I don’t know if this will interest many of you but here’s a Story About When It All Comes Together.
Surfcasting is a sport that I was bought up on. Not having a boat at my dispersal I soon became adequate at throwing out a sinker and bait from the beach. Before we moved to Taupo I was surfcasting almost every weekend and loving it. However since we migrated South, I have not picked my Surfcaster back up. I have at times ached for the Surf but have let that fishing beast rest. That was until last weekend!
I had booked in a massive weekend with “Alex No Barbs” but plans change and my back up plan was to break out the big rods. The closer to Friday the week got, the more excited I became. By that stage the lounge looked like a tackle shop and even the cat was falling over my various kits. I had been in to see The Boys from Hunting And Fishing and had a good chat to Glen. He warned me that I was going to be fishing when the Nationals were on. It was a multi day event and I would be fishing JUST as they were ending the tournament on Saturday. I kept trying to think of all the free berley they might have created and what would be feeding on it. The weather was perfect, (I really hate the wind when surfcasting) and I had the overnight free pass. So with gear checked and Bait on Board, (God that stuff smells) I headed away at a respectable hour of 10.00am.
The plan was to find access to the beach, look for a Hole or Chanel and hopefully drive along the beach to set up. That way my 4WD was available to sleep in and I wouldn’t have to have as much equipment on the beach. That plan worked out better than expected. When I arrived at the beach I scanned the water and within seconds I was drawn to what looked like a very deep piece of water 80 meters out. The tide was low and I had a pretty good view of the whole beach. It looked like about 800 meters down the beach, so I dropped it into low gear and drove down. I have been stuck in sand before and it is intimidation stuff to drive on. If it does look like you are not getting tracking stop immediately and suss out what to do next. Once at my spot there was no one for 600 meters, it was game time.
I use a fifteen foot 3 piece rod and an egg beater real with long cast spool. My main line is generally 19 pounds with a shock leader of 25 pounds. The shock leader is there to stop me busting off when I cast. I use a single hook ledger rig with a breakout scud 4 Oz sinker. The easiest of rigs is using the Tri Swivel. I use a trace of 15 pounds and all my hooks are 4’s I can get this rig out about 120 meters when it all comes together nicely for me. I was secretly worrying that my rod would shatter on the first cast as it had been so long. I had made two repairs on the sections as the guides had deteriorated. I walked down to the waters edge after making my checks and deciding on length of line from the tip of the rod to the swivel. I like about 4.5 feet so I can really swing it out there. My cast was good, (much to my surprise) and so I set it in the rod rest and started setting up camp.
As I was making a trip back from the car I watched my Rod twitch then slowly bend forward, this is why we set the drag correctly. I resistance helps set the hook but too much will have a good fish bust you off. I got to my rod just as line was being pulled off the reel. I have hooked a few sharks in my life from the beach and learnt a few tricks on stopping a heavy fish. I tightened the star drag and really applied some force. It worked and I turned its head, winding in slowly but deliberately. It made a few decent runs but I had it in the surf before long and chose a wave to scoot it up on. This turned out to be a nice little Snapper that got ikejime and shoved into a slurry in the family chilli bin AWESOME!!! First cast woot woot and all. Over the next 6 hours I hooked so many fish it was ridiculous. They were out the back and I really had to get my cast straight and long to benefit but when I did get it right I hit a fish. By this stage of the day the locals, (mostly Rotorua) had come out of the woodwork and where using 4WD and Quads to get about. I had a group of guys 200 meters away setting a long line and having a good time. I only had one rod out as thats all I needed and even then I was in constant motion with re baiting.
I was sitting on the Chilli bin when my Rod really bounced off a strike. I carefully picked the rod up, tightened the star drag a bit and waited. The Strike came hard and when I struck back I was met with a shit load of weight, and then my line screamed. I couldn’t do the drag up too much more as my line would have snapped but I slowed it down with my fingers while walking, (or being pulled) down towards the waters edge. I was about to get desperate when it turned. I wound in hard and kept the pressure on. It made two more really good runs but I checked each one and had him at the back of the waves within ten minutes. At this stage we played tug of war for about five minutes before I chose a good wave building up behind him and gave him death. I quickly got behind him on the sand as the wave retreated and picked him up by the tail. The whoop whoop I got from the Long Liners was testament to a good fight. It went just under 15 pound and is the biggest Snapper I have ever caught, period! It was a brilliant 6 hours fishing. I needed a bigger Chilli Bin.
I fished hard until I almost fell asleep on my feet at 4.30 am. I getting one good strike every 20 minutes or so and had lost a few heavy fish throughout the night. I got two hours sleep and then fished through till 10.00am. In this time I picked up a few really nice Kahawai. The biggest of these would have gone 7 pounds and smashed the bait making me sprint to my rod as it was bent over having line ripped from the screaming reel. The first few minutes with one of those bad boys is all fun. I have a few people who like fish so it will all go to a good home.
Gotta do this more often.