Monday, November 25, 2013

Coromandel 2013

After the previous couple of year's trips with dad and Nik, I was really looking forward to this year's shot at big snapper feeding up under workups and getting ready to spawn. The only thing was... workups are few and far between this year, so we'd have to have a few plans up our sleeves.

Dad and I got to the new Big Angry Fish HQ; Debbie and Gail's new B&B atop the hill overlooking Long Bag on one side and Wyuna Bay on the other.

The view was beautiful, and with bush surrounds the bird life was epic. Tuis darted and dived and in the foreground several cock pheasants wound each other up.

Nik rolled in around 5 and we had a beer or 2 while we planned the next day. The weather would be as good as it could be, with a light SE putting a riffle on the surface. We decided to head up to Port Jackson for a fish around the reef systems with soft plastics. We got to Te Kouma at gentleman's hours, paid $10 (to launch and park on the road!!!) and set off. Stopping on the way north we couldn't find many fish, but dad snagged a goodie on a jig before we departed again. I don't like fishing with the moon in the Western sky by day, but when you gotta you gotta.

Nearing the top of the peninsula we stopped to try and deploy a burley trail back onto a point but the lack of current made the trail a depressing soup that sank straight down. Time for Plan C - to stick bait a reef system that Nik had always wanted to. With a 1.5 m swell rolling in, the proposition looked hairy - just how we like it!  We trucked in close, threaded between cray pots and took turns launching the baits. No joy, although occasionally kahawai showed an interest.

Here be kingfish. Well you'd think so...

Finally we were riding huge lifting swells in front of the reef before we decided on discretion and moved into the beach to see if we could get some small kahawai for livies. But no, no joy there either.

Which side of Channel shall we head to Nik? West Side! (We actually went to the East side...)

So with that, we made the call to go up to Channel Island and toss stick baits. We had a leisurely ride up in the big swell and on arrival were met with an extensive kahawai school, and amazingly for a Saturday, only 1 other boat. The first stick bait was cast in and about 2/3 of the way back to the boat kingis appeared under it. Next cast and BOOM! Fish on.

On Nik's custom Offshore 37kg bait stick it was a comfy fight, despite the swell and backwash from the island.

A few bucks worth
We cruised back in and next cast BOOM! Fish on. This time as I held the fish tight all his mates came out too. God I love indestructible gear. He came up and as he did so Nik grabbed the popper rod (big ugly Daiwa Monster Mesh) and smashed the popper down. A kingi grabbed it straight away and Nik shoved the rod into dad's hands. For the next 10 minutes the old man had a hell fight as he battled the fish, the rod, his hernia, the swell.. I shoulda kicked him in the kidney just to make it a real challenge! (Sorry pop when you read this..). Finally I was able to lift the fish in.

Then it was Nik's turn, BOOM! Fish on. He dealt to it quickly and release it soon after.

Who do I look like...?

By now the tide was turning and despite trying to tease a king into fly rod range it was futile as the kahawai disappeared. We moved around the island but the bite was done so we set sail back down the gulf to see if we could find a snapper.

By bye Channel Island
We moved around before at last finding bait and snapper sign. Over the side with small 18gr Grim Reapers to catch bait. I caught quite a number of yellow tail macks, while dad and Nik both snared blue macks... yum yum for a kingi. Then I got hit by a bigger fish, Conscious that my lure's little trebles had started to straighten I played the fish gently for a few minutes before a 3kg snap popped up. Sweet. We moved in close to an island to fish livies and cut baits for kings and snaps respectively; and despite a big few hour's effort came away empty handed. Back to the ramp to get to the fish and chippy before it closed - we made the deadline with 5 minutes to spare.

Dad hit the hay pretty quickly, and had a torrid night. I awoke near midnight myself - the heat was stifling, talk about February weather in November (the nutters will have you believing in Global Warming).

Sunday dawned fine and still. After such a big day yesterday, we'd called an easy day in the gulf looking for fish. The weather was primo. We drifted looking for fish and not finding many. Again the moon loitered in the western sky to piss me off but finally near midday it began to drop. As if someone hit a button, gannets began to circle and circle. We approached them and then it happened; not a full on frenzy but the gannets began to dive. Over went the jigs and we began to hook up. I rigged a ledger rig and dropped down baits. Over the next couple of hours the fishing was sustained without going mental; and the baits out-fished the jigs for size. Another learning - I'll be trying that tactic again.

Bait caught
We finished up with 20 odd fish in the bin before calling it a day; then back to Long Bay to clean the boat and catch. Dad and I hit the road, making Paeroa by 5.30 and putting me on a trajectory to be home by 7pm... a wee bit later than the mid afternoon I'd told SWMBO. That put me on a trajectory with the back of her hand!! Nah, not really.

Bloody awesome weekend. Great company, good fishing. Yeah, life's good.

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