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

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