Napier visitor very happy with winter snapper

We ventured out both Saturday and Sunday this weekend with visitors from Napier. These guys couldn’t believe the difference between fishing down in Hawkes Bay open waters to the beautiful islands and scenery just off Mangawhai Heads. They were even more impressed with the large resident snapper we brought on board as all they’ve been catching down there lately is gurnard.

Saturday was a bit rough going with the winds still high and the fish not biting. We were so glad we made the effort to get out again on Sunday. The weather was still a bit blowy so the lee of the Hen was the perfect spot for us. Stray lining the berley trail with no weight and whole pilchards was the most productive for us and we managed to bring some beautiful snapper, the best one being 14lbs.

The Napier boys said they’ll be back!

A huge variety of fish caught today

The day of the fishing comp we were all ready for a big day with six on board.

Unfortunately the fishing competition was cancelled due to large swells on the bar.  The fishing club absolutely made the right call as the bar was too big for most to tackle, especially without local knowledge.

Due to the size and type of our boat we were able to safely head out once the tide had stopped running. Once safely across the bar we headed for Sail Rock to the 51m hole which had been producing good snapper.

Unfortunately none were to be found so we dragged some rapalas around Sail Rock which produced a couple of monster kahawai – loads of fun. This was followed by a quick soft bait landing snapper, gurnard and pig fish. The wind and swell made things less than comfortable so we headed for the lee of the Hen for a stray line and here picked up a couple of good snapper and a 76cm kingfish on a light rod – awesome!

We then headed to the Chicks for some more drift fishing on deep pinnacles resulting in a variety of fish including snapper, pink mao mao and cod. We finished off the day stray lining back at the Hen and as always, picked up a good number of large pannies.

So today produced one of the largest varieties of species ever – all great eating fish. We’re so lucky to have all this right at our doorstep.

A day at the Mokohinau’s

Today the forecast was better so we decided to take a member of the local volunteer fire brigade all the way out to the Mokohinau’s for a bit of reconnaissance. The weather was 5 knots variable so we made the trip from Mangawhai to the Mokes in less than an hour – too easy. Target species today was kingfish so we filled up the live bait tank with some fat, juicy live bait. Unfortunately the forecast didn’t pan out as expected and a 15-20 knot nor’wester kicked in – which made targeting the kingi’s a bit difficult. So the kingi’s won on this day. In the end we switched to soft baiting in the lee of the Mokes which produced a good feed of snapper and trevally. The trip home was a bit rough but the boat handled it with ease and still took only just over an hour.

A good haul despite the winds

After a few days of miserable weather we decided it was time to get outdoors yesterday, despite the gusty winds. After a leisurely start to the day, we headed out around 9.30. The bar crossing was absolutely fine but it was too windy to go far. We tucked in on the western end of the Hen to shelter from the sou’easter where wind and tide worked in our favour. It was pretty rough out there but the fishing was awesome. Thanks to Top Catch for providing the new metal sliders for us to trial. They proved efficient at hooking up fish at 60m under the bird work up. Most notable was when one of our party had a prize snapper hooked. It was quite a battle to get it in and after 20 minutes it was almost out of fight. Suddenly along came…yes you guessed it….a hungry shark. Bye bye snapper. Snapper was estimated to be well in excess of 20lbs but hey, that’s fishing. A big berley trail later led to the  ultimate stray lining experience and we caught the limit of large pannies for all.

A personal best for one fisho!

What a beautiful day out here on the Hauraki Gulf.  We had four fishing on board the boat today, with beautiful calm seas to start with – we definitely needed the sunblock and hats!

Yet again, the Hen and Chicks came up with the goods and we had a lot of fun catching a good variety of fish. In the chilly bin today – snapper, big ocean-going kahawai and a couple of good trevally. The wives were happy and there was plenty for all in the divvy up. First on the menu, thinly sliced raw trevally – yum!

Most importantly, one of the local lads caught his personal best – a 15lb snapper. As you can see in the photo, the cloud cover had started to come in and the sea was chopping up a little bit but conditions were still perfectly pleasant. As you can imagine, this fish was a lot of fun to bring in and the arms were tired from the huge number of photos we took.