I’ve always run pontoon boats as charter boats, starting off with Stabicraft and then transitioning into Senator, but have always kept a keen eye on White Pointer boats, and reckon my eventual dream charter boat would be a 9-10m White Pointer. One day!
So when an old client Tom Van Praagh contacted me to see if I’d like to fish on a 970 Prosportsman White Pointer ‘Dipudo Patrol’ he had just built for his uncle’s new resort in the Philippines, for four days at Waihau Bay in the bi-annual White Pointer owners comp, I didn’t take much convincing!
I’d checked out the new rig a few weeks earlier while it was in Tairua, and it was a weapon of a boat. Tom had been keen to get some game fishing in before it heads overseas, so I helped him get a good selection of lures from Bonze through YeeHaa, and get gear rigged up to do the job.
Tom steamed down to Tairua to pick me up from Auckland, joined by the boats owner Stephen and Tom’s mate Jum, and we packed the boat up and steamed out of the harbour at 11.00pm at night. So my first impression of the boat at sea, was steaming from Tairua to Waihau Bay in the pitch black, in a shitty easterly sea. And all I have to say, is what an impressive ride! The boat is kitted with Furuno marine electronics, incuding TZ Touch and NavPilot, and an additional satellite compass which improves the accuracy of the autopilot, and it held into the sea so well at around 20 knots. We knocked the revs back to about 8 knots near the Rangatira Knolls and got some shut eye.
We arrived at Waihau in the morning and set the lures. There were a handful of fish tagged and landed the first day and we found some good sign, and had our Bonze dredge rustled up by a marlin. White Pointer Boats founder and owner Rex Briant brought a trailer along to pull the 970 out each night, which was awesome, and we crashed with him while we were there for the comp. You really get some perspective of the size of this rig when you see it next to the 700 hard top that Rex is currently fishing out of!
I just love waking up to this view! Waihau is such a cool spot, and you only have to go a couple of miles before setting the lures. We sat here each morning and Rex gave us the story of each boat that was being launched, he is hugely proud of the boats he has built for the White Pointer community.
With a really good forecast on Day Two, I said to the boys ‘Whadya reckon we go to Ranfurly today"?” Tom was into that plan, so we set sail, and I put some calls in for some intell from mates Scott Adamson, TK and also Arron from Coastal Fishing Charters who is out there most days. The boys gave me the good oil, and Arron sent me some marks.
We fished the shallow part of the banks first and it was on every drop on jigs and stickbaits!
Then we moved out a bit deeper to some of Sarge’s marks and the fishing got even better! Jum hooked up to a real solid kingfish that ended up being heaviest kingfish for the tournament!
We got out bottom fishing groove on and got stuck into some quality eating fish! Hapuku and some massive king terakihi to 3.5kg!
What a great first day ever fishing the Ranfurly! One to tick off the bucket list!
Each night Waihau Bay Fishing Club hosted the White Pointer comp entrants and Tony and Rex did a prizegiving with a mix of spot prizes and heaviest of the day prizes. You can tell by the collection of people attending the event, Rex has amassed a very tight knit community of passionate owners that love their boats. Everyone was having an absolute ball.
Day three and today was a dedicated marlin hunt. The aim was to get the boat its first marlin, and hopefully get Tom and Jum attached to their first billfish. Less than an hour in the shotgun went off, the Bonze D Shackle had been bit, we looked back to see a bill thrashing around in the wake - “MARLIN!!!” Tom went to work on his first marlin, and I’ve got to say, this 970 is just a beast in reverse! And my first time using cockpit controls to fight a fish, very cool! We popped a tag in a nice stripey that left his mark in the paintwork! First stripey for Tom and Dipudo Patrol!! Job done!
Wooop! We cracked a few cold ones, the popped the lures back in. 30 minutes later - the Trojan on the rigger got slammed, then the short corner with the BTK got bit , both lines screamed off - DOUBLE! The rigger dropped off, and we drove down on the corner rod, with Jum doing the winding on the first marlin he had been attached to, a lot of winding in fact, we’d lost a lot of line. About 10 minutes in with the fish close to the boat, the hook pulled out - bugger! Ah well, three marlin for the first few hours fishing - pretty epic!
We did a few more zigzags wide of Orete, then decided to head down and have a sword drop in the Waikawa Trench. The water was so purple and we managed to have a swim while we waited for the swords to bite. The DFF3 and Furuno TZ Touch was pinging the bottom in 500m+ piece of cake, marking all the bluenose and bait sign easy as!
No swords for us this avo, so we steamed back to an epic last night at Waihau, plenty of coldies, and a nice feed of Hapuku from the day before.
Day 4 and we steamed home, via White Island, my first time here, and what a magic spot! Unreal being so close to a working volcano steaming away beside the water, and the gannet colonies are amazing! Jum and Tom got a few paua for a feed, and we steamed back via a buenose drop at the Rangatira’s. Once again the 970 just carved a 2m sloppy sea up with ease.
Thanks Tom, Stephen and Jum for the invite and for the chance to fish off an awesome rig! And thanks to Rex for hosting us at this awesome community event!