It has been very wet here on the Barrier lately. Constant showers and heavy rainfalls over the last weeks have transformed my driveway into a muddy and slippery adventure track. This combination of wetness and greyness can affect the mood a bit and I had been spending a couple of the previous weekends at home, reading the paper and enjoying the warmth and dryness of the fire place. Boooooring, I can tell you. This weekend, however, in spite of more rain, I was quite active working on the land on Saturday and fishing off the rocks on Sunday. Sinclair, a mate I met through work, also a keen fisherman, suggested we should head out to Cape Barrier and fish the famous ‘rod-holder’ spot. Cape Barrier is well known for producing XOS Snapper, Kingfish and Trevally. The particular ledge we fished, see Google Maps at the top, boasts deep water and a massive current. It is very exposed to any southerly winds and swells, but conditions were good for today and we met at 0630. Obviously it was still dark and quite early on a Sunday morning, but we were both very eager to get out there, and I like an early start. This means that when you’re finished fishing and get back home it is still early…
Anyway, we knocked down a good morning beer and arrived at the car park at the end of Cape Barrier road at around 7-ish. A bit more than half of an hour of walking through the steep and muddy coastline, a bit of a climb down slippery rocks and we were standing on the ledge and had the first baits in the water.
Neither Sinclair nor I were able to get any berley as the shops had ran out, but we had plenty of pilchards and squid for bait. It didn’t take long at all and we were both hooking up on pan-sized snapper. After half an hour we had landed a few of them and I suppose we both knew that more was to come. We were hoping for big fish, after all it is such a remote and productive spot.
Suddenly, I had lost track of time but we hadn’t been there an hour yet, I noticed that Sinclair had a good fish on. Something was missing though. It was only after it was landed that I realized his reel didn’t make any noise when the fish was pulling line. He has got the latest Shimano Baitrunner and although he claims that something is broken, I think he just put it into stealth/silence mode… hehe So yeah, it was quite out of it, he was clearly fighting a fish, but his reel made no noise, he was very calm and quite for that matter himself. I was about to cast a line out but decided to get ready in case he needs assistance landing the fish. However, since Sinclair was so quiet I didn’t expect a big fish on the end of the line. Usually, when someone hooks up to a good sized fish, there is a lot of commotion. It goes a bit like this: ‘Wooooow, I’m on mate. I’m on! This is a monster!’ (This, or something very similar is repeated a few times.) Then comes the guessing part. ‘This isn’t a snapper, must be a big shark, wow, it’s pulling out so much line.’ Then comes the landing part. ‘Quick! Get the net, get the gaff, don’t lose my fish. You better not lose him, quick, get him, what are you waiting for?…’
Well, not Sinclair though. He didn’t
spoke speak at all. I asked him, if he had spotted the fish yet, if he had seen any color and he merely replied: ‘No, not yet.’ And then I saw some color, clearly a snapper and clearly 10 pound plus. I grabbed the rag and managed to grab the leader with the other hand. A net or gaff would have been very useful, but all I had was the rag and after an awkward moment I was able to secure the fish with one hand on the tail and the other on the leader. I’ve got to give it to Sinclair, he focused on landing the fish, didn’t muck about and after the fish was landed, he, finally, showed some of the typical emotions involved in landing big fish off the rocks.
However, it wasn’t enough for Sinclair to catch the biggest fish of the day by far, he had to also outpoint me on catching the greatest variety of fish for the day. Well, I had no variety at all, just landed 2 snapper. He caught 2 kahawai, a sweep, a big blue maomao and almost got a squid, too. I’m quite sure I saw a seal close by the rocks though.
What a great day, the early start was well worth it, we had a good crack, and by 1000 o’clock we had packed in our gear and were heading back to the car.
It was a great fishing adventure and we almost escaped the rain as well. But only almost…
A great morning, next time we’ll be taking some berely and we might even live-bait. I’ve got two more pictures for you, and I will be enjoying one of those snapper.