Boulder Bank bruiser a belligerent battler

Clive saddled with a real horse

My mate Barry and I were anchored in 21m of water off the Boulder Bank near Nelson, lines in the water and waiting. I had one stray line drifting a pilchard in the current and a flasher rig baited with squid hanging over the side. Barry opted for the same but had to forego the stray line when he discovered a missing eye on his rod. It was quiet. At least for an hour.

The first snapper to turn up to the party was a 10–12 pounder on my flasher rig. Promising sign. Then a rabble of 3—4 pounders joined the fray and dinner was taken care of.

Then a steam train hit with such force I’d hate to have been the poor sucker tied to the tracks! The 5/0 flasher rig was attached to good Shimano gear but lightweight: TDR 2000 reel strung with 30lb braid, on a Shimano 6kg Raider rod. And man did that rod bend.

Doubled over. Smack. No nibble. No bite. Just THUMP!

Of course I handled it calmly and in a measured way:

“Aaargh, THIS IS HUGE THIS IS HUGE THIS IS HUGE… expletive expletive!”

Barry was ever helpful; grabbing my pants for fear of me going over the side.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to land it; the line was singing, I had the tension wound right up and I was sure something was going to break. The fish battled away, peeling line like melting butter.

It was quite a scrap that went to and fro for a good fifteen minutes. It was a powerful fish.

Then, suddenly, it popped to the surface and broached, giving a couple of testy flaps of the tail.

I didn’t waste a second; passing the rod to Barry, I grabbed the net and scooped up the fish. Rather, I managed to get the head and shoulder into the mouth of the net and, by grasping the handle and net rim with two hands, managed to hoist it aboard.

It was a bloody monster and it just goes to show you don’t need expensive gear or fancy bait to catch big fish. Previously I have caught a couple at 27lb, a 26lber, some around 24lb and a few just over 20lb, but at 28.76lb this is definitely my PB snapper—and a horse at that. Little tip: I am very particular about my knots though, and tie them all myself.

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