Saturday, December 27, 2014

The night before Christmas.... Eve

Coch has had to work through to Christmas. We'd loosely said we'd catch up for a fish before Xmas and given it was the 23rd, we were running out of time. A couple of texts and we were set. I launched at Torpedo Bay for the first time this summer and drove across to Okahu to pick him up @ 1700. As usual he was punctual and there was little boat traffic so we didn't have to dick around waiting for boat ramp muppets, it was straight in to pick him up then away we went. We decided to make the relatively long haul [with excellent fly fishing available within 8 minutes of the ramp, a 'long haul' is 20 minutes] to Sargent Passage and work around structure there.

The usual haunts seemed bare and we tried each marker between Motuihe back to Rangitoto for no joy. Maybe the sun was too bright. Up the Rangi Channel we began to find and hit fish. Just rats but nice string pullers all the same. Our work took us slowly back towards the harbour. The call to have a look at a reef system was mine and I'm glad we did. Terns were hitting bait being pushed up from below. The current was fierce; the incoming ripping through. Fish bust the surface and at first I called them for Kahawai, but Coch's first hit turned up a nice rat kingi. We took turns hooking, losing and landing fish. I was on the rod when the surface completely erupted; terns where screeching and wheeling, bait was busting through the surface and minor eruptions blew out when predator fish charged up to hit the bait. The sun was dropping and in the twilight we had the perfect conditions for fly fishing. The fly dropped into a boiling mess of fish carnage and only half a strip was needed to get the hit - straight away line flew off the old Abel. That 'fight' lasted as long as it took the rampaging kingi to hit the reef.

That seemed the perfect way to end the day, with the fish having the final say.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What a difference rain makes

This time last year, we had a water crises and Matt's green pond was drying up. We are in one of the wettest Decembers in recent years and its just great for ponds/ducks.

Matt sent out a photo a couple days ago of our ducklings on their home. High water level and the scene is awesome. You can see our hide lower left, some of the vegetation has died back but it'll regrow over late summer/autumn.

Even better, The Reverend Mk II has come back!

That's him/her mid shot.

Pretty cool.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Island 2015

This past couple of weeks I've not got out on the water. The lead up to Xmas holidays has been pretty hectic; on top of which the boat trailer has a bad bearing. I checked it when we got back from the BOI trip and there was enough play in the bearings that the wheel could be noticeably rocked. Got that sorted yesterday, but the BIG news is that I'll join TT, Coch and a couple of TT's American mates on a trip to Christmas Island in the Republic of Kiribati in July 2015.

The list of stuff that's recommended to take is staggering, but to be fair there's only one flight in and out per week so being self sufficient is the watch word. There are staggering quantities of fish up there, and we'll be targeting bones, GT's and blue water species. I would have thought that with 20 something fly rods lying around or on loan I'd be sweet but... I'm going to need at least 3 new fly lines, and have a new 6 weight in mind too. I'll lug up a #6, #8, #10, #11, #12 and TT said to take the fourteen as well.... but...

Luckily there's a heap of Aussies who've made the trek and reported back on what to take. Most seem to tie 150 [bonefish] flies and only use a couple dozen in a week. Why should we be any different?

Anyway, I've made a start on my GT flies. A pattern called the GT Mullet seems to be the go. I've made a few flies that are similar in profile and design, just different colours.

Lots of tying to do......

Closest to original colour

Purple & black.... bit of red

Just dunno....


Good ol Deceiver

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pre Xmas trip 2014

TT and I had been blathering about where to go for our Pre Xmas trip this year, and to do something a bit different from our usual trout trip I'd put a big snapper trip on the agenda. I searched around a bit and found a neat looking place to rent at Rawhiti, spoke to TT and then booked it. we'd take a bunch of gear with us, as in the Bay of Islands the fishing options are pretty wide.

We loaded up, hitched The Booger on to my truck and set off. 3 and a half hours later we pulled into Rawhiti and found our accommodation - sweet!

Rawhiti - one of my favourite places

After unpacking the truck and setting the boat up we hit the water and immediately headed up to Cape Brett, to fish for trevally and kahawai near the famous Hole In the Rock. A stinky little northerly wind made the trip lumpier than the forecasters had predicted so it took a awhile. On arrival we quickly found the trevs and TT got his fly rod ready. I'd tied some krill flies and he put one on and almost immediately hooked up. The fish got away pretty quickly and despite fishing pretty hard was he only trev we managed to hook. After an hour we moved into the lee of Cape Brett - flat as a pancake in there. We moved into a reefy area and got set up to fish flies back into a rocky area. TT hooked up and landed a neat little snapper after a good scrap to set the scene. Despite working the reef over that was the sum total for our effort.

Rounding Cape Brett to head back in to our evening spot the sea had flattened appreciably so our trip back wasn't a long one. We got set up on our reef and got the berley flowing. The bottom was rough and soon we began to get small hits from baitfish, then smallish snaps. After putting a few back each, the sun dropped behind Urapukapuka Island and the moon peaked above the Cape... BOOM TT's rod went off. It buckled over and line screamed off; I just got out of his way and said "that's your 20lb'er bro". He fought it out of the rough and after a great scrap it lay beside the boat. I asked him what he wanted to do and he was a bit speechless so I gaffed it and iki'd the fish for him. A quick photo session ensued.

TT's largest snap in 36 years

The sun disappeared and the full moon rose, illuminating the ocean in front of us. It was beautiful. At around 9 and after no more bites we called it (really we could have fished the whole tide out until 11pm and may have done well). Back at base TT cleaned his fish and we got it on ice.

We had a bit of a sleep in the next morning before launching around 8am and heading back across to Cape Brett. With blue skies and flat sea we had high hopes for good fly fishing. Stopping at The Twins along the way, we found schools of maomao and trevally on the surface. I had a solid hook up on a krill fly almost immediately and the fish sounded. After a torrid fight, the hook pulled {would be the story of my trip...} so we moved on to fish the World Record Reef. TT found a solid snapper straight away which fought doggedly before being netted.

We moved to Piercy Island [Motu Kokako] to fish amongst the acres of trevally and kahawai. The trevs were fixated on krill so very difficult to catch even with the tiniest of flies, however the kahawai were more than happy to switch of krill when a Clouser was ripped past their nose. We had great fishing for several hours before being joined by a pod of dolphin which slowed the fishing somewhat but gave the tourists on boats a thrill.

We decided to move on and fish the coast line back to the bay. Mid afternoon it was time to escape the sun and get the boat sorted for the evening fish. Along the way we met Simon and his mate Dan who I'd invited up for a fish. It was great to catch up with one of my oldest mates. Simon is a snapper catching machine, he's definitely the finest salt water angler that I know. With the 8kg line class world record [14.3 kg] snapper to his name, his knowledge of when and where to catch a horse is unparalleled. We sat around in the shade catching up and having a few beers before calling iit time to get out.

We'd decided to fish a reef in 35m to begin, so headed off in tandem. We dropped the anchor, got berley going and I put down a dropper rig. Soon the banter on the VHF got going, but the fishing didn't... there was almost no current out there. I lost a big fish that wrapped me around the anchor rope and soon after landed a school shark. Too much, time to go shallow. We each headed inshore. We anchored on a knoll while the other lads moved in to a headland. I liked our spot but TT seemed antsy so we soon pulled the pin [I wish we hadn't] and moved closer in. As the sun dropped away and the tide peaked the fish began to bite. TT caught a nice 3 kilo snap, I landed another damn school shark. TT caught a carpet shark. The boys on the other boat were killing it. Simon had put them in a great current line. As the evening wore on we caught smallish fish and ooglies. By the time we called it off I knew this wasn't going to be my trip.... Simon and Dan had landed a dozen snaps including one horse that Simon took on his 8kg gear. It was massive and at close to 11kg a real trophy. He'd had a lean year on big fish so this one was pretty memorable.

Freakin horse

Dwarfing the fuel tank

We cleaned fish well into the late hours and got everything on ice before showering and eating dinner. By now the boat was a stinking mess, scarps of bait, blood and guts all over. I hoped for rain.... it didn't come. {I also hoped for a fish of note, which wasn't exactly forthcoming either!!!}.

Sunday and our final morning. Dan was keen to fish the outgoing at last night's spot. Simon was too stuffed to come along so Dan would ride single handed. We fished for several hours for nothing of note, so decided to head into the harbour where we anchored above a reef on a corner where the current swept into a deep hole. Almost straight away I lost a good fish into the reef. Whodaguessedit? The scenery was stunning and the place so peaceful that i really didn't want to leave, but at 11.30 we needed to get back, clean up and distribute fish. We got the house shipshape, gear cleaned and stowed and the fish sorted and then hit the road.

Another freakin awesome Pre Xmas trip. Next time, I'll smash a huge snap. ;)

Dolphins just off the rocks - awesome