I always hang out for February. It is by far the best time to chase marlin on the Coromandel, and usually it is accompanied by awesome weather.
Sometimes the best fishing missions are the impromptu ones. I hadn't panned to go fishing on my birthday but after a lazy start (getting breakfast in bed) & seeing the kids off to school, I asked my Mrs what the plan was for the rest of the day, she said something about work…I had similar plans but all these messages started coming in on Facebook, "hope you're on the water" "enjoy the fishing" etc etc…. What am I doing inside on a nice day like this I thought? and so I said to the Mrs, "do you mind if I sneak out for a fish for a few hours." …..
So much for a little fish…. I ended up solo on the 600m line behind the Aldies by myself, trolling to the Hook, and half way there the Bonze Trojan on the short rigger popped and the line started howling off the Tiagra. Oh fK! Sh** just got real!! "Provider Hooked Up!…Solo!" Cleared the gear and started the pretty intense task of playing a fish on Bonze light gauge hooks solo. Drove pretty hard on it and had the fish to the boat after 10 minutes but it did't want a bar of coming in, so had a back and forth tussle until on the 5th go an hour or so in I managed to get a gaff in. Bloody intense! Back home in time for the kids to see it after school, sweet as! And topped off by the Mrs putting on the best feed ever - best birthday ever!!
There's something about an experience like that that makes you want more….so with 3 days of nice stuff at the end of the week, I beavered away hard the next day, made some calls and this time lined up a crew to help each day.
Good mate Pies jumped on for the first day and we trolled in tandem with my mate Brett the Butcher who was on his boat Ocean Hunter with mate Davo. we picked up a lil yellowfin on the way down, pretty much the same spot as where the marlin came from, middle ground 250. We Made our way to The Hook and as soon as we got there, ZZZZ, the D Shackle on shotgun sizzled, then "MARRRLIIN" there was one attacking the short rigger and another one attached to the Undertaker on the long corner. That peeled some serious line off, but before we had the gear cleared they'd all fallen off, pretty sure all 3 were just bill wrapped for short time, leader all scuffed up from pesky stripeys. Next minute the good ship Bluefish trolled on in and Boulder was hooked up! Nice work fella!
We headed back to where I'd got the solo fish earlier in the week, found a pile of gannets, and boom, the D Shackle got a sizzle, then the marlin came hot in on it again, and the Tiagra 30 howled. "Provider Hooked Up!" We cleared the gear and Pies got a crash course on driving on a marlin as it headed south in a hurry! We'd made most of the ground up on it and had it pretty close about 10 minutes in when I felt the line give a little and wound the lure back in, bugger, ah well thats stripy fishing 4-2-0 for the day.
There was only one thing for that…get back out there, 9am the next morning it was no sizzle, just a solid hook up Nth of the Hook, and this time Paul was with me and he got a crash course in driving on a marlin for the first time, I was on strike again and had some fun fighting one on 15kg. Just love this line weight, played it with no gimble or harness for most of the fight, just a really nice way to play stripeys. Paul did bloody well on the driving and we got it to the boat he stuck the tag in and got a photo …. just wiiiicked conditions. What a cool place to live aye See ya mate!
We went a bit wider in the avo in search of a few blues that sounded like they had turned up on the radio, with a couple being dropped out wide, found this fella who came right in and rode the bow wave for a while, amazing
We heard fishing dot netters AC and Raging Bull get one on AC"s boat that avo south of the Hook. What a great day, time to release the Kraken that night, couple of good mates crew for next day, Ryan and Marko turned up that night, we tucked into some yellowfin, rum and pinot
We got back out for the last of the good weather, just an insanely good day on the water with good kai, a few coldies and good mates, but just the one bite today which didn't stick. Still plenty caught, and the fish moving a bit closer to Tairua with one of the better days for the club so far.
All in all a very cool few days on the water, and good to be in the company of other boats also catching and getting results. Plenty of boats seeing and some catching multiple fish in a day. Some of the craziest water I've seen out of here
Next up was Nationals....
Bit of a break from it with the weather this week, time to get some work done before a big week of it in the Nationals. Can't wait….!
Always love the anticipation of Nationals week. You never know what is going to pop up.
Me, Ants and Brett try and fish it together every year. It is always a good excuse to go fishing for 8 days straight.
The first Saturday we headed for the Hook where a lot of the action had been through Feb.
Looked like some primo weather for the first couple of days
We worked the Hook for a while but it was a bit slow, a good bite came on NE of the Hook late morning, but we had swords on our mind so made the call fairly early to run wide south down to Mayor, where we planned to overnight. We got to Mayor about 5pm for a looksie where we got 2 last year for Brett and Ants, stitched up an XOS skippy and sent it down, wasn't long and line started to tick off the reel, might have been a bit premature dialling it up, but weight came up solid and line started pouring off the 80W tiagra. About half way up the weight dropped off. Bugger.
Drop two, this time we let the bite go on a lot longer. dialled the drag up and we were tight again. Whole lot more weight this time! But again, dropped it and bought the bait back up, dead set sword bite with the skippy all crushed up
Time for one more drop as the sun was setting for nothing, then gapped it into a snotty sea for the haul to SE bay. As we were getting closer, the place almost looked like a city, man it was lit up, so chocka we had to anchor up out on the cliffs, and was a reasonably avg sleep to be fair.
We got back out to sword spot that morning and after yesterday we were reasonably confident of getting a bite, but dropped all day for nothing, not interest. The boys busted out some hearty kai while we waited! You can't beat the butchers bacon!!
At the tail end of the day we spotted some bird life wide of where we were, went to have a nosey and had a marlin swim into the gear. No bite, so we kept working the area, then the shottie (Bonze D Shackle) got smoked and we were tight. Choice!! I went to winding on the 15kg and it turned out to be a nice yellowfin which was a sight for sore eyes! First decent one I've seen in NZ waters for a while - CHOICE!
We had time for one more sword drop, but again NADA, we started the long haul in Ocean Hunter at 16knots back towards Tairua in the dark, got the yellowfin weighted (28 on 15), cleaned up, had a plate of yellowfin sashimi and hit the hay.
Third day we decided to head out the back of the Aldies for a nosey for some marlin action. Picked up a nice mahimahi in what was quite salubrious conditions at that stage, on the Bonze D shackle again with Brett on the winding, you beaut - tasty mahi to add to the fresh yellowfin!!
The workable sou easter swung to a steep short easterly, and the ride back in with the sea from behind was not pleasant when all of a sudden the GRand Slammer on the long rigger popped and the 80w howled, with a small stripey screaming off straight into the sea.
Was a bit of fun getting this one boatside, a bit like trying to tag a marlin right on the bar looking for the right wave. Pretty gnarly. Pics don't do it justice. Got the tag in, and Brett was stoked with his first for the season
We thought we'd had a choice day of it with a tag and release marlin and a mahi on ice, but we passed these fellas at the Tairua entrance and it was a reminder you don't need to go far to have fun, these fellas were next level stoked at their feed close to home in their hearty waka!!
We tucked into some glorious mahimahi that night - man it is so good! My first feed for the season.
Day four we livebaited on 8kg around the pins for a while and ended up out wide, pretty sure we had a Blue up out wide of the aldies on the 1000m, but no bites.
Day five and six we did another two dayer down to Mayor looking for swords and marlin on the way there and back. Not a lot of action on that front dropping for a whole day on day 5. Some mean kai on the boat while we waited though, you can't beat the butchers chops!
This time we got in a bit earlier into SE bay and had the meanest calmest spot for the right, it was so still and peaceful. Needless to say the boys were not impressed when I started the engine up and steamed back out at 1am for a night time sword drop Could have been a good call if we got a bite, but it was a slow few hours waiting for the sun to come up, keeping watch So a fair bit of our week went into the swords, with the conclusion that maybe they just weren't in numbers at Mayor yet or least where we were trying.
Trolled wide via the Aldie knoll hoping to find a blue on the way, just found heaps of mammalian mates
Heading into Tairua after another big two days of it to restock on diesel, Steinlager and sleep and another mean feed, this time seared yellowin loins rolled in sesame seeds - too good! Last two days we decided to fish the Hook and Middle ground and overnight at Peachgrove. Fished the Mercury Knoll on the Friday with a quiet VHF, the bite came on just a touch off the hook as we came back in there, marked a couple of marlin on the sounder and saw two of the boats hooked up, so we were confident we'd be in the zone for some action the last day.
We had the meanest sleep under the stars. Headed out to the Hook for our last day, got a bit north and ran with a decent northerly swell done south east of the hook. A little way down Ants screamed out marlin - he'd seen something sitting under the Bonze Angel (in Chill) we turned around to see a big fin come up behind the Angel on the short corner, and a sick shoulders out bite when it decided to eat it! The 50W tiagra howled and we were on like donkey kong! Cool fight on 37, ants leadered the fish, brett wound and I stuck the tag in BOOM! glad to get once after a few days looking
This was only the second swim this new lure had and just loving it, might be a regular on the short corner me thinks. We reset the gear, headed back up wind, i rigged up a new d shackle in spirit to replace the lumo one on shottie as the marlin seemed to be biting the blueish lures, we tracked down wind to the same mark again, and whadya know, another stripey came in and SMOKED the Bonze Trojan in Lumo!!
We lost of a lot of line in a hurry on 15kg, light drag and light gauge hooks, so we put the hammer down after it. Very cool fight on light drag it just motored off and stayed hard up on the surface the whole time, I was on the winding this time working off some of the weeks good and steinlager, we got the leader, Ants inched it closer and we got the tag in another CHUR!!
No way this one was getting away
We worked the same area and a whole lot of birds there for the rest of the avo trying to find Ants one.He usually gets the glory fish on the last day but not this time. Headed in for the big clean up and some sleep. Another top week with a couple of good buggers and a whole heap of laughs and banter. Was hard going in patches, but there was enough good stuff in there to make we want to go back out and give in another shot at the next possible chance Loved staying out this time for a few nights, took my back to the days staying on my old mans launch growing up. Already scouring Trade Me for my own overnighter and bigger boat for when I go back chartering. Cheers to Brett and Ants for a choice week, wrapping up a sweet February.