I was feeling energetic walking along the coast with the fishing pack on the back, the rods in one hand and the bucket with bait and burley in the other. It was Sunday morning, about 10 o’clock, and the
plan was to arrest a few fish for dinner. I was so eager about this rockfishing mission that I even took the live-bait rod. The plan was to burley hard, catch a decent snapper and send a live bait out under a balloon before low tide at 12 o’clock.
Conditions seemed great, the sky was overcast, the wind variable and the sea slight. As I was walking up and down those big boulders, telling Rani for the x-th time to either go ahead or behind me, I was thinking of the last times I fished this spot. Mateo and I hooked into big snapper effortlessly, and I was wondering what this day might bring.
When Ralph, a friend who was born and raised on Great Barrier Island but whom I had met in Auckland, told me that he was coming to the Island and that he’d be keen to go for a fish, I was quite excited to meeting him again after about 3-4 years. We saw each other in Tryphena and I very much liked his plan to camp on the beach where he grew up and go for a land-based fish early the next morning targeting kingfish.
We met more or less at the end of the road and hiked into XXX Bay fully laden with rods, reels, bait, burley, beer, food, sleeping bag, dog, etc. It was already dark by the time we arrived, the beach was secluded, we had a few drinks, sharing stories and since it was quite warm, spent the night under stars. I realized that Ralph used to come to this beach for kai (food) all the time, it was a 30 minute walk from his home, there were fruit trees along the way for a snack, plenty streams for fresh water and the Bay had it all. Exciting stuff on the beach to find and bring home and yummy food in the water to dive or fish for. Arguably the best playground for anybody.
In my youth, I aspired to be great at table tennis, arguably the sport they play in heaven, but ultimately, I spent heaps of time in gymnasiums and only thought about my choice of sport more consciously, years after playing actively, when a flatmate asked why anyone would want to spend a lot of time in a closed, unnatural environment and chase a ball with a racket. Duuh, it’s the sport they play in heaven, do I need say anything more?
Imagine, however, mixing some of the things you enjoy most (nature, fresh air, the sea, walking, fresh food), spicing them up with adventure, excitement, and if you like, danger, the unknown factor, physical activity and, wait for it, yes, to make it a sport, discipline.
I woke up a few minutes before my alarm was about to go off (25-03-2014; 0530), a sign of getting old and perhaps anticipation of productive fishing. It was of course still dark and it took about 30 minutes to get the morning chores done. Feeding the animals, digging a hole, packing my fishing gear and watering the gardens.
While riding down the drive way on the quad, struggling to hold the torch, the bucket and the gaff in one hand and steering with the other one, I appreciated that it was a warm morning and that it wasn’t raining.
It was still dark when I arrived at the bay I intended to fish. Walking to the headlands of it takes about 30 minutes, but the rocks were slippery, so I walked both slowly and carefully. It started raining.
Walked into a land based fishing spot in the Cape barrier area and found heaps of rubbish someone had left behind. That’s just sad. The message is clear: Don’t do that. Take two bags with you fishing, one to carry out the fish, one to carry out your rubbish.
walking back to camp with a bunch of rods in hand, a yellow tail protruding from the pack, long-haired, English.
The pursuit and challenge of landing his majesty from the rocks attracting him to this part of the world; walking the coast lines of the Coromandel, reading the terrain, the ledges, the currents, the winds.
The white man’s idea of a vacation is to stand on the rocks, gimbal around his waist, the popper rod on his side, bait fish caught swimming in a rock pool close by, the gaff might be too far away, but the live bait rod secured in his hands, and a pack of chips and canned tuna in his pack.
I like to begin this article with a few words to fellow anglers and land based fishing enthusiasts. First of all, thanks for tuning in regularly and reading my articles on my humble fishing adventures on beautiful Great Barrier Island. I’ve learned how to fish about 8 years ago in New Zealand, mainly by reading fishing magazines, conversing with fishermen and in general trying things out, and being keen. For the regulars here on BENIsLAND, you might have noticed that I stopped using google maps to illustrate the fishing spots and you might notice that I will be even more discrete about the whole thing.
Why?, you ask. Exactly, ideally, I want share with you where I fish and how I fish and all of the rest, however, as it seems to be usually the case, some people take liberties, especially when they are on holiday, and ruin it for the rest. I’m not going to dwell on it but here are a few notes to think about, when you visit Great Barrier Island and plan to do some (extreme) fishing yourself.
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.
Let’s start off with fishing. It’s been a while since I planned a land based fishing mission. I was certainly keen, eager and excited whilst hiking to the headlands of Schooner Bay on Tuesday. I was also confident. After all, I haven’t had fish on the table for almost two months and was also looking forward to calling in at my mate’s place and presenting him with fresh snapper.