Friday / Saturday Fishing – Snapper, Big Gurnard, Kahawai, Mackerel and lots of cut lines!

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I know I know I’m combining 2 days together but I’m sure you will get over it. Anyway we did a lot of fishing last week and also on Saturday.

Friday Fishing

Friday was forecasted for bad weather, however by the time work ended it actually looked not to bad. So being new keen sea fisherman we decided to head out. We got to Kapiti Boat club around 5:30pm. The high tide time was scheduled to be at 6pm that night so we thought that we would get out in perfect timing for the current to drop. There were a lot of boats out so we decided to head down south a bit. The sea had a bit of chop on the water but like most other evenings we predicted this would drop. Having not fished a lot when the tide was high we weren’t sure if the fish would be found at the magic 20 – 30m mark or shallower. On Thursday we did catch the Trevally at 16m so we decided to tryout in the 20m mark for something different. Something strange occurred however, by the time we got out the current seemed to be already averagely strong. Considering that the tide changes day to day by about an hour later, we didn’t quite understand how this could be. Not too phased we decided to drop our lines – I went straight to a standard dropper rig while my brother used a Snapper rig using his homemade downrigger. I got into some heavy action virtually straight away, sending me from left to right, to right under the boat. It was obviously a large Kahawai. Sure enough after a good fight it was a large 5lb Kahawai. We decided to keep this one as we weren’t sure if we would have anymore luck. My brother had a whole pilchard on his Snapper rig and from previous experiences it seemed to attract Barracuda.

He was using his homemade downrigger again and it seemed to unclip every so often. We couldn’t tell whether it was fish doing this or whether it was just the current unclipping it. This wasn’t a bad thing as every time it came out he would get good takes as his bait drifted to the surface. What was bad was that his line would get bitten off once he felt the take. A sign that it was obviously Barracuda. They were stripping his 50lb without much effort. However you can’t be 100% sure it was one till you actually see one. So one of the times he pulled his bait just above the surface, a large Barracuda jump a metre out of the water and took everything – so that settled it. He didn’t get one in and that was about the only good action we did get, I did catch a nice Mackerel towards the end of the evening. I heard that Mackerel makes great bait so we decided to keep it. We headed in and later for dinner we ate the large Kahawai, battering it similar to Fish n Chips. It actually tasted no different to Fish and Chips which surprised me as I thought you would taste the stronger Kahawai flavour. This could be due to the fact that we bleed all our fish straight away by simply cutting there gill plates. It is actually very important for meat flavour to kill the fish very quickly, then bleed it. Killing the fish quickly means it doesn’t stress the meat and bleeding gets rid of the blood in the meat. Not killing a fish quickly or bleeding it will lead to that fishy taste and also the white looking meat. The meat should be almost translucent. Another issue is bruising of the meat. The Mackerel we decided to fillet and would use this for bait the next day we went fishing.

The nice 5lb Kahawai caught. It made bloody nice Fish and Chips - but they need to be well bleed straight away as you can see it has already been guttered and bleed

It was a nice day fishing on Friday, the current was just to strong however to get the rigs down deep enough. Perhaps we will try drift fishing when this occurs again. We did also get talking to some local experienced fisherman. They had a really nice Zodiac Boat which gets right across to Kapiti Island, something I think we might try later on but not right at this time. One of them was a young guy who had taken the day of School to go out fishing. I think it’s fantastic to see young people getting out, really enjoying and learning to fish. He was saying that he loved fishing of the sand over fishing of Kapiti Island as you tend to catch larger fish off the sand. Reefs tend to house a lot of under size fish. This has also been our experience from reef fishing when trying it out off Pukerua Bay, where we only caught small reef fish. However I did talk to one of my friends recently who told me you need to anchor just of the reef within the sand and try to attract the fish out from of the reef. So we definitely will be giving Pukerua Bay another go sometime soon. The young guy also mentioned that one of his friends had recently caught a 20 odd kg Kingfish from off the sand – which is bloody huge when you think about it!!

Saturday Fishing

The weather was a bit stormy which brought up the chop on the water, however it also brought large workups

It was a bit more stormy on Saturday and there was a lot more wind. The sea had a small swell however there was a lot of chop on the water. This meant that we would get the odd wave swamp the boat and yes I happened to have my back to this and I took the full effect of been soaked on a regular occurrence. We got out at about 12:00pm and predicted that low tide should have been about 1:15pm, so we would get that tide change nicely. As we predicted the current was fairly strong and heading south, but knew this would drop fairly quickly. I decided to put on a 10 ounce sinker with a standard dropper rig. This got me down however it felt like a lot of weight for the rig and I wasn’t sure if the bait would be well presented to the fish. I used 2 large pieces of squad for bait on large hooks (I would use the special black magic mouth hooks however I have found them extremely hard to get the hook out due to there shape – not easy if you are trying to release a fish – they do however hook in the side of the mouth, which is a good thing) . After not catching anything for awhile I decided to check my bait – sure enough it was still all intact. I dropped it down again and virtually straight away my line went into a freespool and I was into a small 2 lb Kahawai. This is a great eating size for Kahawai so we kept this one. Unfortunately it also snapped of the 10 ounce sinker which was costly. Seeing my $$$ literally sink to the bottom of the ocean I decided to revert back to the 3 ounce ball sinker. Surprisingly it actually got to the bottom, so i quickly mentioned that the current was dropping – right on cue. I also should have mentioned that my brother was using his downrigger again. He was using a very large piece of the Mackerel on a Snapper Rig. After about 40mins the current had dropped to virtually nothing. We had both changed our rigs to Snapper rigs with 3 ounce ball sinkers. My brother was still using the Mackerel and I was using a large strip of Squid. My brother started to get some good bites and started to explain to me how it was the Mackerel and he had read how good it was for Snapper. I shrugged this off as just speculative blurb, as the Squid had proven itself already. So while he kept getting bites and loosing his bait, I remained silent and biteless. Feeling a little desperate to get into the action I decided to give in and see how this magic bait would work. Sure enough when I pulled my line in there was still a huge piece of squid still on my line – it hadn’t been touched!!! Talk about picky fish. So I took this off and replaced it with a Mackerel fillet. Mackerel has weak flesh so you need to wind and thread your bait well with the hooks – if you have rubberbands then these work well. Sure enough I got nibbles almost straight away. I waited for a bit before giving a good strike. It felt on however it came of straight away. We started to wonder what sort of fish this was – could it be another shark? or perhaps a Barracuda. I pulled my line up and found my fillet of Mackerel was gone. This wasn’t Barracuda because you would expect your whole rig to have been cut. Our focus turned from the nibbling to wondering what on earth was down there. My brother started getting nibbles again as I placed a new piece of Mackerel on my line. This time he gave it a good strike once he felt the fish on. It was well hooked and we eagarly looked over the end of the boat to see what on earth would surface, would it be a shark? No, from the deep came a very bright red fish. My first thought was a nice size Snapper, but then as it got closer to the surface we saw it was quite obviously a huge Gurnard. So big it was hard to get it into the net. This must have been what was eating all our Mackerel. We got in on board and quickly whacked it on the head which killed it instantly. Then it was placed on our bait container as you can see the photo from above. We bled it and also guttered it but didn’t see any of the other Mackerel in its stomach so that still remains a mystery. I can’t think of what else could have eaten the large pieces perhaps it was Snapper? This was definitly the catch of the day.

This was a HUGE surprise catch. We were wondering what was taking our Mackerel bait. Turned out to be the largest Gurnard I have ever seen!!

Through the rest of the day we also caught a few Kahawai (released) a nice pan size Snapper and also another smaller Gurnard. The waves and wind picked up quite a bit so we decided to head in but not before trying some drifting through workups – unsuccessfully however. Throughout the whole day there were lots of work ups, tonnes of bird activity around. Some people drove there boats through the middle of these towing Kahawai lures through them, I don’t know how successful this was nor what they were going for.

It seemed to make the workups disperse and then rejoin at a different place. I would have thought simply parking your boat up and casting into the kahawai would have proven to be a better option rather than motoring through them with a large boat. Anyway I know when we chased a school of Kahawai a few weeks back by far we caught a lot simply by casting a rubber lure wherever they were jumping. Almost one everytime we casted. We headed in and met up with the young kid from the previous night and he was amazed with the size of the Gurnard. He said we should have entered the fishing competition, however we didn’t know there was one on. But I don’t think we would have entered anyway due to the fact that we are still very much new to this type of fishing. We headed back home having caught 2 Gurnard, 1 Snapper and 4 Kahawai (2 Released). A nice catch for about 4 hours of fishing. One thing we did notice, and it seems to happen all the time, is that we caught all these fish in about 1 hour and there was about 3 hours of no fish action. We are almost at the point where we might head in one the fishing dies – however how can you ever tell that this has happened. Perhaps this is why we end up staying out longer than we should, the possibility that you could catch a fish at anytime….

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