Category Archives: Recent Events

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.


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.



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.



Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach







Winter weather continued..

A recently dead seal pup on the beach at Whirinaki.

I was going to say ‘autumn weather’ but I guess thats just wishful thinking.  At least things are starting to settle a bit. We’ve had a few weeks of rough seas and dirty water, and even some of the creatures that nature has evolved to be equipped for this don’t make it.

Today while fishing at Whirinaki beach I took this photo of a very skinny and very dead seal pup. My guess would be starvation. Pretty hard to catch a feed when the water is rough and filthy for weeks on end.

The sea was pretty clean today, a few big swells but nothing too serious. No fish though.


I’d been wanting to venture north of Napier for some time. Reports from those who lived up that way, and those who had made the effort to travel from here were good. There were snapper to be had, and that’s what was behind my own effort to shrug off the taste of Kahawai.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Kahawai, but the only fish we’ve eaten in the last few months has been Kahawai and we were keen to get something else.

So we loaded up the van for an overnighter and headed north. The weather forecast wasn’t all that good to be honest, but we didn’t want to stay home and do nothing for the weekend.
Driving past Whirinaki beach the sea looked fair, a bit of a swell but clean, we assumed it would be much the same further up the coast.

Lake Tutira

We stopped in at Lake Tutira and took some photos before heading north again.

Filling up with gas again at Wairoa I bumped into a local fishing guru who informed us that the sea was huge and we would be best to carry on to the other side of Mahia Peninsular where it would be protected from the swells.
We took that advice and headed north again.
The sea at Whakaki was indeed rough with 3m swells and filthy brown water. We arrived at snapper rock on the sheltered side of the peninsular early afternoon to see deep, clean blue water and lovely exposed rock platforms to fish from.



Snapper rock Mahia

We dumped a bag of burley into the tide (mostly crayfish bodies and frozen fish frames etc) and cast our baits over the foul into the deep blue.
Weather forecast was for up to 15knots of wind but I’d guess we were getting a solid 30knots. You know when it takes 120m of line to cast 60m you have a bit of a side wind!!
The wind was bitterly cold and we were rugged up with jackets and beanies. Sporadic rain squalls passed through in between bursts of sunshine which wouldn’t have been so bad if the fishing was good. The fishing was dead, no bites, nothing. After about two hours and trying numerous different baits, Michelle hooked and landed a nice scrappy Kahawai. From then on until 10pm there was nothing biting.

At 10pm the wind had all but stopped so we packed up the van and headed back to Whakaki to camp up for the night.
Shining the spotlights at the surf revealed what we could hear, huge pounding seas and muddy water.
We slept until 4am and I crawled out of the van to check the sea. It was still heavy and dirty but nowhere near as bad as the night before. I hadn’t come this far to give up, so baits were in the water and coffee brewing before sunrise.
By 9.30am we had all but exhausted our supply of bait and the chillybin still only held yesterdays lone Kahawai.

Ahh well, thats the way it goes sometimes. 🙂
Time to head home.


We stopped at Waihua on the way home just to have a look and take some photos.



Well, not much to say really. I haven’t been able to catch anything this month. The Kahawai seem to have disappeared for some reason. We’ve had some real crap weather here in the HB and the seas have been muddy for nearly the entire month. Still, one should be able to catch SOMETHING…
Paddle crabs are about the only thing available at the moment. This last weekend I put in a solid effort over the two days on three different beaches, using a variety of baits, pilchards, skipjack, prawns, crab and kahawai fillets but the result was still nothing.

Ocean Beach is a dangerous place for vehicles.

Ocean Beach was reasonably clean, and although swellmap was predicting wave faces of less than 0.5 metre for Ocean Beach, they were constantly tall enough to block the horizon from view. I’d guess the wave faces were more like 1-2 metres. The more I fish Ocean beach the more I’ve come to accept that you can easily double any swell or wave info predicted for that area by swellmap.

The surfies seemed to be enjoying it though. Its a pity some of them are such arrogant sods! We cruised the beach looking for a likely spot to fish, and there was a guy surfing in what would have been a good fishing spot. So we moved on a several hundred metres and started fishing. Then he jumps into his vehicle and drives past us and stops not 50 metres away and proceeds to surf right next to our lines!
Ten plus kilometres of beach and he has to encroach on someone elses space. Perhaps he just wanted an audience…
Not that I think we would have caught much anyway, I just would have liked to have had a chance.
Bring on September 🙂




A nice Gurnard caught at Aropaonui

June.. I haven’t been out much this month but one fine afternoon we ventured to Aropaonui just north of Napier for an afternoon fish.
We weren’t expecting to catch much more than perhaps a Kahawai but we were surprised by the catch of the couple of nice Gurnard.

I also dragged out a large conger that felt for all the world like a big snapper on the line, but my grin was wiped when I saw what it actually was in the waves. The Conger was released.

The Kahawai are back in large numbers this month, especially near the river mouths. A few red cod and baracouta are showing up as well.

Check here for discussion and hints on cooking these less desirable species.

Pania Surfcasting Club had their ‘Brass Monkey” one day comp this month –read about it here.


Conger eels feel like big snapper on the line


The weekends catch

May has (so far) been good. The seas have settled after the storm wreckage of April and a few summer species are still lurking. Water temp is still in the 16-17 degrees area so I’m guessing that’s why. A recent overnight  trip back to Wakaki and Tahaenui produced plenty of Kahawai and a few small Gurnard from perfectly clean and flat seas.

There’s an odd mix of winter and summer species around at the moment with Red Cod and Barracouta (winter fish) showing up in the catches alongside Gurnard and the very occasional Snapper.
It was a Pania Surfcasting Club Mates Weekend and I was playing ‘mate’ to Aaron who is a club member.
I lost a nice Lemon shark in the waves while trying to land it, and my fishing mate Aaron got cleaned out by two monsters unseen. One we picked as a big stingray, the other set off at high speed and couldn’t be stopped, unknown species but definitely big and fast..

Aaron Vs the Stingray