one at the top and another at the bottom of the hood) only to encounter my second greatest enemy... the Leatherjacket! Dammit, I hate leatherjackets... I just hate em! They are the pesky piranhas of the ocean and when encountered in numbers, will demolish a bait or soft plastic lures by death of a thousand bites. A bit like the chinese fabled 'death by a thousand cuts' only a hundred times faster. Fortunately I was able to retrive some remains to put onto a jighead. I never did get to try it out though, because by now conditions were slowly building (wind and water) so I made my way back to Gregs position at the island.
We'd been seeing humpbacks most of the morning, with a lot of activity on the north east corner, which is where I found Geoff fishing when I got back. Upon meeting up we agreed now was a good time to bail out, with clouds rolling in and waters chopping up. Right as we were about to turn back a whale popped up to say goodbye, it's massive pectoral fin waving towards us. It wasn't quite the fitting end we were looking for, but it would have to do.