Bites at the Hen and Chicks

The sun was shining today but the 2m swells kept it interesting. We had the skipper plus 6 aboard but luckily everyone had hardy stomachs and there were no issues with sea sickness. There was a mixture of experienced fishos and a couple of novices, but we all had plenty of room to fish. And everyone got to reel in at least a couple of fish – one clever fisherman even caught a bird! We’re happy to report that the bird went free with no evident damage.

We started out at Sail Rock which was a little quiet but once we hit the Hen (Taranga) and Chicks the fish started biting well. We caught a few snapper drift fishing with soft baits and the rest were caught stray lining with whole pilchards. All in all it was a slow day but we came home with a nice chilly bin full of fish – plenty for everyone. The boat handled the bar beautifully despite the swells and a great day was had by all.

Harry’s first good kahawai – Hen and Chicks

What a day for Harry. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day out at the Hen & Chickens (as you can see from the photo). On the way out there, we stopped to see what the birds were so excited about. Wow –  it was such a bonus to see huge schools of blue mao mao – these were just amazing to see in the crystal clear water. We could have stayed for ages and wished we’d had the snorkelling gear. A few other boats gathered round and we spent an enjoyable half and hour just watching these beautiful creatures.

On we cruised to the Hen where the bird work led us to a couple of kahawai boil ups. Out went the casts with young Harry being the first to hook up. After that it was busy, busy, busy and a lot of fun had by all. A number were released, especially those that were only lip hooked. The unfortunate ones that were gut or gill hooked were dealt to (iki’ed and bled) and put straight on ice. Thank goodness for oversized chilli bins and salt ice!

A very exciting day all round and we’re quite sure Harry’s school mates would have heard plenty about it.

Even small kingis are fun

Young Ben caught his first legal kingfish today – this one was out at Taranga Island, part of the Hen and Chickens. Although only 76cm, this fish was still quite a challenge to bring in – particularly because we were targeting kahawai on light gear. So you can imagine our surprise when the bait got monstered by a feisty kingi. It took well over 20 minutes to land this fish because of the light gear, but it was well worth it, resulting in “whoop whoops” and hi-5’s all round.

We’re so lucky to have kingfish in our waters so close to shore. They put up such a great fight and have the added bonus of being absolutely delicious. We enjoy ours raw, pan fried, as steaks on the barbeque, or smoked and there’s always enough to share around the neighbourhood. For those that haven’t tried kingfish sashimi, you are missing out. Cut thinly across the grain and served with soy, ginger and wasabi, washed down with a good oakey chardonnay – you’ll be going back for more.

21 pounds of Snapper

Well we’re very excited to have the new boat, custom built by Senator. Now it’s time to put it to the test. Mike went out today for some end of winter fishing which is always good. The Hen & Chicks are at their best at this time of year and today was no exception. The boys were only out for a few hours and just look at this snapper! Top Catch kindly weighed this fish for us on the way back in and the official weight came in at an impressive 21lbs (9.5 kilos). Awesome!!

The bin was full of beautiful snapper by the time the boys returned home – a real treat. And how about that blue sky in the background?? In early October no less! We’re looking forward to a lot more where this came from.