Winter 2016

Ok so I’ve been really slack about updating this website in any sort of timely fashion. Not that I’ve done a lot of fishing either, but there have been a few adventures and discoveries over the last few months which I will report on below.

Kingfish in Pandora Estuary!
Yes while walking on the old embankment road bridge one day I discovered there were massive schools of Grey Mullet swimming up the estuary. But even more exciting was the fact that Kingfish were lurking under the bridge and crashing through the schools as they came near.

Photos and Video below.
Grey Mullet

Kingfish

Kingfish

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Blue Moki

This Moki was caught using Mussel for bait. It helps to use a Mussel and Kina based berley bomb to attract them to your area. The downside is that it also attracts lots of bait pickers and you end up replacing the bait every minute or so.
Worth the effort when you finally get one though.

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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

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

A king at last

Finally, after years of trying I got one. Last Pania SCC field weekend I decided not to drive to far away beaches in search of fish. All reports from those who had were somewhat dismal and I decided to save my petrol and fish locally. If I was going to catch nothing anyway, why waste petrol and $$ to do it?
So I fished local beaches and as expected pickings were very slim. A few small Kahawai up to about 40cm was all I could manage.

2015-01-24 20.28.12As I mentioned in the last post, January is Kingfish time, so in the end I put a 40cm kahawai out as a live-bait and left it to do its thing while trying all sorts of cut baits on the other rod.
Nothing showed any interest in my Kahawai, or indeed the baits on the other rod, until about 8pm. Just on sunset I noticed my live-bait getting quite agitated. The rod tip bouncing as it tried desperately to get away.
Then it stopped bouncing and the rod slowly took on a big bend. As I got to the rod and pulled it out of the stand, all hell broke loose.
The poor old Daiwa screamed in protest as mr Kingfish decided to go somewhere else, fast!

Only having 8kg line on the reel I had to be a bit careful and resist the urge to try and ‘deal to it’, instead letting it run and keeping as much constant pressure as I dared.
The fish would make a burning run and stop for a while as I slowly put line back on the spool. Then it would scream off again and take all my hard won line away again.
I learned another thing too, stiff 14ft surfcasting rods kill at both ends!
M1250007Twenty minutes later with burning arm muscles I managed to spot the tell-tale yellow fins in the water just beyond the first wave.
In the mean time a fellow surfcaster from down the beach had taken an interest in my struggle and was now standing behind me with cellphone camera at the ready.
A lucky wave gave me the opportunity to ‘surf’ the fish in on its side and I had my first ever land based Kingfish of 15.34kg

 

First fish of the year

Realistically what are the odds of you catching anything other than a Kahawai at this time of year? Probably an 80% chance of Kahawai over any other species.
December through to early February are usually pretty lean times for surfcasters around Napier. The seas are usually flat calm, days are hot, and the fish (gurnard and Snapper) are out in deeper water. Exceptions to this would be Kahawai and Kingfish.
River mouths are well populated with fishermen at this time of year. Spinning for Kahawai, or live-baiting for Kingfish.
As I don’t like fishing shoulder to shoulder with others, I tend to try and find my own space even if its away from the so called ‘productive areas’. Ocean beach can also be busy at this time of year, but if you have a quad or a 4wd vehicle there are many kilometres of beach to explore.
I hadn’t been out there for quite a while so I drove the entire beach to have a look and see how it’s changed. And change is does. After every period of bad weather the channels and holes move or fill up and relocate somewhere else.
Yesterday I discovered the usual Ocean Beach sandbar was fencing off most of the beach in a continuous channel with very few holes or ‘gates’ to the open sea.
I drove along looking for a break in the channel where all that trapped current would exit to the ocean again. A decent rip gouged out by all that exiting water usually makes for better fishing.

A rip where trapped water from the inner channel  exits to the main ocean.

A rip where trapped water from the inner channel exits to the main ocean.

A solid Kahawai caught in the rip above

A solid Kahawai caught in the rip above