2nd Day Fishing – Waitangi Day

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I was left very excited yesterday even if it was only a few fish we caught and one kept. I was hanging out for this day as it would allow us to do more exploring around the rocks and also our technique was getting a little better. So I woke up and heard what was going to put a halter to our fun for today.It was a small breeze. We weren’t to sure what the conditions were going to be like, all we knew was that the paper said fishing was going to be crap. Pushing this aside, not believing this (fishing is always filled with unproven sayings and tales – such as you can only catch fish during the first and last hour of sun. I found such myths exsisted when I began fly fishing (which caused a lot of misconceptions and wasted fishing) and in fact one book states that you can only catch brown trout in the north island blind fishing at night. Something I constantly disprove every time I ever go fly fishing, some of my best trout were caught midday and almost all have been sight fished to. I’m a firm believer that trout feed at anytime of the day and most of the time, so I take this concept to sea fish. We headed down to Pukerua bay again. Driving past Paekakariki we noticed that Street Wise (dammit!!) was close for our morning coffee so we drove past and down through centennial highway. We noticed that the sea didn’t seem to be affected by the northwesterly that was blowing – however the closer we headed along the highway the more we noticed that whitecaps seemed to be blowing right into Pukerua bay. We stopped at the top of the road looking down at the bay. It was blowing quite a bit however there looked like some calm spots. Not deterred we decided to chance it and take the boat out. There wasn’t any other boats out around this area so we assumed it was either the “bad fishing” chart in the paper or perhaps it was the sevens weekend. The waves started to stir up from the strong wind, however it didn’t seem very large from the beach so we headed out after a local gave us some tips about how to get out without hitting the bottom. The tide seemed to be going out but we couldn’t tell and been an amateur fisherman I don’t have any idea what fish like, low or high or perhaps the change… all I know is that fish feed all the time, so put some bait on and surely you will catch something. Driving out we hit the bottom with the motor and the small waves ended up coming over the front of the boat. We got to a spot which seemed calm and dropped the anchor, after a few minutes of discussing whether this was suitable conditions to even fish. We weren’t in any immediate danger as we had the Zodiac which can handle been filled to the top with water and still float, I think we were more worried about a freak wave or the constant problem of getting wet. I started to get the bad feeling that perhaps this wind will only get stronger and we really should call it quits. I started putting our riggs together and suddenly the waves turned from average to a lot bigger with our boat moving up and down like a see-saw. What had seemed to start as a calm and beautiful one day was now rough and windy. I called it quits and I think now that was a good call. We puttered in and pulled the motor up well before it got to shallow, with the waves the bottom seemed to get shallower as the waves sucked up. We packed up the boat and although I was very disappointed about not fishing I was glad we didn’t stay out there any longer, I think once you start getting that dodgy feeling – you should listen to it. We headed back up the coast to Raumati and decided to checkout Paraparaumu Beach on the off chance perhaps it might be sheltered, with Kapiti Island blocking the North Westerly. Sure enough there was virtually little sign of a swell or even wind. Our day went from been over to now just beginning.

I felt so much better about launching the boat here, even if it was just a 8ft Zodiac. Incredible there were hundreds of cars lining the beach and the club tractor was very busy launching all the boats. But where were all these boats that belong to all these cars. We could only count about a dozen around Kapiti. My brother mentioned that there was some channel out deeper and we should try there. Having no idea where this channel was we headed out and watched as other larger boats powered there boats to get off the sandbar – quite a good way I thought, revving the motor to full seemed to work well. We shot out to what we thought was deep and in line with other larger boats. We assumed we must have been in the channel as it seemed deep from the different colour water. With no depth sounder it was hard to tell whether there were any fish or even what depth we were. We stayed well away from the marine reserve as we knew this was the one place you weren’t allowed to fish and also we didn’t want to drift into this area. We again got even more excited because now we were fishing truly deep water – well from our perspective it was. At Pukerua Bay we were fishing at a depth of perhaps 4 – 5 m whereas out at Paraparaumu we must have been about 15 – 20m. We baited our hooks and because it was a sand bottom I put on a large sinker to get to the bottom. This time it was a good idea and my line easily got down there without any snagging. We tied the burly bomb to the anchor to get that right down to the bottom – a good idea I thought. 50mins pasted and not a single bite. Then out of the blue a pod of dolphins surfaced briefly before diving back down. I have heard bad things about catching fish with dolphins around but i think it was kinda cool to see them up close. After a small discussion over whether Dolphins do scar away fish we decided to head south towards Raumati Beach, we also headed into shallower water (about 5 – 10m). The chop started by now about an 1 hour into fishing and we hadn’t caught anything. Trying our new spot towards Raumati I soon got into a small Kahawai. It was a lot of fun to play and bringing it to the boat it was about 40cm long, a nice young one. We decided to let it go even though it was probably the best eating. Not to long after my brother also got a large Kahawai. We decided to keep this one for dinner. On the same line we decided to head out a bit deeper as there were workups happening out deeper and when you see a workup you know there are fish around. We went to a depth of about 20 – 30m and by now the chop was picking up, it wasn’t dangerous it was just the odd small bit of chop would splash us – a problem with a small boat. We didn’t get any bites for about an hour, even around this workup and it always seemed where a work up was we would got there and then a work up would occur just where we were. We really were chasing our tails. We saw hundreds of birds on the water not active so we decided to anchor amongst them. Its quite amazing been amongst these large birds as you can get quite close to them. Dropping our lines we started to get tugs and excited I made the comment I don’t think these are Kahawai, they must be another fish like a Snapper (hoping comment I think). Then before we knew it we both had fish on our line and they felt a decent size. My brother got his up first and it was a large Kahawai, I think were were slightly disappointed yet he had to net his then give me the net for me to land this one. A bit of fumbling with the net in the boat and eventually mine got off. He kept his Kahawai which was a nice size. We had read that Kahawai also make good bait but it needs to be fresh. We decided to take a fillet and use it as bait to test this out. Sure enough we dropped our lines down again and I got another Kahawai, this one we let go as we had plenty for dinner. But as soon as this fishing had started it was also quick enough to disappear. We must have hit a school of Kahawai from the work ups that had just occurred. For those who have no idea what a work up is – its basically a school of smaller fish been chased by larger fish (quite often Kahawai), you can tell a workup by the large number of birds hovering over the splashing water. After a few hours of not much activity we decided to head back into the chop, because we would have to go slow we decided to do some trolling on the way back. We used a silver coloured Kahawai lure and just puttered back. we didn’t get anything till we went a little shallower and I got into a small Kahawai. It wasn’t a keeper so I decided to put it back. Nothing else was caught that day but I felt the area between Paraparaumu and Raumati was a really nice place to fish, I rated it better than my earlier in the day experience at Pukerua Bay.

I learnt a good lesson early in the day today and that was to trust your instincts when out in the sea. If it doesn’t feel right then turn back and head to shore. There will be other days to fish and as I found out there might be a more calmer spot just down the beach. I found that Paraparaumu was a great place to launch a boat, it didn’t feel dodgy like at Pukerua Bay and was a nice sandy bottom, so bring the boat in was easy – not to mention you can drive the car on the beach right to the water. There is a lot of sea to fish around Kapiti and finding good fishing spots will take some new equipment (like a depth sounder/fish finder). Also I think we might have to get a chart to see the different depths and make up of this channel that runs through Kapiti. Considering we were fishing with out any equipment to find fish I think we were quite productive getting 6 Kahawai – keeping 2 of them. I would like to have caught a different specie however the more I sea fishing the more I realise there is a lot of sea and catching targeted species, without luck, will require a lot of research into techniques and also finding good spots – there will be trail and error. I realise that this will take sometime to get a good fishing chart together from our own experiences and also what others around have to say. I do know of a spot around Waikanae which I will try out one of these days that apparently never fails for snapper. I was told about this spot and it sounds really great if that’s the case however I do know that in my experiences with trout fishing that everybody has there own spots and techniques that suit them. Often if you try to copy them you aren’t as successful. I think what tends to be lacking when someone does work on advice is the ability to know that spot so well that if its not biting here then it may be biting just around the corner, what I guess I’m saying is that often those who have great knowledge also have a great ability to read and adapt to the different situations that may arise. I take on board all advice and will try it out, but I also have to learn about situations and built my ability to adapt and work out what works for me.

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