Category Archives: News

Away trips

Windy TeAraroaDriving north 5 or 6 hours does improve your chances of landing a feed. The first time this summer I ventured up around East Cape on September 10th I miss judged the weather badly and when I got to TeAraroa it was blowing at least 40 knots offshore and was impossible to fish in.

I eventually found a reasonably sheltered spot tucked in behind a hill and managed to soak a few baits, but caught nothing.
On the advice of txts from friends I packed up and headed around the cape towards Bay of Plenty where thankfully the wind was much less severe. I stopped at a quiet beach just before TeKaha and managed to land a small Snapper just on Dusk. Nothing else was interested in my baits there and after an hour or two I drove further up the coast road and stopped at Omaio.

Having been awake for some 14 hours by then I decided to catch a couple of hours sleep and get the lines back out around 11pm which would be two hours shy of high tide.TeKaha
At 11pm I woke to see another guy fishing not far away from me. He had caught several good Gurnard and a couple of small Snapper so I wasted no time getting some lines in the water.
We fished until about 3am but only caught one more Gurnard each, seems i had slept through the action..

I came home from that weekend with one small snapper and a gurnard. Not a lot for over 1000km of travel, but that just proves you have to get everything right to land fish, even in areas where fish are supposedly abundant.Snap and gurnard

My second trip to Omaio took place on Labour weekend and instead of driving up and around the east cape I went up via Taupo and Rotorua. Its still a 5 hours+ trip but the roads are better and easier that way.
I caught up with Kane who was already at Omaio and had fished the previous evening with good success. Snapper and Gurnard were apparently plentiful during the darkness but nothing much was happening in the middle of the day.
That evening just on dusk the snapper and gurnard returned and we both caught a few.
Conditions were perfect with no wind and dead flat calm sea. I hit the car seat for a nap Omaioaround midnight and got up again at 4am to try and snag a few more before sunrise. It wasn’t to be however and nothing further was added to my bin.

When Kane finally woke up around 6am he enquired whether I had caught any more fish. Being told no he decided to get his rods in anyway. The sun was coming up and chances of any more fish were fast slipping away.  Just when we thought it was pretty much all over Kane’s rod went over and he landed a nice fat snapper, biggest of the trip so far. A short time later over it went again and he landed another beauty of 3.6kgs.
bucket of snapperHe ended up with three good solid snapper in the bucket and this is in broad daylight at low tide in the sun! Just when you think you have this fishing knowledge nailed down something like this happens and blows you out of the water…
Anything can can happen at any time up there. 🙂

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Another spring and summer

I’m looking forward to the return of spring and summer. I’ve not caught anything significant since my last post, so I’ll just post a few pics instead.

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A small smoothhound caught at TeAwanga

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Prawn bait for the smoothhound above

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Very few Redcod caught this year

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Sunrise from BayView

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Large pilchards are best filleted for baits

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Offshore thunder storm at Haumoana

April

100 year storm

Photo: Mark Roberts

It’s pretty hard to keep a fishing blog going when you’ve done bugger all fishing. Unfortunately the weather has been total crap for at least a month. The seas have been and still are filthy, and those conditions do not inspire enthusiasm for fishing anyway.
On the upside, a few good fish were caught in the last month over on the west coast I hear. I must make the trek one day and have a go over there.
A mate has also just returned from the far north with tales of awesomely easy fishing. Snapper whenever you want one, big trevally etc. Thats another place on my bucket list. Might be a while that one though, its a bloody long way up there and my current vehicle doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in long distance travel. Not to mention the hundreds of dollars in fuel it would use.

Still it would be nice to have confidence when going fishing. Confidence that there would actually be fish to be caught in the area.  As I write this we have just had another week of wind, rain and stormy seas. I’m guessing my hunt for a snapper will have to wait for next season now. when this weather finally settles the bay will be full of spiny dogs and red cod.
Winter is upon us.
That makes me wonder, where do the snapper actually go (or where would they go if there was any) in the winter?
Do they go out to deep water, or do they move north up the coast?

Spring at last!

Well I haven’t posted much here of late, mainly because I haven’t been fishing much. Things are starting to happen though and a few fish are being caught locally around Napier.
Pania Surfcasting Club’s first field weekend produced a great assortment of fish including a massive 13.5kg Snapper. Well done Jimmy B on that once in a lifetime catch.

My own efforts were a little less spectacular and a Sunday morning Lemonfish on prawn bait was all I could manage for the weekend. Saturday night’s only excitement for me was being hooked up to something very heavy only to have it chew through my 60lb flurocarbon trace..

Big snapper will flatten the trace with their crushing teeth rather than shred it like a shark or eel would.

Big snapper will flatten the trace with their crushing teeth rather than shred it like a shark or eel would.

On showing the chewed trace to other fishos the consensus was that a big snapper was the culprit. I was kinda hoping it could have been blamed on a big eel or something less valuable, so that was very frustrating.

A pleasant but unproductive afternoon at Mohaka.

A pleasant but unproductive afternoon at Mohaka.

I also took a drive to Mohaka recently for a lazy afternoon’s fishing with Gary and Sue Kemsley. None of us caught anything despite trying every type of bait we could.
Sometimes there’s just nothing there.

The wife and I also fished closer to home a couple of times over the last month. One of the places I’d heard about but never tried was Westshore between the reef and the old boiler. At certain times this area can produce good catches. Alas there was nothing of any size there when we tried.

 

The "boiler" at West Shore

 

Stingrays

Sunset is a great time to be fishing.

The last time I fished and Mohaka was also my first time. I did quite well compared to fishing locally here in Napier, so I decided to go again. Arriving at the beach about 630pm on the Saturday just as the day was starting to cool into dusk was perfect as far as I could see.

The conditions were good, sea was very calm and clean, it should be a productive evening fishing was my first thought. Unfortunately my ‘thoughts’ were way off target, and the baits were totally untouched.
I decided to try for a Kingfish seeing as nothing was touching the cut-baits. A prime livebait in the form of a 30cm Kahawai was caught and despatched on a sliding line where it swam around happily for a few hours but it too was totally unmolested.

As darkness set in I resumed with cut baits of Pilchard and Skipjack. Then I noticed one of the tip lights wobbling. Aha! about time! Unfortunately the fish that appeared in the surf in my headlamp beam was not the Gurnard or Snapper I was hoping for, but a small Tope shark.
I replaced the shredded trace and released the shark only to have several more of them hook up over the next hour or so. I realised then that the sharks were only taking the Skipjack baits and not the pilchards. Changing to pilchard on both rods bought some relief from the sharks.

At about 10pm one of the rods started a gentle lean and kept bending. By the time I got to it line was peeling off the spool. I soon realised this was not a fish. It was a bloody stingray!

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Stingrays can soak up a lot of fishing time.

Anyone who has hooked a stingray on a surfcaster knows what a pain in the butt they can be. If you haven’t hooked one, just imagine someone has tied your line to an underwater tractor! They are often so big and heavy that there is nothing you can do to turn them and ultimately catch/release them. Many people will just lock up the reel and break the line because a prolonged scrap with a stingray can soak up an hour or more of fishing time.

So here I was, alone in the dark attached to a sizeable stingray and then the thought just struck me, damn! the gaff is still in the van.. So even if I manage to get this thing into the surf I have no way of landing it and unhooking it. After about 20 minutes of give and take I had the ray swimming up and down the beach just inside the first wave. I just could not get it up onto the beach, every time a wave washed it onto the shore it would power back out and I could do nothing but watch as the reel released line to it.

I thought ‘maybe I should just break the line’ but that would mean replacing the whole terminal tackle rig, and I wanted my gear back! I couldn’t really see the ray (my headlamp is not very good) but the angle of the line told me it was pretty close. Just then a larger than normal wave pushed the ray up onto the beach into ankle deep water. I locked up the drag and shoved the rod into the spike. Then sprinted back to the van to get the gaff. Thirty seconds later with gaff in hand I waded into the shallows and gently dragged the beast onto dry land.
I was pretty buggered by then, 40 minutes of fighting these things on full load will turn your arms into jelly and announce back muscles you never knew you had.

After flipping the ray over and removing the hooks I dragged it back into the water and watched it swim away. Maybe to torment another fisherman on another day.

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Smaller Rays are easier to deal with.

Dawn is rather special too :)

Dawn is a very special time to be fishing.

After that the rest of the night was dead as far as fishing went. I retired to the van for a few winks at about 1130pm. Up again at 3am with the full-ish moon lighting up a perfectly flat sea, I had more baits in the water. Only pilchard this time. Nothing was interested in my baits until about 5am when one the rods started another slow bend.. Not again! Yep, but this one was considerably smaller and I dealt to it inside 10 minutes. As the sun came up I decide to try livebaits again. There were lots of splashes and surface disturbances indicating baitfish in the surf so I figured there may be a Kingfish snooping around.
A fat little Kahawai was procured with sabiki bait flies and sent out on a slider with a hook in its back.
Every now and then my livebait would go berserk and start splashing around on the surface. Obviously it could see impending doom swimming around underneath it. But it remained intact and survived so no Kingfish were harmed on this trip.
I was getting no bites at all on the pilchards so I caught another small Kahawai and cut it up for bait.

IMG_4464Finally at about 7am the cut Kahawai bait produced a nice Gurnard. Five minutes later another one joined it in the bin. That was it, bite-time over. The sun was up now and chances of  catching anything else getting slimmer by the minute.

So, an eventful trip if not overly productive. But that’s fishing…

Beach Etiquette

Its mid summer and it seems everyone heads to the beach. Fair enough, NZ has more than enough beach to go around. There should be plenty of room for everyone.
But it seems there is less and less courtesy and consideration being used by beach goers these days.

Great! Swim in between my lines you pratts!

Great! Swim in between my lines you pratts!

Today I decided to go fishing for the afternoon. In hindsight this was a bad move.
Its a Sunday afternoon in January and most of the easily accessible beaches are crowded with day-trippers and holiday makers. That’s to be expected I guess.
I drove past several of my regular fishing spots and noticed that they were already occupied with either surfasters or swimmers.
No problem, I’ll keep searching. After all, they were there first, and what right would I have to barge in and start fishing in among them?

Eventually I ended up at Tangoio Beach and while there were at least a dozen cars there, most of them belonged to the surfers who disappear around the cliffs to their chosen spots. The beach was free of swimmers and other fishermen.
Great! I setup and got the rods out.

Now it is a sunny afternoon and expectations of catching anything significant are pretty low.
Its nice however to at least have a chance of catching something.
A few more cars arrive, they’re families with kids, beach towels, etc.
They then proceed to run down the beach and swim right between my rods!
How ignorant is that?
Actually I’m not sure if it’s ignorance or arrogance.
There’s several kilometres of uninhabited beach at their disposal, and they need to swim right in between my rods…

I decide to leave before I say something nasty to the (obviously ignorant) parents. Something along the lines of “thanks for ruining any chance of me catching any fish you idiots!”)

So, if you’re reading this, and you don’t fish. Or perhaps you’re a surfer, or a jetski enthusiast.. Here are some basic common sense beach etiquette rules:

  1. When you get to the beach and find surfcasters already fishing there, move along the beach to a clear space, and by that I mean at least 200 metres away. Don’t swim among surfcasters rods. You will scare away any fish that might have been in the area and generally ruin their day.
  2. Don’t launch your surfboard and paddle out past our lines for the same reason above. We don’t want to watch your moves on the waves, go and show off to someone who cares!
  3.  We don’t want to see your shiny new jetski or wetbike zooming around the waves either, bugger off and disturb someone else.

If a fisherman is there first, leave him/her be. Give him space, lots of space. He/she has worked all week to get a day off and go fishing. You chasing all the fish way is not going to impress anyone…

 

Winter weather

Bad fishing weather – a good time to watch Fishing TV

What to do when the weather is bad?
Well, we really are lucky in this country to have so much readily available fishing TV and video for the times when the weather is rubbish and we cant go fishing ourselves.

Those of us with a broadband internet connection ( and a reasonable  monthly data cap ) can enjoy watching hours of top quality fishing TV on our computers while the rest of the family watch the mindless drivel of ‘reality TV” in the lounge.

We have at least 4 good quality fishing TV shows running at the moment, and most of it is available on-demand via the internet.
Some links for you:

TVNZ – Match Fishing League

TV3 – ITM Fishing Show

TV3 – Big Angry Fish

TV3 – Gone Fishin

TV3 – Outdoors With Geoff

Fish-n-Hunt TV

And if that’s not enough for you, Youtube is always worth a look 🙂