Christina and I boarded the Christabel (36″ markline fibreglass planing hull boat with twin diesels) for a couple of days relaxation and recreation. We filled the tanks with some 450 litres of diesel (although it only uses some 30 litres and hour I think) and headed out to the islands for some fishing.
Rounding the headland out of the marina the wind was from the wrong direction and had knocked up about a 1m swell which ain’t much fun in a boat of this type. Therefore after much dileberation we though bugger the spear fishing we had plenty of meat although a quick pot of green lipped muscles would be good. We headed in the direction of the nights anchorage and a reasonable muscle spot.
Rounding a wee island where I thought a good stock of muscles would be, we found the swell was hitting the rocks with some force. ‘are you sure Dave asked we don’t need them that much’ Yeah Yeah I said no worries thinking ‘shit how did I get into’ this as I clabbered into my still wet suit.
The Christabel not being the most mobile beast could only get to within 20 m of the headland so I stuck out for the rocks in the murky water. I was sporting my 1200 picasso “loaded for protection”. I thought to myself this would be a good time to do some snopping for snapper because its was a good spot I sneaked around the rocks first heading right and then left checking carefully over each rock and trying to read the terrain in the murky water looking for the most ideal approach for each rock. The swell was banging away making all approaches and my careful positioning a right nightmare.
I then found a good approach for the last corner with the thought that after this one I will have to look for muscles proper. The approach looked good with a ledge down about 10 feet and a right hand bank with the surf banging on the vectical surface above. I was thinking on the sageful instruction from Blair 2 days before. Keep silent ensure a concealed approach and sneak like a sneaky thing.
I popped my head over and around with my gun pulled back and a firm handfull of weed to stablise myself against the swell. The ledge dropped off some 15 feet further almost vertical onto sand and rocks below. It was way dark being late afternoon and with the white bubbled water above and all I could see was a big dark shape. I thought to myself “bloddy king fish?’ ,, ‘nope a bloody snapper’ I took the shot immediately without much thought for aim, just speed.
The snapper shot off and pulled like a bastard but not for long as they are strong for only a short time. Shit I thought and with thoughts of glory and many swear words I yanked the bugger to the surface and jumped it bodily clinging on for dear life.
Well back on the boat I was all smiles and bugger the muscles w
e got de snapper for dinner mate. I estimated a good 15 pound snapper and was way chuffed but dragging
out the scales the bugger tipped 22.5 pounds!. On the phone to Blair with the thanks for the ha
ndy tips, Blair could not believe his ears. ‘Reid is gonna be gutted’ Says Blair. Blair did the deed and broke the news to Reid proptly cascaded a stream of short descriptive words back down the phone.
Excellent trip and my fish snapper from a 10 minute muscle hunt. YESSSSS.
At the Boat comp prior to the New Zealand national spearfishing comp I discovered what a big deal that size snapper actually is. Reid to date is still dying to break the 20 pound mark.
As part of the National Spearfishing comp orgainsed was a boat dive for snapper, king fish and crayfish.
We head off from the One Tree Hill Boat ramp off the coast of Whangarei adjacent the political think big oil refinery scheme which the country could ill afford the first time around regardless of the necessary extension scheme the continued for many years. Anyway we boxed off to a place along the caost as the boat comp had no official dive area. It was rumoured that Darren Sheilds was heading for the Moak’s (some 1.5 hr boat trip away) Although it is a great place for big king fish and snapper.
Captain’s Blair and Reid agreed on a spot called iguana rock. Unfortunately the site of a shark sighting the day before. We hit the inside of the island on advice from the captains. I hit a small king fish and decided it would be good to put it in the boat asap due to sharks. Back in the water I was knocking the weed line with an eye for King fish.
I saw down on the weed line a good sized Giant Boar fish. I headed downand down and down, shit I though. The weed line slopped down nicely and partially concealled the approach with good weed cover. My sqeaking ears complained vigorously all the way down to around 70 feet. (pretty much my limit) Only one shot at this I thought I ain’t coming back down here in a hurry. A quick dodgy shot later (my trademark on good fish I think) I headed for the surface. Err up there I thought yikers!!!… Up and Up and Up. I hit the surface gasping and turned around to give the Giant Boar fish vertigo with a quick ascent.
The Line felt so slack I thought my shot was bad and it had got off. I was watching the barrel of my 1200 picasso come up and could not see anything on the end as the vis was only 25 feet or so. But by the time I had my hands on the barrell I could see the GB fish limp on the line. My shot dead thought the top of the head just behind and above the eyes. Excellent no getting off that. In fact I thought the fish killed stone dead but it gave a valiant struggle before I could get my hands on it.
Still it was not a really big fish but good enough thank you. A reasonable fish
to chase. Unfortunately the Aussie in the boat with us managed to pop a GB fish some 2-3 pounds bigger. Oh well maybe next time.
Leaving that point with a haul including a small snapper, squid and king fish we headed to the Chicks (part of the Hen and Chicks islands at the mouth of the Whangarei harbours)
We did some snapper hunting along the coast where some good snapper including a 18 pounder from Reid and a 20 pounder from the Aussie contingent. I bagged a couple of Poare which are good pan sized fish.
We headed back to Iguana rock for another bash at the king fish. The Aussie struck again showing up the NZ team and bagged the most meritorious king fish of the comp.
Excellent day for all.
Thanks to Reid and Blair for the experienced boatmanship.
About Anthony Vigneron
French Spearo in exile in the UK - more fish here!