Leaping Tuna Pre-Comp at Bribie with Wayne Petherick and Luke Hendo, YHQLD

Wayne Petherick and Luke Hendo, YHQLD

I started fishing at the beginning of 2019 and bought my "forever yak", an Old Town Top Water 106, on April 12, 2019.  "Just going for a look" on my birthday, my wife Natasha saw the way my eyes lit up (or maybe she just got sick of hearing about it?) and gave me the green light to buy it.  Three days later on its first trip out, I landed my first (and to date only) mangrove jack in Talle Creek.  I like fishing for multiple species and most recently have developed a love for fresh water bass.  Met up with a bloke named Hendo one day for a coffee, and we quickly became good mates and fishing buddies.

Hendo loves to fish.  He owns a boat and a yak and just loves being on the water.  Most recently Hendo started a business called Luke's Lines servicing reels and fixing up rods. While he has caught an impressive number of species there are still on a few on his bucket list including the elusive jack.  Hendo's boat "The Mad Rabbit" is used as the safety boat at YHQLD events and if you see him out an about stop and say hi.  Hendo also gives YH members a discount of 15% off labour through Luke's Lines so head over to the Products and Services page for details.
Now I'll admit my (WP) comp experience is limited having only participated in one since joining Yak Hunters in early 2019. It seems though that most comps involves a pre-fish where anglers unfamiliar with the waters go out for a reconnaisance mission to get the lay of the land (or water as the case may be). Some are of two minds about whether this is a good idea or even fair. 

On the good idea side of the argument there is some concern that pre-fishing the comp waters too close to the event could lead the fish to go off the bite, having a negative impact on the competition fish. Alternatively, more skittish species might simply move out of the comp zone. 

On the fair side of things, some feel that being able to pre-fish an area gives some an unfdair advantage over those who, for whatever reason, cannot make it to the area for their own recon. 

Having registered for Bribie both Hendo and I saw this is an opportunity not just for a comp but for a weekend away with good mates for some fishing somewhere too far away to be a regular.  We didn't want to pre-fish the comp zone but we wanted to fish when we got there.

We rolled into Bribie Island Friday morning, quickly unpacked our stuff, stowed our yaks, and headed out on "The Mad Rabbit" to check out the Pumicestone Passage. We got some advice from a local and headed to one particular bay under the bridge. Both of us got smoked a couple of times, and because the current and wind was pretty strong we decidedd to head further out into the bay. We ended up with a lot of snot weed and not much else, though we did see a monstrous loggerhead turtle we reckon had to be close to 1m across. It was enormous. We also saw a lot of dolphins, a feature which was to be pretty common the whole weekend.
Sadly the Loggerheads are an endangered species.  They can grow up to 135kg and live for up to 65 or so years
Wild dolphins are one of the coolest things you can see while yacking.  This is drone footage of a large pod near Coffs Harbour in NSW, 2018
Getting sick of the weed we decided to check out a canal we had seen on the way out (remember we weren't fishing the comp zone!).

Pulling in it looked like good territory for a few species, but it wasn't to be on this particular afternoon. We caught the drift out with the current and were bouncing our lines across the bottom thinking with the tide as it was there should be a flattie or two around. Before long BOOM Hendo hooked up landing a 50cm model.

This place looked like prime territory for them with sloping sand banks going into the shallows on each side, with a good strong tide coming out of or into the canal, carrying bait fish across the shallow flats.

This proved to be true as I landed a 45cm model soon after.
As we came out of the entrance into the passage proper, I could see a school of very active bait fish near a channel marker.  I knew this could mean a predator wasn't far away.  The problem was we had a really strong current going in one direction and a really strong wind going in the complete opposite direction!  Welcome to fishing in Pumicestone Passage!  

I knew where I wanted to put my lure but the past couple of casts told me you aimed for twelve o'clock and landed at 9 o'clock.  And that was just the wind, there was also the impact of the current on the line and the boat.

Digging deep into my mental calculations I figured a spot just to the side of and past the channel marker was the go.  As I loaded the rod up and prepared to cast, a cormorant came swooping down into the school of bait fish.  Hendo and I have witnessed some pretty epic moments of nature while fishing but we hadn't been this close before, being only about 30 feet away.  My jaw dropped a little to be seeing this right in front of us and I momentarily forgot about the cast.

A split second later things went up a notch or five.

I cocked my head to one side keeping an eye on the cormorant feeding and said to Hendo "hey are you seeing this?" when the surface of the water literally exploded.  It didn't register at that point but I knew something had to have left the water - or dove into it.  Knowing nothing had come from above I knew it had to have come from below.  Another split second later a massive long tailed tuna - easily a 1 metre model - left the water and headed straight for the hovering cormorant snapping at the air as it arced towards the bird.  

Now I don't know if the tuna was simply trying to maximise it's chances with the bait ball or whether it was aimiung for the bird, but it kept snapping at the air as it headed for the bird.  Obviously spooked, the cormorant lived to fight another day flying off into the distance.  The tuna splashed down and was never seen again.

Chalk up another amazing experience with mother nature!
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