Category Archives: Recent Events

Age is only a number..

Having turned 60 this year I must confess I’m starting to feel my age..
The mind is willing (sometimes) but the body says “you’ve got to be joking”..
Also one finds things don’t always work as they used to (but I won’t go into that here) and Doctors start recommending various tests as a matter of course..
I feel like an old car with faded paint and a few rust holes..

Speaking of rust, when I finally did manage to get to actually speak in person to a Doctor (well a nurse actually because Doctors seem to be off limits and you can only get to see one after you have been tele-diagnosed over the phone, deemed sick enough to actually visit the health centre, and finally been examined but a nurse.)
Anyway, after running the gauntlet of phone calls and questions I finally got an appointment with a nurse who took one look at the lump growing on my head and exclaimed “thats gotta come off”.
Having duly taken photos and typed out a message to the DOCTOR she then sent me home to await yet more phone calls.

A week or so later I get permission to see a Doctor and upon looking at the growth on my head he pretty much said the same thing as the nurse did a week earlier.
An appointment for surgery was made.

The offending skin cancer was duly removed but because of its position (between eye and ear) it was a long tedious 2 hour job.
So armed with various drugs, bandages and $800 (more than a weeks pay) lighter, I went home and now await the next phone call from a lab, to tell me just what the hell was that thing they cut off..

What to do during lockdown

So I had four weeks of holiday but had to spend it at home because of our covid lockdown. What do you do to keep busy? Make additions to the pond in the form of a cascade/waterfall.
The submersed pump in the pond supplies water to a bio/uv filter hidden in the top of the cascade. The cleaned water runs down the cascade and into the pond.

The “C” word…

I have plenty of time to write this, four weeks in fact.. Why? Because we here in New Zealand, are in lockdown like many other parts of the world.
Covid19 has caused mayhem and tragedy globally. As of this writing we have some 500 odd confirmed cases in NZ. There has been one death attributed to it. As I understand it, this unfortunate person already had severe health issues before contracting the virus. Some 50 or 60 people have recovered from it in this country of 4.5 million.

I work for the NZ postal service. We are considered an essential service so we are required to work through the lockdown, along with supermarkets, fire, police, ambulance, and numerous other must-have services.

Why am I sitting at home writing this then?
Well, at the postal service we need to book our holidays well in advance, I’m talking months in advance. So many months ago I booked four weeks of annual leave for April 2020.. So yes, I am on annual leave, stuck here at home unable to go anywhere or do anything.
My lovely wife also works for an essential service. She has a desk job so the government department she works for decided at the last minute to get its staff working from home.
It has been a giant fail. The remote logins/server-access etc are intermittent at best and just don’t work properly. They had plenty of time to sort this prior to lockdown, but they didn’t and now its a frustrating mess…. The people who need this service are not getting it.

Is then any upside to the covid situation? In a monetary or business sense, no. Billions of dollars have been spent by various governments to prop up economies and keep things running. Ultimately its you and I who are paying for this. Governments do not have any money of their own, they have taxpayer money which belongs to you and me.

There have been reports of gains in environmental situations. Waters in various places are running cleaner without human pollution being present. The air is better in big cities with no cars on the road.
Will this make any difference in the long term? No. The human race will assume business as usual when this pandemic is over.

Changing times

Ok so before I get into the current global mayhem, here’s a catchup on recent events.
There was a stone waterfall in our garden when we came here, made of cemented river rocks about two metres high. It was built in one layer like a brick wall. There was a trough at the foot of it containing a pump which sent the water to the top via a hidden pipe. Picture below.

Recently we noticed the rockwork was leaning on the fence and threatening to knock it over. We discovered that whoever had made it, had sat it on wooden planks which had since rotted away. The decision was made to dismantle it before it flattened our fence.
What then should we do with the empty space?
After much drinking of beers on the deck and gazing at the vacant space we decided a small pond might be the go.
Excavations commenced immediately..

The wife testing the depth..

Liner, rocks and test fill

Mostly finished. The water feature is made from big lumps of pumice which I found at a beach. They are glued together and a large hole drilled down through them. A large pump is submerged under the rocks and pumps water up the hole where is spills out and runs down the outside. The Gargoyle (Boris) sits on top and surveys his domain, no doubt eyeing up the goldfish..

Sometimes you just have one of those weekends….

It started with all good intentions. A trip away to east cape, catch a few fish.

I loaded the van on Friday and set off for Mohaka as a stepping stone to going further north.

In 38+ degree temps and no aircon I drove to Mohaka.
I got there and parked up in a likely spot.
First cast snapped off and birdnested the spool #$%^&&!!!!
I thought to myself “what a shit start to the day”
Nevermind.. Slipped on another reel and continued.
Got a nice hookup, a reasonable snapper by the feel of it. Suddenly, gone.. @##%%^!!
Nevermind, new baits deployed.
Another hookup, a little 34cm snap hits the beach, nice.
Nothing else until I hit the sack at 10pm
Up again at 4am baits in, but no further action.

Left Mohaka and headed up to Hicks Bay, HOT A.F all the way.
My mates weren’t due to arrive until late afternoon so I killed time fishing off the rocks beside the wharf for a few hours.
I wasn’t expecting much in the clear sunny midday heat, and that proved to be right, no bites at all.
I’d had enough of the heat so I parked up in the shade to wait for the boys to arrive.

When they arrived we headed out onto the sand and setup for the wade and cast fishing. Its something rare to me because most the beaches I normally fish are not suitable to wading.
The water was pleasantly warm to wade in, but I soon found that my freespool reels didn’t have enough line for this sort of carry on.
By the time you’ve waded to waist deep and hurled out your best cast, then waded back to the beach you’ve run out of line before getting back to the rod stand. #@&#%^!

The fish weren’t interested in coming 30m closer to eat my baits, and I couldn’t get a bait out to where they were. The other guys with fixed spool reels had plenty of line and could wade out further. They were into some nice fish.

I persevered until dark and decided to head back over the hill to TeAraroa for some dry-feet fishing as I’d had success there before.
It was pitch black when I got there so I couldn’t really see what or where I was fishing into. Lines went out anyway but baby Tope sharks was all I could catch..
My buddies over the hill sent me pics of all the lovely snapper they were catching…nice…
By this time I was feeling the effects of being awake for 19 hours and crawled into the van for some sleep.
At five in the morning the lines were back in but all Tangaroa would let me have was more baby Topes..
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By 8am I’d had enough of the baby sharks and admitting defeat, decided to head south before the heat became unbearable.

I had just under half a tank of gas left having filled up in Gisborne on the way up.
I new I wouldn’t get back to Gizzy on what I had left, but figured maybe I’d get to Tologa. I wasn’t worried because I had a 20L can of spare gas on the back and could always chuck that in if I needed to.
Between Tokomaru and Tologa I could see I wasn’t going to make it, so I pulled over to siphon the spare gas into the tank.
What I failed to remember was that the full gas can on the rear wheel gate had been in the sun all weekend and as I popped the lid open it sprayed a good litre or so of petrol all over me. Shit..$#&%^!
I quickly stripped of my petrol soaked clothing and towelled of, thankful I wasn’t on a main highway..
I got some clean clothes on and finished transferring the fuel.
The petrol soaked clothes were put in a plastic bag and sealed up but now the inside of the van reeked of petrol all the way home.
I filled up again in Gizzy, enough to make it to Napier easily.
I got to Whakaki and decided to pull over and take a look at the sea.
It was stinking hot and there was no breeze. Deciding not to stay I went to carry on home.
The van wouldn’t start. The electric fuel pump was overheating and couldn’t get up enough fuel pressure.
I grabbed a bottle of cold water out of the fridge and emptied it over the fuel pump.
That was enough to cool the pump get things going again, I was off.
I got stuck behind a grandma going up the devils-elbow climb at 20kph and the fuel pump overheated again.
The van is now stuck next to the armco on a very tight winding road…#%%^*!!! FFS!🤬

Thankfully a young bloke in a ute stopped and offered me a tow to the top. (You Sir are a Top bloke!)
Out of immediate danger I crawled under the van and emptied another bottle of water over the fuel pump which was too hot to touch.
I few moments later if fired right up and I was on my way again.
So I got home eventually, exhausted, depressed, pissed off, {insert negative emotion here} with one small snapper to show for my 700km of weekend away.🤬

I opened the door and was greeted by my lovely wife handing me a cold beer 🙂

Excellent!

Epic Far North Fishing

For three years I have been planning to go to the far north and verify for myself some of the tall tales uttered by fellow fishermen upon their return. I nearly got there last year but events conspired to thwart me and even though I had time to go, other things soaked up my funds and I was left wondering.

This year no such bad luck came my way and with determination and a heap of money spent, I was on my way to experience the best land-based fishing NZ has to offer.
The far north is a fisherman’s paradise, there is no other description. Its a different world compared to places like Hawke’s Bay. There are so many fish available up there. There is always somewhere to fish as well, no matter what the weather is doing.
Beaches both east and west are within a short drive, you could easily fish both coasts on the same day. Harbours and estuaries are full of fish should the weather prohibit fishing any open beaches.
Its a visual feast as well, epic scenery and stunning fish life swimming by at your feet.
They have a saying in the far north, “if you’re starving in the far north, you’re lazy”
I fully believe that. The abundance of fish and other wildlife is amazing.

So check out these pictures and videos. and start planning your trip..

Epic East Cape

We had this one planned for a while. A mate has this event at Cape Runaway every June and this year things came together for us and we were able to get a break to go.
Rather than head straight to Runaway, we decided to go the scenic route up the east coast and stop in at various places to camp and fish as we travelled.
We had excellent weather and excellent company, the fishing up that way was just awesome.

Autumn

Its been a while since I posted here, but to be truthful there’s been nothing fishy to report on. At least not from my efforts.
The Pania Surfcasting Club’s 2014-15 season has come to an end, and while it has had two highlights for me (a Snapper and a Kingfish) its all been downhill from there.
Thats the trouble with getting lucky on a big catch I guess, reality, or normality, comes crashing back and reminds you how things really are on subsequent outings.

I’ve been trying to fish further afield when finances have allowed, but that has produced the same empty fish bin I’ve come to expect from local excursions. Not far enough afield I guess.
Trips to Mohaka and further north to Matata were a nice diversion but produced no fish.
Trips south to Ocean Beach, including an over-nighter were just as barren.

Winter is knocking as I write this and reports of Redcod, Spiney Dogs, and Baracouta are starting to filter through from fellow fishermen.
Kahawai are occasionally abundant, then gone again. The odd Trevally has been caught locally and even a stray Kingfish or two.
Its just a matter of being in the right place at the right time (isn’t it always)

I’ve been kitting out the van with new tyres and a new winch (piece of mind) for beach excursions. So far the last two trips to ocean beach have seen me rescuing other vehicles stuck in the sand. It can be a treacherous place for the unwary. The sand at low tide, down by the water is quite firm and easy to drive on, but up on the crest of the beach and towards the dunes it can be extremely soft and will trap you if you’re not careful.

The trick with soft sand driving is to let your tyres down. Dropping your tyre pressure causes the tyre to ‘flatten out’ and creates a wider and longer footprint. This spreads the weight of the vehicle over a much larger area and will resist sinking into the sand.

I usually drop my pressures down to about 15psi and the difference is huge when you drive off again. The vehicle seems to float on top of the sand instead of digging in and ploughing through it.

Of course if you do this, you will need to pump your tyres back up when you get back to the roads. For this I use an electric pump you can purchase at any good motoring accessories outlet.

The other thing to consider when gearing up for beach driving is tyre types. Big aggressive mud tyres are not required on sand. In fact they will be more of a hinderance than a help. Aggressive tread tyres tend to dig through the sand instead of sitting on top of it.
Wide, non-agressive tyres are best for sand.

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van

May, summers last gasp

One last attempt at catching some fish. At least that was the theory. As it turned out my trip north to Whakaki was a waste of time (again). A few spiney dogs and baby Kahawai were my reward for a cold overnighter.
A couple of pics of a nice sunrise was the only upside.

Moonrise over Mahia

Moonrise over Mahia

Pre dawn - cold enough to have a fire going.

Pre dawn – cold enough to have a fire going.

Sunrise, but no bites.

Sunrise, but no bites.

The drought continues

Well I have nothing to report catch wise. We’ve had a few fishing trips both locally and northern HB but the fishing has been very uninspiring to say the least. Aside from an occasional Kahawai ( three to be precise) and one Gurnard since October we’ve caught bugger all.

So here’s a few photos of fishing locations.

Aropaoanui

Aropaoanui

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Whirinaki

Whirinaki

Whakaki

Whakaki

Mohaka

Mohaka