Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Up North

It was good to catch up with my old buddy Simon after a space of nearly 5 years. Andre unfortunately was on a yacht returning from Fiji so had to miss the trip. I headed up to Whangarei on Sunday morning and arrived at Si's place at about 9. Had a decent chinwag with Si & Denise, then we sorted out a few bits and pieces and went down and hit Stumpy's Bait & Tackle, walking away with 10kg of prime NZ pillies. We headed north to Si's mum's bach at Oakura Bay a lovely part of the world. We planned an afternoon fish around the falling tide, and with Si having a bad back we could spend no more than 4 hours on the water. We launched at Rawhiti, with Si doing the driving.

The Old Man and The Sea... or just the Old Man!

We fished a reef, having sounded it and found it to be alive. Si predicted the bite time and within 5 minutes of his prediction it came alive. We boated fish after fish between 3 and 7kg, but the big one eluded us. I lost something heavy on a massive strike --- Simon just grimaced. Then laughed. Everything about Simon's rigs and methods is simple and as damn near foolproof as can be managed. Snoods instead of knots. Strong hooks. 100lb trace. Nothing is left to chance.

He also caught a pretty big grandaddy hapuka.

It was pretty lumpy so after the bite died (we were now sport fishing, releasing everything) we packed it in and headed home. We got back on dusk and set about cleaning 18 big snaps. We were both pretty sore to be honest, and one of Simon's mates dropped by with some painkillers. We gave him half a dozen cleaned fish and all the heads & frames for smoking. Cleaning them took a while, so it was good to sit down with a beer after that. Soon I hit the hay, quite stuffed after a big day.

Next morning I woke at 6 and got up for a walk down the beach. We cooked some grub and hung around waiting for the shop to open so we could get milk for coffees... we planned the day to be a bit more leisurely. Bite time was 4.15 to 5.30 so we planned our trip, prepared the baits (including salted 'couta from the day before) and made ready for the drive up to the Bay. We launched and decided on some really horrible shitty reefy arseholey territory. We anchored on the mark and then deployed some really stinky burley..... I nailed 2 good fish straight away, and then just on the heat of the bite had the mother of all tangles. SHIIIIT. Simon slowly but surely began to clean up. Then his big rod just bent over and the drag sang... this was a BIG fish. He fought it well and just when he was on top of it the hook pulled. Then the same happened to me. We just shook our heads and carried on. He did manage the biggest fish of the day, a fine male of 8kg.

Just as I pushed the shutter his other rod took off - fish on! The one he was holding ended up in my lap!

We had 15 fish onboard in ice slurry and they were a different class again, nothing less than 6kg... so we hatched a plan to drop fish off to friends, neighbours, for me to bring home 5 (as in about 35kg of fish) and for Si to have some. We got back to Oakura, cleaned up the bach, got ourselves together and drove back to Whangarei. Just as well too as the weather just went seppo, so we got a bit wet. The Booger was full of shit from fish poo, to guts to ground up pillie so a nice bit of rain would keep it from baking on. We unpacked and then I headed back home.

Next day I took the boat to Wash World to clean her, then to testing station for warrant... the trailer failed, but that's another story.

Thanks Si for a great couple of days in Paradise. Its good to be mentored by the best. ;)

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