2 Snapper were arrested in Schooner Bay yesterday. South-westerlies were blowing at around 20 knots and I decided to take the quad and go for a quick look around Schooner Bay at just about dead-low tide. It is about a 20 minute casual drive from my place and the bay holds, according to what I heard, good kelp beds, which usually produce good snapper.
My plan was to have a good look around the bay, see if I can find some good fishing spots for later, and to check whether I can find some shellfish as it was low tide. I walked up to the northern side first, but the wind was blowing straight in and a mild swell was building up, so I turned around and went to the other side. I didn’t go far, as it was already around 1500 o’clock and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted three paua (also known as abalone) in a rock cavity. Spring is on its way and thus we are having quite low tides and I was able to check them out without getting my feet wet. There are size and bag limits to all fish, including shellfish, for different districts of New Zealand for recreational fishing and I believe that it is very important to adhere to them. The legal size for paua is 125 mm and I think the bag limit is 10 (not too sure about the latter, as I haven’t been diving so far in New Zealand and thus don’t really encounter paua.) Anyway, they turned out to be just under 130 mm and thus of legal size. I took them and didn’t even bother looking for more – this is the fourth occasion that I found legal sized paua in rock pools in probably 5 or so years -, I was that happy.
My plan was to test the waters as well and have a quick fish. I decided to cast out from here, which is about a 10 minute walk from the rocky beach. There is a saying to fish your feet first, meaning not to necessarily casting out as far as possible or to going to the furthest end of a bay.
As usual, I didn’t have any burley and used salted squid for bait. It didn’t take long until I could feel some little bites and small takes. Then a couple of bigger takes but the first one spat the hook and the second fish ran me into the weeds and busted off. Pretty exciting, half an hour of fishing, I already had paua and the fish were on the bite. 2 fish successfully resisted arrest, so I got my act together and managed to land the next one, and then another. There I was, had a good look at Schooner Bay, landed me two snapper of 35 cm each and had the three paua. I could have fished for a bit longer, but decided to take an easy stroll back to the quad and get back home early to start a fire and prepare a mean feed before it gets dark.
Next time, I will post a recipe for cooking paua. This time I simply cleaned them and put them in a bag with corn flower and fried them for a minute and a half on each side. One snapper was baked in tin foil on the fire place, the other will be enjoyed tonight. This was a well deserved feed, after two prior episodes of catching nothing. I might give Schooner Bay another go on the weekend, on the look out for a big snapper.