We had a good fishing session on Saturday, we is Gary, Chris and myself. They arrived in Tryphena on Thursday and sailed up the west coast the next morning after having a couple of quiet but still celebratory beers on the beach. They spent a night in Blind Bay and sailed into Whagaparapara harbor on Saturday morning,enjoying a hike into the hills. They didn’t provide any pictures but mentioned how unspoilt and beautiful everything was, and that they were keen on some seafood but only caught undersized snapper.
The size limit for snapper is 27 cm and undersized fish must be released back into the water. We kept in contact via VHF radios and when Gary told me they were heading back to Tryphena, I was already putting together a plan to go and catch some fish. Fishing can be hard work sometimes and therefore timing and going the extra ‘mile’ are usually keys to success. I met up with them around 1400 o’clock, it was very hot and the sun was right above us. We decided to meet up again around low tide, which was at 1640, pick up some kina and fish around bird rock (there are a cluster of rocks in Puriri Bay). And that’s what we did, Gary and Chris came round in the rubber ducky while me and Rani walked on the shore and picked kina (see marker 1 on Google map). Since it was still hot and we had an incoming wind we changed plans, I wasn’t keen on fishing from the rubber ducky or standing on Bird Rock, and went to the spot marked as 2 (see map). There, we were sheltered from the wind and the sun.
While Chris kept asking questions, its remarkable that some Aucklanders have never fished, I mixed the berley. This is a mixture of pig tucker, sea water and tuna oil (see here). This time I added around 20 kina to it. The tide was coming in, the water in front of us was darker than anywhere close by, because the sun was already behind us, and the berley was dispersing nicely. There were piper all over the place within minutes. Well, I didn’t have my bait rod with me. They would have been great bait… Anyway, we started having some good bites and a few takes, but no one managed to land a fish. I kept chucking berley into the water and watching out for those kahawai. There was clearly some action in the water, bait fish jumping, us hooking up, but still no fish was caught.
I was starting to get a bit nervous; an hour ago I was bragging to Gary that I was proud of myself for choosing this specific spot. It meant we had to go out a bit further, but I was sure it would be worth it. So, there we were, standing on the rocks, berleying the place up and fishing hard. Rani was doing all sorts in the background, keeping me busy too. After two hours the action got more intense, we were getting some serious bites and there was commotion right in front of our feet, where Gary was casting into, and a bit further out, where I was doing so. My plan was to catch a snapper that was hanging around in the kelp a bit further out, smelling the berley and checking the place out from a far. There were actually a couple of small snapper right in front of us in the berley trail.
Anyway, the water kept rising and so did the action. I hooked up on a snapper, finally, after having lost my bait several times, it is very exciting when you know that snapper are out there and they keep ‘stealing’ your bait. This one had a bit of fight in him and tried to pull me into the weeds, the water was quite shallow 3 – 6 m, but I was onto him and pulled him. Gary and Chris were just watching, didn’t get the net, didn’t get the rag, just watching.
Then, it was Gary’s turn, after having lost a good and strong battle with the one that got away, he stayed onto the next fish and even when he got stuck in the kelp he stayed calm, releasing the pressure on the fish and waiting, and managed to land a nice pannie snapper. We were having a great time, a school of kahawai came in and every bait casted out was being taken. So we caught and released a few kahawai, I tried in vain to pull another, bigger snapper and called it a day after almost 4 hours of fishing. That was a great little fishing number, we found a decent spot without being exposed to the sun and wind, landed some good fish, lost a couple and my mates had a decent feed on fish.