#NSC19 – The Wrap Up

Last year’s weather certainly made offshore fishing difficult, but as NSC19 weekend drew closer and the long range forecast began to settle in, it started to look like Saturday’s weather might not be just good, but mint for the first session.  Friday saw Melbourne swelter and messages rolled in from entrant on how best to get their kayaks and skis to Portland without melting as the mercury reached 47°C. Luckily by the time we arrived down the coast the cool change had already hit and unloading the trailer was a much easier affair.

d7515c19-ee6a-4f8b-bec6-9dd28f48d20c-a3ca81c5705418799a52a8b570ef639f823c0455313cdd0c00e1d0ba5b84d1b9

The cool change hitting Portland on Friday afternoon

7pm saw the briefing take place up on the bluff with members of Coast Guard Portland in attendance to outline the use of smoke flares in an emergency situation out on the water. Welcome packs were distributed and this year saw the inclusion of boat number stickers to make admin and emergency procedures much more streamlined as well as making it easier for Cheater to find where he left his kayak.

50404245_1030907717107665_7287112642794094592_n

Day 1 – (Fishing Window 6.30am – 2pm)

The morning launch saw mint conditions and a fishing window until 2pm gave entrants time to cover plenty of ground in search of pelagics. Early Yippahs over the radio from team Berleypro suggested that the kings had been located with a video coming through moments later showing Shane Elverd’s knots being tested by a solid king while the surrounding yaks couldn’t land any from that school. Rumours that the paddling within 10m of Marto has a similar effect on kings as a shark shield on noahs has yet to be proven, but there is certainly a strong case for it.

50985281_767984190238704_2722684664920670208_n

Shane Elverd with a cracking king

There had been a number of reports of kings out of Nunn’s beach on our arrival on Friday and a portion of the field had headed that way from the start. Mozz was glad he wasn’t relying on his bait tube from South West Rocks when he started pulling in 55cm slimies on his Jack Sayoris hard body. The first two were sent back out as livies for a double hookup soon after. The first rod was handed off to his team mate while he battled and landed the first king only for the second, larger model to bust him off once the rod was returned.

50808883_767850010252122_7876592566253125632_n

Jayme Morris with the first king to hit the beach on Saturday

The rest of the field were left to sort through undersized pinkies and rat kings in search of legal models in order to get some points on the board. As the session drew to a close at 2pm anglers had a steady following sea sending them back to the beach at Henty with Cheater’s GPS reading 16kph on the Profisha ‘without much effort’. The weigh in had twenty pinkie snapper entered to see thirteen anglers on the board after session one with 7 ½ points separating the top two anglers going into session two.

50858164_245041773102303_1704021905251500032_n

Thankful for the points on the board

Tales of bust offs by kings abounded over pizza and beers for lunch while Bill had caught the most unusual catch of the day – a cuttlefish on a smash squid soft plastic lure, that was after a king took a liking to the small soft plastic he was throwing around on a six kilo rod for snapper, which had a more predictable ending than the Titanic movie.

51142196_292105648155007_3832841510873726976_n

Day 2 (Fishing window 6.30am – 11am)

Launch on day two saw calm conditions but the wind had swung offshore and was due to steadily increase throughout the morning along with the swell, while the period was dropping. The shorter fishing window on Day 2 meant that Julia Reef was not fished, which was just as well as reports from the guys that had fished it on Day 1 said their sounder would have had similar screens sitting on the beach.

50913127_371123700383946_1377101815157358592_n

Day 2 Launch

The launch on Day 2 also saw the beginning of the Day 2 Dash with bonus prize packs for the first two people back to the beach with a snapper.First prize went to Nev Pollock with his Evolution proving it still has some mojo left. Tristan Davies was next to land a snapper but opted to fish on, figuring someone else would hit the beach first for second place as his was already out wide. That someone else arrived on the beach a few minutes later with Wayne Jensz taking out the second spot.

The cool weather on Saturday and rain overnight coupled with a drop in water temperature did not bode well for kings on Day 2. Sure enough the kings were proving hard to find Shane Esmore located a few but struggled to find the size he was after while William Filliponi also managed to tempt one in the 50’s.

50779160_974470636275640_1178288242881986560_n

Live update from William during the comp!

There were still some smaller snapper around that were happy to be hooked and Tas Russos managed to tempt a solid salmon, the only one entered in the comp but overall the fishing on day two was tough and the wind was making things a little bumpy out wide. As the 11am cut off drew nearer the field began the slog back to the beach.  The measuring table saw very few wipes with only a couple of snapper upgrades coming in and many a tale of woe.

50473192_988134881377101_476064444355444736_n

The Results

Early Bird Draw:

Winner: Peter Eaton (BerleyPro Orb Light)

Day 2 Dash:

Target Species: Snapper

Winner: Neville Pollock ($200 Dinga Voucher, AO Cooler, Buff, Dinga Shirt & Cap)

Runner Up: Wayne Jensz (Catch Fishing Lure Pack)

Masters (Entrants born in 1969 or earlier):

Winner: Tas Russos 41pts (Buff, Dinga Cap, Set of Easy2Hook Knotless hooks)

Team Challenge:

Team Points
1 Long Zebra 77
2 The Mega Powers 73.5
3 The Fishas 69.75
4 Shane Plus 1 33
5 FG Not 20.5
6 Cheater & The Apprentice 18.25
7 Jolly Rogers 15
8 GT South 14.5
Glass is Class 14.5
10 Go Fish 14
Team BerleyPro 14
12 The Mud Brothers 0
The Westies 0
The Portlanders 0

Individual Competition:

Angler Points
1 Shane Elverd 139.5
2 Jayme Morris 132
3 Tas Roussos 41
4 Nathan Wooldridge 36.5
5 Shane Esmore 34.5
6 Peter Ritchie 31.5
7 William Filliponi 31
8 Tristan Davies 30
9 Neville Pollock 29
Jeremie Steedan 29

50661342_954958704710427_6031455056610459648_n

A massive thank you once again to all of the entrants that made the trip down the coast in the sweltering heat to support our comp, it was a great weekend away with a top bunch of blokes. To the offshore first timers, well done on surviving the weekend, I hope you gained some useful experience and built up your confidence to keep giving it a crack. Thanks again to all of our event sponsors, please keep them in mind when making your purchases.

sponsor banner 2

See you all at #NSC20!

Sea Sherpa

#NSC18 – The wrap up.

It is the morning after the night before, there’s a thick fog rolling in off the water outside and a dedicated few are hitting the beach to launch in a stark contrast to yesterday’s conditions where the promised 9 knot wind was actually  14 knts  coming in from the South East in opposition to the prevailing South Westerly swells. Less than ideal conditions for yak fishing, but undeterred a flotilla of yaks and skis hit the beach in the pale morning light and began to set up for the day ahead. The Sea Sherpa crew hit the beach to conduct pre-launch safety checks and entrants began to roll into the admin marquee to collect their keytags in preparation for the 6.30 start.

GP_Seasherpa_North_Shore_2018_002

A few looked at the conditions and decided against launching, leaving a field of 38 to take on the elements in search of point scoring fish. 36 of those managed to launch through the shorey unscathed,  leaving a couple to go pedals up.  Some gear was donated to increase Davy Jones’ already impressive collection. As per last year, the field scattered rapidly with some looking for shelter from the easterly over behind the break wall while others threw caution to the headwind and headed for the horizon. With the wind increasing as time passed, a couple of entrants returned to the beach looking a little green around the gills deciding to pull the pin. Apparently the shallow reef had plenty of natural burely. Luis returned to the beach to pick up his forgotten key tag and nabbed a quality salmon on his way, making it worth the trip back in.

GP_Seasherpa_North_Shore_2018_112

Radio chatter indicated kings were around and 8am saw the 12m Coast Guard vessel join the patrol crews from Portland Bait & Tackle and Portland Surf Life Saving already on the water. Tas’ accidental decision to turn his whole AI into a livewell, predictably resulted in a SOS call via VHF and Rescue 1 was deployed to his location. He and Kieran were struggling to bail his swamped AI so the call was made to do a tow-back, with his ama on the front of the RIB and his AI running as a shallow-diving hard body on the way back to the beach. Despite a bubble trail that Williamson would be proud of, he failed to hook up on the way back in. An unfortunate end for his comp, but lucky that it occurred in the comp window given the availability of support crews on the water.  Even when back on the beach, it took a crew of six quite a while to drain the hull.

IMG_2798

Back at the admin tent I was anxiously watching the screen with updates on the wind conditions, and at 15knts the wriggle room was beginning to disappear so I radioed the field to let the guys heading for the horizion know that with the increasing trend there was a fairly high chance we would hit our 17knt cut-off point. Sure enough within an hour the wind had hit 18kts and in line with insurance and our safety procedures I had to make the call to cut the comp short and recall the entrants to the beach. Some opted to land in the harbour and avail of the Sea Sherpa shuttle service, while the Coast Guard looped out the back to follow in the paddlers out wide. The CG pilot reported difficulty keeping up with GAB paddling back in from behind the Anchorage.

DSC_0924

Just as I was pondering what to do with the Best Catch award and prize this year if no pelagics were caught, Lennon hit the beach with a quality king and others began to hit the beach with pinkies and squid and it began to look like we would have enough fish entered to fill all of the prize slots despite the shortened comp time frame. Luis measured in the salmon he picked up and it went 62cm to the fork a quality fish for the species. A number of entrants picked up pinkies for their tally and Shane and Gab both took advantage of squid being an allowable species to pad out their bags.

 

Results

As the BBQ was already booked in for 2pm with the Henty crew, the entrants had the opportunity to pack up gear and chill out before the ceremony, while a brave few decided to brave the conditions until after lunch. Two o’clock came and the Henty crew began to serve up some grub and the prize ceremony began.

In the Teams Comp, it was hard to separate the bottom two in order to award the wooden spoon. In the interest of fairness, but mostly to decide who was slightly less rubbish on the day a round of rock paper scissors was called for. Jack stepped up for Team Berleypro and for Glass is Class, Crazycheski took the podium. Unbeknownst to Jack, Steve Chen was given the name Crazychenski after an all-in round of rock paper scissors against Vladamir Putin. Chenski won a Commdore 64 that day, and was feeling confident  as he came to the front. The round ended predictably and Jack along with team Berleypro were left to bask in the glory? of propping up the results table with a doughnut.

GP_Seasherpa_North_Shore_2018_794

At the other end of the table, the Team Challenge title for 2018 went to the Westies with Lennon’s kingy combined with some local knowledge from Spider saw them get across the line with a team average score of 37 points. Each team member walked away with a $60 voucher for Jigman, a headscarf from Buff, a Pains Wessex Flare kit and a waterproof container for their safety gear.

GP_Seasherpa_North_Shore_2018_799

The Westies 37.38
Pedal Pushers 14.75
Team AI 9
Notunas 7.5
Bream Busters 7.25
Man overboard 4.67
Glass is Class 0
Team Berleypro 0

For the Best Catch award it was an easy decision with only one eligible pelagic caught during the comp window. Ben from Portland Bait & Tackle was on hand to present Lennon with a Shimano Torium reel and the Best Catch trophy for 2018. In the main event it was again Lennon who took the honours and the top ten shaped up like this:

Place Name Fish Score
1 Lennon Doherty 89cm Kingfish 133.5
2 Luis Ferreiro 59cm Salmon 59
3 Shane Esmore 31cm Snapper

29cm Snapper

25cm Squid

21cm Squid

53
4 Chris Tyerman 33cm Snapper

32cm Snapper

32.5
5 Gabriele Meoni 27cm Snapper

22cm Squid

24.5
6 David Webb 32cm Snapper 16
7 Peter Ritchie 30cm Snapper 15
8 Stephen Kent 29cm Snapper 14.5
9 Geoff Smith 29cm Snapper 14.5
10 Nelson Rouw 28cm Snapper 14

 

Special mentions to those who peaked a little early or a little late, managing to get kings over the comp weekend. Tas was first cab off the rank with a king less than a km from the launch. Both of the Ians also managed kings after the comp using cephlapods as bait.

A massive thank you to all of the entrants that made the trip down the coast to support our comp. Two years in and hopefully looking good for a third. It was unfortunate about the weather cutting the day short but I think almost everyone that made the trip down got on the water at some stage throughout the weekend. To the offshore first timers, well done on launching in tough conditions, if nothing else I hope you gained some useful experience in an environment as controlled as you can hope for in the Southern Ocean.

GP_Seasherpa_North_Shore_2018_888

For those that couldn’t make the trip, here’s the photo reel of all the goings on thanks to our three talented photographers, Damian Goodman, Amy Rouw and Jennifer Ngo, its as close as we can get you to the action.

Time for a month’s break then its back to chasing up sponsors and organising the next one. In the interest of fairness next year I’ll put one red AI on each team!

See you guys at NSC19!

Tight lines,

Sea Sherpa

Packing List for NSC

For those new to offshore or just new to our comp, I’ve put together a quick run-though of some of the gear you might want to pack for the trip. It is one of those ‘What is the best soft plastic?’ type of questions, as everyone will have their own ideas on equipment and gear, but here’s a quick run through on what’s legally required and some of the gear I tend to use as well as links to where to find them. It might help you narrow your search a bit. At first glance it may seem like a lot, but not all of the gear will be relevant to each kayaker and the margin of safety needs to be higher offshore as the distances covered are usually much longer and you have the added variable of ocean swells to contend with.

Safety Equipment

First off let’s cover the mandatory safety equipment to meet legal requirements, even if you plan on fishing coastal inshore it is best to be geared up for full offshore as the equipment is smart to have on board anyway and you may find yourself beyond the 2nm  line if you are following the fish!

The following items are not required legally but are highly recommended. Note that a safety flag is a requirement of the comp though, due to feedback we received from boaties in the area last year.

Fishing Gear

Everyone will have their preferred brands when it comes to gear,  again I’ll outline what I use and then you can chase up gear in the weights and capacities outlined in your own brand of choice. With offshore kayak fishing, we can generally run much lighter gear than the boaties use because of the style of fishing. On a boat when fighting a fish a lot of pressure is put on the system – line, knots, rod, drag etc, whereas on a kayak there is a limit to how much pressure we can actually put on a fish before we start getting towed. For this reason, we can run much lighter line classes and there is no need for big-drag reels as you will never be able to use that drag on a kayak in practice. The gear I use is intended for the school fish that I am chasing, you’ll be under-gunned on a barrel tuna, bu then you wouldn’t fit one in the fish hatch anyway!

Trolling

product_22029

I also tend to look at my offshore trolling gear as being somewhat disposable, I don’t have to cast with it and if it gets pulled from a rod holder or dunked I don’t want to lose hundreds of dollars’ worth of reels. For this job I tend to favour ‘clunker’ reels that don’t have the refinement of your top end Shimanos and Daiwas but are robust and can take some abuse. I usually carry two Penn stiff tipped glass rods in the 10-15kg weight range paired with Slammers in the 560 class spooled with 30lb braid. They have plenty of usable drag and enough line capacity for school fish at Portland. I’m not casting with them all day so the weight isn’t an issue, they are very easy to strip down and maintain and if a combo should happen to go swimming I’m not out of pocket for very much. A mate of mine that uses the same gear once said “Tell me a reel from Shimano or Daiwa that you can buy for $70 (on Dinga) that you would confidently take offshore to land a tuna on?” You could also go slightly more upmarket and use Uglysticks paired with Spinfisher V’s to give even more water protection and have less frequent strip-downs. In terms of rod length, for trolling I still like a bit of length as it helps to avoid tangled lines out the back, when you have to do darting turns to chase after a bust-up or diving birds. For this reason I don’t run two short trolling rods, usually either two longs (6’6″ – 7′) or a long and a short. If I’m running a long and a short the long rod will be weighted or have a deep diving lure while the short will go straight out the back. Again this helps avoid tangles by letting the lines pass over each other when turning.

Casting

Reels

My casting set-up generally will have a nicer reel and it is usually the only setup I leash on the yak; (I prefer less things to potentially get tangled in). Again, I like a rod with decent length to get better casting distance, personally I don’t see the point of the range of really short ‘kayak rods’ that manufacturers seem to be churning out – they don’t cast very far and you can’t pass your line around the nose of the yak to follow a fish. I like a rod around 7ft usually in the 8-15kg class. This can be matched with a ~5000 size reel with nice smooth drag and decent line capacity for 30lb braid. There are plenty of options in this category of reel depending on how much you want to spend; Stradics, Saragosas, Saltists, Slammer III’s or Conflict, Sorocco SW and Lethal on the cheaper end. It might also be worth having a read of some Alan Hawk reviews to get up to speed with the pros and cons of each offering. Offshore gear will tend to cop plenty of water so serviceability will also be important. Alan Hawk reviews mention difficulty in getting replacement fluids for mag seal units so for my next purchase I’m leaning towards the Sorocco SW.

aeea4a3a-0796-48ad-b48f-0e2c50c4d05a

At the moment I’m running a Gen Black Nugget, I’ll most likely pair it with a Sorocco SW in 6000 size to edge out my original plan of a Conflict. I plan on dabbling in some jigging too, so when a Gomuku Kaiten comes my way, I figure it could be paired with the same reel as a nice jigging combo. I’ll do a review on the combo once its had a bit of use.

367604-zoom

Electronics

VHF Radios

I’ve owned a couple of radios and found some more robust than others. When you go shopping you can pay a little more for a DSC enabled unit, but as an added safety feature it will communicate your GPS coordinates to all DSC vessels in the area in the event of an emergency.

marine_ic-m23The Icom M series radios are generally considered to be one of the best units around, they are very popular with the offshore yakkers up north. Personally I love my Uniden MH, it hasn’t missed a beat. You can also buy a waterproof sleeve for your radio too which will help protect it in the surf.

pl_mhs127

Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacons (Epirbs)

 

EPIRBS are one of those items that are expensive as an initial purchase for something that you hopefully never have to use, but when the cost is broken down over their usable life it becomes a more attractive proposition. The average beacon has a 10 year battery life and if they cost $250-$350 to buy really you are looking at $25 a year. I got my first EPIRB a few years back it was a GME MT600 unit, from memory it set me back around $250. I’ve never had to use it in anger so I can’t comment on its reliability, but I will say that newer units can be purchased with GPS in-built which dramatically improves location accuracy and therefore the search radius should you need to deploy it.

This unit is now available as a MT600G GPs version for $330, but when the battery goes on the current model, I will most likely opt for the more compact offering from Kti, the SA1G. It is a little cheaper at $290 and locally made so it will make life easier if there are any warranty issues.

KTI EPIRB

Speaking of Kti, they also make compact Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s). These are easy to fit in the pocket of most lifejackets and while they  don’t meet the legal requirements for full offshore fishing,  they are a good piece of kit to have on any type of water. The main advantage of a PLB is that if you are separated from your kayak, your PLB will still be with you, in the pocket of your PFD whereas your EPIRB will be floating away from you on your kayak. The trade off is that unlike an EPRIB, which floats and transmits once activated without further input from the user, a PLB must have its antenna facing upwards and be held afloat by the user.

KTI-Safety-Alert-PLB

 

The Lure Box

Depending on what is on the chew in January you’ll need to decide on a means of targeting the comp species. With the bread and butter species, like in the bay you can opt for soft plastics or baits. If you want advice on plastics and jig heads you can go straight to the source and have a chat with a couple of our comp sponsors. Allan over at Munroe’s Soft Plastics is always happy to provide advice on plastic choices and John over at Jigman can sort you out with terminal tackle that should see you right to get some points on the board on the day. Both are top blokes, happy to talk fishing and it is always good to give back to the local companies that support us.

If you decide to go all-out for glory and tackle the pelagics, you have a few options to consider. For the kings, you can opt to go with livebait, dead bait, lures or soft plastics. In terms of bait, squid is the go, preferably as a livie but as a fresh deadbait it is also a good option. If the kings are really on they can even take californian squid too. In terms of lures and plastics you are looking at sinking stickbaits and big 10 inch soft plastics with white being the colour of choice for most anglers.

lge_573

For the tuna, if you are in a quick boat a small skirt might be an option, Kieran managed to nab a tuna the day before the comp last year using this method. Hard bodies seem to be a better option in the winter tuna season out behind Lawrence Rocks rather than summer on North Shore. From last year’s reports plastics are a better bet here, look for 7″ jerk shads with pilchard/blue flecks. There is always the livebait option too if you can find some slimies!   As the comp draws closer I’m sure the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle will be able to give you the low-down on what is working out on the reefs.

livie

Clothing

During warmer weather, the more you can cover up, the less sunscreen you have to apply! You should also consider moisture-wicking and drying-times when kayak fishing and as a result do not use any cotton clothing or rash vests as they dry slowly and are cold when wet. Wet suits are great in the water, but out of it they act like a Coolgardie fridge with the wind carrying away your body heat in much the same way as an evaporative cooler does in your home.

Head wear:

There are a couple of options for head wear during summer. You can either go with a hat & buff combo or an all in one flap hat. Buff offer a wide range of face scarves that fit the bill, and an official Buff® buff  can be purchased from Technical Headwear. If you go down the road of an all in one unit, you can get the Adapta-cap from Sun Protection Clothing Australia.

images

 

Upper Body:

Up top long sleeves help cover the skin to protect from the elements. This can be in the form of a light thermal such as the 2P Thermo from Adrenalin or a lightweight UPF50 polo. Again it is a case of avoiding the cotton t-shirts and lycra materials!  If a nice lightweight polo is what you are after, for this year’s comp we’ve teamed up with Sun Protection Clothing Australia to produce a UPF 50 branded fishing shirt with all of the sponsor logos from #NSC18 with a sleek Southern Bluefin Tuna on the back. Profits go to Portland Surf Lifesaving, so you’ll be helping to save your skin as well as beach goers down the coast! You can add one to your entry at checkout when you register for the comp or click here if you want to add one later. On colder days you can layer up with a spray top or cag jacket from Lovig’s or Kokotat.

 

Lower Body:

On sit-on-top kayaks and skis we don’t have the luxury of leg protection from the deck of our boats so again coverage is key. A pair of lightweight UPF paddling pants or cargo pants can do the trick on warmer days such as those available from SPCA or if there is a breeze about a pair of  light thermal pants can do the job nicely again the Adrenalin 2P thermos fit the bill.

2p-thermal-pants-long-tp_7026694861317932467f

Due to sharps on the beach as well as landing on slippery rocks and reefs, some protection for your feet is very important and often overlooked. So pop a pair of old runners on or pick up a pair of dive boots and you are ready to go!

HHDB5BKL-CF_1024x1024

If you are having trouble finding some of the gear or need to borrow a spare, feel free to add a post on the NSC Facebook page. You can also hit up some of the other guys for advice on the page or try to glean some more useful info after the briefing.

Tight lines!

Sea Sherpa