|The other weekend Bec and I woke for an early morning fishing mission with my
buddy Andrew. Paddling our kayaks offshore (at 6 a.m.) as the sun rose we ventured
off Ocean Beach to an unnamed island. It was early and we were tired, but the early
bird gets the worm. The day was fine, light winds, not a cloud in the sky. There’s
nothing like wearing a pair of shorts in the middle of winter, especially when they’re
really short shorts! We fished for a few hours and caught a few decent size fish but
nothing spectacular. Becca caught about 30 rock cod (they are very annoying and
not good eating). At one point I looked down at my feet to see what I thought was a
massive sting ray feeding on the kelp near our burley (chum) block. It turned and I
realized I was looking at the silhouette of without a doubt the largest snapper I’d ever
seen or even heard of. Andrew saw it as well and cast for it but it spooked and swam
off. I was STOKED. It absolutely made my day just seeing the fish. Becca of course
thought I was exaggerating its size. Typical.
We kept an eye out for the fish for the next 90 minutes hoping to see it again. Then
Andrew saw what he thought was a shark about 30 meters off the island so I cast a
huge chunk of bait out to it on my measly worn out reel spooled with only 20lb line.
BAM! The fish took the bait and screamed off. It turned in the water and showed
its belly at which point we realized it was the massive snapper. All hell broke lose.
Becca started freaking out, Andrew was half in the water trying to keep my line of
the rocks that the tide was slowly exposing, and I was screaming like a little girl.
Andrew’s an experienced fisherman and guided me through playing the fish. After
about 5 minutes we finally slid it onto the rocks and gaffed it. Then I thanked God,
Jesus, Allah, etc. The fish was massive. Every fisherman’s lofty goal in NZ is the 20
pound snapper. When I tell people about this 30+ pounder they tell me to stop with
the fairy tales. No one believes it until I show ‘em the pictures. It’s most definitely
the fish of a lifetime and in the end I let it happily swim off. It’s a 60-70 year old
breeding fish and I’m hoping that brings me some good karma. We already had
plenty of snapper and mussels for dinner anyway.
Lastly, I finally got a new wagon to replace the one the burglars scooted off with. It’s
a 2-door 1988 Mitsubishi Pajero diesel turbo and it’s mean as hell. We finally towed
the boat out again this weekend.
It’s a tough life.