Rockfishing – Coming Home Empty-Handed

I’ve been too busy for a relatively long time. Physically and mentally exhausted. So much indeed that I completely forgot about Labour Weekend.  In spite of really wanting to sit down and doing nothing for a at least a day, I went for a fish with my mate. We talked briefly about our plans when I saw him at the airport, and as we were discussing ideas of going to two new areas neither of us had fished before, he casually mentioned that we could of course go to another spot, where kingfish had been sited recently. Hmm, why not just go where his majesty has been sited and have a go?

As we were walking down to a beach on the East Coast, a beach I have never set foot on, my earlier mentioned exhaustion was forgotten about and I was mesmerized by the beautiful scenery.

beachpohutukawa2Unfortunately, the wind was strong and we had to settle for a different fishing spot. The water was very shallow for my taste – which doesn’t mean that the fishing should be bad – the sun high and the water very clear.

I’m not a fan of fishing spots where the only dark patch in the waters in front of me is my shadow. But there was heaps of sea-weed and foul around and big snapper would certainly cruise this area at the right time of the day.

ledgeledge4ledge2I deployed the berley bomb and the three of us tried landing a fish. We got some small takes and a few bust-offs, and when I felt a good go at my bait and felt the hook-up I was so sure to land the first fish of the day and dinner.

Well, I lost it to the weeds. I was gutted and moved around on the rocks, releasing the drag and even waiting for about 10 minutes as I felt the vibrations of the fish, but all to no avail. When I decided to pull hard, the line snapped and the fish was gone. I think it was a snapper.

Hmm, bummer!

After more burleying techniques, I spotted a kahawai and told the others, but they were too far away. I quickly threw a piece of squid at it and then cast right into the burley trail. Whaaam, I was on, so excited to have a fish on that I gave it less than 10 seconds and lifted the fish out of water with my rod.

Big mistake, it was green as and the hook ripped through the mouth and off it went.

Hmm, bummer!

It didn’t come back either. It got even windy where we were fishing but I spotted about a dozen of massive piper swimming to and from from the burley trail. They weren’t hanging around, which often means, they are challenging to catch.

Managed to land one on a sabiki, put it under a float and hooked it with a small live-bait hook. Man, what a strong swimmer it was, swimming exactly where I wanted it and doing so for the next 30 minutes.

I was so sure to catch a decent snapper or at least a big kahawai on it. Man, I wanted to land something for dinner! I briefly pondered whether I should have sent it out on the heavy live-bait rod and not on my snapper rod and came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t matter anyway.

Suddenly, the float was pulled under water, I failed to strike and waited. In just a couple of seconds the float shot back toward the surface and I saw the hooked piper. Hmmm? And then, of all things, I see this big kingfish swimming frantically around it. So I shouted to the boys, and kept my finger on its position. Surely, it will have another go at that piper.

But it just didn’t, the float stopped moving, I didn’t see the piper any more and once I could not see the kingi I noticed that my piper might be stuck in sea-weed.

Yupp, I was snagged, I pulled hard and got all but the piper back. We packed in after 3.5 hours of fishing and none of us had landed a fish. Well, of course, I landed a couple hiwihiwi when casting a floated piece of squid, hoping to land at least kahawai. A very good way target them in shallow waters.

So what’s the take home message?

  • I haven’t fished for so long that I messed things up a couple times.
  • Get that fresh bait and send it out as a live-bait, something will show up.
  • The fact that my mates did not see the kahawai until it dropped back into the water from my hook and did not see the kingfish at all, goes to show that there is often much more happening right at our footsteps than we think.
  • In other words, coming home empty-handed does not mean that there were no (decent) fish about.

The hike back to the car was tough, especially coming up those dunes. It didn’t help that I knew the shops were closed now and that there was not much else home than potatoes and eggs.

I’ll be back, this is not a spot that gets fishing pressure, there are piper and kingfish will cruise this area. So yeah, just a matter of time…

ledge3There is this island to the left in the background and as much as I am looking forward to kayaking out there, I’ve got a feeling that a solid kingi can be caught right here.

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