Blair battles bruiser blue

Blue moki is a species I have had a love hate relationship with over the past five years; I have caught a few of them but every single one of them I had to earn. Many hours have been spent on the beach replacing mussel baits after the small fish have destroyed my offerings.

With the recent introduction of Fishbites (a tough synthetic bait), blue moki have become a much more common catch right around the country. Fishbites come in many different shellfish flavours and blue moki absolutely love them. These baits last a long time due to a mesh in the middle of the bait that helps the hook to stay in.

While on a trip off the Kapiti Coast I was drifting in deep water, slow-jigging for snapper. I chose to actively fish with the jigs and set-up a ledger rod to drag out behind the kayak to cover fish further behind the boat.

Suddenly my ledger rod bent right over into the water and the poor reel screamed in agony as something massive tore off to the south. I struggled to get the rod out of the holder and settled into the fight. The fish began to tow the kayak south at 1.5 km/h directly into the current. Outputting this much power, it had to be something serious.

Heavy tail beats telegraphed through the rod as I attempted to lift the mystery fish off the bottom. Every time I’d get a wind in, the fish would take back three more. I could only hope that there was no reef down there to get hung up on.

Little by little, I made ground and a very large silver shape popped up in front of the kayak, sending me scrambling for the net. At the time, I had no idea this would be a blue moki so seeing this surface sent me into shock. The net slipped under the solid fish’s head and, after trying to lift it into the boat, I realized how much of a giant it really was.

The moki was full of life as I popped it onto my lap for a quick photo, almost winning its freedom in a split second but, luckily, I fluked a grip onto its very broad tail as it was about to slip away. The moki measured 74 centimetres, which puts it at an estimated weight of 16 pounds.

Even though I had pulled this fish off the bottom out of 50 metres depth, the moki was seemingly unbothered by the pressure change and happily kicked out of my hand as I cradled it in the water for release. Sending a jet of water to the surface, the huge fish powered back down to live for another day.

It’s safe to say, this blue moki will be very tough to top in my fishing career.

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