It was that time of the month yesterday; low tide in the evening, I was keen for a kai of fish and conditions were kind of good on my side of the Island. Since there was a 2 m swell on the east coast and the north westerly was still blowing hard, the decision was made to fish in Tryphena. Unfortunately, the shop was out of berley, so I grabbed a bag of pilchards and a bag of squid instead.
After an enjoyable 30 min. walk on a rocky beach, I cast half a pilchard into the deep and started cubing bait for ground baiting. The tide was still on its way out and while I was waiting for the kahawai or other bait fish to show up, I noticed a few strange takes.
Something had a go at the bait very close to the surface, pulled steadily but weakly on the bait, however, there was simply no hookup after striking. Something similar might have occurred to you. Come to think of it, I had experienced this before. It can be quite frustrating to feel a taker (a fish) continuously but never get that strike.
I’ve caught a few crayfish on hook and line, but they will certainly not take a bait close to the surface. So what else could it be?
Yes, or as we say in New Zealand ‘yeees’, it must be a squid. Not a usual catch, but delicious to eat, superb dead and live bait. I contemplated about running to my pack and getting the squid jig out, but had just one more go with the two-hooked rig I was using.
Boom, another take and this time I got even the hookup. A nice squid on the end of the line, it was well hooked so I lifted it out of the water by the leader and put it into the bucket.
So yeah, dinner was sorted. I cast the squid jig out for 15 minutes, even put a piece of bait on it, but didn’t get another squid. Another way to catch squid is to use those treble hooks! I continued to ground bait and it did the trick, attracting a hand full of small kahawai and the odd bigger one. My bait rod was set-up and right next to me, so it was certainly not difficult to arrest those kahawai.
Wow, things were going really well. I had the squid, two better-sized kahawai and two very small ones. What next? I cut off a head, cast it out using the ‘big’ rod and put the rod into the rod holder. No takers for 30 minutes, the bait was actually untouched. I exchanged it with another fresh kahawai head.
Another 30 minutes and still nothing. The only snapper I was catching was with the bait rod and they were all throwbacks. At 1930 I started packing in. Those kahawai heads would have resulted in a decent snapper had I waited for the change of light. But it was Sunday, I had plenty to eat and decided to head home and prepare my kai.
I’ll catch that big snapper some other time…
I certainly enjoyed the squid and will hopefully catch heaps more, now that I know what this mysterious fish is that likes to pull weakly on bait.