Bronze monsters medal class

Although I’m new to landbased game fishing, this was only my second season, I’ve managed to reel in some impressive catches using large baits to target sharks and rays.

Last summer I was fishing from the shore around Nelson area when I managed to hook a 10-foot bronze whaler. That was using 30lb gear on a Penn 950ssm and a Shallow X surfcaster.

It put up one hell of a solid fight, taking two and a half exhausting hours to land. I must have been shattered, because I forgot to take a photo—just a video of it swimming away.

Normally, I fish with my mate Travis Gaffney, who landed a nine-foot six-inch bronzie on 50lb gear, after a 50 minute battering, last season.

This season, we started fishing in November, going up in gear to a Penn Senator with 80lb braid. We use 360lb tough mono trace and 14/0 circle hooks; haven’t been bitten off yet.

Using a large fish head, I hooked a ray that I reckon was 150lb plus, easy. That took me 30 minutes to land. The same night I met a guy who’d hooked up something big not long after, first cast too.

He’d snagged it on 80lb line so it took awhile to subdue. I helped him land it and together we reeled in a beautiful nine-foot one-inch bronzie, which was the biggest caught this season, that I’ve heard about. My girlfriend came with me a couple of nights later and I duly cast out the bait. Everything unfolded quite quickly and 35 minutes later I’d landed, admired, and released a seven-footer.

Not long after that, I went back down with Travis and hand-lined a bait out. After an hour, the reel screamed and we were in for tussle. That one put up a good fight, but after 30 mins on 80lb gear it’d had enough. Travis got some tags and helped me measure, tag and unhook it before we let it swim off.

Our first tagged— an eightfoot four-inch bronzie. Travis and I have landed six bronze whalers, all over six and a half foot. As well as a couple of big rays 100lb plus. We’ve also lost a couple, but not to worry, there’re some big fish in the area. Any beach where you can get a large bait out (I recommend using 50lb and up in line weight, 10/0 to 16/0 hooks, circle and heavy mono traces) then you’re in with a chance to hook a monster.

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