January 04

Bottom fishing for a feed has been nothing short of brilliant in January, on a couple of days last week we have had all the hapuku we wanted by 9am and were on our way to look for some other sort of action. There have been plenty terakihi around but they won't move far and if you aren't on top of them you will miss out, this means firstly finding them and then precise anchoring. Haven't targeted for kingies for a while but have picked up some big ones when bottom fishing, I expect there will be good numbers on the reefs, be the nationals soon so then we will find out. We fished the Bay Bonanza again this year and cleaned up the terakihi section taking every prize as well as the bluenose and trumpeter, we were the only boat in the contest that got prizes for more than one fish.
Very few game fish caught so far with only the one yellowfin and one marlin landed, we saw a marlin jump close to the boat last week so they are out there. There have been a couple of purse seine boats working around here and I hear they have been getting some very big yellowfin over 100kg, hope they leave some for us to catch. With a couple of game fish contests in February I will have to spend a day replacing leaders on the lures and sharpening hooks.
End of Summer Newsletter 2004

Now it's the first of March and summer is officially over so time to look back at how we have done over the summer and forward to what the next few months may bring.
Summer started with great bottom fishing with the terakihi and small hapuku arriving on the closer rocks in good numbers, there were also plenty of big hapuku farther out when conditions let us get at them.
We did very well in the major contests this year, first was the Bay Bonanza where we took out 5 prizes with a clean sweep of the terakihi section and heaviest bluenose and trumpeter. With reports of Marlin seen all along the coast the Marlin and Tuna Hunt was keenly anticipated: and what a contest it turned out to be with 27 marlin landed or tagged in three days. We only ended up with one albacore prize but landed a striped marlin from two strikes and saw another two free swimming marlin. Then on the last day we ended up in the middle of a pod of sperm whale, an awe inspiring and somewhat scary experience in quite rough seas surrounded by animals a lot bigger than the boat.
Last contest of the season was the NZ Big Game Fishing Council Nationals. Our team from Wellington again targeted the yellowtail section. This year we came very close to a clean sweep, we ended up as the champion team, taking out 3 of the 5 line classes, coming second in other two and getting the champion yellowtail angler with a 22.6kg fish on 6kg line. We also came first and second in the tag and release section, a great effort from the team.
As I write this we are being lashed by the tail end of a tropical cyclone with heavy rain and strong northerly winds due to turn to even stronger southerly any second, but it is forecast to pass quickly and we should be back to good weather next week.
Over the next few months and into winter we can expect more great bottom fishing with plenty of terakihi and hapuku for a feed and as the water cools the snapper will start to congregate on the offshore rocks. Yellowtail kingfish will still be on the reefs and I know there are some big ones there as we dropped a few very big fish in the nationals. I suspect the weather we are experiencing will chase the marlin out but you never know with these things so it will still be worth looking till the end of the month.

Peter with a kingie caught in January

March fishing has once again been good but hampered somewhat by several cold southerlies. Terakihi and hapuku are starting to fill with roe and move out in preparation for spawning, there are still a few around closer in but they are becoming difficult to find. Farther out there are good numbers of bigger hapuku but you need to be spot on in the right place. There are still good numbers of kingies round the reefs although a lot of them are small, Caught a really big kingie of over 40kg on the bottom on a piece of barracouta fillet recently so the big ones are there down deep. We saw some big schools of trevally on one reef last week, first lot I have seen for a couple of months. The game fish will now be gone for the season although a marlin was hooked and lost just off Tolaga about the middle of the month and skipjack are still plentiful, so you never can tell.

April 04

The terakihi and hapuku have now moved out in preparation for spawning, we are still getting some good hapuku and small bass but need to go a fair way to get them. We have had some very big trumpeter in April and some good kingies on the bottom. We did one trip targeting kingies and did well with numbers but only one fish over 20kg, we used jigs and salt water fly and released all the kingies we got. There have been some very good snapper this month as they start to move off shore as the water cools. I know of at least one weighed over 10kg and several more around 8kg, there should be more snapper caught in the next couple of months as the congregate on the rock patches. The longline boats are still seeing marlin at the end of April with at least one and a spearfish released south of Gisborne in the last week of the month in 17.5c water. Maybe we all put away the game gear too soon.

Trumpeter caught in April

May 2004

Not a lot to report this month as the weather has kept me on shore for most of the time.
We only got one trip out early in the month when we got some good hapuku in deeper water and another trip last weekend with a few hapuku terakihi and snapper closer in. On the second of May we were anchored on a bird watching trip when a school of yellowfin erupted round the boat, good size fish of around 30kg. A great sight to see them leaving the water by at least a metre, saw one catch a bait fish in the air, first time I have ever seen that. Hopefully the weather will settle down and let us get out in the coming weeks. There should be plenty of snapper to be caught soon and hapuku out deeper, there will still be some kingies around in places although the bad weather may have chased most of then north and into deep water

June 2004

I wasn't out on the sea much in June as I had a couple of weeks in Thailand on the first real holiday I've had in years, visited a couple of islands that meant three boat trips of around 50km each. On one trip from the island of Ko Tao to the mainland there were fishing boats and nets everywhere with around 30 boats in sight at any time on the 50km journey and lines of nets every few hundred metres. All the nets appear to be small mesh and the fish caught sardine size, saw a barracuda jump when we got close to land and the tail of what looked like a dog tooth tuna sticking out of a sack on the back of a motorbike, other than that the only decent size fish I saw were when I did a couple of dives. The fish were very different and colorful but no more in number than I would expect to see on a dive here. Watched a crab boat come in and unload from a nights fishing, they unloaded one bin of crabs for 5 people on the boat, must be difficult to make anything from fishing over there. Even with all the things wrong with the system we work under here we are still far better off than a lot of the world.
Got in a couple of trips at the end of the month and got some good hapuku, bluenose and gemfish out deep and good snapper closer in. The hapuku are full of roe and due to spawn very soon, terakihi are also out spawning but still a few closer in.

September 2004

Another month when the weather has won most rounds but we have occasionally got out and caught good fish, water temperature is lower than normal which probably accounts for the fish being slow to move. The hapuku are still mostly well out in the deep but we have a few closer in, terakihi are starting to move in and there should be plenty about in October.
Snapper are still out in around 100m with a few closer in, there are no schools of kahawai at all even though there are some whitebait coming up the river, there seems to be far less barracouta here this year which probably means there is not much bait fish about.
There should be some kingies arriving soon although as yet I haven't had a look on the reefs.


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