We were woken by the sound of Rob’s voice bellowing through the house at some ungodly hour and our bins of gear were moved into the cars for the short drive around the corner to the wharf to board the tenders. When I think back to it, this was really when, what we were about to embark on hit home!
We boarded the powered tender along with 2 more boats and Brad in his yak under tow and putted through the estuary, when the “Te Wairoa” finally came into sight, amongst birds dive bombing bait fish and the sun peaking up over the rugged landscape.
As we made our way through the mouth of the bay, Rob had us rig up some of our combos with skirted lures and troll them on the way out to our first destination, Cuvier Island. It didn’t take long and 2 of the reels started to scream. Pat and Andrew had hooked up and after a spirited fight both fish were landed. Our first species for the trip were Skipjack Tuna.
We arrived on the western side of Island and after sounding around we made our first drop of the knife jigs from the boat searching for some Kingys. We had no luck in this location so we moved further offshore. Wes and I had a quick discussion about the possibility of us finding the Kingys and the chance that we were going for our first offshore kayak trip…. very much off shore! We move around some peaks marked out on the GPS hoping to find them, but unfortunately (maybe luckily?) no one managed to get a touch.
Captain Peter and Rob made the decision that we would move in to Cuvier Island and start our Snapper fishing. Wes and I were the last off the boat and after some sketchy moments getting in the kayaks from the bobbing boat, we were in the ocean without going for a swim…much to the disappointment of many people back home who had their fingers crossed for some footage from the GoPro’s.
Some quick adjustments were made and we moved around to the north eastern side of the island and with a couple of cast Wes was onto our first fish of the trip. A deep red Snapper graced Wes’s lap and after a bit of excited yelling and photos, it was sent back into the clear NZ waters.
The drift took us along the northern side of the island where Wes hooked another before I got my first. We were mixing our selection of plastics, Wes on Gulp with a 1/2oz TT Headlockz and I was using a Zman on a 3/8oz TT Headlockz.
We were getting fish left right and center nothing with nothing under 1kg and no by-catch. We both got dusted on several occasions by big fish, they would take screaming runs that even locked drags couldn’t even put a dent in they aggression. As the sun went down the fishing got hotter, Wes finally managed to stop a bruiser that went around 10lb and put a huge smile on his face.
It was now on the verge of dark and the boat had come around to see how we were going. Being in T shirts and shorts and the warmth quickly disappearing, an executive decision was made to go for the paddle around the western side and head towards the boat which was anchored up in a sheltered bay. The next testing moment was moving out of the kayaks and back onto the boat, with Pete helping to hold the kayak we maneuvered onto the swim deck with ease.
Everyone was onboard, changed into warmer clothes and telling stories of fish caught and lost from the afternoon. It wasn’t too long before the guys were dropping baits off the deck and pulling in squire after squire with some trevally thrown into the mix. A lasagna dinner was served, then the boys were back out dropping baits. Steve finally managed a good fish that dusted him up. An upgrade in leader and down went the bait. This time it took him for a good run and the first Kingy was netted!
Pat and Steve kept getting smashed by an unknown so upped their leader to 80lb. Steve was the first to find out what was doing them in when after a 10min fight a Lemon Shark was boat side. A shake of the head and it was off into the dark. Pat hooked up next and managed to get this one onto decks.
We noticed some squid hanging around below the swim deck so I quickly tied on a jig and brought it aboard. Everyone else scrambled to get a jig on and compared to our Australian squid back home, they were very finicky with a total of 4 caught before they disappeared. A great meal for tomorrow night!