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May 2015

Rockin’ On Hapuku from a Kayak!

Surprise on BenIsland 1

Contents ABOUT / Short and sharp, NZ Fisher is a free e-magazine delivering thought provoking and enlightening articles, and industry news and information to forward-thinking fisher people.

EDITOR / Derrick Paull GROUP EDITOR / Colin Kennedy ART DIRECTOR / Jodi Olsson CONTENT ENQUIRIES / Phone Derrick on 021 629 327 or email derrickp@NZ ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES / Phone Jennifer on 09 522 7257

6.. Editorial 8..

Rockin’ On

or email ADDRESS / NZ Fisher, C/- Espire Media, PO Box 137162, Parnell, Auckland 1151, NZ WEBSITE /

16.. What’s up with Blue Cod? 18.. Legasea Legends Recognised 20.. Hapuku from a Kayak!

This is a GREEN MAG, created and distributed without the use of paper so it's environmentally friendly. Please think before you print. Thank you!

22.. 26.. Reader Pics 28.. Competition

Cover Image: Regular contributor, Ben Assado’s friend Jim did well in landing this massive snapper from the rocks at Great barrier. 3

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“The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German Writer & Philosopher, 1749-1832 5

Editorial “I’VE JUST ARRIVED HOME from a couple of hours eyeing up beautiful, shiny toys at the Auckland Boat Show. I’ve been blessed with meeting hundreds of keen, passionate fisho’s through the publication of NZFisher; I couldn’t walk 25 metres without bumping into another friendly face and having a fishing focused chat. Despite the passion and long years of experience of those I spoke to, many of my conversations were about the apparent lack of snapper in our back yard, the ubiquitous Hauraki Gulf. After the reduction in recreational bag limits in 2013, based on the bumper fishing years of 2011 and 2012, it’s a surprise that there aren’t actually more fish being caught. It’s all anecdotal – not considered scientific enough to be looked into yet, but it feels like there’s lss

dropping. Along with fish numbers some

snapper than the last two years. Sadly, due

have been impacted by the rise and more

to the slow pace that fisheries management

so, the fall, of the recently closed FCO chain

wheels turn, there’s no chance we’ll know

in New Zealand. Offers of up to 70% off

the truth for another year.

fishing tackle are going to draw the core of

What the boat show highlights to me is the

the tackle market in for a t least a look and

sheer size of the industry in New Zealand

takes a chunk of turnover out of the market

- About 600,000 active recreational fishers

for some time. But with FCO’s closing,

support it. While we happily spend on our

retailers are expecting a return to the good

recreation, there’s a feeling of desperation

old days, or as good as they can get with

from some retailers who are getting

internet sales on the increase. So what role

squeezed too as fish number a[p[ear to be

does our retail network have these days?


Marc Venema /

I’ve got a handful of stores I frequent, but there’s only one ‘local’. Even though it is way across town, I’ll head there as first choice because I love the interaction with the proprietor. The best stores have an owner and often staff who don’t just love fishing, they live it, dream it and in a few cases have broken marriages because of their passion. Of all the advice I’ve had, the best has consistently come from the mouths, and essentially the hearts, of tackle store proprietors. It’s pretty hard sometimes to swallow a 25% difference in the price you pay for something locally and what you can import it for. But along with our snapper stocks, it seems decent fishing retailers are on the decline. I feel for the staff at FCO, but I’m quietly glad they’re out of the market and our locals will be getting increased custom again. In my day job, I get to travel the country and visit stores when I can. If you’re ever in Te Awamutu Salt Water Sport Fishing

is a must. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better stocked, more complete tackle store. If you’re in Auckland, there’s a few goodies still out there. My favourites are Go Fish on the Shore plus Rod & Reel in Newmarket, but I hear good things about Norcross, Yeehaa, Hunts and Hunting & Fishing. If I’ve missed any, my apologies, it’s not intentional! Winters pretty much landed on us and the fishing has changed once again. The Marlin look to have headed off, no reports from the Kings included Marin this week, so I’ve dedicated the next few weeks to moocher hunting in the shallows. The Fishing & Adventure boys ran an episode recently of their fishing in the inner Hauraki. A haul of a nice mid-teens King and 70cm snapper were a reminder that we do still have some excellent fishing on our doorstep. I’m keen to buck the trend and get some good fish from the ‘back door’. You won’t get a feed at home on the couch, so get out there and get some for yourself!

Derrick 7


Rockin’ On

Prime rewards for a bunch of land-based muppets

I WAS STANDING ON a local ledge with Gary and Joe at some very un-gentlemanly hour back in July. With our beanies on and sipping coffee from the thermos on a perfectly still and crisp winters’ morning, we were trying to catch a snapper for breakfast (the only way to justify to our wives our absence every second Saturday). Gary said he was dead keen to do a serious land based kingie mission in the late summer. From memory, Joe’s response was instant, and my rubber arm was already flailing about

been planted. After the new year, when the festive season glow had worn off and we were all back at work staring down another year of hard slog, it didn’t take long for the subject to come up again. We studied the tides and picked a weekend at the end of February that looked the goods with nice morning lows just after the first quarter moon. It just so happened that this weekend was also Gary’s birthday that made the decision that much easier.

Gary emigrated from the UK with his family about four years ago. He a dead keen land through and twisted it up behind my back. based angler who, after a landing a few from While we only skipped around the subject the boat, has been obsessing over a king through the coming months, the seed had from the rocks for a wee while. To get one on when the only five-knot gust of wind blew

Orca in the anchor 8 9


his birthday would just be too much.

tomorrow might bring was thick amongst

Along with another local mate, Greg,

the boys, but somehow we eventually

we decided on northern Coromandel

managed to get our heads down.

as the destination. Being a peninsula,

A few hours later the first alarm went off and

Coromandel is an excellent destination

after a brief moment of disbelief, we were

due to there always being a coast to fish

up and moving about. Perhaps it was the

no matter what the wind decides to do.

excitement of waking up somewhere new

Particularly handy when you are planning

with a whole coastline of unlimited fishiness

a trip weeks in advance.

to explore that got the boys out of bed.

There are tonnes of options when the

Perhaps it was the heavy, thick air lacking in

weather is good, and most are relatively easy walk-in spots too. However, on this

oxygen as a result of four men sleeping in a small room that inspired us to be on our feet

occasion we were saved from the hard

in a very short amount of time.

slog and bush bashing that normally

Whatever the reason, teamwork was the

accompanies these missions by a good mate name of the game. With one man making and fishing buddy, Benjamin. He offered us

lunch, another cooking breakfast and the

the loan of his IRB while he was attending a

other two sorting bait/burley and loading

wedding in Christchurch.

the boat we were down at the water’s edge

43 phone calls, 536 group emails and 91

ready to launch the IRB at first light.

swell map hits later and the weekend had

That day was the first time the other lads

finally arrived. The weather gods had smiled

had done a land-based mission using an

on us, and the forecast was perfect. As we

IRB for transport. So in true early morning

loaded all the gear in the hot sun at 5pm on

fashion, I gave some very vague details on

Thursday evening, I couldn’t help but feel

how this beach launch was supposed to go.

this was going be a great trip.

We dropped the boat in the water, and I

We got to our base for the weekend around

went to park the ute and trailer well up

midnight. Thankfully the ranger had left the above the high tide mark. By the time I got key where he said it would be, and we were

back the others had managed to get the

able to settle into a couple of beers on the

bow facing into the crashing swell, but the

porch after a long drive.

engine wasn’t running. The boat was half full

As the waxing moon threw a blanket of dim

of water, and the back of the transom was

light across the towering hills that formed the valley surrounding us, fishy tales and

very close to the water line. Breakers were smashing over the bow, and things were

plans for the morning were discussed to

looking a wee bit hairy!

the soothing sound of crickets in the still

After a heap of priming, choke and revs

air. There is something very surreal about

in waist deep water with the boat getting

northern Coromandel that I can’t quite

smashed by the swell and a dozen pulls on

put my finger on. The anticipation of what

the starter cord, the engine finally fired up.


With the transom about to disappear under

had produced decent fish for me in the past.

the waterline, I was taking no chances.

This ledge was easily accessible, and so

I whacked her into gear and hit the gas, launching the boat forward. With one hand on the throttle, the other on the side rope and my body and legs flailing out the back like some perverse giant-sized squid vicious teaser, we cleared the breakers and I pulled myself on board! “All good”, I think were my exact words as I smiled at the others as casually as I could before dropping the scuppers. Quietly though I was thanking fate I wasn’t ringing Ben and telling him I had sunk his boat! Pretty soon the scuppers had done their job. With the water completely drained from the hull, we were planing our way to spot-X. Upon arrival, it quickly became obvious that we weren’t going to be landing on the ledge I had hoped to fish. The swell was wrapping around the coast and pumping into the small bay that we usually use to unload. With three inductees on board and my own confidence somewhat in tatters after the diabolical

began the offload. The boys picked up the gist of the bungee system in no time. Before we knew it, Greg and I were tying off the empty boat while Joe and Gary were setting up on the ledge. It was at this point that Greg and I noticed we had taken on quite a bit of water again. I instantly thought the worst – that there was a tear in the hull. As we took off again to drain her, Greg suddenly turned to me and asked that obvious but taboo question that no skipper ever wants to be uncertain off: “Are the bungs in?”. The brief moment of relief that the problem had been identified and was easily rectifiable was quickly swamped by the mortifying realisation that I was going to have to live with this error for not only the rest of this trip. But until such a time that each of the others had committed an individual act of muppetry of equal proportions.

launch, the call was very quickly made to try

Once on the ledge, we got set up and then

another ledge further down the coast that

went about trying to catch livies. They proved 11


extremely difficult to get at first and didn’t

the day before and were met by the sight of

improve much over the day. We pumped a

a very small and manageable swell wrapping

solid burley trail and cubed continually. We

around into the bay. With everyone having

fished spinners, un-weighted pillie cubes,

had a bit of practice with the bungee system

baits under floats, retrieved baits, soft baits

yesterday, we were all happy that this would

– you name it, we worked it. Unfortunately

be (and was) an easy disembark.

though the Kahawai just didn’t seem to be

Once landed, we got a burley out straight

around and the two or three we did secure and deploy as live baits ended up belly up within 10 minutes.

away and let it go to work while we set up our kit. Without the drama of yesterday, we were on the ledge getting ready half an hour earlier

We took turns at regular intervals throwing

than the day before and were greeted by a

a popper about and despite four sets of keen

glorious sunrise.

eyes on the wash, we didn’t see a kingie

The water along the ledge looked very fishy.

cruising all day.

It was clean, had good visibility with plenty

In the mid-afternoon around high tide, the

of current and a nice swell smashing up

thought of a chilli-bin packed with beer and

against the rocks that was creating plenty of

salt-ice got the better of us, and we decided

white water. It just oozed potential kingfish.

to pull the pin. As any fisherman will tell you,

By the time the first bait hit the water the

conceding defeat for the day is never easy but knowing that you have two more days up your sleeve certainly softens the blow. Getting back to camp a little earlier than expected also allowed us plenty of time to get organised for the next days’ assault! In the morning, we were on the beach again launching by daylight. We were much better prepared having had a chance to properly organise ourselves the previous afternoon. We had virtually halved our gear, the boat was properly packed and, of course, (the question was raised many times!) the bungs were in! Greg decided to park the wagon up the beach this morning while I got the engine idling. There was far less swell today which made this job easier and as soon as Greg got back down the beach we were off. We went straight for the ledge we dismissed


Kahawai had sniffed out the burley and were ready for breakfast. Within 20 minutes and with three hours until the low, we had three livies out bobbing about under balloons - pretty much the polar opposite of yesterday’s start. With ourselves now well set-up, I decided to throw a popper about to keep myself busy while the other boys set about catching a feed of snapper for tonight’s meal. After an hour or so and a couple of livie swap outs (a couple went belly up), the fishing slowed a little. Joe and Gary’s livies had followed the current and made their way around to the left of the ledge (a prime spot where I have seen many kingfish harass baits in the past). Mine had left its prime position on the edge of the wash to find itself right back in close to the ledge and getting bashed around in the surge below me.


I wound up the slack line on the livie rig

again, and I pushed the lever up to strike,

before setting about trying to catch a new

waited for the weight and then struck the

live bait. I have seen this many times where

hook home. The rod loaded up, and the line

live baits that are tired swim back to the

began to pour off the reel.

ledge and then get caught up in the surge.

Greg ran over and put a gimbal on me while

This leaves them unable to swim out against

I tried to get the fish under control. By this

the swell that keeps bashing them back up

stage, after its’ initial run, the fish had dug

against the rocks. While my bait wasn’t at

down deep right in front of me and was

that stage yet, I figured it was probably better

dragging my mainline across the rocks.

to get prepared now.

Thankfully the kelp was cushioning the

I was casually casting about an unweighted

24kg mono from parting but I was taking

pillie, and I looked down to see my balloon

no chances and backed the drag to about

suddenly get dragged under the water

halfway. This allowed the fish to turn and

without warning and pop off. The clicker

run out to deeper water that gave me some

on the TLD50 began to sing as I yelled out

breathing space before I pushed the drag back

to the others and ran over to lift up the

up and began the process of trying to wear it

rod. By this stage, the reel was silent, and

down further out.

the fish had stopped running. My heart

It felt like a decent fish and after a good

sank as I figured it had spat the bait. A few

tussle out wide with some long solid runs

tense seconds later the spool started to spin

and plenty of give and take, I could feel him 13


tiring. I began retrieving line at a good pace and after a while he was back at the ledge. He ran me up and down the weed line a few times and had me scrambling along the ledge trying to keep the mainline away from the sharp rocks. Finally, the wind-on emerged through the surface of the water. With 5m of 200lb windon and 3m of 100lb flouro trace being the only thing left to drag across the rocks, I knew I had this fish. Greg was down at the water’s edge with the gaff, and as the trace came within reach, he yelled that there was another fish shadowing my one. Greg grabbed the trace and quickly sunk in the gaff. I was stoked as this was my first land based kingie in a couple of years. While I knew it wasn’t the 25kg model I’ve been dreaming of, I knew it was far bigger than my previous PB of 15kg. Greg hoisted the fish up the ledge and lay it down in front of me to much whooping and high-fiving before we heard Gary yell out. In the commotion, the rest of us hadn’t noticed him wind in his live bait after seeing the other kingie, and it had been smashed as well. Before I had even had a chance to take a good look at my fish, Gary was hooked up, and it was all on again. It quickly became apparent that this was another good fish and that Gary wasn’t going to be able to muscle it in quickly. It had him running up and down the ledge with us in tow and forced him into a crouch on more than one occasion.


“After all the weeks of planning and build-up and not to mention the drama of the day before it was a perfect moment.“ The end game was hard work and became a battle of attrition. The fish had burrowed down deep and swum through the kelp directly at our feet, and Gary had to take his time inching it back. We later learnt that he was fishing a mono he had brought with him from the UK that was rated at only 38lb. Slowly but surely though he started to get the last of the mainline back on the spool until I was able to grab the leader and lift the fish through the kelp for Greg to gaff. To a chorus of expletives and whooping, Greg handed the gaff to Gary above us who hoisted it safely up onto the ledge. Gary looked a little stunned at first before suddenly exclaiming in full English accent “Wot a peach of a fish!” Garys’ was clearly a larger fish than mine and the buzz on the rock with two solid kingies at our feet was something that I’ll remember for years to come. One of them was my new PB, and the other was Gary’s first land based kingie (and on his actual birthday). After all the weeks of planning and build-up and not to mention the drama of the day before it was a perfect moment.

After a few minutes of back-slapping, high

islands style raw fish and then a main of

fives and photo’s we put the fish into an

kingfish and snapper tacos with a beautiful

insulated kingie bag and hid them in the

mango salsa that Joe prepared.

shade of the cliff. We quickly decided it was Joe and Greg’s turn to land one, and went about trying to catch live baits before the low.

The cabin had filled with people during the day. There were two sets of foreign trampers and a group of fisherman from the Waikato,

The Kahawai though seemed to have

who all enjoyed the fruits of our labour that

disappeared and unfortunately for the boys,

evening as the drinks and laughter flowed on

didn’t reappear for the rest of the day. We

into the night.

fished on through to the middle of the afternoon but despite our best efforts could not secure a decent live bait. At one point, I even put out a large maomao but had to bring it back in when I realised the clutch was not engaging on my reel.

It was a fitting way to round off a great day. By contrast, the next day was uneventful. We landed on the same ledge but the bait never showed. We didn’t catch a Kahawai all morning, and the maomao we put out in desperation went unnoticed. We knocked it

Back at the campground we quickly shot back

on the head around midday so we could get

to the cabin to drop off the boat and pick up

packed and hit the road back to Auckland at a

some ice-cold bevvies before taking the fish

reasonable hour.

down to the filleting station at the water’s edge. On the way, we stopped in at the rangers hut and picked up a set of scales.

While it was a disappointing way to end the trip, it did reiterate just how critical timing and organisation can be to success. Had we

We hung the scales from a pohutukawa and

missed the bait the day before, we may have

weighed mine first. It ended up going 18kg

gone home with our tails between our legs.

which was a new PB for me and 3kg closer to

Thankfully though, we found the right ledge

my goal of a 25kg land based kingfish.

at the right moment in time and turned three

Next up we all watched in anticipation as

days of tough fishing into a lifelong memory.

Gary’s fish was hung up and pulled the dial

On the drive home, it was agreed that we’d

round to 23kg! An excellent effort on 18kg line for anyone, let alone this being his first land based king.

make this an annual trip. Greg and Joe had some unfinished business, Gary was still buzzing from the result, and me…well, I was

That evening, kingfish was all over the menu.

still to witness these guys commit their acts

We gorged on fresh sashimi, followed by

of muppetry.  15



up with



New agreement for Marlborough Blue cod Update by Trish Rae, Legasea

FOR THE FIRST TIME in four years

a public consultation document, due for

management of Marlborough Sounds,

release mid-year.

Blue cod is being reviewed, and LegaSea

If you have an interest in this important

is encouraging recreational fishers to

fishery then please send your feedback as

have their say on the future of this

soon as possible to

most prized fishery.

Your comments can be detailed or brief. Do

A multi-stakeholder group, the Blue Cod

it now, so your comments can be considered

Management Group, is seeking people’s

early, and be sure to include your contact

views now before they develop potential

details so you can be kept informed of any

management options to be included in

further developments.


Coalition of interests There is unprecedented agreement on how Blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds ought to be managed in the future. So far, groups representing more than 50,000 people have agreed on a range of potential options that could be applied to this fish stock after this year’s review. Specific groups that have worked together on this issue include the Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association, the Coalition of the Combined Clubs of Wellington, the NZ Angling and Casting Association and NZ Sport Fishing Council. Their recommendations have been distributed so others can support the same measures. The intention is twofold; firstly to have fair rules that apply to recreational fishing across the entire Top of the South Island. And secondly, to have simple regulations that are well supported by the local community and visitors to the area.

LegaSea is supporting the combined group’s recommendations as they align with our Principles to 1. Rebuild the fishery, 2. Stop senseless waste and 3. Set equal size limits, including minimum size limits for sustainability reasons rather than to give priority to commercial fishers. Feel free to download the details from

Next steps The Ministry for Primary Industries will conduct a formal consultation process in May this year, with submissions due by 15th June. Ministry will review all submissions and make recommendations to the Minister on what regulations ought to apply when the new Blue Cod season opens on 20 December 2015. Please take the time to have input into this process. The Marlborough Sounds Blue cod stock is worth conserving as it draws people to the area from around the country and overseas. Let’s do what we can together to rebuild this iconic fishery. ■

Call 0800 LEGASEA (534 273)

Subscribe at

Email us

Read more at 17



Legends Recognised

LEGASEA LEGENDS IS A new initiative that recognises people who are committed to fishing and conserving fish for future generations. People who contribute at least $10 per month to LegaSea are entitled to join the Legends programme and receive a Welcome Pack and Certificate of Recognition. The recent Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat show in Auckland was the first time LegaSea Legends was revealed to the public, and it proved to be a winner. New contributors welcomed this public recognition of their generosity, and past regular contributors were particularly pleased to learn they qualified for ‘Foundation’ Legend status.

What does is mean to be a LegaSea Legend? • INVOLVED Actively participating and eager to learn what actions can accelerate a rebuild in our fisheries. • RESPECTED Appreciated by LegaSea and your fishing peers. • INFORMED Aware of the issues affecting our fisheries. • DEDICATED Investing $10 per month to help restore your fisheries to abundance.

How are LegaSea Legends recognised? • LegaSea appreciates the commitment of people who sign up to the Legends programme. In return for your contribution you receive: • A ‘Welcome Pack’, including a Certificate of Recognition and multiple decals • Regular updates and access to tools so you can easily respond to fisheries management issues and influence change; and • Relevant ‘thanks’ opportunities through our sponsors’ promotions.


LegaSea has achieved greater public awareness and engagement in fisheries management and policy issues. In the past two years, more than 120,000 fisheries management submissions have been generated via the mechanisms provided by LegaSea. What has LegaSea achieved?

What happens to the money? 100% of public donations made through the LegaSea Legends programme are transferred to the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council whose Board carefully invests it in advocacy, research and education work streams. There is an endless list of issues that need to be addressed and publicised; this work costs money if we want it done independently and consistently to a high standard.

LegaSea has achieved greater public awareness and engagement in fisheries management and policy issues. In the past two years, more than 120,000 fisheries management submissions have been generated via the mechanisms provided by LegaSea. Our ongoing publicity initiatives regularly reach over 100,000 people per month.

You are welcome to come aboard and become a LegaSea Legend, or if your business is looking for a worthwhile investment then the Building LegaSea or LegaSea Works In the 2013-2014 financial year, the Council programmes might fit you better. invested over $130,000 in advocacy, LegaSea is a public outreach initiative research, education and promoting public of the New Zealand Sport Fishing awareness of issues. Council. The Council has an experienced Collectively the Council’s projects, submissions and public awareness initiatives are designed to achieve abundant fisheries and meaningful fishing experiences for their members and for us, the public who have faith and belief in this work.

fisheries management, science, policy and legal team. On behalf of the Council LegaSea raises funds and provides public-friendly information about a variety of processes that are important to the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations. â–

LegaSea is the public face of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. The Council has an experienced fisheries management, science, policy and legal team. On behalf of the Council LegaSea provides public-friendly information about a variety of processes that are important to the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations. 19


Olly & the PukaII

Hapuku from a


Yup. From a kayak!

A MATE AND I TRY to get down to Haast

trailer to continue the seven-hour drive.

at least twice a year for a bit of a fish and a

Along the way, we stopped at an unusually

hunt. The Haast area is one seriously wild

secret spot to drop our cray pots. After

place, the scenery down there is almost

checking into the Haast Lodge, we went

beyond words. The lack of launch spots for

down to the river mouth and had a ball

vessels larger than tiny, combined with, the weather and the swells ensure the region is under little fishing pressure. Thanks to this,

hooking and landing Kahawai after Kahawai on trout gear from the shore.

the fishing is fantastic when you can get out, and Haast rarely fails to produce a surprise

Day two was the freezer filler when we

or two. This trip was no exception.

returned to pull our full pots. We fished the shallow reefs and sand for mixed bags

The first day of our trip started at 4.30am

of nice blue cod, Tarakihi and gurnard.

for me leaving home to meet the boys,

It’s extraordinary how diverse and full a

Chook and Andrew, at Springfield. We

fishery can be when it’s left to develop and

transferred all the gear to one 4x4 and a

not get hammered.


Olly & the PukaII

Day three saw us paddle out from a river

the initial shock and sat there, paddles at the

mouth two kilometres beyond the Open

ready to give the shark a good whack if it got

Bay Islands, where we settled in fishing

too friendly. Eventually I hauled the anchor,

in 35m of water. After a few cod, the first

and as the chain rattled up the side of the

surprise of the weekend turned up in the

yak the shark seemed to lose a bit of interest

form of a 21lb hapuku. To say I was stoked

and we slowly paddled away keeping close

would be an understatement!

together. I’d describe the meeting as nervous

Dropping the line back down I hooked a 6ft

but fascinating!

7 Gill shark that became tail wrapped beside the kayak; the line snapped, and it sank from

Day four was a little more relaxing with a

sight looking very sorry.

surf cast that produced a few wrasse and

Then as I retied my rig, there was a splash a few metres in front of me. I glanced up to

a fruitless evening deer hunting in some seriously stunning, albeit barren, countryside.

see the second surprise of the trip, heading straight towards the back of my mates yak

Day five was the drive home and a chance

(he was tied to the front of mine) was grey

to reflect on an amazing week on the wild

fin!! As the shark passed below us, we rafted

west coast. It’s an often forgotten slice of our

up together and identified the shark as a great paradise that we’re stoked to be able to enjoy white, although thankfully a small one at it and even get a decent paddle in too – down around 3m long. It began circling us at speed,

here the weather’s often merciless. It was a

checking us out. We calmed our nerves after

great and full weekend. ■ 21


Benisland. The Plan, Conditions & Tide

LAST WEEK I WAS asked whether I was available to take a couple who were visiting Great Barrier Island fishing off the rocks. They were staying with a friend of mine, and since I hadn’t been to her place, I decided to check the area out the day before. After meeting and having a chat with everyone, I walked

Our plan was to meet the next day at 13.00 and fish the point facing into the bay. Low tide was at about 17.00 and it would take us about 30 minutes to get there. We experienced a south-westerly wind 15 knots strong, which was not an issue, as the little semi-island we were fishing off provided shelter from the wind. If anything, the wind aided with casting further.

down from the house to the bay pictured below to suss out the track and where to fish.

The Spot In spite of the rain we had lately, the track was still very manageable, and my plan was to fish off the point. Like most of the spots I fish regularly, this is a low tide spot. While this spot does not boast deep water, it does provide all one needs to land good fish. A little bay that can provide shelter in southwesterly winds, a lot of foul and a bit of a current at the point.


The Rig & Preparation Although I brought along my gear, I didn’t plan to fish on this day. I rigged two rods with a single 6/0 circle hook at the end of about 1 meter of 30 lbs trace. The main line was of the same category. My task for today was to be a rock fishing caddy, aiding with rigs, landing fish and so forth (I quite enjoy that!). Of course, like any other avid land-based angler, I had pre-tied a dozen rigs so that they can be replaced quickly when the fish are on the bite and re-rigging is required.

A great day on the rocks with a bit of a tail wind. Very enjoyable to be standing there and catching a feed..

Burley & Focus On Catching Fresh Bait

trail. The snapper that were, however, all

One of the local boys told me that they catch

undersized and I remember mentioning that

plenty Kahawai here, and my plan was to

they will get bigger.

burley hard and get them to come to us.

As a matter of fact, I believe that there

We would catch a few, they are heaps of fun,

is always one good hook-up out there

good eating (superb sashimi) and are top

when you’re out there on the rocks. The

fresh bait. It took about half an hour until

challenging thing is to stay calm and

the first Kahawai was landed. And after that,

prepared, even after landing and releasing

for about an hour more big Kahawai were

the tenth small snapper.

hooked, played, caught and released.

Often this puts anglers off; they start

Both anglers were competent on their own,

theorising and concluding that because they

and I was surprised to see that they hardly

have landed many small snapper that there

snagged to the bottom. The Kahawai were

is only small snapper out there. They start

all the same size, about 3lbs. We put two of

decreasing the drag and pay less attention to

them into a rock pool and one I cut up to

what they are doing.

use as bait.

Believe me, when you’re out there with a good plan and set-up, never give up and stay

Snapper & Staying Prepared

on guard. When the big one takes your bait,

It took about one and a half hours until the

everything happens very quickly. If you are

first snapper showed up. We had the sun

not on top of the action, all you have to show

in front of us, and it was difficult all day to

for is a story of the one that got away and the

see into the water and observe the burley

story of the undersized snapper. 23


The Hook-up After a couple 35cm snapper had been secured in a rock-pool, I felt very good. It was a great day; we were comfortable, had heaps of action on Kahawai and had even enough snapper for a feed. Although I was still hoping for a bigger snapper, the pressure was off, and I mentioned that we did everything right. “Now it’s time to land that trophy fish!”. Well, Jim cast a slab of fresh Kahawai about 15 metres out and moments later said: “Got another Kahawai on.” I watched his line closely and couldn’t see any signs of a Kahawai. The line was pointing steadily into the water and not dragging in a zig-zag motion. Jim was all cool and used the rod to bring in what appeared like a bit of weight. The first time I saw some colour, I saw heaps of dark and brown. Still too far away to say what he had hooked, but the closer it came, the less it looked like a Kahawai. Although I did not want to believe it because Jim was reeling it in very casually, I knew this was a big fish.


I thought it would be a Porae or similar, and wanted to give instructions as to increase the drag as the fish hasn’t gone for a run yet. In the end, I did not say anything and only moved down to the water’s edge to assist with landing this mysterious fish. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a very decent snapper about five metres away from the rocks. It was huge, clearly over 10 lbs but why didn’t it fight? “Did I miss the fight? Oh boy, this one is even more than 15 lbs”, I mumbled to myself as the leader was in reach. “What shall we do Ben, do you have a plan?”. The fish looked exhausted to me, and I managed to lift it out of the water. Once it was out of the water, and I felt the actual weight, I think we all were even more surprised. Jim stated immediately that he wanted to release the fish. “I’m afraid this one is gut-hooked very deeply Jim. I won’t be able to get that hook out.” We placed the snapper into a big rock-pool, and after a closer inspection, it was clear that we could not do much for him. He was well hooked in the gut area, and there was a lot of blood coming out of the gills.

18+ lbs snapper off the rocks.

Smoked snapper head for Ben..

I congratulated Jim and as you can see he was very happy about this snapper as well. A bit of a shame, as he said, that we had to kill it, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have had survived. The happy couple continued fishing for another hour while I began preparations for heading back. Scaling, gutting the catch and starting to pack in. We released the Snapper and Kahawai that were very active in the rock pool and here is a photo of some of the snapper that were taken.

A memorable and very productive land-based fishing session on the Barrier..

The Gist Of It Fish: Snapper Caught: Rock Fishing May 2015 Bait: Kahawai slab Where: South East Coast Weight: 18 lbs Gear: 30 lbs Main: Line: 30 lbs Trace: Fish landed an hour before low tide. ■

This article is reproduced with permission of Ben Assado. Ben lives permanently in the hills of Tryphena, in a rugged and stunning bush block, and pursues his dream of living in harmony and sustainably from the land. Check out Ben’s website for more fishing stories and a great read about island life 25

Image sent in by Craig Thin - angler unknown, but he looks pretty stoked!


Forbes Taylor with his first ever Grandaddy Hapuku


Forbes Taylor with a nice inner Gulf King



Mabel Richards (8) with a landbased Hiwihiwi 26

Sam Richards (5) son with a landbased Hiwihiwi


Sam West with a huge 29 pound Snapper landed in the Hauraki Gulf. Enticed by a mullet bait

Teghan Errington with a Yellowfin - not much detail, but we’re all jealous! 27


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This months winners are Sam and Mabel Richards, who have won for their Landbased Hiwihiwi (Thanks to dad Richard for sending them in). Sam and Mabel have won a $150 Composite Developments voucher, happy spending Caitlin! â—?

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NZ Fisher Issue 47  
NZ Fisher Issue 47