Jack on the Yak
  |  First Published: August 2007

There we were, Gerard and I, deciding whether to go fishing in the kayaks on a 20-25 knot blustery Easter Sunday with showers of rain most of the day. After a couple of phone calls and a few weather updates during the morning, we dedicated (read – desperate) kayak anglers decided to do it.

The kayaks were loaded on the cars and the rain jackets, headlamps, a few bags of plastics, some jigheads and a handful of our favourite lures (EcoGear SX40s, 48s, 60s, Nils Master Invincibles, River2Sea 65 poppers) were packed for the late afternoon session. We decided to go somewhere close by in case the weather turned nasty so it was off to my favourite haunt, the Coomera River. The Coomera has lots of canals to take shelter in, away from wind that would have blown a dog off its lead.

We launched the yaks, Gerard on his new Paddleyak Kingfisher, which had been christened the week before when he caught a few nice tailor in it.

We hadn’t even paddled 100m when it started raining. Gerard was quick to get his rain jacket on but as I was reaching for mine, I realised I had left it on the kitchen table! Luckily the shower didn’t last long.

We started throwing soft plastics around pontoons. Gulp! 3” Smelt Minnows on 1/16 jigheads did the job, landing three solid bream in short time.

But with blustery conditions making it near impossible to cast and hold the kayaks in a good position, we decided the best thing to do was troll.

I tied an SX48 on and Gerard put on the old Nils Master Invincible 8cm in yellow and orange and we started trolling. After about half an hour, I was paddling around a rock point when my reel began to scream. I had hooked up to something serious. As I went for my rod, I accidentally grabbed the spool of my reel and the line broke like a piece of cotton.

While rigging my line up and tying on another lure, Gerard was paddling towards me. I was about to tell him about my encounter when his rod went off. Gerard’s rod was loaded up, the drag was screaming and he was being towed all over the place. When he yelled out to me that the fish had some weight to it, I dropped what I was doing and paddled over.

With his rod still bent over and his kayak being pulled around, Gerard got his first look and yelled, “It’s a jack!”.

Now paddling with more urgency, I got close enough to see the red monster thrashing on the surface. I got my landing net out but didn’t want to get too close and spook Gerard’s trophy fish. All focus was on landing this baby.

Although Gerard’s adrenaline was high he kept his composure and swam the big fella into his landing net. His mangrove jack went 56cm and weighed around 2.7kg. It was a pleasure to witness this great moment. – Brad Dicker

Gerard Shoesmith with a 56cm mangrove jack caught off his kayak.

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