But anyway, a month later than usual I trundled down to get in a metre of Totara - beautiful dry wood and if I could store more I'd be tempted to buy another metre to get us through, because by the time winter's over only wet smoke causing wood is available normally. Most of our duck pond preps are done, I just need to transport some decoys and stuff in prior to the season, and to deal to a nasty German Wasp nest that'll trap some poor unsuspecting hunter or dog. It's in a sizable hole in the ground so unless water levels rise dramatically (unlikely) the vicious little buggers will play havoc.
The count down to the game bird season is on; tradition dictates last minute pond work but we're on top of everything mostly thanks to the old guys now being retired and able to put time in at their leisure. Hunting preps include getting the boat shaken down; she went in for her annual service on Friday and I picked her up Saturday - need to replace a wheel bearing (!!!) and one of the LED marker lights on the trailer is dead. No biggies, just a morning's work over Easter. Normally at this time of the year I don't have too much free time to chase finny creatures but having seen constant workups along the East Coast Bays as the kahawai, snapper and terns push anchovies into meat balls and having had the boat readied I thought I'd give it a nudge.
With high tide at 6am, moon down and no wind at all, Sunday morning was too good an opportunity to miss. Onboard with 4kg of pilchards, the 8 weight and a berley bomb. I'd opted to fish a reef that I'd been reseaching. If I could get setup pre-dawn with berley pumping there'd be every chance of good autumn snapper. So it proved. At the spot @ 05.30 and over with the chum. Some guys came screaming in with no nav lights switched on, so I fired up my anchor light (which by law I should've had on anyway - just didn't want to adverise my presence to the snaps) - they drifted around preparing their gear before buzzing off. Phew, I hate competition. As the sun rose over Rangitoto the first bite was received, a solid take that resulted in a nice 2kg fish hitting the deck. It was 30 minutes before the next take, the line had gone slack so i knew the fish had picked up the bait and run upcurrent. I got tension on and hit the fish which took off like a demented thing - great stuff on the 4kg outfit.
|Perfect millpond conditions - urban fishing|
The fish itself was just over 3.5kg when landed, into the slurry it went. By 9.30 I had 6 snapper in ice slurry (one a fat 4kg model) and was feeling pretty pleased. Then kahawai began breaking around the boat - they'd pushed anchovies into the reef. Out with the fly road. Fat pre-spawning kahawai on the fly rod are the ultimate light tackle workout. They just go faster than kingis of the same size, and burn out line like nothing else. For every fish landed, 2 smashed me. My final snapper took a clouser high in the water column and dragged me reefward. Having tuned and controlled him I was stunned and pleased to see another 2.5kg fish wallowing beside the boat. Given my need for fish to feed the hunting clan in a couple of weeks, he was another candidate for vacuum packing. 7 snapper of >30cm is the new SNA1 area limit (as at April 1), and given that I rarely catch a limit let alone keep one - well another tradition broken! What a neat day. Might have to break some more traditions soon.