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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Adventure - Flight Over

Rewind back to March when I got an unexpected phone call from a representative of Blade Kayak Fishing Magazine named Storm. When he introduced himself over the phone my heart started to pump and I thought back to a few months earlier when I entered a competition on the Blade Facebook page to win a kayak fishing trip to New Zealand. Storm went on to tell me that I was indeed the winner and not only am I going but I also get to take a mate. After the call I was straight back on the phone to Wes, the first question was "can you get some time off towards the end of May?".


So finally after what I initially thought would take forever to come around, had come, it was starting to finally sink in, we were off to New Zealand to go kayak fishing in Coromandel with Rob Fort from Coromandel Kayak Fishing Adventures and to be more precise the time was 2.15am with the alarm ringing, but it took little effort to drag myself out of bed with the thoughts of what the next 8 days had in store. I swung past Wes's place to pick him up and we started our 2 hour drive to Sydney International Airport for our 7am flight to Auckland.



Leaving from Nowra, it was just after Albion Park before I realized Wes had snoozed off and the prospect of making the early drive in the belting rain by myself sunk in. We were making great time, found a park with ease and sitting on the courtesy bus by 4.45am. We had some hick ups through check, one being that Air NZ policies on sporting goods don't necessarily reflect what they say at the terminal. Make sure if you do this trip you book and pay for your rod tubes prior to arrival, you will save yourself half of the cost and a lot of time!

A quick trip through duty-free for our 1L bottles of rum and we were in our seats and awaiting take off. A quick check of my phone before phones were to be off and an email had come through from Rob Fort, alerting us to a delay the Melbourne boys from AFN's Yak Fisher Magazine were experiencing as their flight was running 3 hours late. Wes nodded off on the tarmac but was rudely awoken by the thrust of the jet engines as we took flight and heading directly east. We seemed to be making good time with the tail wind and found the perfect inflight entertainment in the way of a show called "Rod and Rug Sack" to hype us up.













We landed in Auckland at 12.15pm and caught up with Steve from Blade Kayak Fishing Magazine who had only become aware of the delay once he had landed. We made our way to the pub for some drinks and food as the boys weren't due in until 3.10pm and with further delays we didn't see Andrew and Pat until 4.30pm. We met up with Rob's wife Janet who was there to take us on the 2.5 hour drive to Rob's house/shop where we met Rob and another kayaker Brad. We did a last minute shop and kit out of waterproof gear, were given some knife jigs and snapper rigs supplied by Bite Fishing NZ, brand new 385C DI Humminbird sounders supplied by BLA Australia and a run down of what the plan was for the next 6 days of fishing. With the weather prediction, Rob made the decision to hook up with Captain Peter McKenzi earlier than planned and take us off shore for the first half of the trip using the mother ship Te Wairoa (http://www.coromandelfishingadventures.co.nz) to take us from Kennedy Bay to the islands for some Kingfish and Snapper.









We jumped back in the cars and headed for our accommodation for the night at Captain Peter's house Lazy Daze (http://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-h ... /view/2606) in Kennedy Bay, where a feast of wild caught boar awaited our arrival. A couple of night cap rums and a bit of gear prep and some stories and it was time to get to sleep, or at least try!

Special thanks to:

Blade Kayak Journal

http://bladekayak.com.au/

Coromandel Kayak Adventures

http://kayakadventures.co.nz/

Coromandel Boat Charters

http://www.coromandelboatcharters.com/

Lazy Daze Accommodation Kennedy Bay

http://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-h ... /view/2606

Wyuna Magic Accommodation Coromandel

http://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-h ... /view/7786

Salty Towers

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Salty-To ... 7081269126

Pepper Tree Restaurant and Bar

http://www.peppertreerestaurant.co.nz/

Ocean Kayaks NZ

http://www.oceankayak.co.nz/

Humminbird

http://bla.com.au/

Bite Fishing Tackle

http://www.bitefishing.co.nz/

Z-man Australia
http://z-man.com.au/

TT Lures Australia
http://ttlures.com.au/
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Adventure - Day 1

We were woken by the sound of Rob's voice bellowing through the house at some ungodly hour and our bins of gear were moved into the cars for the short drive around the corner to the wharf to board the tenders. When I think back to it, this was really when, what we were about to embark on hit home!











We boarded the powered tender along with 2 more boats and Brad in his yak under tow and putted through the estuary, when the "Te Wairoa" finally came into sight, amongst birds dive bombing bait fish and the sun peaking up over the rugged landscape.













As we made our way through the mouth of the bay, Rob had us rig up some of our combos with skirted lures and troll them on the way out to our first destination, Cuvier Island. It didn't take long and 2 of the reels started to scream. Pat and Andrew had hooked up and after a spirited fight both fish were landed. Our first species for the trip were Skipjack Tuna.









We arrived on the western side of Island and after sounding around we made our first drop of the knife jigs from the boat searching for some Kingys. We had no luck in this location so we moved further offshore. Wes and I had a quick discussion about the possibility of us finding the Kingys and the chance that we were going for our first offshore kayak trip…. very much off shore! We move around some peaks marked out on the GPS hoping to find them, but unfortunately (maybe luckily?) no one managed to get a touch.







Captain Peter and Rob made the decision that we would move in to Cuvier Island and start our Snapper fishing. Wes and I were the last off the boat and after some sketchy moments getting in the kayaks from the bobbing boat, we were in the ocean without going for a swim…much to the disappointment of many people back home who had their fingers crossed for some footage from the GoPro's.



Some quick adjustments were made and we moved around to the north eastern side of the island and with a couple of cast Wes was onto our first fish of the trip. A deep red Snapper graced Wes's lap and after a bit of excited yelling and photos, it was sent back into the clear NZ waters.







The drift took us along the northern side of the island where Wes hooked another before I got my first. We were mixing our selection of plastics, Wes on Gulp with a 1/2oz TT Headlockz and I was using a Zman on a 3/8oz TT Headlockz.

We were getting fish left right and center nothing with nothing under 1kg and no by-catch. We both got dusted on several occasions by big fish, they would take screaming runs that even locked drags couldn't even put a dent in they aggression. As the sun went down the fishing got hotter, Wes finally managed to stop a bruiser that went around 10lb and put a huge smile on his face.









It was now on the verge of dark and the boat had come around to see how we were going. Being in T shirts and shorts and the warmth quickly disappearing, an executive decision was made to go for the paddle around the western side and head towards the boat which was anchored up in a sheltered bay. The next testing moment was moving out of the kayaks and back onto the boat, with Pete helping to hold the kayak we maneuvered onto the swim deck with ease.



Everyone was onboard, changed into warmer clothes and telling stories of fish caught and lost from the afternoon. It wasn't too long before the guys were dropping baits off the deck and pulling in squire after squire with some trevally thrown into the mix. A lasagna dinner was served, then the boys were back out dropping baits. Steve finally managed a good fish that dusted him up. An upgrade in leader and down went the bait. This time it took him for a good run and the first Kingy was netted!



Pat and Steve kept getting smashed by an unknown so upped their leader to 80lb. Steve was the first to find out what was doing them in when after a 10min fight a Lemon Shark was boat side. A shake of the head and it was off into the dark. Pat hooked up next and managed to get this one onto decks.

We noticed some squid hanging around below the swim deck so I quickly tied on a jig and brought it aboard. Everyone else scrambled to get a jig on and compared to our Australian squid back home, they were very finicky with a total of 4 caught before they disappeared. A great meal for tomorrow night!

 

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FKNA!
More more more!
The freeboard is kinda tall for a yak mothership. Im sure it was exciting. Made you leave a little fuel in the tank to get back aboard, eh?
 

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Very lucky man. I'm quite envious
 

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Wow, great trip dirty. Looks like Wesbo is firing on all cylinders too. Some top reds there. Cant wait to read about the rest of the trip.
 

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Great stuff Dirty.

Congrats on winning the trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Adventure - Day 2

With a restless night of sleep from the short bunks to load snoring, everyone was feeling pretty worse for wear. Up at 6.30am to catch a glowing sunrise over Cuvier Island and the day was looking like it was going to be pretty good. The beauty of fishing some where like the island was that even though the wind was up, if you wanted to, you could find a protect bay to escape it.



Wes and I left the boat, had an explore around some of the caves and after the hot bite on the northern side decided that it would be our best bet to get into some Snapper quickly. We got around the corner and soon discovered that the wind was smashing through our chosen destination with a 2-3ft wind chop making for some very sporting paddling.



We pushed through to a rocky point, sent the drogues out which pulled us up nicely and began to flick away. We were instantly getting busted off by some absolute stonkers. 14lb leader and locked drags just weren't cutting it, as we were unable turn the fish and stop them from making their run into the kelp. The reel would be screaming, then you would feel the braid rubbing through the kelp and if they didn't tangle you up in that, they would definitely tow the kayak and make their way to reef. In between getting smashed by the unstoppables, a few "average" sized snapper were landed before Wes was able to pull a better specimen before the Pete and the Te Wairoa came around the corner to tell us to move to the other side of the island where Rob was apparently onto a good patch of 10-15 pounders.









So we made our way around to where Rob and the others were fishing in a sheltered bay and we really struggled only picking up the occasional fish and didn't witness anyone else getting anything bigger than an Australian sized pannie. Disappointed with our move, Wes and I pushed out to the southern side of Cuvier back into the wind and found another patch holding in around 20 meters where I was able to pick up a better sized fish, but just under the size of what Wes picked up earlier. Hunger and a sore arse got the best of us and seeing the rest of the guys were already packed up, we started the drift back boat to get the obligatory photos for the guys from the magazines.







Pete moved the Te Wairoa over to Great Mercury Islands for the night to escape the bad weather that had moved in (40knot winds with driving rain) and it didn't take long for a small bird called a Diving Petrel to cut it's flight path too close to the boat and clipped some rods. Pete being pretty quick on his feet was all over it and grabbed it so we could have a look.



Some sashimi Skipjack was sliced up for a snack, then Wes decided to let the cat out of the bag about him being a chef and whipped together a delicious entrée of squid made with soy sauce and Pete's partner's Bev's home made chilli jam, possibly the best tasting thing I've eaten in a while! Crumbed and shallow fried fresh snapper and veggies followed this up and a Bev's home made Feijoa and and Apple sponge pie and a couple of rums to put us to sleep so we could be well rested for tomorrow.











 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Adventure - Day 4

After finishing up 3 days of fishing from the Te Wairoa it was now time to start the next leg of our adventure, launching from some of the local beaches and paddling up or down the coast in search of some big snapper. We loaded up our gear, jumped in the cars and headed to a place called Tuateawa. Rob mentioned that was a high chance of getting John Dory here, along with some big snapper.





We made our way out and drifted straight off the coast making our way out to the 20m-depth mark. Things were very quiet, so I paddled back towards Wes and we discussed our options as the other guys started to move even wider. We noticed that the sounders weren't showing any structure and it looked as if we were fishing a sandy bottom. The decision was made to move back towards the coast and start a drift from 4-5m out to a max of 15m. We were instantly into the fish with my first decent Snapper of the day coming within the first couple of cast in our new location. It wasn't long before Steve had caught up with us and he managed a few too.









We repeated this drift and zigzagged our way down the coast continuously picking up fish until it was time for some lunch that Janet had prepared the night before. Into the shallows again with a backdrop of a waterfall seemed like the perfect spot to get out of the wind.



Rob, Pat and Andrew had gone wide around where we were and we all eventually met up at a rocky outcrop where we fished as a group over a reef. Again some more fish, nothing large, were caught but the wind was starting to pick up and we made the choice to start heading back. Wes had a head start on us and as Steve and I started the paddle back up the coast I noticed some splashing happening a little further out with some birds over head. A school of Kahawai (Australian Salmon) had started to get worked up, so a quick paddle over and a cast amongst it saw a school of 5 Kahawai chase my quickly retrieved Zman back to the yak with no hook up. The next cast I let the plastic drop a couple of meters in the water column before double hoping it back up. On the second double hop I hooked up and we got our first glimpse of the fish.

Steve and I continued to chase the school backwards and forwards with myself catching 7 fish before Steve perfected the technique and got his first ever Kahawi. I think judging by the look on his face, he was pretty stoked!

I left Steve with Rob and the others to catch up with Wes who by this time had put a surprising amount of distance between us and was already back to where we were catching the Snapper earlier. With a strong head wind it really took it out of me, but the bright fluro orange pants of Wes's kept getting brighter and bigger until we were within talking distance. I got absolutely belted by a big snapper on of the drifts that found his way back into the kelp after I downgraded my leader from 20lb to 14lb. This was enough to really annoy me and so we made our way for the ramp. A slow day compared the the previous 3, but what it lacked in fish, it made up in scenery!









We got back to Lazy Daze, got our gear together, packed the cars again and set course for Wyuna Magic (http://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-h ... /view/7786), Pete's partner Beverly's house, where we tucked into some more sashimi and a warm meal of chicken drumsticks and veggies. Once again arriving in the cover of night we had no idea what was around us until the following morning.



The weather forecast wasn't looking like it was going to be working in our favour for the following day with predicted winds of 60kmph and gusting up to 100kpmh with rain. Rob talked about having a break for day 5 and doing some sight seeing and touristy stuff around the area instead.

 

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So many fish looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Adventure - Day 5

I think everyone's body clocks must have really been stuff by this point as we were all fully aware that we weren't leaving the house until 10am, but I think almost everyone was up by 6.30am. This was the first time we got to see the view from Wyuna Magic! It was spectacular, 180 degree views looking straight across Coromandel Harbor with no neighbors below and a great wrap around balcony, no wonder it has the word magic in it's name!

We sat at the table looking at the weather forecast whilst having breakfast, watching the rain and wind ease off outside. Pete came in and mentioned he too had noticed that the prediction from the night before didn't look like it had come into fruition. A quick call to Rob to say we were prepared to go out and after a quick interview with Pete about the days before hand we were ready to get out there.



Into the cars and we were heading for an area called Te Kouma where we were going to experience fishing for Snapper around the mussel farms. Steve decided to sit this session out with a sore throat, probably a good decision! Just as we set out past the moored boats the rain arrived with a really, really, really cold wind. We poked around the corner to see a barge at work on one of the farms harvesting fresh mussels. Rob had a chat to the guys on board the boat and we positioned ourselves to start lobbing cast within inches of it and into the water and wash coming off the barge's deck.



We managed a couple of fish doing this, but I think they were just too well fed in the area as there wasn't the frenzy we were expecting. Pat managed to do the best out of everyone and it seemed every time I looked over in his direction, he had hooked up again! I think it had a lot to do with the positioning of the kayak as Wes and myself were casting with the current meaning we weren't getting the plastic to drop down through the water how we wanted and the results got better as soon as we repositioned to the bow of the barge and had the current coming to us. A couple of samples were taken from the mussel farms floats between casts and eaten fresh, delicious! The boys working on the barge indicated they wouldn't mind some fresh fish so a couple were kept and handed over before the barge was done in this area and the fishing went quiet.



We moved further down the coast and made our way for the entrance to the harbor, but not before I noticed a large flock of birds working in the distance. I left the group to go and get warmed up on a school of Kahawi, then paddled back so we could head for a reef that Rob thought should be holding some good snapper.

Just as we arrived at our destination the weather that was due to arrive hours earlier decided to turn up. The drogues went out and everyone got a cast in before Rob called it quiets over concerns for every ones safety. My first cast resulted in a fish, not through any skill, which you'll be able to see in the video. I cast out, turned around to turn the GoPro on, turned back round and went to jig the plastic which ended up have a nice smaller model Snapper on the end. Good times!

 
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